Cesarian Recovery and Birth Story
Get ready, this is a long one!
On August 24th, 2020 I had a scheduled cesarean for my breech baby. This was not my birth plan however my cute but very stubborn baby seemed to be quite comfortable head up. I found this out at 37 weeks and googled all the best practices to try and flip him. We pulled out the surf board from the garage (as we don’t have an iron board) to do the iron board trick. My heart burn absolutely hated this but I sucked it up, literally to do all that I could. I practically wore an ice pack on the top of my belly all day and even played sweet music for him down there to “lure” him towards the right way.
On August 12th I had an ECV preformed which is an External cephalic version. A manual procedure by which a breech baby can sometimes be turned from buttocks or foot first to head first. This extremely uncomfortable and painful procedure did not work as well. In fact it lead to some very strong contractions afterwards that kept me in the hospital 5 hours after for the fear that I would go in to labor. Which was quite a scary thought knowing my mom from back home in VA had not arrived to help watch my 3 yo so that my husband could be by my side. The thought of going through this alone put me in a state of fear every day leading up to the big one. With COVID at a high here in LA, having someone watch her last minute was not the easiest thing to plan ahead.
On August 17th I made the decision with my doctor to schedule a cesarean. Now my OB is actually one of the only doctors at Cedars who performs breech deliveries, however knowing how large my son was and the thought of any complications that could arise, made me decide on a c section to safely deliver him.
On August 24th, my husband and I carried our overnight bags to the hospital and checked in. I had horrible anxiety as surgery can be unsettling and COVID made everything a bit more nerve racking. At 5:49, my baby boy was safely extracted from me and tears of pure joy rolled down my face when I first saw his sweet face. A completely different experience than with my first, Holding him even for the short minute that I did before they took him away felt unreal. Then I laid there awkwardly trying not to listen to the doctors as they discussed and executed the rest of the procedure putting me back together. It felt like forever as I just wanted to be reunited with my baby.
I did not prepare myself for a cesarean and the recovery ahead. I actually thought it might be easier than a vaginal, but for me this experience was far from that. I listened to a few friend’s tip and suggestions whom had gone through this in the past but BOY was I unprepared. Physically and mentally.
SO. With all that being said, I wanted to share a quick round up of tips that I found helpful for me incase you are pregnant and may have to go through the same thing. Every delivery is different but it’s best to be prepared and aware than caught off guard.
- For your stay at the hospital, pack a couple oversized, nursing friendly dresses. A comfortable material to wear pretty much all day. I didn’t change in to night gowns as taking a shower after the 3rd day was a big accomplishment alone. And I kept these dresses on rotation.
- Take all the freebies home that you can from the hospital. I used the hell out of the cooling and heating pads as I had the WORST gas stuck in my neck (I know, weird, didn’t know this was a thing) from surgery as air gets trapped in the body from the hole and the heating pads I popped on my neck every minute was the only thing to semi help. Also, probably the most painful thing from this ordeal. I wore every mesh panty I took home from the hospital too as I feared the day to wear regular underwear again.
- Frida Underwear. Holly hell, these were amazing, Get these, because once those ugly mesh hospital ones ran out I felt like a brand new woman pulling these up. Breathable, comfortable on the incision and semi more cute than the mesh. Ha.
- Heating Pad. Get one. It will be your new best friend. I am 5 weeks out and still using it at night on my lower abdomen area as I’m still experiencing some throbbing pains. I wake up sweaty but so much more relieved.
- Pain Medication. You will most likely be prescribed one but pick up Motrin and Tylenol and figure out a good rotation. I scheduled mine around baby’s feeding times which was easier for me to keep track of. But make sure you stay ahead of the pain in the earlier days rather than have it creep on you. In fact, I kept my am intake by my bed so that I could take 15 minutes before I got out of bed (when possible) to help with that pain. Getting out of bed still hurts.
- Constipation. This one is fun. Milk of Magnesia and Colace stool softners will be your new best friend. We don’t need to speak further, just get it.
- Belly Wrap. Get one that you can wear all day long. Not just to help shrink the belly but more so to comfortably hold everything together.
- Biker Shorts and Leggings. I wasn’t even able to wear these till week 3 as the incision pain was too intense to have pressure but by week 4 these were much more comfortable to wear than a dress every day. Felt more like a human again.
- Pillows. I brought my own pillow to the hospital and it was one of the best last minute decisions of my stay. So much more comfortable than the ones they provided as you will be staying in the hospital much longer than a vaginal recovery. Any extra pamper to give you comfort will be amazing. Also once you get home, be prepared to use more than you are used to. I had 4-5 pillows to prop me up as laying flat was painful. I’m still sleeping on my back with 2 pillows propped up as sleeping on my side causes some pain still.
- Water Bottle. Get yourself a hydro flask or some kind of water bottle to carry around because you need to be drinking lots of water and staying hydrated!
- Compression Socks. My feet were scary swollen from the epidural for about a week. It was scary to look at and I had some pretty painful muscle spasms in the middle of the night. Compression socks helped.
I really hope this post may help prepare an expecting mama out there having to go through the same thing. Here’s to a safe delivery and a speedy recovery!