C-Sections,  Womanhood

C-Sections – What to expect, advice & tips (PT 3/3)

The blog post every pregnant women needs to read (PT 3)

You’ve made it to part 3, so you obviously know how bada** c-sections and the women behind them truly are. Post 1 {click to read} I talked about what to expect before and during surgery and questions you might want to ask beforehand. Post 2 {click to read} I talk about the short-term (first 3 days) recovery. Now it’s time to cover long-term recovery.

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to your long-term recovery along with having a newborn. Everything from feeding (especially if you’re breastfeeding), to holding your baby, getting into bed, rolling over in bed etc. It’s a lot to take on and a lot of adjustments to your daily routine.

I think one of my favourite parts about writing these posts and reaching out to all these women, was hearing their stories. Each c-section was different. One mom is still recovering 5 years later where another was out playing softball at 4 weeks! (totally not recommended though!)

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The minds behind the post

For this post I reached out to two ‘mom groups’ on Facebook. I asked for mom’s to share their c-section stories, tips and things they wished they were told. The number of women that reached out was absolutely phenomenal! It also proved to me just how important this post was truly going to be. Over 60 women shared bits and parts of their experiences. This helped to create a truly helpful blog post for all future parents to be.

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my recovery

I feel like my short-term recovery was very seamless but my long-term hasn’t been as smooth. What I did find hard was that I thought because I was feeling better that I was feeling good. You loose sight of what good and normal feels like. Especially after 10 months of pregnancy on top of it. That’s why it’s important to rest even if you are feeling better.

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short-longterm recovery

Firstly, I bled for exactly 6 weeks straight. Literally. To the day. I became anemic and this caused extreme fatigue and headaches daily. This wasn’t diagnosed until 4 months postpartum.

You want to avoid twisting your abdomen. This was something that I found exceptionally hard to follow in the middle of the night when Huntly was waking to feed every couple hours. Sometimes I would get this burning stabbing sensation around the incision if I twisted too much or over extended myself. Multiple mom’s commented the same burning feeling.

Nursing was uncomfortable to the point where I found it almost virtually impossible to nurse Huntly comfortably without a nursing pillow. It provided that extra support and comfort for both of us and alleviated some of his weight that would typically be resting right in the incision area.

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long-term

It’s common to be numb around your incision for months to years after. In some cases the area will stay numb forever. I’m definitely still numb in the area, but more so on my left side. If I’m being honest, I’m not used to the feeling yet and still feel uncomfortable touching the area. And this is 6 months postpartum.

I breastfed Huntly for the first 4 months then decided to stop. My body was in a state of exhaustion and after a lot of research I learned just how taxing breastfeeding is on the mother’s body. Because of this I decided to switch him to formula and this helped speed up (not that its been fast by any means) my recovery. I will be writing a post on my decision to consciously switch from breastfeeding to formula feeding. Stay tuned!

At some point of my pregnancy something in my nose collapsed… I honestly can’t remember what its called. But this also got diagnosed at 4 months postpartum which is when I was given medical nasal spray to fix it. I was rocking a BreathRight strip on my nose every night for 6 months straight! It was so annoying but was the only way I could breathe at night.

I also suffer from swollen intestines and liver which has caused some major constipation. I have been taking senokot every single night of postpartum to help me poop. I’m pretty sure I’m a more severe case but constipation is definitely a real problem you face in postpartum whether you have a vaginal birth or c-seciton.

Its a long journey to recovery. Take it slow, feed your body the nutrients it needs. Eat healthy, be active, drink a lot of water and stay patient.

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Tips/Facts/Knowledge

  1. Buy the largest underwear you can find… actually just buy mens boxer briefs. You will notice pretty fast that all women underwear cuts at the bikini line aka exactly where your scar is. 
  2. Have some extra baggy and extra loose clothes on hand for the first couple weeks. For the exact same reason as above. 
  3. If you have a tall bed, have a stool on hand to help you climb up with little to no pain. Lifting your leg and stretching out your pelvic area will really hurt. I was extremely fortunate in the fact that we have a low bed. Many women complained of not being able to get in and out of bed and sleeping on the couch or needing a stool. 
  4. Have a stool softener or laxative, the constipation is real
  5. Use a nursing pillow to feed baby
  6. Rest as much as possible in the weeks after and truly try your hardest to not lift anything heavier than your baby. This is even more important to follow if you feel your okay and able too. 
  7. Physiotherapy is definitely recommended after pregnancy and c-section recovery. Pelvic floor exercises are also super important for c-section recovery.
  8. Mobilizing your scar to avoid adhesions and aid in healthy scar recovery – a physiotherapist can also do this for you.
  9. Often your scar can stay numb for many years after, sometimes forever.
  10. Silicon scar sheets after 6 weeks to help the scar heal – this is something I haven’t tried but a few moms swore by them.
  11. Because its major surgery you aren’t allowed to drive for 6 weeks – some doctors will tell you this, some won’t but this is the case. 
  12. Getting a bassinet with mesh siding – this was something I happened to just have but it did end up being a life saver many times in the first couple weeks. Your incision, pelvic area and abdomen are so sore and turning over and getting up constantly is painful. Being able to peak through mesh to check on your little one is vital! 
  13. When buying a nursing chair buy one that reclines as well. – this makes nursing much more comfortable. I bought this one that swivels and reclines. 
  14. Belly Bandit – This is also something I never tried but many mom praised them for helping hold things tight during those pressure moments like coughing or sneezing.