A few weeks ago I wrote all about my birth story (which you can read here) and how my baby boy was born 5 and a half weeks early. Since I had an emergency c section, I thought it would be a good idea to write all about it and my recovery. I hadn’t really researched much about them beforehand as I wasn’t expecting to have one, so thought I’d tell you my honest experience.
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED
I was wheeled into theatre and put onto the operating table. They then sat me up and had me leaning over the side so they could put needles in my back to numb me from the waist down. I couldn’t really feel the needles, just a sharp scratch. As soon as they had done that they quickly led me down, put my arms out to each side and put a sheet up so I couldn’t see anything. Every few minutes then a doctor would spray something on me asking if I could feel it. It was SO weird that I couldn’t feel a thing.
Although I couldn’t feel anything, I could feel them tugging where they were taking the baby out and then put everything back together. They describe it as a bit like a washing machine and it was exactly like that. I think its the weirdest thing I’ve ever gone through in life. And no amount of explaining will ever prepare you for it. They then stitch you back up and put a dressing on you, you’re transferred over to a bed and wheeled back out of there. The whole thing took about 45 minutes and after about 3/4 hours the numbness had worn off and I could feel the bottom half of my body again.
I spent a whole 24 hours in bed after my surgery as I was linked up to so many monitors and had a catheter in. I was also linked up to magnesium and from what I can remember I don’t think I would of been able to walk with it. Once I was unlinked from everything, I finally got up and had a shower. The midwife and Dave had to help me as I was obviously in pain and quite light headed. I instantly felt better after having a shower.
Being in hospital meant I spent a bit of time recovering in bed and only really getting up now and again to use the toilet or to have a little walk. My baby was also in the neonatal unit downstairs for 3 days, so whilst we were going downstairs to visit him all the time, it also meant I wasn’t up and down trying to feed and change him. This I think helped a bit with my recovery physically but was very hard not being with him.
As the days went on it got easier to get up and move even though I was still in pain. I spent 1 week in hospital after the baby was born due to his blood sugar levels and my blood pressure, so I would say I was lucky I got more chance to rest. Once I was home, I felt like I wanted to do so much. Spending 11 days in hospital left me with major cabin fever and I just wanted to clean my house and cook every meal. That and express milk and look after the baby, I must of been mad.
As much as I wanted to though, I limited myself to a bit each day. I tried to cook at least one meal a day and that got me on my feet walking around a bit. I’m very lucky though, as Dave was still off work and my mum came down to help, I was expressing and bottling feeding the baby which meant they could feed the baby whilst I cooked. I also had a bath everyday, just to clean my wound and to help me relax. I truly believe this helped me so much and made me recover a little quicker.
Week 2 after birth I actually went for a walk to my local shop and that felt good, but made sure I relaxed for the rest of the day then as it really took it out of me. That was how I spent every day from then on and by week 4 postpartum I decided to stop expressing and put the baby onto formula. As much as I wanted to give the baby the best, my body was completely drained and I felt like I wasn’t recovering as much as I wanted to. I probably spent every day that whole week crying just saying I wanted my body back. Breastfeeding/expressing is great and all, but is SO draining and I think mum’s to be should be warned about that more.
By week 5 it was like I was a new person. I hadn’t expressed in a week and was able to go out for walks, clean, cook and obviously look after the baby and wasn’t as tired. I was still having a bath every day, just to help me relax and so my wound was staying as clean as possible. They say it takes about six weeks to recover so not to drive, but I felt by then I could drive again. I actually did a 4 hour car journey to and from Wales and was fine. It’d say at this point all depends on how you feel really.
I’m now at week 7 and I’d say I’m pretty much back to normal. I haven’t had my six week check up yet but I’d say my wound is definitely healed. I make sure I bathe it a few times a week and if I feel like it hurts a little I try to relax for a few hours. But I’m able to clean, cook, drive, basically do everything I did before and feel fine afterwards. I remember feeling like I’d never feel better again but with time, patience and relaxing as much as you can, you’ll be back to your normal self in no time. The more you look after yourself the better you’ll be for the baby.
MY TOP TIPS FOR RECOVERY;
- REST – Like I’ve been saying and everyone else will tell you to do, rest rest rest. Just do the stuff you need to do for yourself and the baby and leave everything else for someone else to do.
- BUY PICKY FOOD – So you need to rest as much as possible and all your time will be on the baby, so when do you eat? Well I found that buying picky picnic type food meant that it was quick and easy to plate up and I could eat it all before the baby woke up. It’s so important to make sure you’re eating enough to keep up that energy for the baby.
- ACCEPT ANY HELP – Most people who have children will know what you’re going through when you get home from hospital, so if they offer to help you in any kind of way just say YES. Even if its to clean, do some washing or even make you your favourite meal, it’ll make you feel better not having to worry about it.
- SAY NO TO VISITORS – If people want to come around and visit you and the baby and you’re not up for it, then just say no. I’m sure they’ll understand that you need time to recover first and once you’re feeling better they can come around and visit then.
- TAKE PAINKILLERS – Taking painkillers everyday definitely helped me ease the pain. I started to worry I’d need them forever but as the days go on and you feel better, you can stop taking them.
- DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF – I did a LOT of googling and YouTubing on how I should feel at certain weeks postpartum and if I was healing properly etc, but in reality everyone is different and everyone heals in their own way. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
- BATH – Having a bath everyday really helped me. Not only to keep my wound nice and clean (don’t use anything on it, just warm water) but to just help me relax. Make sure someone is helping you in and out the bath too.
- TIME – Such an obvious one but give yourself time. Your body won’t heal overnight, it will take weeks maybe even months but with time you will slowly start to feel normal again.