Alright, folks, I write this post not to scare, but to inform! I had no idea what I was in for when I went in to get my C section, and I wish I had been a bit more prepared- I think it would have made a few things easier on me. Remember, my experience is not your experience so none of these things listed will necessarily happen to you, but just in case- you can't say I never gave you a heads up!
1. First and foremost! Having a C section is a totally acceptable way to have a baby! Be nice to your body. It just spent nine months growing a beautiful baby for you and if it isn't in the cards for you to have a vaginal delivery, forgive your body and get on with it. You don't have to "explain" to anyone why you had a C section. Your baby, after all, doesn't much care how she gets here, just that she gets here! And it's the perfect excuse to not vacuum for six weeks!
2. The surgery in and of itself will most likely be very short. From the time the incision was started to the time June was hollering at the world was a full six minutes! The stitching afterward is what takes the most amount of time- 45 minutes to an hour.
3. The incision is through the skin, abdomen, muscles and then through the uterus. The first few weeks I couldn't figure out why I had sharp pain coming from places other than my scar until the doctor explained how the abdomen and uterus were cut. My pains were from the incision on my uterus.
4. You may not be able to walk or get up the first day. My c section was at 8:30 am. At about 4:00 that afternoon the nurses tried to help me stand and I threw up. I didn't really stand on my own or take any steps until the next day.
5. Following the surgery you will be given liquids and will slowly work your way back to a regular diet. I didn't eat any solid food the first 24 hours after June was born because my stomach was so upset.
6. Your stomach may feel upset/ you will likely have lots of gas build up. There is a lot of shifting that takes place inside your body during the C section and one result is trapped gas that can be quite painful.
7. Stay up on your pain medications! I was prescribed Perkeset and Ibuprofen. The nurses switch every twelve hours and their top priority isn't always making sure you have your next pain medicine the second you need it. So make it your priority! I kept a chart that told me at exactly what time I could take my next pill. Usually the hour before I could take more medicine was the hardest- I could start to feel some pain, I was grumpy, emotional, etc. Take the pill the second you can, even in the night!
8. It will be hard to roll over or stand up by yourself. Have someone who can help you get up and down slowly. It is hard to be so absolutely vulnerable and helpless, but just enjoy it for those few days. It was very sweet for me to see how Greg helped me with the most basic of human functions. Most people are very loving when they see someone so pathetic!
9. Don't drop anything because there ain't no way you'll be able to bend over to pick it up!
10. Be prepared to not be able to get up by yourself the first few days. The most frustrating thing for me was that I couldn't get up to lift June out of her little box/ bassinet thing by myself. One afternoon Greg had gone to run an errand and the nurse was nowhere to be found. June was crying next to my bed and I couldn't do a dang thing to comfort her. I sat there, helplessly bawling my eyes out while June was bawling her eyes out too. If I have another C section I will make sure I'm not left alone with my baby out of reaching distance.
11. Sneezing, coughing, laughing, even passing gas will hurt! Put a pillow up to your stomach any time you need to do any of those things because ouch.
12. The incision will likely be right below your bikini line. That's great because it means you can still wear a bikini and no one will see the scar! Because we all know that when we're getting our stomach sliced open our first concern is the next time we will wear a bikini...
13. Nightgowns are going to save your life. Pants, pajama bottoms or even underwear put pressure on the incision and hurt it. My mom got me three little nighties that I wore for two or three straight weeks. They buttoned at the top to allow for easy nursing and they hung to about my knees. They were infinitely more comfortable than sweats, flannels, ANYTHING because there wasn't that pressure on my stomach.
Best nightgown ever from my mom.
14. Take advantage of the hospital disposable underwear. As per point #8, even underwear (or garment bottoms for you Mormon folk) killed my incision. The whole time in the hospital I wore the disposable underwear that they provided. It is mesh and loose so it doesn't put any pressure on the incision. When I was leaving my angel of a nurse asked me if I wanted more. I said you betcha! She filled my bag up and I wore them for two extra weeks until it didn't hurt to wear garment bottoms anymore.
15. This point might be TMI for some people, so just skip over it if you hate any kind of potty talk. But I really wish I had known this ahead of time, so here goes. The gas that gets trapped in your stomach can be so painful and you may go days without going to the bathroom. I went five days before Greg pretty much made me get a laxative. I didn't want to at all because, well, gross, but I finally listened to him. What I didn't realize until after a few successful bathroom trips was that the not going to the bathroom for so many days had been putting increased pressure and pain on my incision from the inside. I thought it was just a normal part of the pain, but after going to the bathroom there was so much less pain! So don't wait five days for a laxative. (Mom if you read that, I'm very sorry. I know you don't approve.)
16. Take short walks as soon as you can. I had June on a Wednesday. Thursday I didn't leave the hospital room at all. Friday night Greg and I finally attempted a couple of laps just around the labor and delivery unit of the hospital. I was amazed at how much better it felt for me to try to walk a little- walking helps the incision heal without getting too stiff. It also helped the trapped gas. If I have another c section, I will try to take 2 or 3 short walks a day beginning as soon as the day after surgery.
17. Your back may hurt. I didn't realize at the time that this was fairly common, but aside from the pain around my incision the back pain was the thing that bothered me the most. According to pregnancy-info.net, there is back pain because "There is a type of shifting of balance from the abdominal muscles to the back muscles, overextending the pelvic muscles, and disturbing your fragile spinal bones." That is another reason why walking as soon as possible was important- it helped relieve that back pain.
18. There will likely be a slight "overhang" above your scar- basically the just skin and fat that hangs right above the scar. Mine has gone down since the c section, and the doctor says it will get to the point where it probably disappears completely, but for now it remains. Boo.
18. My body temps were totally whack for the 48 hours following surgery. The first day I was absolutely on fire and made the nurses turn the temps down as low as they would go. (A 60 degree room in the middle of July.) Then, on the second day I tried to go to the bathroom and was suddenly shivering so hard that I couldn't even walk back to the bed. It was temperature madness!
19. You will likely have a catheter inserted before the surgery that will be taken out the day following. Oh joy! The plus side to it was I got to drink exorbitant amounts of diet coke without having to get up to go to the bathroom every half hour.
20. And finally.... holding your little baby in your arms will be more than worth it all. I'd do it again in a heartbeat for another little June Bug.
And that's a wrap! From you other ladies who have had c sections- anything I missed? What did you wish you knew pre surgery?