8 Things About C-Section That We Don’t Talk About
Just a few months ago, I delivered my second child, a baby boy, through c-section and I would like to share some of my experiences with you. There are many things to learn about when it comes to a c-section as this is considered to be a major abdominal surgery. So the road to recovery can be quite an interesting one.
1. There will be hands on your vagina.
Even though it isn’t the baby’s exit route, your vagina will still be involved in your c-section and recovery. After my second c-section, a nurse came in and said she needs to clean me. I’m sure my first c-section was the same and perhaps I had forgotten about it. So, I will refer it as a ‘vagina car wash’ which involved a little rinse-down with a peri bottle and a pat down with tissue to clean up any blood that was leaking out after the surgery. (More blood for the next couple of days). They do the cleaning twice a day.
2. Freezing during delivery, like super ice cold!
Not sure if you noticed, but it seems like all operation rooms set the temperature so cold. I believe this is a way to maintain sterility and prevent humidity formation and combat bacterial colonization. I remember freezing till my arms were shaking (the other half of my body was numb at that point from the spinal so I couldn’t feel a thing). The good news is that you can request as many blankets as you wish to combat some of the cold. Be sure to cover your shoulders!
3. Feels like your stomach is tugged around.
At this point, you’ll be totally numbed half body down during surgery (and for a couple of hours afterward), so your cesarean won’t hurt a bit. For me, I felt like vomiting a little when I feel the tugging and pushing during the surgery. I could also see my belly being cut open from the tiny mirror like reflections from the spotlights hanging above me.
4. Stool softeners is probably your new best friend for the next couple of days after surgery.
Pooping can be a major problem and can be scary, since it’s tough to push when you’ve just had major abdominal surgery. It is painful! Taking stool softeners after delivery will ease you back into pooping again. Don’t be surprised if your nurse asks a few times about your poop, it’s their job to make sure you are on the right path to recovery. Just remember to drink lots of water and walk around as soon as you can. This way you keep your bowels awake and get a little exercise to get your blood circulation flowing nicely. And no, you will not burst your stitches open, it just doesn’t happen that way.
5. Blood and more blood.
Although the baby did not come out vaginally, you will still bleed. Our uterine wall has to heal itself after the placenta has been detached and the thick lining that grew to support baby throughout the pregnancy will need time to shed itself. So expect bleeding for at least 6 weeks after delivery. If you bleed more than 6 weeks, please do consult your doctor.
6. Your scar will look like Frankenstein!
No, I’m only joking. But you may freak out a little anyway especially for first time moms. Back in our mother’s generation, their c-section scars were more prominent. We are very lucky today as the medical industry have advanced so much. The scar will be pretty small and will fade away in time. Plus, after 6 weeks have passed, you can request from your doctor for scar-fading ointments (nothing sooner to avoid an infection).
7. Coughing and sneezing will hurt for the next few weeks.
Feel like a cough or a sneeze is coming? Grab a pillow and place it on your abdominal scar area. It won’t stop the pain, but it will help ease the pain. You can also consider getting a Belly Band or other compression garments to help support your abs, since applying pressure to your muscles after they’ve been cut will help combat the pain from your movement and muscle contractions.
8. Exercise is the key.
I am not suggesting you to hit the gym right after surgery. But just getting up and walking around as soon as you feel human would be a good idea. This will also help to prevent blood clots. With my first c-section, it took me nearly 6 months to finally have the confidence to hit the gym and go for Yoga classes. I was so afraid that it will be painful. If you are unsure as to when you can start hitting the gym again, please ask your doctor. After all, every one heals differently so better be safe than sorry.
I hope this will give you a little glimpse into what to expect from a c-section. There is more to share, but I think this is a good start. If you need to know more, please feel free to contact me and we can have a little chat over coffee.
By Stella Matilda, Mother of Two, Editor of Parents Avenue