Thursday, 8 May 2014

Recovering from a C-section


I have never really thought about C-section much, even when I was pregnant I didn’t consider it as an option. However, hearing the word Cesarean, I would recall the silly phrase “too posh, to push” and I would think of celebrities and a procedure that is private and expensive. Until, I was lying in the hospital bed and after hours of unsuccessful attempts to have my baby, my only option, according to the doctors, was to have an emergency c-section.

Well, the last thought at that moment was me feeling glamorous, but one thing was certain, I was relieved. I knew it was a matter of time for the epidural to take over my system and rescue me from the “out-of-this–world-I-am-dying” pain. And it did. I was there, a green “screen” separating me from the doctors and the not so pretty picture of the operation… I couldn’t feel anything anymore; I was just looking forward to the end and Alexander being delivered.

He was, and then he was taken away, and then… a cry, his first cry. He was cleaned, wrapped, handed to Sam, who came and showed me our baby. I touched his cheeks, the softest, velvet cheek… I looked at his face, the most serious, sophisticated, grumpy baby expression: “Why did you take me out so suddenly, I was doing very fine inside.”

And there it was our first night at the hospital, first out of 7. It was overwhelming, one moment you are giving birth, the next you are in bed, completely unable to move. I couldn’t sit or position myself, but the worst was that 24 hours later, I still couldn’t get out of the bed. Well, in the end I had to, after the night shift midwife said I have to move about and change the baby. It was hard, I might have shed some tears but eventually this was the beginning of my recovery.


Keep moving, whatever it costs you; you should do simple movements every day. It is essential to get up within 24 hours of the operation.  Professionals kept encouraging. It was awful in the beginning, but it slowly got better, until I started feeling like a normal person again.   

Unfortunately, there isn’t a certain time predicted for the recovery, because every body is different, every C-section has been done in different circumstances and most importantly, it does matter what is your age and body shape, when it comes to faster or slower recovering process. However, up to 3 months, is the standard time after which you can expect to go back to normal. But getting back to normal still requires taking things slow.

4 months later it is amazing to be on the move again. I still haven’t started exercising like I used to. But pushing a 7 kg baby in his pram up and down a hill, almost every day, might be considered as a good start. The scar is heeling and slowly fading, but while I feel quite active again, the stomach muscles will take longer to recover, and I still feel some pains.

The unplanned C-section is not an uncommon procedure, but it can leave mums feel more vulnerable physically and mentally, because the body and the mind hasn’t been prepared for the operation. The doctors always point out that it is a major surgery and the recovery takes time. Furthermore, if it hasn’t been predicted, the body has to recover from the painful hours of contractions and a surgery, all at one time.

Back at the time I was so relived it is all over and we are all fine, that I didn’t want to discuss further more the experience with the doctors. But it could help, once you feel better to ask them to go through what happened.  Professionals will make sure to send you home with all of the information you need to know for taking proper care of yourself:

  • loose and comfortable clothes
  • plenty of fluids
  • a good meal regime
  • plenty of rest
  • Checking the scar for any symptoms of infection 
The list is long and is on top of caring for a newborn, but I am sure every mother who has gone through the same, will say it gets better with every other day, until it’s just a distant memory. It’s one of those experiences which remind you to have a break and remember that things happen and no matter how hard it seems at the time - “this too shall pass.”

P.S. As soon as you are on the move, treat yourself to something nice, why not a new haircut? 


                             

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