What I Wish I Had Known After My C Section

10 things I wish I had known after my 1st C-Section

I had a C section

I’m going on my 2 week post-partum after my 3rd C-section and I have learned a few things after my experiences.  My biggest regret was not knowing what to expect AFTER my first surgery. To help prevent you from falling into my footsteps, here are a few of the things I wish I had known and that no one had ever told me.

#1 Check your modesty at the door, you will become very close to your nurses. Trust me!

#2 You can’t cough, sneeze, laugh, blow your nose or even sit up for a while. If you have to do any of them hug a pillow over your abdomen and it will help. Pillows will be your best friend!

#3 Stand up as soon as your able too! I know you’re probably thinking I’m crazy but seriously it helps! They usually want you to be able to stand and even walk a little before you hit the 12 hour mark.

#4 Stairs are a beast!!  You’ll get a big wake-up call with how much you use your ab muscles. Tip: Climb them backwards, and you won’t cry every time you face them.

#5 Shave! Not kidding! I know you can’t even see down there but I promise it will save you some embarrassment (Again, very close to your nurse!) and it will save you some tears when you have to take off that dressing.

#6 Showers are ok! Those death drops that you’re afraid will rip open your incision if they even touch you are actually ok. They may seem scary at first, but will actually make you feel better.

#7 I never knew this but sometimes when you have abdomen surgery they us Co2 to make the hole bigger instead of making a bigger incision and when they do this  you sometimes get air bubbles that make their way to your right shoulder and it is OUCHIE. It feels like you’re having a muscle spasm that lasts and lasts. It helps if you get up and move around and heat helps.

#8 Bring either high waisted stretchy pants or a dress to wear. You are not going to want anything to touch your incision area. I promise! Also bring your own underwear, the mesh panties they give you to wear are good for when your dressings are still on, but when they get removed and it’s just your staples and your mesh panties, they can get caught on them and you will be hating life! Also while you’re at it bring your own maxi pads. The huge diaper pads are great for the first few days, but after that the hospital ones don’t quite fit the purpose and they will never stay in place. Trust me!

#9 With my first C-section I didn’t know that I needed to ask for my pain meds. I figured that they would bring them to me when it was time. They don’t do that. And with my third, I knew better.   You should always consult with your doctor when it comes to medicine. But, with my first experience, if I waited until I was in pain to ask for my medicine I waited too long. It took twice as long for the pain to stop if I didn’t take it every four hours. And, it hurts. It’s not just a little painful. When you have a C-section, it feels like they cyt through  your ab muscles and you’d be surprised just how often you use those muscles. So, after that first time, I learned to ask for pain meds every four hours whether I felt like I really, really needed them or not.

#10 Don’t ever think for one second that your C-section makes you less of a mom or that you didn’t birth your baby. That  baby just came out of your  belly, like all the others moms so rock on, my C-section mamas. May you heal quick!

 

Did anything surprise you when you had your cesarean?

Jessica About Jessica

Comments

  1. And be sure to let your husband know how much you will need him. Helping you just pull your pants up after a shower will save you some pain 🙂 It is okay to need a wheel chair for a few days, to much walking will cause more pain.

  2. Brooke Simmons says:

    I haven’t ever had a c-section but man I was so surprised at some of the things I read! (Hugging a pillow, CLIMBING STAIRS BACKWARDS, mesh panties getting caught on the staples) Oh my goodness…some of these things wouldnt have even crossed my mind but I will definitely be sharing them! Great, great suggestions and a huge reality check that recovering from having a baby could have an entirely different set of challenges! I’m glad I read this because maybe now, even without experiencing it firsthand, I can be more empathetic and HELPFUL to a friend or family member who delivers this way!!!

    I think women who experience surgery as part of their delivery should get EXTRA points, not be made to feel they did’t “give birth!” I was so sad to realize that some women are made to feel that way! 🙁

    I don’t know why I hadn’t given it more thought but I have to admit dont think I truly realized WHAT was being cut during a c-section other than skin and uterus…your abdominal muscles?! Can we say OUCH, OUCH, OUCH!!?!!?!! Those muscles are really used for EVERYTHING! That would seriously HURT!

