- so I wish I had known so much more at 4am when suddenly
I was about to have a c-section. There are so many things
that I look back on and have realized would have helped
if I had been told. So.. here are my tips for you who are
about to have a c-section or the new and healing c-section
see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
and Topics pages for more information.
My arms shook the entire time that I was in the OR
for my procedure -- it was as if I were freezing cold,
but I wasn't. I just couldn't keep my arms still. If you
are getting this tip ahead of time, just don't be surprised.
They tell me it is a normal reaction to the anesthesia
(I had an epidural which was used to add in more major medication
for during the procedure). I have also heard of hospitals which
require/request that women's arms be strapped down for the
duration of the procedure - though this was not my personal
||Pain Medicine I:
When my c-section was done, the doctors pumped some major
pain killers into my IV. They made me pretty spacy for the
first hour or two after the procedure was done. I have
a clear memory in recovery of holding my son in my arms and
not being able to speak quickly enough to keep in time with
the conversation around me. It was scary to be in the
middle of all that and not be able to communicate.
During abdominal surgery it is common for air to get
trapped inside you. Think about it and it makes sense.
What might not make sense to you is why your shoulder
hurts incredibly. This is a common form of transferred gas
pain. Stay away from carbonated beverages and take the anti-gas
medicine the nurses give you access to. It will pass eventually
(at which point they will let you start eating real food
|| Pain Medicine
II: Don't let it wear off completely. The day
after my c-section I didn't understand that the reason
I wasn't feeling a lot of pain is that my IV pain medication
hadn't worn off yet. I made the huge mistake of assuming
I didn't need the major pain killers I was being offered.
And then the medicine wore off in the middle of the night. I was
not a happy person. Once the pain catches up to you it really
is hard to get back on top of it again. All this also made
it much harder for me to get up and around.
| Get Moving
: Of course listen to your nurses
and doctors, but do what you can to get walking as soon
as you can. I have heard from many others that though this
was hard, they believe it sped up their recovery. I will
always wonder how much of my slow recovery was a result
of my not getting up and around as soon as I could.
|| Lactation Consultant:
If you are intending to breastfeed - request a lactation consultant
ASAP. Even if you took all the classes (like I did!),
the c-section adds so many new challenges that a professional
showing you the best positions and making sure you are
as successful as you can be is a great booster. See the
breastfeeding topic page for
websites and books to support your efforts.
Ask for it. Demand it. Assume that you will be recovering
from your major abdominal surgery and learning how to
be a mom to your new baby (or babies!). If you have questions
about your physical condition - call your doctor! I can't
tell you how many times I reasoned myself out of calling
and asking a simple question (Am I bleeding too much? Too
long? Should I feel this specific pain?). Your doctor is out there
to answer questions - it is part of what they get paid for. Consider
hiring a postpartum doula
to help you through this challenging
start to being a mom.
|| Physical Therapy:
This one is most important 6 weeks or more after your c-section.
If you are feeling pulling from your scar... if you are
taking a LONG time to get to the point where you can move
without pain - ask your doctor about a referral to a Physical
Therapist. There are amazing things they can do. It was
only after getting myself to a Physical Therapist for a
few sessions of scar mobilization that I really started
to feel as if I could move like myself again. If you are in
the DC area - I highly recommend the kind people at http://www.painpoints.com
|So there you
have it -- an assortment of the bits of knowledge I
learned too late to help me, but maybe in time to help
luck and quick healing!