With my first pregnancy, I had everything planned in my head- natural labor and natural childbirth. But God has a funny way of changing plans 😉
Layla was born via C-section after 36 hours of labor without much progress. In hindsight, I would have been more firm on my positions about things but I was 20 years old and didn’t know what rights I had- Ill write the birth story for her and CK one day…
Second time around I wanted a VBAC- I had a normal pregnancy despite some asthma issues that were resolved with new medications. I went into preterm labor around 35 weeks but they stopped the contractions. A week later I was in a minor car accident that meant I had to go to the hospital and ended up with high BP (which was then monitored for a week and fluctuated)the doctor was concerned so I was scheduled for a C-section at 37 wks and 5 days. Also, in hindsight and after doing more research would have changed things.
I will say this- My second C-section was a CAKEWALK compared to the first. Between knowing what to expect and no having been in labor for a day and a half prior, recovery was a breeze. There were things I had wished someone would have told me before that I have learned after two sections.
- You can say no (obviously if there is not a huge medical concern.Ex; baby is in distress,etc). This is huge for me and one of my biggest regrets. With our first mainly, there was no reason for a C-Section. Failure to progress is not a means for a C-Section. I didn’t think, at the time, that I could tell the doctor “no” or make my own decisions, I let him make them for me, which left me with guilt and regret about LJ’s birth. I have researched more through books, website, blogs, ICAN information, that C-Sections seem to be more often than not, unnecessary.
- WALK. WALK. WALK. I know they tell you that but literally the second they let you out of the bed, WALK. My mom had told me this and it stuck with me. Both times, the second my catheter and IV’s were out, I was up as much as possible until bedtime. Picking up the room, stretching, cuddling my baby, talking to hubs. Why? Because the next morning feels like HELL. Excuse the language but there really is no way to describe it!
- Have someone stay with you if you can. A spouse, friend, sibling, parent. I know this is hard but it really is key. The first 2-3 nights and the first morning after, I needed help out of bed. This meant even with the baby next to me in the cart, I needed my husband to hand me her and help me get comfortable for breastfeeding. It is extremely hard to pull yourself up in bed when you have no core muscles. Believe me, I tried without help,don’t do it.
- Take some of those huge ugly pads home with you. They were PERFECT to go inside the lining of pants or underwear to protect the incision and my clothing. I know they are hideous but you just had a baby taken out of your abdomen, really not the time to think about this one.
- Let people help you. I super duper struggle with this. Both times. The first, I wanted to do everything. I was going back to school after like 4 weeks, wanted to do laundry, cook dinner….yea not realistic. You will already be sleep deprived, the laundry can wait. The second time, my mother in law stayed with us and I was better. I still wanted to do a lot but I learned to SURRENDER and let other people help. My baby would still know I was mommy if Grandma held her and I napped. My baby would still love me if I didn’t cook dinner and we had mac and cheese for three days in a row. Enjoy your baby and allow friends and family to help you, it takes a village after all!
- Doctors will tell you this but I will repeat it. Take your pain meds. You are not a hero if you don’t and you will be in excruciating pain without them. End of story, just do it. You will thank us later.
- Take stool softeners and prune juice. You will feel much better this way. Things take awhile to “move” after having a baby, especially if it’s a C-Section so unless you want added pain and stress help yourself out.
- Do NOT ignore lifting instructions. With DD2 I lifted her + the carseat= opened incision with infection. Just don’t do it. Lift nothing heavier than your baby. See why you need help now?
- Your milk may take a little longer to come in. With DD1 it took almost 6 days (I had a rough recovery with blood loss), with DD2 it came in around day 3. This is not always the case just something I was not told that would have made me a little less worried about feeding my baby properly.
- Use pillows! I didn’t know this the first time but the second I definitely remembered! Using a pillow to help get up and lay down (combined with rolling to get out of bed) as well as the car ride home, LIFESAVER. The pillow against my abdomen helped me brace for the ride home so I could have support and not feel every single bump
Lastly, remember you are strong and incredible. You brought a life into the world, regardless of the means in which it happened! Enjoy the time with your baby, friends, and family. Time will fly I promise!