It is a vivid memory I think I will never forget.
The lights, the crowded room, the fear, the coldness.
The young resident Neonatologists waiting for Astin to my right. I had spent weeks in the hospital, with the threat of an emergency C-section every day.
If I was ever having a hard day while staying in Antepartum , when Astin was not breathing( in utero) on the monitor or it was difficult to find his heart rate, I was reminded not to eat, just in case I need to be “put under” for the operation. I had no idea the recovery of a c-section nor did I know the details about what would unfold , but I knew it was the fastest way for me to feel comfortable delivering this tiny miracle .
Here are 4 THINGS I wish I knew BEFORE my C-Section
1. You can feel it.
“You won’t feel it”.
I felt it.
I felt every pull and tug. The doctors did an amazing job with my operation and pain level. I just felt the pressure from the tugging and pulling. And I spoke up immediately to let them know I could feel the pressure on my uterus and abdomen. At first, I did not want to speak up because we were under immediate time restraint due to Astin’s heart rate dropping.
2. DO NOT WALK until you ARE READY
I will first say this is not medical advice. I believe every birthing parent should advocate for their mind and body.
I felt like my body was literally cut in half and I could not feel my legs for almost 36 hours due to the epidural and pain medicine. And I was asked to walk 48 hours after my emergency c-section. As much as I loved my nurse, I respectfully declined her off to walk. I had doctors and nurses both coming in saying you have to walk, but I refused. I knew my body. I knew what pain I was in and unfortunately, I do not have good reactions to pain medication. So when I was ready to walk about 72 hours after my emergency c-section I walked. It was hard watching other families walk to the nursey to see their babies, while I was wheeled around to the NICU, I would cry and sob when I got back to my room. Now I am reminded that the reason for the NICU to take precious care of our warriors when our bodies can no longer due so.
3. Utilize your tribe and doula for help.
I was so stubborn.
I wanted to be with Astin as much as possible no matter how much pain I was in, I told myself I was the only one he needed at all times. I had convinced myself that I was a bad mom if I was not there with him because he should really be with me, in my belly a little bit longer. There was far from the truth. I had done everything possible to give birth to a healthy child. And I wish I could tell myself it is ok to let your tribe help as much as possible. I would tell myself it is ok not to drive, it is ok to sit down for a day at home and just pump, shower and relax. Allow my family members and close friends to check in on Astin. And did I mention, DO NOT DRIVE. I drove too early and I was in so much pain because of this fast decision. I would recommend to anyone following a c-section to be sure to wait 4 to 6 weeks before driving.
4. Do not go home unless you are READY
I know it can be difficult to be away from home.
I know it can be difficult to be in the hospital with cafeteria food.
I know how bad it can be when you just want your own comfy bed.
If you are experiencing any discomfort like fast heart rate, headaches, nausea, pain or pressure in the chest, or swelling in your legs, you should inform the doctors and nurses that you are not ready to go home. Please let the medical team know your symptoms and ask for testing. I wanted to be discharged so quickly that I ended up back in Labor and Delivery due to high blood pressure and headaches.
So I like to caution and push others about the importance of advocating for yourself, the importance of having family and friends advocate for you if you are experiencing any unfamiliar symptoms following childbirth.
In my featured photo, you can see a developed huge bruise on my belly just two days after my c-section. It was a reaction to the binder and tape, a reaction all the residents and myself were stunned by. The binder is used for support but it is not required and as you can see from my skin reaction, each person is different in how they heal from a cesarean.
Thank you for allowing me to share.
Leave a comment if you want to share your C-Section experience.