The Best Advice You’ll Read All Day About Having a C-Section!
The Best Advice You’ll Read All Day About Having a C-Section!
I’ve been a Mom for 10 years, which means that being a Mom is actually the skill I’m most experienced in if you compare it to my professional resume. My pregnancies are cray to the z and then some. Honestly, I’ve had nearly every major complication at least one time over the last 10 years (most of them I’ve endured 3-4 times!)
Since I’ve been having c-sections since 2008, I’m gonna drop some knowledge here that most people don’t like to talk about. I don’t know why we are so shy to talk about some of this stuff since you are literally strapped to a table with your hoo-ha and body available for at least 10 people to see and then an array of faces come to visit and poke and prod you for the next 4-5 days every morning. Girl, there is nothing to be ashamed of here. One thing I’ve learned is that most medical professionals see the procedure in front of them and not the fact that you haven’t shaved in 4 months.
Without further ado, here is that advice you are looking for!
This advice is based on 10 years of dedicating my body to the science of making babies and having to go under the knife to bring them into this world. It’s messy and gross and I’ve lived and learned every single one of these tips the hard way. Let my experience help you navigate this beautiful time in your life by preparing you for the not-so-pretty and downright ugly sides of a c-section. This is my favorite picture from any of my births below! Look at that first scream! It’s incredible!
1. Put the pad in place between your legs and then pull up the massive XL mesh panties.
Seriously, this sounds crazy. When you’ve got blood and tissue coming out that has been locked in for 9 months, you’ll want to prevent it from splashing all over the floor (can someone say fall hazard!?). Take that big, fat pad and put it in the correct place between your legs and then pull up the massive XL panties to hold it there. Not only will this ensure that you don’t have too much diaper butt, but you’ll be sure to have it in the right spot and prevent some bleed through on the nice nursing PJs you bought for your hospital stay.
2. Don’t feel bad about asking for ice packs.
Lots of them. Bring them home and use them there too. You can put them on your head or you can put them on your bed. You can put them on your scar, but just don’t put them down too far. Otherwise, you’ll have to get out of bed and that is unnecessary. Bottom line = use ice packs and keep them close to you at all times and filled with ice (your nurses will gladly assist with filling them up!)
3. It hurts like a mother trucker to poop after a c-section.
For like a week. Shut the front door right!!? Forget about passing gas. It’s more like passing gas and passing out from pain. Just grin and bear it girl. You just got cut open, so you can totally handle it. This is where those breathing exercises come in handy!
4. Get out of the bed as early as you can after surgery.
The earlier you are walking after a c-section, the faster you recover. How do I know this? I’ve been sliced and diced 4x over now. My hot mom bod has been through the wringer. I also recover faster than anyone I’ve ever seen and freak the hell out of nurses because I refuse pain meds. There is a method to my crazy. My first OB told me to get out of bed and get moving. It also helps with pooping and you want to make sure you can do that without screaming for a week.
5. Get a TAP block.
Seriously. I’m going to repeat myself. Get a TAP block. What’s a TAP block? Well, a TAP Block is a Transversus Abdominis Plane (hence TAP) that inserts local anesthesia into the transversus abdominis plane, in other words, the muscles on the sides of your stomach. They use an ultrasound to poke this long ass needle through about four layers of muscle and then fill it up. It lasts about 12hrs and you can get a better grasp of your pain by getting ahead of the pain instead of taking not-so-fun (at least in my opinion) painkillers that make you groggy and dizzy (ahem Percocet). Ask your anesthesiologist. It’s a freaking miracle.
6. Wiggle your toes for 5 minutes before surgery.
It creeps me the hell out to not be able to feel or move my toes for 3 hours. Also, it’s kind of soothing to have your hubby just move your toes around just because. You still won’t be able to feel them, but your mind thinks it helps.
7. No one tells you about the pain that comes when your uterus starts contracting while breastfeeding.
Hold on tightly to that dear child because the contractions come out of nowhere and it’s like your uterus is being crushed with a vise grip. Again, breathe through this and remember breastfeeding is a great way to get things back in place faster!
8. Order a ton of dessert (and meals too) from room service. Eat the cake dammit. You just brought life into this world.
I don’t feel like I need to elaborate here, but just because I like to maintain balance in my format I’m going to. #Eatthecake and the #fishtacos and take care of yourself!
Even if it’s for five minutes. If you don’t, you’ll become a narcoleptic for the next few weeks and you’ll just start passing out whenever you sit down.
10. Don’t feel guilty about the hours you spend staring at the little life in front of you.
Take 10,000 pics in the same position and post them all over social media. Having a baby is the best PR for your life. Believe me. I think Facebook just sent me a message saying I’ve hit 35,000 likes so far!
