I asked if you guys wanted a post about c-sections and recovery and so many of you said yes! I love that and I love all of your questions, so I am going to try to answer all of them here. I am obviously not a doctor and am just sharing how my recovery went and what I feel like helped me the most!
When was your c-section scheduled? My second and third c-sections were scheduled at 39 weeks. My first one was an emergency c-section after failure to progress.
Emergency c-section vs scheduled: I have had 3 c-sections now, my first c-section was NOT scheduled and my other two were scheduled at 39 weeks. My first pregnancy I was induced, and dilated fully before they decided that I would need a cesarean because of failure to progress. I am petite and do not have wide hips, and Blaire was not able to enter my birth canal, so instead of risking her getting stuck, A cessation was really the safest way for me to go at the point. I was so freaked out my first time, and honestly was feeling really good up until the end of trying vaginally before I was extremely nauseous from the meds and began vomitting. Once they decided that was the way to go, I was back in the OR in less than 10 minutes. I was sick the entire time, freezing, out of it from so much medication and being so nervous. I did not enjoy it, and even when Blaire was born I was really too dazed to be that excited. My blood pressure was extremely low, I continued to be sick for a good amount of the day. For the rest of that day I barely knew what was going on, and thank my best friend who drove 2 hours to come see us and take pictures that I can look back on to remember the day. I didn’t get out of my hospital bed for over two days, still dirty and disgusting from being sick. It seriously wasn’t fun at all. However, I will say that my first c-section recovery was not bad. My incision was very small, like 2-3 inches at most, and healed with dissolvable stitches and glue. Within 3 weeks I felt like my normal self and while working out wasn’t a good idea yet, I did feel pretty much back to normal.
My second two as I said were scheduled at 39 weeks. We had moved out of state this time and I knew with my next baby that I would be needing a c-section again. I literally searched high and low for the best surgeon in the state, that was my only requirement haha, and I am so so happy that my husband’s friend led me to this doctor (thank you Megan!!) I swear doctors make all the difference, and mine made me feel so comfortable and confident the entire time and during my surgeries. With scheduled c-sections its so much smoother, and not rushed, and you really get to go over everything before hand so there are likely no surprises when you go in for surgery.
When can you start doing stuff? How do you know what you can do after surgery and when? Everyone is different, and depending on how your surgery goes and how you responded to everything, and most importantly what your doctor says, is how you will know what you can do. Obviously you can expect to not be able to walk well for awhile, or exercise for at least 6 weeks, but I just kind of knew when my body could and couldn’t handle certain things like stairs, driving, carrying my older kids, etc!
What about scar tissue from previous c-section? I think its normal to have scar tissue, but my doctor agreed to take mine out, and cut out the old scar completely. You could always check with your doctor and see if that’s something that could be done!
Post surgeries medication: From all the different c-section mamas I’ve talked to, it seems like lots of different medications can be given after surgery for pain. The first c-section I had the drugs made me very tired and a little out of it, but the second and third time around I received a different medication that worked great for me. If you didn’t like the medication you had before I would check with your doctor to see if they can prescribe you something else!
Thoughts about compression wraps or garments: You can ask your hospital for a compression wrap or your doctor might give you one. I really used it the second and third time because I had to be moving much sooner with other kids. I really think that helped me recover faster and get me back to normal quicker, and personally I feel like it helped with the pain too!
MY TIPS FOR A SMOOTH C-SECTION RECOVERY
My recovery this time around was actually pretty good. My second was the hardest for sure, I’m not sure why but I was in the most pain that time. I think my 3rd recovery has been the best and easiest by far, and maybe it’s just because I’ve been through it so many times that I kind of know what to expect.
This time they had me walking around the same day as my surgery, which seems insane to me! But that’s what they said was best if it wasn’t too painful, and it really wasn’t too bad! I had several staples, of which I couldn’t feel at all. I was able to take short walks around the room, sit and stand from my bed, but couldn’t really twist or turn that same day. The next day I actually felt pretty good, I was taking the highest amount of medication I was allowed at the times I was allowed. I wanted to stay on top of my pain and for the most part I did. If at any point I would go past my time of medication, I would start to feel the pain creep back which isn’t fun!
Since Blake was born on a Friday, I was there all weekend. I requested to go home on Sunday and was released by my doctor that night! YAY! I was so happy to be home although the hospital nursery is my jam. lol. I was going to sleep downstairs, but I was feeling pretty good and did end up going up stairs to sleep, only going up and down the stairs 1x a day for the first several days just for bedtime until I felt more up to it!
I basically had on my wrap at all times for the first week. I really felt a huge difference in pain without it on. I did go back to the doctor a few days later to have my staples removed, and sterile strips put on. Staples do sound really painful, and I was terrified to get them out the first time, however its actually pretty painless because your incision area should still be pretty numb at that point!
I did forget how much you bleed vaginally after a csection birth, and for how long. I actually ended up buying these because they were so convenient and really wanted to get sleep when I could without worrying about leaks or changing my pad. Seriously no shame this time around and I’m so glad my cousin recommend these to me!
SEROMAS: After a little over a week I felt good to drive which was much earlier than last time. I did have to go into the doctor again about 10 days after birth because my incision was leaking a clear fluid that would actually soak through my clothes. Over that weekend it got so bad and ended up swelling to the size of a golfball and I knew I had to go in asap Monday morning. My doctor informed me it was likely a seroma which isn’t necessarily a bad thing unless it gets infected. I was put on antibotics to prevent infection, and had to clean my incision area with hydrogen peroxide a couple times a day to help drain the fluid out. All is good now & after about 3 weeks postpartum I felt almost completely back to normal. I can’t do a situp or anything but I can do all my normal activities and normal every day lifting without any pain or issues! For more info on whaat a seroma is and what can cause them, see here!
Oh my gosh y’all, I feel like this post was so long, and it’s probably a little bit of a mess since I’m running on minimal sleep! However I really wanted to get most of your questions answered because from my comments it seemed like a lot of people were interested and lots of mamas were having csections soon! If I missed any of your questions please let me know 🙂 I appreciate you all so much! xo
PS if you want a little more info on my third c-section you can see Blake’s birth story here! Or my first c-section experience with Blaire here!