c-section

The Things I Wish I Knew Post Cesarean

After an unplanned emergency c-section, I wanted to share some advice on the things I’d wished someone had told me about life after a caesarean.

My c-section was unplanned –it was advised not to continue with labour as the little one, now happily named Ethan, was showing signs of distress. After Diamorphine, an epidural and what felt like DAYS of labour (actually, only 20 hours) I signed the consent paper, honestly surprised I had the energy to hold the pen and remember my name. At this point, the only thing I wanted was my baby safely in my arms, the manner in which that came to pass was inconsequential.

I had mentally prepared myself that a section was a possibility, especially after knowing I was going to be induced (at two weeks over due). Despite this, I still now recall, I didn’t really have a clue what the after effects would be like after having one, so here are some tips and advice based on my personal experience – I hope these help at least a few people prepare for their own battle with the ’c- unknown’.

After the Birth – Everything Hurts

However, it gets better. Fast.
For the first few days, I felt like I’d been hit by a train – my hands and arms were bruised from having been prodded with needles, my boobs felt like they were on fire and swollen as my milk came in, my nipples felt like someone had rubbed chilli on them and then rubbed them with sandpaper and I felt so exhausted it was as if I’d done a days with of HIIT classes back to back.

In addition I felt completely bloated from all the water – you’re asked to drink a lot to help the nurses ensure you can pee properly before you leave hospital, in case of any infections. This was before it came to the pain by caused my c-section. I could barely sit down, lie down or get to standing from either position. It hurt to laugh, cry or walk. But – it got better – and it got better quickly.

With each day that passed I did feel so much better. I began to see the recovery much like labour – the pain was worse at some points than others, I breathed through the tough times, and truly, although it felt like at points it was unbearable, I came out the other side

4 tips to ease C-section pain

1. One (zero cost) thing I did to help getting up and down out of bed was tying a scarf to the end of the bed and using it to levy myself up and down – using the strength in my arms to move rather than my core.
2. Moving around in bed post operation was also incredibly sore the first few weeks after the operation. I found satin pyjamas really helped as they just made moving easier. I would also recommend buying a much bigger size, so that the bottoms pull up over your scar.
3. I also found a boppy useful after the operation. I had seen these for sale whilst pregnant and thought they were a bit of a waste of money. I have to say though, I feel they are worth the investment. Not only did it help as a cushion for low chairs to make sitting down less painful ( lower chairs use put more on your core to get up and down), but it also made breastfeeding easier as the baby could rest on the cushion relieving some of the pressure from me and provided protection for my scar whilst the baby was feeding. Mothercare has a good range, mine was made by Chicco.
4. For me, anything that rubbed against my scar was really painful, especially my pre-baby lacy Brazilian knickers! Sexy they are not, but high waisted, stretchy, silky knickers were the most comfortable I found and made getting trousers on and off easier – plus providing protection from any trousers or jean zips that otherwise are would rub on the scar too.

Clothes that Fit After C-Section

Choosing what to wear each day after having a baby can be a daily trauma when maternity clothes are too big and your pre baby clothes are too small. My biggest recommendation for any one post birth would be these go-with-everything leggings from Jo Maman Bebe which I LIVED in post birth. They pull up high and suck your tummy in. They are also tight so I felt like they gave my core support during the day… they are very small fitting so I’d recommend buying a bigger size than you would normally choose.
http://www.jojomamanbebe.co.uk/sp+post-natal-support-leggings-in-maternity-leggings-and-trousers+d5115

My C-Section Scar

Now, I have never seen a c-section scar before. Its not exactly something you see on the pages of underwear models in magazines. I avoided looking at the scar as long as I could – there was so much to get my head around with having a new baby there wasn’t space in my brain to take in also having an unexpected scar for life. I also honestly didn’t want to admit that I was upset about having a scar when I’d been blessed with a healthy baby.

What surprised me was that in the first few weeks I had almost a ”shelf’ of puffy fat above the scar. In addition, the line of the scar was bright red and very bruised. Despite my focus on being a new mum I did worry that the ”shelf” might be permanent. I’m happy to say it did get better over a few months for me – I’m 6 month post birth now and it is nearly gone – horray!

Overall the scar itself is not as bad as I had thought it would be – it really does fade with time and is only 5 inches long.

Sex after a C-Section

In my experience, when you have sex after a having a baby is a sensitive conversation savoured for the closest of friends. Most people have the sense not to blurt out ”So, have you guys, you know, got back at it yet?”.

The last thing someone wants to hear if they haven’t picked up where they left off between the sheets, for what ever reason, is that someone else has. Just as with sex before a baby – there is no ’normal’.

Here’s an interesting one though – despite my concerns above, about having a scar, I was secretly recompensed somehow that at least not having had to go through a natural birth or an episiotomy, meant my sex life wouldn’t be affected, but, it was. We tried around 3 weeks after Ethan was born and to my surprise it was incredibly painful – almost as if my whole vagina had closed! Ouch! This continued for around a month and was understandably, quite upsetting.

I’m happy to say – persistence prevailed. We made an effort to keep trying at least once a week (this believe me, was an effort due to lack of sleep!). Each time, it got less and less painful. Now at five months on, we are pain free.

Fitness after a C-Section

As a lover of fitness, getting back into exercise after my c-section was a big focus for me. Having had friends that got infections after their section after doing too much too soon, I didn’t drive or do anything more than a walk until 6 weeks after the operation. I’m so glad I gave my body this time to rest and recover.

I remember the first light jog I took after 6 weeks – it felt so liberating – at the same time it felt very emotional – as it was still very difficult, and I did still have twinges of pain in my abdomen. However, I built up returning to the gym very slowly and set myself a goal – 3 months later, I ran my first half marathon with my husband. It was fantastic to have a goal to work towards. I didn’t do a great time, and I certainly wasnt back to my pre baby fitness level, but the sense of accomplishment and drive I felt was truly invigorating.

I’d really recommend setting some small goals when you are fully healed and giving your self a HUGE pat on the back when you reach them.

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Did you have a C-Section? How did you prepare for recovery? Was there a product which helped speed recovery? What tips would you have for anyone following a C-Section, we'd love to hear from you.

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