11. Showers are great until they’re not.
Don’t let the water in the shower fall directly on your nipples. It’s like nails on the chalkboard feeling, but inside engorged, tender watermelons attached to your body. You’ll be able to feel the pain in your toes.
12. Put Your Breathing Exercises to Good Use – They are good for other things than pushing a baby out of your vajayjay.
Those birthing class breathing lessons also come in handy during a spinal injection. Picture yourself hanging out on a tropical beach with a margarita and a palm tree blowing in the breeze if you have to (that’s my happy thought – you’re welcome to steal it since I won’t be using it anymore).
13. There is a trick to getting a spinal injection.
When they insert the spinal, think of your back like a cat stretching and as your anesthesiologist is pushing against you, you should be pushing those vertebrae toward them. I just learned this during the 4x and let me tell you I wish I knew sooner. I had crazy nerve issues after #bossbaby because they got a nerve and my back swelled up with a golf ball sized hematoma.
14. Don’t try to poop.
Just let it come. Believe me. You don’t want to know what a compacted bowel extraction feels like. For me, it is worse than a c-section and there is no painkiller for it.
15. Cold weather and getting out of the shower hurt badly.
Sometimes you’ll get chills that won’t stop. Use a heater. Even if it is during the summer. Heat that room. Two towels on your body and a robe and just sit there. Uncontrollable chills and shock are no freaking joke especially when your body is recovering from a major surgery.
Um, excuse me. What level of hell is this!?
16. It’s okay to cry about everything.
Three days postpartum is hard. 1 week postpartum is really hard. You might have doctors asking you to call to have “mood checks”. Just do it. Postpartum depression isn’t something to joke around about and although hormonal peaks and valleys are totes normal, you want to make sure to take care of you too!
17. Let Yourself Go – or at least Let Your Hair Grow!
Don’t try shaving for at least 2 weeks post c-section. Seriously. Crazy things happen and you don’t want to accidentally hit your scar.
18. Pat Dry.
Always, always, always, pat your incision after a shower. Don’t wipe it.
19. You’ll feel pregnant for another month.
It’s the fourth trimester. Get used to it. It’s important to slow down and make sure that your body is healing. So eat some cake, snuggle that baby, and chill the heck out about bouncing back.
20. Take pictures and embrace the freaking miracle that you are.
A c-section is a massive surgery. Massive. Don’t be afraid of your scars and stretch marks. Those are tiger stripes for the badass that you are. Also, Mederma works some miracles too if you do want to speed the healing of some stretch marks though they don’t ever really go away. Love that skin that you’re in.
21. Have an Antepartum Shaving Routine
The nurses will shave your vageen if you haven’t shaved in the last week even if you are having a c-section. I’ve lived through this twice and learned my lesson. Shave your hoo-ha 1X a week once you hit week 30+.
22. Buy compression panties.
After the first day, you’ll want every bit of support you can get. Compression panties topped with yoga pants and a belly bandit. You’ll feel more secure walking and it’ll help get your organs back in place so much faster. Compression panties, girdles, support bands all help with laughing and coughing too. That should be their slogan:
C-sections are no laughing matter, buy a girdle today! Hey!
23. Coughing & Laughing are NOT your friends
Try not to laugh and cough one week postpartum or brace your belly every time you are about to. It will hurt. Badly. I made the mistake of watching The Ellen Show after having my #pinkie 10 years ago and I was laughing hysterically. And then I felt like I was burning from the inside out in searing pain. Heed my advice.
24. Your husband is there to help you.
He doesn’t know how to help. If you help him know how to help you better than he can do a better job of helping you! Don’t be afraid to ask him to do anything. Travis washed breast pump stuff for me each time I pumped so I didn’t have to stand up and I could take one of those narcoleptic naps I mentioned above!
25. Don’t fret over the hospital bag for you.
I didn’t even get to pack my own bag the last time and somehow I survived 25 days in the hospital. Believe it or not, the hospital is prepared to provide 75% of the stuff you need. Bring 5 sets of PJs (1 extra just in case you get stuff on you (breastmilk, blood/tissue, etc), some slippers, a hair tie, deodorant and a hairbrush.
Take It or Leave It
So take it or leave it, this advice has been long-lived and bottled up until now. I didn’t know about half of this stuff and had to live through each and every one of these experiences. It’s not fun, but you know what?! You get rewarded with a pretty awesome gift at the end of all of this. I like to know what I’m getting myself into and I hope this helps a bit in preparing you for a great adventure! In the end, it goes so fast and I think our brain tends to forget the really bad stuff we’ve endured. Must be why I keep having kids right!? How else could I have had a compacted bowel extraction, lived to tell the tale, and then had two more kids after it!?!?