Okay, so before I had my c-section I was googling like crazy what to expect. I think all soon to be moms do, right? I’m going to share Keaton’s full birth story on his birthday next month, but I wanted to write something that could’ve helped me before I had him. I also think I’m going to do a post on what to pack in your hospital bag because that was a big one for me. Anyways, I’m getting side tracked. Keaton is my only child, and I had a c-section, so this post is mainly geared toward c-section postpartum, BUT most of these points can also be translated to vaginal births as well. Birth is a scary thing no matter how you put it, especially the first go round (I would assume, I’ve only had one-but you have no idea what to expect!) I don’t think there’s a woman in the world that doesn’t have some fear when it comes to getting a baby out of her body, am I right?! I was terrified, so I did what everyone else does-took to the internet. I found a lot of great resources that I do believed prepared me in some way, but I wanted to add my own spin for my readers! I put a lot of thought into this post and I truly pray that it helps you! Also, I am not a doctor by any means, but here’s what I have to say:
1. You won’t lose the weight right away, be okay with that.
Even if you do everything right and everyone tells you “oh you’re all baby” you’re going to leave that hospital with a tummy! It’s so easy to be hard on yourself too, but girl you can’t. I remember feeling so gross after having my son and feeling like “the weight should be gone by now, google says after x amount of months it should be gone and it’s not.” First of all, everyone’s body is different and don’t compare how long it takes you to how long it took the 6 foot 100 pound model on the internet. You may not feel as beautiful (or sane) as you did prior to getting pregnant, but that body gave you this baby, and you need to give yourself some grace! It’s not easy losing that weight for anyone!
2. There’s still a lot of bleeding
Okay, so a common misconception is that you don’t bleed if you have a c-section-that’s wrong! You still have to shed all of that blood just as you would had you delivered vaginally! You’ll bleed for 4-6 weeks pretty heavy-it’s not fun.
3. You still can’t have sex for 5 weeks
This was something I didn’t know going into my surgery. I figured yeah if a baby comes out of your hoo ha you can’t have sex but I mean they’re cutting him out soo? Well, they still don’t want you having sex! The nurses will tell you 6 weeks, my doctor told me at 5 weeks I was in the clear, but obviously to listen to my body. I’m not a doctor by any means, this is something I would definitely bring up at your 3 week follow up appointment! Most everyone doesn’t wait the full 6 weeks though, lol!
4. Ab workouts are going to be a little different even after you’ve waited 6 weeks
Okay, this caught me off guard one day! They have you wait 6 weeks to do any ab exercises (understandable), and then you’re good to go! I was working out at Orange Theory probably 2-3 months after I had Keaton and we were doing a very ab intensive workout. Keep in mind, I didn’t workout at all while i was pregnant! Anyways, my scar started to burn like a bitch! Of course, being me, I just kept going. Come to find out, it was the scar tissue breaking apart (which you want to happen, you DO NOT want build up of scar tissue especially if you have another c-section). Listen to your body and consult your doctor if you feel the need, but don’t freakout if you’re doing a ton of abs and it starts to burn. I’ve only had this happen that one time.
5. It’s okay to not have that instant movie-like bonding moment after
So here’s the thing, the movies show the mom pushing and being in pain for hours and sweating and crying, then her beautiful baby comes and she’s smiling and crying and you can’t imagine anything like it. That didn’t happen for me. Because of that, it made me feel like a bad mom-I’m not, you won’t be either. When you have a c-section, the blue curtain thing is up so you can’t see them cutting into you (good thing, huh?) and you’ll hear the baby cry! Your doctor will lift your little bundle of joy up for you to see and of course you’re like “oh my gosh we did it!”-yes you did, mom! I mean when Keaton came out he was as big as a linebacker, purple as can be, and had a twitch going on with his leg (which turned out to be normal), but what I’m getting at is it’s hard in the midst of chaos to get that instant connection.Then they take him to the side (your husband can be with the baby the entire time, but you can see as well they aren’t far), and they will clean him/weigh him. Spoiler, your husband might get to hold him before you do, Jordon held Keaton first. This is the big difference between c-section and vaginal birth. After they wrapped him up, they handed him to me for skin to skin while I got wheeled to our room. Once you get to the room, then you can bond!
