Prior to Phoenix’s delivery, I drafted a post on how I was preparing myself for postpartum recovery. After delivery my needs completely changed since I didn’t have a vaginal delivery. Instead, I’m sharing my cesarean section recovery experience and tips I found helpful. First, I’d love to address the stigma surrounding cesarean sections. Is that ok?
It’s scary to hear you’ll need an emergency cesarean section. The hormones and adrenaline pumping through a mother is intense. This is why it’s so important to trust your medical team! The stigma surrounding needing medical birth intervention baffles me. A mother isn’t inhibiting her entire parenting experiencing by not delivering “naturally”. I’m here to say, if you need a cesarean section, you haven’t failed!
1. The only concern I had about needing an emergency cesarean section was if I could still do skin-to-skin with my baby directly after the surgery. Thankfully, our hospital keeps baby with mom as long as both are healthy. I started breastfeeding right in post-op and I haven’t had any milk supply issues. I’d make sure to ask about your hospital’s skin-to-skin and nursing policies prior to surgery. Enlist your partner if you aren’t feeling up for making requests.
2. Stay on top of your pain meds! The day after Phoenix was born my catheter was removed. To remain removed, I had to be able to urinate within four hours by myself. Ohh was it painful getting out of bed!
It’s important to move. Now I’m not talking about going on a two-mile walk, but even a daily shower and occasionally standing to rock your baby helps in the long run. Your body will thank you. All of that movement will leave you sore, so continue to take your pain meds.
3. Pants and shorts are a no-go. I had purchased new pajama bottoms but it took weeks before a waist band felt comfortable! Instead, flowy maternity dresses were my best friend. Additionally, stock up on the hospital’s mesh underwear or purchase soft high-rise underwear. Bikini cuts will sit right on your wound.
4. I was far more concerned about the pain of postpartum recovery than I was about laboring. One benefit to a c-section? You aren’t in pain when using the bathroom (at least I wasn’t). You’ll still bleed but the only pain is walking to the bathroom and trying to gingerly sit on the toilet. My pelvic floor thanks me.
5. There are more mobility restrictions with a c-section: no driving for two weeks and six weeks before you’re allowed to lift more than ten pounds. I’m extremely grateful Jordan has a flexible work schedule because he was able to stay home with me for the first two weeks while still working. It’s important to stick with the restrictions. You don’t want to risk ripping a stitch.
The day after we returned from the hospital I did develop a low grade fever. I knew this could mean an infection but I didn’t want to jump to a conclusion. I fed Phoenix and let Jordan hang out with him for a few hours so I could nap. When I woke up my fever had broken and never returned.
A cesarean section recovery is quite different from a vaginal birth recovery. In some ways it’s been easier than I anticipated, but I still had major surgery. No recovery is going to be the same but I wanted to offer my experience!