When I tell people I had a C section there are usually two responses I get:
1) Oh, I’m so sorry (Usually from people that have not had babies, or moms who had small babies and easy deliveries)
2) Wasn’t it the best?! (Usually moms who also had a C)
My response is something like; don’t feel bad for me it’s what was best for me and yes it was pretty easy but still different from what I expected.
With my first son I had a natural birth, at least as natural as it can be with having to rush to the hospital to be induced after my due date for the safety of the baby. Due to some complications with having Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) during my pregnancy, and having a big baby, I was left in horrible pain and had difficulty walking for several weeks after my baby was born. For those who don’t know what SPD is, it’s basically a softening of the ligaments that causes swelling and pain and can make the symphysis pubis joint less stable allowing the joint to separate too much (I’m not a doctor, but this is my understanding). What I do know for sure is that it caused a lot of pain for the second half of my pregnancy, and led to the complications after his birth.
When I got pregnant the second time I knew I would probably have the same issues, and sure enough I did and it was worse and started earlier. With the advice of my doctor and finding out towards the end of my pregnancy that this baby was going to be even bigger (he was 9 1/2lbs) we decided the best option would be to plan for a c section. I was partially relieved, but mostly really nervous with not knowing what to expect. Naturally I went to the internet and searched for “what to expect from a c section” and “c section recovery” trying to ready myself. I did find some helpful articles about recovery, but I feel like there was a lot that was left out about what to expect of the actual process.
We arrived at the hospital and got settled in to a room for a few hours just getting ready and waiting for the doctor to come over and deliver the baby. Waiting was torture! After nearly 10 months of anticipation (and fasting for 12+ hours at that point) I couldn’t wait to get started and the excitement helped my nerves about going in to surgery. The strangest part was walking in to the operating room and laying down knowing what was about to happen. The anesthesiologist came in and got me all ready to go, the curtain went up and then they let my husband come in, he was more nervous than I was and I could see it all over his face! I really couldn’t feel a thing and didn’t even realize they had started until I asked.
Next came the parts that I was not prepared for. When it came time to deliver the baby I did feel it, they apply a lot of pressure to the belly and it did hurt a bit but was more just uncomfortable than painful and it took longer than I expected it to (but my baby was also really big). Then the best part, they held up the baby and I heard him cry before I saw him and I just started crying while they handed him to me. I started to feel nauseated though, so I asked them take the baby from me and they gave me some medication that made me feel better very quickly. After they finished I was moved to a post-op room where I was reunited with my baby and husband. We were there under observation for several hours before moving to a recovery room where our family was able to come and meet the baby.
Recovery in the first days and week were very different than I expected. I had been told over and over that if I just got up and moved around I would recover faster, but oh my goodness it was painful! I knew it would hurt, but I didn’t know just how much. I had prepared myself for the incision hurting, but hadn’t considered all the parts on the inside that would hurt from the surgery. When I first tried to stand up I could have screamed, it hurt and I felt like there was no way I could stand up straight. The next day I did get up to shower and though I was so nervous, it helped a lot.
I think we spent three nights, so we were very eager to go home and see our other little boy, but I was nervous when we were finally discharged. There were challenges everywhere, getting in to our tall truck (and then getting out), walking up the stairs, walking at all, and even getting into bed. Once I was in bed and not moving I was fine, but any moving hurt. You don’t realize how much you use your core for everything. I stayed in bed the whole first day, and then the second day home I moved downstairs to the couch and tried to move around a little more. After the first week things got so much better though, and I stopped taking the pain medication (I should mention I am really wimpy when it comes to pain).
I was definitely sore for about a month, but after the first two weeks I felt like I was able to move around pretty normally. I went back to my doctor for a two week checkup where they checked the incision and cleared me to do more activity and lift heavier weight. I had really tried to avoid looking at the incision until this point, It just kind of freaked me out. As you can imagine at first with how stretched out a baby makes your belly it looked like it went from hip to hip, but as my stomach shrunk so did the scar.
I am now about nine months post partum and I am happy to say that the scar is now nice and small and barely noticeable. I still have some numbness around the incision but otherwise this was a much easier recovery for my body. Everyones experience is different, but in the end we had a happy, healthy, huge baby, and thats all we could have hoped for.