    I’m kind of laughing at myself for this quick comment I was going to leave and now youre getting an earful because it’s late and I’m “chatty when I’m tired!” 🙂 Anyway,I have friend who has seen me out and about going to the park with my kids, going on walks, cleaning my house, etc just a couple weeks after deriving and she kept saying how she couldn’t believe how much I was able to do so soon after having my baby and I’m realizing I was pretty unaware of the extent of the recovery involved after having a c-section. Normally I’m more aware about these type of things but some of your comments were a total surprise to me and really helped me realize some of the ways its different and in my opinion seems much more challenging and I’m very grateful to have learned these things so I can better understand when my friend talks about her deliveries and recoveries! She is specifically one of the people who I want to share these tips with because I know she really struggles with her recoveries and this could really help!!!

    Ok I should stop my rambling 🙂 but seriously a great post! I absolutely agree women should know these tips and tricks and are lucky to have someone share what to expect and ways to make the recovery and pain more maneagable! You’re amazing Jess! I love you tons!

    • Jessica Peck Jessica Peck says:

      Thank you Brooke! Your so sweet! Ya C-sections are kinda hard, but at the same time I couldn’t imagine recovering from a vbac birth with all the tearing and stretching. Ouch!! I hope I helped someone who is facing a c section not be so nervous and face it with a better knowledge of what to expect.

  3. Christine says:

    Corrections:
    #7 the co2 they purposely inject into your belly so they don’t have to make such a large incision and the bubbles get under your diaphragm …which in turn pushes on your lungs and causes the pain in your shoulder.

    #10 they do not cut your abdominal muscles….(exception Might be in a crash section) they separate them with forceps….if they cut them your healing would be Much longer!

  4. Brittany says:

    I highly recommend requesting the doctor to prescribe a compression belt it helped me big time with pain management and faster recovery.

    • Thank you Brittany! I learn new things all the time!

    • Yes!! I cannot stress this enough as I am a Labor and Delivery nurse myself. We call them abdominal binders, but whatever your facility calls them, they help Tremendously! But to make you aware, this is a two person gig to put on and take off. Family support is essential!! ( if your Birth center is unfamiliar with them, search for one at a home medical supply store. People who go through any open abdominal surgery usually get them)

  5. Larisa Hudson says:

    Thank you for sharing this, I think most think a c-section is the “easy” way out. I have had two c-sections and know the pain of the recovery. Just a couple of things to add to your list; 1) the spinal headache, I got the worst headache of my life for three consecutive days after both c-sections. 2) it has been two years since my last one, but now feeling the pain of adhesions. Constant stomach pain and tearing sensations when I sneeze or sit up the wrong way.

    • Oh yes thank you Larisa I still get the adhesion pain and tearing sensations! Thanks for your comment!

    • Oh yes! That awful tearing feeling! I get it when I roll over in bed sometimes! And it’s been more than 4 years since my 2nd c-section!

  6. Yes!! I cannot stress this enough as I am a Labor and Delivery nurse myself. We call them abdominal binders, but whatever your facility calls them, they help Tremendously! But to make you aware, this is a two person gig to put on and take off. Family support is essential!! ( if your Birth center is unfamiliar with them, search for one at a home medical supply store. People who go through any open abdominal surgery usually get them)

  7. I am scheduled to have my first c-section on the 21st, I am also a first time surrogate. I am extremely nervous about he whole thing and recovery. This is really helpful so I just wanted to say thank you for the post. Also do you have any suggestions on helping with healing the scar and making it less visible?

    • Wow Sara, what an amazing woman you are and are giving someone an amazing gift! I hope everything goes well with the delivery and your healing will go smoothly! Unfortunately the scar will never really go away and after a year you will hardly notice it anymore. But there are some cream you can use to help with the pigmentation and scar tissue, I haven’t used Mederma myself, but I have heard great things about it. Its a prescription cream you would get from your doctor, also any cocoa butters or vitamin E lotions will help too.

