Postpartum C-Section Recovery Realness

It is very rare to get an honest glimpse of what postpartum reality looks like. The glamorous Instagram shots of a new mom decked out in her finest, makeup and hair done with a sleepy baby on her shoulder is what we often see. So, it is easy to assume that that too will be our reality. What social media often portrays is not reality. Do not feel bad momma, you are not alone.

At about 35 weeks, I headed to Buy Buy Baby with my mom to buy witch hazel and a couple other items to help with postpartum healing and pain. Basically, witch hazel is supposed to sooth your vaginal area post birth and can also be used to make the infamous “padsicles”. I wanted to be as prepared as possible!

Additionally, I also purchased adult diapers for the bleeding, which a friend had recommended and an organic nipple cream. Glamorous, right?... NOT!

Well, at the time, I dreamt of my water glamorously breaking and my husband and I heading to the hospital for a quick and relatively uneventful birth of our first child. What ended up happening was actually the exact opposite. Sparing the long and uneventful details, I ended up having an emergency c-section almost 72 hours after being admitted to the hospital.

With the quick change in events, alas I was a mom! On cloud nine, fuming adrenalin, after a couple of hours the reality of a postpartum c- section set in. Everyone always talks about a c-section as if it is the other easy alternative to a natural birth. I found that very few sources really delved into the recovery and the way a mom feels post c-section. 

Basically, with the surgery, a women’s muscles are cut and insides are moved out of the way in order to swiftly get to the baby. It is a full blown surgery and therefore demands the same recovery as any major procedure. My first memory post c-section was having a strong pain in my shoulder, air or gas pains, that were “stuck” in my body post surgery. It was very uncomfortable and I was told it would go away within 24 hours and it did. 

Once my epidural wore off, I was able to get out of bed and walk to the bathroom. Getting out of the hospital bed was a real bear! I used the rails and my husband pushed me from my back, so to not use my abdomen. Forget laughing, crying, and SNEEZING….OUCH! After an unfortunate sneeze, I learned that the easiest way to laugh and sneeze until you are healed, is to hold/press your incision area down. The tighter that area is, or more compressed, the better it feels for the first 2-3 weeks postpartum. To help with this, I purchased tummy compression shorts and they were a game changer. They are pricey, but they make you feel so much better. 

To help me on and off the bed, since my husband had to go back to work a week later, I got a step stool (getting in and out of bed can be a challenge if you bed its not low to the ground). I was also so grateful I had purchased the Halo Bassinet since I was able to swivel the bassinet, moving it closer to my bed to reach our baby, without having to get out of bed.  

Since I was told not to carry anything over 5 lbs and take it easy, I was grateful to have my wipes and diapers tote to hold the essentials in one compact place. I either attached to my purse, stroller, or diaper bag keeping things light and hands free. I also got the matching stroller organizer which was large enough to hold the rest of the items I needed for a trip out with my newborn (ie. bottles, an outfit, wallet, etc). Strictly following the doctors orders, I wanted to heal ASAP!

Looking back after some time, though it was a healing process, I feel so lucky to have a healthy baby and feel myself again! In the moment it can seem tough, but try to be as prepared as possible, it will get better!  Take your time, rest, and get in your newborn snuggles, it is all in the past before you know it.

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