Sunday, October 8, 2017

My C-Section Recovery

I know I said it before, but I never (ever, ever, ever) wanted to have a c-section.  Like, completely terrified of it.  Obviously I didn't have much (or any) choice in the matter with Willow.  Everything happened so quickly and we are so thankful our baby girl turned out to be perfectly healthy!  If you haven't already read her birth story, you can backtrack a bit and find it here.  

While I can 100% honestly say that I didn't even think once about my own self during the chaos, we are thankful that everything was fine with me too, of course.  Recovering from surgery wasn't fun, especially the first couple weeks afterwards.  In fact, the first two weeks were pretty miserable if I'm being honest.

I look at my c-section scar and almost can't believe a human came out of there.  Of course, this could partially be due to the fact that I wasn't conscious to experience it all... regardless, even though it's hard to believe it happened, it definitely felt like it happened afterwards!  Getting up and walking around was pretty awful those first few days after Willow was born.  I took all the pain meds I was allowed, but they made me so, so tired that I questioned whether it was even worth it and stopped after the first few days.  While walking around pretty much sucked to do at first, laying in bed got old pretty quickly too.  It was so hard to get comfortable to sleep, especially since I'm a side sleeper normally.  After the first couple nights, I tried to roll over to one side to sleep and it felt like my entire insides shifted and were going to fall out of my stomach.  Back to my back I went.

Aside from the expected pain, I had to have a catheter in and out (and in and out, and in and out) during my hospital stay and even ended up going home with one in place for four days.  It turned out that it was just taking a bit for my body to regulate after surgery, but it took lots of questions, tests, etc. to figure that one out, some of which made it so I had to pump and dump my milk while I was in the hospital.  If you've ever had to do that, especially in those first few days where you're just getting into a groove with your new baby, you probably know that it feels like you're dumping liquid gold right down the drain.

Not being able to even see Lo for the first thirteen hours after she was born made me so sad and was really just the weirdest feeling ever - like, did I really just have a baby??  I hated knowing that the NICU nurses were really the first ones to get to hold her, and hated that they had to feed her since I wasn't yet able to.  I vividly remember asking Tyler if they had to feed her within just a few minutes of waking up from surgery, little did I know that I would be going all day without even getting to meet her.

I realize that Lo's birth wasn't the most common of scenarios, so in terms of "traditional" c-section recovery, I'd say hands down one of the hardest parts was not being able to pick Ellie up once we got home.  My doctor didn't really give me specific guidelines about do's and dont's post-surgery, but said to do what I felt comfortable doing.  I think around two weeks postpartum I felt comfortable picking Ellie up again, but it was pretty sucky having to wait to do that.  She obviously didn't understand why I couldn't do all my normal things with her, and there was more than one occasion where we both sat on the floor crying because we were just so frustrated by it all.

Speaking of crying... I'm fairly certain some of the nurses and staff at the hospital thought I was completely off my rocker.  I felt like nothing was going the way I wanted it to and just wanted to go home so badly, and I think I made that pretty clear to almost everyone I encountered during those five long days.  It's some kind of miracle they didn't just send me home sooner. ;)

Once we got home, I slowly started to feel more like myself and I think by the start of the third week was much happier.  I wasn't in too much pain, I felt like Willow and I could bond better than we had in the hospital, I could do more of my normal activities with Ellie, and the baby weight was coming off quicker than I thought it would!  Tyler took a few extra days off knowing that I'd likely need a little more of a helping hand with the two girls after surgery, which was very much appreciated.  As exhausting as having a newborn and toddler can be, I was slightly anemic due to unexplained bleeding during labor and from the surgery itself, which made me even more tired than I already would have been.

Since I've now experienced childbirth both ways, I can say that both recoveries were pretty painful.  Although obviously in different ways, I'm not sure I would say one was worse than the other strictly in terms of pain.  While who knows what the future holds, we don't think our family is complete just yet so the thought of a repeat C-section versus VBAC has definitely crossed my mind.  I can almost guarantee what my doctor would recommend, but we will cross that bridge when we get to it!  

As sappy as it sounds, it's so true when I say that this sweet girl made it all worth it in the end.

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