Written by: April Vargo
As I sit here writing this blog, I am starting week five post delivery. Honestly, this whole time I have been absolutely shocked at how well I have felt. I mean, there has been some discomfort here and there, but overall it’s been relatively smooth sailing.
I was always really afraid to have a C-Section, as it’s a major surgery. They are slicing through skin, muscle, and whatever other fun layers of awesomeness lay there. I just thought it would be terribly painful.
I’m not sure if I’m just lucky or had a fantastic doctor, but it has been fabulous. If and when baby number 2 comes, I would gladly do another. That being said there were some hurdles to overcome.
My doctor said that his profession is the only one where a patient undergoes surgery and then is expected to go home and take care of another human being. Moms aren’t able to just lay around and really take the time to focus strictly on their recovery. This is so true! When I think about everything I’ve been doing, I tend to forget I just underwent a major surgery.
The hospital versus being at home are two different beasts. When you’re in the hospital you have people constantly tending to you and helping you and baby. You’re kind of in this isolated bubble. Everything is done for you. You get this awesome bed with fabulous buttons that help you to sit up and lay down, one of my favorite amenities. At home those are just a thing of the past.
The biggest hurdle for me was my lack of independence. A nurse actually told me that this is what every C-Section patient tells her, “the hardest part is taking away a woman’s independence.” I am very used to being able to take care of myself and more. I don’t tend to have to rely on others for much of anything.
However, the biggest shock to the system was being told I couldn’t bend over. At first I was like, okay whatever, I guess that doesn’t really matter. You don’t realize how many things you bend over for.
The nurse told me, okay when it’s time for you to change underwear, let me know and I’ll help you. “Woah there, why do you need to help me?” “Because you can’t bend over, remember.” The simplest of tasks, changing your own undergarments was no longer sacred.
I then realized how was I going to shower, there was a whole second half of me I wouldn’t be able to reach. This is where my husband stepped in. It was completely mortifying for me to have to ask him to help me shower and then help me get dressed. He did it without a second thought. He was incredibly gracious, and helped me for a solid week.
When week 2 rolled around I was bound and determined to do this small task on my own. I didn’t care if it took all day, I was going to get dressed and showered on my own. I did it! “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
The most painful part of recovery was the first poop. Seriously, no one tells you about this, but it’s terrible. I would undergo labor and surgery before doing this again. I told a friend I felt like I delivered two babies that week.
It’s something no one tells you about but with all of the medication you’ve been on, it basically backs you up. So when it’s time to get the ball rolling, nothing rolls. You also have to be careful not to use any pressure as you don’t want to pop stitches and staples. Unfortunately, you don’t really have any control, and you just pray to God that everything holds.
My friend told me warm washcloths to help the process. This was an absolute Godsend. It was the only thing that got me through. Again, my husband was running up and down the stairs preparing warm washcloths. I swear the man was a saint.
Needless to say I got off any pain meds right away when I learned this was aiding in my difficulty. I increased my fiber intake immensely. It took a while, but things got back to normal.
I think the biggest shock to the system was how easy it was to get back to normal. I started walking six hours after my surgery. I wasn’t fast by any means, but I was walking. The more movement I did the better I felt. It really helped to keep things from being too stiff. The more stiff you are the more things hurt.
When I was home and realized I had to get out of bed by myself, no magic button to lift me up, that was definitely a little scary. You’d be surprised how strong you are. It’s easier than you think, especially when a little one needs you and you really have no choice. Get up or let her suffer, you get up. Your stomach and back are definitely a little sore, but you start getting really creative in how you get up. Your muscles get stronger and stronger everyday.
My mom had come to stay with us for the second week, which was really nice. She helped me to troubleshoot some baby signs….like why is she crying? What does she need? How can I fix her?
She also helped by cooking dinner, cleaning up, and watching the baby from time to time so I could take a nap. This week really helped me get back to normal. It was also really nice to get to spend some mother-daughter-granddaughter time together. It was pretty special. By the time she left on Friday I was walking pretty well and could do my day to day tasks by myself as well as taking care of Maizy.
By week three I was running up and down stairs, doing laundry, dishes, cooking, and taking care of the baby 100 percent by myself.
At this point (week 5), I completely forgot that I even had surgery. I feel great, I feel like myself again. I have full range of motion, have noticed I am getting back down to my normal size rather quickly, and have had zero complications.
I have heard that this is not necessarily “normal.” Some people have an easier time than I did and some people really struggle with the recovery process. In the comment section below feel free to share your story, or leave any advice for people who are currently recovering.