Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Recovering From a C Section

* this post is censored for the sake of little sisters and their friends (you're welcome mom!)

When we first learned Henry was breech at 37 weeks, my doctor began discussing the possibility of a planned cesarean delivery. This completely threw me for a loop, as I had been spending the majority of my pregnancy scouring the Internet for labor stories and videos of women giving birth ...ahem...the way it's supposed to happen. The next week was spent researching everything I could get my hands about c sections and listening to other's stories involving the scary and unnatural operation.

A lot of the information and stories I found made the actual surgery sound pretty doable. Just walk in and get numbed up, snip snip and fifteen minutes later you have a baby. Easy peasy, right? It was the recovery time that people loved to talk about.

"You'll be in so much pain for about months! It will hurt so bad to sneeze and cough that you will be keeled over your bed for days! You won't be able to eat anything but chicken broth!". I was suddenly more afraid of the weeks following the delivery than I was the actual cesarean itself!

The only positive information I received was from my mother in law...but when the bad clearly outweighs the good, it's hard to expect the best.

I would have loved to write a post about what the actual cesarean delivery is like, however I can't remember a thing because I was completely knocked out. What I do remember are those weeks following. The weeks I was so scared of as they wheeled me into the OR.

Recovering from a c section is not as bad as everyone will tell you it is. At least, it wasn't to me. The weirdest thing following Henry's birth was not being able to feel my legs. I tried moving them, but even something as simple as wiggling my toes was impossible. I was given some type of morphine that would last me ten hours following the surgery, so I felt absolutely nothing. It was bizarre looking down at the incision line and not feeling the pain that I knew would be tearing me apart if I was not drugged. After the morphine wore off, they put me on Vicodin and Ibuprofen and to my surprise I still felt no pain. I could tell when the pills would start wearing off though, because the pain would quickly take over my entire lower body...making it almost impossible to walk without wincing. Within minutes of taking another Ibuprofen it was manageable again.

Coughing and sneezing did hurt me a bit, but not as badly as everyone said it would. It basically just felt like someone was pinching my skin really hard. For the first day, it hurt me to roll to my side or move to any position that was not upright. I was too afraid to poop for so long (uh. TMI) because the muscles used in the process stung every time I tried. After about three days the pain had subsided so much that this was no longer a problem.

I was very curious about how the actual cut would look after the delivery. I had heard stories (beginning to realize that you can't trust people's horror stories?) about cuts being so large and deep that they never fully healed and you could never wear a bikini without people staring at your scar. NOT TRUE! My scar is about five inches wide and is already disappearing. It's so low (and horizontal) that any bikini bottom I wear would cover it perfectly. How they can pull a full sized baby out of a five inch cut truly amazes me.

I was worried about how the medication was affecting Henry so I stopped taking them as soon as I could. Within two weeks I was completely off all medication and getting around with ease. Three weeks after Henry was born I felt almost completely healed and was getting out of the house for good two-three hour stretches.

It's now been seven weeks since Henry's birth and my body feels great. I have been walking around the neighborhood and even started working again today (more on that later...). The skin above my cut is numb, but I hear that disappears over time. My scar feels bumpy (like a rope under my skin) and that is kind of weird.

During our childbirth classes, I remember telling G that it would be just my luck to have a labor that progresses naturally and lasts an incredible amount of time and then ends with a c-section anyway.

"Remember I told you this, okay?" I was totally joking then, who would have known it was really going to happen that way.

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