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I was terrified to stand up! After my first c-section, I looked down at the staples and steri-strips covering the incision and decided it wasn’t happening.
Nuh-uh. No way.
I just knew that behind that tiny cut, my guts were just waiting to spill out. My mind’s eye conjured up images of intestines bursting through and landing on the floor! And I was determined not to stand up until I’d had a few weeks to heal.
I didn’t realize that the staples on the outside weren’t the only things holding back my innards. Stupid? Probably. But I’d never really thought about the technical side of the surgery. Maybe I’m not alone. So let me reassure you: Staples aren’t the only things holding you closed! They’re just the only thing you can see.
Trust me, you won’t spill your guts. That’s what I’d tell a mom facing her first C-section. But I’m just one mom.
So I’ve gathered advice from dozens of mamas who’ve been there, done that. The tips in this article are the ones that they repeated over and over and over.
These are THE top tips from moms who went to the O.R. to have their babies.
A good mindset goes a long way toward a speedy recovery. Keep your chin up, and don’t look for the problems. Hundreds of women (probably thousands) have C-sections every day and they recover really well. You’re going to be alright. Really!
Better than alright.
You’re going to be FABULOUS!!!
Take the pain medicine
When the nurses give you pain medicine, take it – even if you’re not hurting. Take it! Don’t be a hero. You just had major abdominal surgery. The pain medicine will keep your pain at bay. Because once it hits, you’ll wish you had.
If you wait to take the medicine until you’re hurting, you’re going to be in MUCH more pain than necessary.
They give medicine for a reason. Take. It.
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Oh, and if it seems like Ibuprofen helps more than Oxy (or whatever other high-powered pain killers you’ve been given), it’s not your imagination! A lot of the pain you’re experiencing has more to do with swelling than the actual incisions. Ibuprofen helps with the swelling. So yeah, it probably does help more than pain meds.
Stool softener is necessary
Your baby has been born. You’ve been released from the hospital. You may even be home alone with your baby now. But you have another delivery you need to make.
You’ve got to get a
log of cement bowel movement to the toilet. It ain’t gonna be easy.
I’m not gonna sugar coat this for you – it’s going to HURT. I want you to understand this so you’ll serious about taking your stool softener. If it says you can take it 3 times a day, set a timer and take those suckers 3 times a day!
Because otherwise, your whole neighborhood will hear you screaming when it’s time to do the doo-doo. Take your stool softeners. This isn’t the poop you’re used to.
Keep a throw pillow close
Make friends with a cute throw pillow and keep that friend super close. Snuggle it almost as much as you snuggle your baby. If you need to sneeze, squeeze the pillow.
If you need to cough – oh honey – squeeze the pillow.
When those stool softeners get your intestines working and you need to go relieve yourself, squeeze the pillow. Yes, take it on the toilet with you. You can wash it later.
Squeeze the pillow. It helps take the pressure off your healing abdomen.
Walk, walk, WALK after a C-section!
I know you don’t want to walk. And you want to punch me for being like the 75 thousandth person telling you to walk in the past few days. But this is necessary.
Remember I said that dozens of new mamas chimed in to give you this advice? Almost all of them mentioned walking. Because if you stay still, you’re going to hurt worse.
So as bad as it sucks, as useless as it feels, as boring as it may be — get up and walk around. It really, truly helps you heal faster. And keeps you from hurting so much.
Breastfeeding may be a challenge
With cords and tubes in the hospital bed with you, needles in the back of your hand, and all the fun trappings of hospital life, you might find breastfeeding to be a bit of a challenge.
Even without all those doodads, lifting and holding your baby might be painful. Feeding your little one from a side-lying position (where you and baby are both on your sides facing each other) can help a whole lot.
Related Post: How breastfeeding position is your secret weapon for success
Also, very few women experience this, but some do, so I’ll mention it. Some women feel very sick while they’re breastfeeding after a c-section. It may be dehydration, or drop in blood pressure, I’m not sure. Who knows? But if that nausea hits you, don’t give up! Get plenty to drink, try feeding in a different position, and maybe eat a cracker.
Ask a lactation consultant for help. They are just waiting to make your breastfeeding life easier! I promise, they’re awesome.
Ask for Help
What you just went through is a huge deal. Moving around is a challenge. Lifting is out of the question. Sleep is precious and rare. Hormones are raging. So please
As women, we have a tendency to be self-sufficient. We’ll martyr ourselves just to prove we’re capable. But right now, you’re not capable. Please ask for help, and don’t wait for it to be offered.
Related Post: 11 Ways to make life easier with a newborn
Also, it’s impossible to keep up the same standard of living you had before the baby was born. So whenever you have a visitor, ask if they’ll do a teeny little thing for you. Perhaps it’s snuggling your baby while you take a nap. Or throwing a load of clothes in the washer. Whatever you need help with, ASK.
Because most of your loved ones (the good ones anyway) want to help you. They just don’t know what you need. So take the guesswork away and ask for what you need.
You Still Gave Birth
A lot of women struggle with feeling robbed after a C-section. As if they didn’t get to give birth. Oh, honey. You gave birth.
Your birth story is every bit as valid as any woman who pushed out a child with no pain medicine. More valid, I’d say.
Because that woman who had natural childbirth? She pushed a child out through an opening that was already there. She didn’t have surgery. You had a whole new opening created in your body. See, you had a baby AND a major abdominal surgery.
You weren’t robbed. Yes, you still gave birth! Embrace your story, and be proud of the effort it took to bring your baby into the world. And maybe imagine slapping the holistic yoga mom who delivered drug-free with a smile!
You’re in totally new waters here, and it can get scary. Breathe.
You may be in pain. Breathe.
You’re probably thinking “Shut up. I breathe all day long. It doesn’t fix anything!” That’s okay. Breathe.
When you focus on your breathing — on taking intentional, deep breaths in and releasing your breath slowly out — you are doing so much more than simply staying alive. You are bringing pain relieving, stress-busting, negativity-killing oxygen into your body. Intentional breathing puts you in a better frame of mind so you can cope with all the discomfort, worry, and stress you’re under.
So when you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a few intentional deep breaths. You’ll find the strength to power through.
You’re gonna be okay
Women are amazing. As a woman, YOU are powerful, resilient, and capable of so much more than you realize.
But we women also have a tendency to worry. So if you’re thinking about all the episodes of Grey’s Anatomy where a woman dies from a C-section, get that out of your mind right now! First, it isn’t as common in real life as it is in Grey’s Anatomy. Second, it won’t happen to you.
You will survive. You will thrive. And you’re going to be okay.
You’re going to be so much better than okay. You’re a mom now, and you’re about to discover a whole realm of superpowers that you didn’t even know you had. You’ll be stronger than ever before.
You will be amazing, mama.
We’re with you
Congratulations on your new baby, and your new C-section scar! Having a baby is a huge deal, and no less so because he was pulled out of your belly instead of your vag.
In fact…now that you have that C-section scar, you’re part of a new sisterhood of mamas who went through some real shizz to get their babies here. Congratulations, you’re one of us!
And you can find us in mommy forums, in Facebook groups, and in pediatrician’s waiting rooms across the world. If you have a question, if you need advice, if you just want a little support – we’re here! And we’re sisters in this. So reach out to a fellow mama, we’d love to help you out!
You can start by leaving a comment. Need help with a struggle? Have another tip? Comment below & share!