6. The golden hour!
This is where some good bonding will come into play. The hospital I was at did this (I’m not sure all do, but you can definitely request it). It’s an hour in the post-op room with just you, your partner, and your baby. You’s feed him/her, admire them, and get that good quality time before your friends & family come.
7. Your baby doesn’t ever have to leave the sight of either you or your husband
This was really important to me because I’ve seen too many movies about babies getting switched (the put a hospital bracelet on you and your baby as well and each time they give you meds, check the baby, etc. they scan both of them to make sure they match). Anyways though, I still made Jordon go when Keaton got his first bath, etc. (I still couldn’t move from the spinal block, more on that later), and it made me feel so much better
8. You are numb from the chest down
Your arms are still completely mobile so don’t worry about if you’ll be able to hold/feed your baby. But the rest of your body is going to be numb & you can’t move it for at least a few hours. It’s kind of a crazy feeling when you start to feel them, but can’t fully move yet. Honestly though, this was so relaxing to me, I don’t know if that’s weird, but really just enjoy everyone waiting on you while you can’t move.
9. The area around your scar will be numb
Mine’s still numb, it always will be. Not a crazy fact, but something to add to the list on things you might not know.
10. When your kid gets big enough to crawl all over you it’s still going to hurt if he hits that right spot
I know I know-I just said it was numb right? Well yes, but when they start walking on you and it pulls just right, it’ll hurt a little bit. Not a big deal, but yeah.
11. loose skin (c-section or vaginal)
Yeah, I brought that up. You’ll lose the weight and guess what?! You’re stomach still stretched to an abnormal size & shrunk back down like a raisin. It doesn’t feel the same, even if at some point you can’t tell by looking at it. It’s something you’ll have to work on to not dislike about your body as we have to with a lot of things. Hey, that’s what they made tummy tucks for!
11. The spinal block will give you the worst headache ever!
I’m not joking. Don’t mess around with those pain pills they give you, and don’t wait to be in pain to take them. Keep those things on a steady loop whether you think you need them or not. I’m telling you-THE WORST headache for like 2 weeks- keep the drugs coming!
11. Constipation is real
Yeah, I brought this up too. It’s bad. Literally there’s nothing worse than not being able to poop, and being afraid to push because your stomach just got cut open. I definitely cried a few times, it sucks-no sugar coating it! Take stool softeners as often as possible and have tums handy!
12. Take all the help you can from the nurses-it’s their job and they’re happy to do it!
Nurses make or break this experience! Yeah, your doctor is important during the pregnancy & surgery, but nurses are the ones you are will 24/7 for the next couple of days postpartum. Your doctor only comes in to make sure everything is going well & prescribe you meds. I had the best nurses in the world and if you’re in the San Antonio area, I cannot recommend St. Luke’s Baptist Hospital enough! They were the sweetest and most helpful staff that I could imagine. You read horror stories about this as well, like don;t be afraid to stand up for yourself they’re awful! Honestly though, I think more often than not postpartum nurses are going to be amazing. Let them help you! They are so happy to do it. They will help you go to the bathroom, shower, put your gurdle on super tight (more on that later) and you can ask them anyway! They want to help and support you, they aren’t going to think you don’t know what you’re doing if you ask them a question (no matter how obvious you think it is)!
13. invest in a good gurdle
Wow, no one tell you how important this is. After your mid-section being so full & then nearly empty, you do not feel secure at all! You’re flopping around everywhere, you have a scar you don’t want anything to touch- you need a good gurdle. It makes you feel held in, secure, and so much better. I lives in the one the hospital gives you for weeks, and I wish I would’ve bought myself a really nice one because the one from the hospital is just a cheapo that rolls up when you sit down. You need one you put on like underwear so it covers the scar, but doesn’t cutoff below so it rolls up when you sit, ya know?
14. You’re going to think you’re crazy
This is true c-section or vaginal-birth, hormones are crazy. It’s hard to know in the moment too that it’s just hormones, you think you’re crazy! Give it 6 weeks and you really will feel like yourself again, I promise! BUT if you’re really not feeling right, always talk to your doctor. Postpartum depression is a very real thing, don’t let it go!