  8. Thanks for reminding me of all these. I had my 6th and last C-section 20 years ago. One of the major problems that I had was gas. The horrors. For this I actually sat on bed put pillow across my stomach and rocked…. and rocked…. and rocked. Great way to release all the pressure. Pillows are your best friend.

  9. I loved this. I’m pregnant with my second, my first was emergency csection. He also ended up having medical issues, so we were going back and forth to the NICU. One suggestion that helped us was to wheelchair one way, and walk back using the back of the wheelchair…it helps to get up and moving, it’s ok if you need to use the wheelchair, etc. The other thing is the Abdomen binder…OMG i can’ t believe how amazing that thing is! It’s completely normal to feel like your stomach is going to fall out, but it won’t, i remember waddling to the bathroom the first time and i could SWARE my insides were going to come out, the binder helps a lot with that…i also suggest wearing it longer then you think you need, i stopped wearing it because i thought i was healed enough (6 weeks) but i should have worn it longer, it helps put everything back in place…the other thing about checking your modesty at the door…the first poop after your csection is going to hurt like a beast! it was horrible…they have things to help with this, don’t be shy…lol…eat lots of things post-op that will help have a softer stool…my mom kept telling me this and i was trying but i wish i’d listened to her more…cuz it sucked…i thought iw as gonna push my insides out from my incision…get lots of support from family, lifting baby, getting up, just ask for help just to lower the risk of falls…

    • Thank you Chelsea for sharing!! I completely agree with you in everything you said its like we had the same experience. Oh man what we moms go through for these cute babes!

  10. A few things I wish I had known about was waking up after surgery and having uncontrollable shaking and the things that look like blood pressure cups they put on your legs. (Very uncomfortable but help prevent blood clots). Also be careful when showering for the first time. I leaned back to wash my hair and about fell to the floor. The stomach binder is a must. Keeps everything from feeling like it’s falling out.

  11. High waist control top panties = your best friend. I felt like my guts were going to spill out without them!

  12. The gas pain in my shoulder was the worst! A nurse suggested to me to stop drinking my water from a straw and it helped immediately!

  13. Stephanie Rodriguez says:

    I have a comment and question. I am having my second c-section in April. I have never heard of walking up the stairs backwards but I will definitely need to take that advice! My question is, do you think it will be necessary to have a bed set up downstairs for when I return home from the hospital. Currently, all the bedrooms are upstairs. I’m nervous that I won’t even be able to walk up the stairs for the first few days at least. Can you offer any advice? Is the 2nd c-section any easier than the first?

    • Hi Stephanie! Congrats on your little one coming soon! My second C section was easier then my first, but I didn’t rest like I was supposed to and it made my recovery a little longer. I felt so good I thought that I could just go back to normal. Not a good idea. Make sure with this baby you make time to rest and recover otherwise it will just drag out your recovery. When I had my daughter I was able to stay in the hospital for 4 days so that also helped a ton! As for the stairs if you have help with you I think you should be fine to keep your bed upstairs, it will take you a little longer then normal but you should be ok. If you are feeling pain going up and down then try to walk backwards, I don’t know why it helps but it does. If then you are still in pain then maybe move a bed downstairs for a couple days to see if that helps. Good luck with everything!

  14. I’ve had 3 c-sections (all 3 babies were premature) & one thing my nurses told me every time was NOT to use straws when drinking: it increases the gas pains since you suck in more air with straws. I’m a nurse myself so when I had any patients who had an abdominal surgery (appendix, gallbladder, etc), I passed that tip on.

    Also using a heating pad on your incision can help with discomfort, along with meds; it helps increase blood flow & it can relax your muscles, including the uterus. It really helps with your 2nd child+ as the after birth pains can be more intense after childbirth (this includes vaginal births as well).

    To keep your incision from the c-section clean & dry (after washing the incision carefully in the shower with a mild soap & water) pat the incision dry with a clean towel & use a hair dryer on low/cool setting, especially if you are on the curvier side (like me 🙂 ), to get it drier.

  15. Thank you for #10… I let myself get into postpartum depression over that. I did better with my second C. So, thank you for cheering on other C-mamas.

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