This topic is one that has been in high demand whenever I’ve posted Q+A’s since having my baby. – and I’m not surprised. No one really talks about it, much. When I found out I had to have a C-section, I had NO idea what the experience would be like and I didn’t know anyone who had shared their experience, even if they had gone through it. I had read about what generally would take place during the surgery, but part of the most unsettling part of pregnancy is the unknown you’re forced to step into.
In case you missed it, I explained how we found out I would have to have a c-section, what we did to avoid it and my thoughts on pregnancy in general, in this post here.
Anyways.. so my whole philosophy was to get my mind right and try to take care of my body as best as I could. The body is easy, it’s the mind that is usually more challenging to mold. It’s hard not to get scared or fearful, or let your mind wander into what could happen. I kind of made up my mind that I would work all the way through, but keep any true (contracted) commitments off the table a month prior to my due date, so that I could try to rest + relax my body and mind beforehand without any added pressure.
I tried to prepare my body by resting, hydrating, stretching, eating, taking my pre-natals and generally taking it easy to preserve my energy. You always hear about how exhausted women are after giving birth / having a newborn, so knowing that, I wanted to try to rest as much as possible in hopes that that would help me recover on the flip side. I was extremely lucky to be able to get good sleep all the way through my pregnancy, which I know definitely helped in my recovery.
C-SECTION SURGERY: okay, here’s the jist
It only takes about 10ish minutes for the doctors to get the baby out, but the full surgery takes about an hour and a half. Keep in mind they are stitching up the incision in the uterus as well as many layers of muscle. You are administered a spinal-tap for c-sections, which are similar to epidurals except an epidural stays in your back through your delivery, whereas spinal taps, the meds are given through the needle but it is removed. You are also connected to a catheter (the worst part IMO), heart monitor & IV.
The spinal tap is given once you get into the operating room, and then you are to lay down while the OB and nurses prep you for surgery and monitor your heart. While they are doing that, the meds are kicking into high gear and you start to feel a tingly sensation down your whole body as you slowly begin to lose feeling everywhere except in your fingers. It’s the weirdest thing ever! I was solely focused on my breathe and nothing else. At one point, the anesthesiologist asked me how I was keeping my heart rate so low, I seemed so calm, but it’s the only thing that was holding me back from freaking out. I did not like the feeling of being so drugged up and loopy, but I guess that the price you pay to not feel ANY pain!
Immediately after surgery, the nurses lift you onto a stretcher and take you back to your room, where you will be monitored for a few hours. Nurses would come in and do an ice test on my skin to determine how much of the meds had worn off. They would start at my neck and work down my body every 10 minutes (to see if I could feel the ice, if I couldn’t then the meds were still in effect). It probably took around 2ish hours for the meds to slowly wear off, where I could actually bend my knees or move my legs – HATED IT! But whatever, I was safe and my baby was safe.
I’d say the first 2 days post-surgery you are your most fragile. You are managing your pain with more meds every 2 hours, you can’t walk or go to the washroom by yourself (so, still with the catheter), and don’t even dare cough, laugh, clear your throat or sit up in bed! You WILL regret it. It’s really hard getting in and out of bed, so if you can just lay low, rest and drink lots of water that’s your best bet. That’s all I tried to do and by day 2 I was taking my first steps to the bathroom in our suite. Every few hours I’d take a few more steps, slowly building my strength.
I was drinking so much water they removed my catheter on day 2, my bleeding was going down quite a lot, I was slowly needing less meds and managing to walk short distances. My temperature was remaining low and the incision looked good, so once Ryder had all of his tests done, we were released to head home – where the real healing begins!
I had just started to feel like I was getting the hang of things at the hospital, and then we were sent home to fend for ourselves! As soon as we pulled into the parking garage at our apt. I started to feel overwhelmed. How would I manage? How would I take care of myself, let alone a small helpless baby, LIKE THIS? How long would this really take to get my mobility back? The first week, we basically spent in bed resting, napping, eating and just learning how to be parents to a brand new baby. It was a very happy, sleepy blur.
Week 2 I focused on walking a bit more often, to build my strength and get things moving. I felt very supported by my husband, my family and the nurses from the hospital. They do a follow-up call after you have a baby to check on things like how you are transitioning, how baby is doing, your general well-being etc. This was a helpful resource to have in case you had any questions after you’ve left the hospital.
I do have to note that at this time, my tummy still looks like I’m around 6 months pregnant. And I think it’s important to touch on because it’s something I wasn’t fully aware of. From what I’ve seen (on social media and tv) is that ppl seem to bounce back pretty quick after having a baby, and this was NOT what I was experiencing. One day I was getting our mail and walking back to our apt, when one of our neighbours saw me and was like “oh I thought your due date had passed!”. I was like “oh ya! I had the baby 2 weeks ago LOL” she was mortified but clearly confused, and by no fault of her own.
We had moved out of our apt. and into my Aunt’s coach house at this time. Obviously, I still was not cleared by my doctor to do exercise of any kind, but I was feeling good and wanting to start working towards more daily movement. So, every morning I would put Ryder in his stroller and him and Xavi and I would head out for a long walk. It has since become our morning ritual, I have my coffee, we all get fresh air – it’s been such a nice way to start our days.
Week 5 was when I really started to notice the swelling in my tummy, go down. Not sure if all the walking helped or if that’s just how long my body needed to mend.
Besides just generally getting the hang of things, I didn’t notice much difference between weeks 5 and 6. My stomach is continuing to go down, little by little (we are now in week 12). It’s felt like more of a process than I guess I expected. I will say though, despite this, I don’t feel pressured to be any way. I feel good, I live with the happiest baby ever and were figuring life out together! It’s a process, but the most beautiful one I’ll ever experience.