15. sleep on your side if at all possible
This helps with gas, so does movement. As I said it’s hard to poop, it’s hard to pas gas! Mine got so bad in the hospital it moves up to my shoulder and hurt every time i breathed, like what?! But if you lay on your side and get up and walk around everyday, that will help move it around and hopefully come out!
16. Get walking ASAP
For the reason above, and it also speeds up your recovery much quicker!
17. Get some comfy granny panties & maxi pads
So you can’t wear a tampon for like 2-3 weeks if i’m remembering correctly even though you got a c-section. Get you some good pads, because you’re also not going to want to wear the huge diaper undies they give you for long. Another thing you aren’t going to want to wear is your cute little cheekies. Go to Target and get the big ass soft granny panties that will come up over your pooch, thank me later.
18. The scar looks huge- it will shrink as your stomach goes back to normal & fade a little in color
I know by now you’ve looked up “c-section scar” on pinterest to see what it will look like. Not big, right?! Well here’s the thing, at first it is super big-all the way across from one side to the other. Don’t worry, it is going to shrink as your stomach does! Eventually it should be about the length of your middle finger.
19. The staples are going to look kind of scary, but they make for a much nicer scar than stitches or sutures.
If your surgeon uses staples, first thank them because it will make for a cleaner looking scar & removal is super easy. They will look kind of scary when you see them for the first time in the shower or whatever, but don’t worry, a nurse will remove them before you leave (it doesn’t hurt and your scar will not pop open, don’t worry!)
20. Get some big/loose comfy shirts to nurse in
I don’t know who the hell thought it was a good idea to make the tight ass nursing tanks! No woman who just gave birth wants to show off her stomach!! Do yourself a favor and get some cheap, oversized, soft tops that you can just lift up or drop off one side to nurse (and obviously a nursing bra). Breastfeeding could be a whole new blog post, but while I’m on the topic, invest in a ton of those pads for leaking because you will leak- a lot- all over everything. Especially when you stop nursing and are waiting to dry up!
21. Yes, you’re going to be in pain
Like it or not, this is a major surgery, and you are recovering too. No matter how tough you are, it’s going to hurt. I would say day 2 was the worst for me, but I have heard day 3 from a few people as well. Hopefully your surgery goes smoothly, but no matter what you aren’t going to go without pain.
22. It’s a super quick surgery
They will tell you it’s a 30-45 minute operation depending on circumstances of course. I had a super healthy pregnancy and was very lucky with a seamless surgery. Mine was 26 minutes open to close, and she did a flawless job! I pray for you to have a similar experience! Make sure you have a doctor you are not only comfortable with, but confident in!
23. Don’t try to be Wonder Woman
Take the help from anyone and everyone! Also, don’t feel bad saying no if you really don’t want the help and you want to be alone with your baby. Most people get it, and if they don’t, not your problem. But don’t feel weird about asking for help, anything you need, people truly want to help. They don’t just say that to be polite!
24. The internet told me I would be in the hospital for 4-5 days, that was wrog
So I had my c-section at 6 am on March 27, and I was out of the hospital the afternoon of March 29. Now, they didn’t kick me out by any means. With first time moms they even say if you would be more comfortable stay another night. I wanted to, because like i said the staff was amazing and made me feel so safe, I was scared to go home and it be just us! BUT my husband was dying to go home, so we did and it was fine-gotta do it sometime. The crazy thing is though, the internet said 4-5 days and that wasn’t true at all. If you vaginally give birth your out the next day, c-section is 2-3 days as long as you’re recovering well.
25. I’m not going to tell you to enjoy it, but it’s worth it
It’s a crazy time, okay? Emotions are high, you aren’t sleeping, you have no idea what your baby is thinking or feeling, but you do know how much you love them. You aren’t going to enjoy every second, that doesn’t make you a bad mom. There will be times you want to pull your hair out, but there will also be times you’re holding that little baby while he sleeps and you can’t imagine anything more. It’s so so worth it. Your body can do SO much to bring that baby into the world and keep him alive- that means you are meant for this. You have it in you!
What are some tips you would give for postpartum?!
Thanks for reading!