Our fourth baby boy has arrived and we are still so much in love. Today I am sharing my C-Section recovery tips and an update on how I am doing.
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As I type this post on my c-section recovery tips, Isaiah Joel is one week and 4 days old. He is growing up so fast! Haha seriously, though – if you haven’t noticed, I’ve slowed down a bit here on the blog from posting my regular content.
Truth be told, it’s been wonderful. I didn’t want to have any regrets after having this baby. I told my husband to force me to rest, no matter what. I wanted to cherish this precious newborn stage, and not look back at it wishing I had taken more time to heal and focus on my Isaiah.
If you are new here, you can read about our breech baby experience here and how we tried to change baby’s position with an ECV.
Unfortunately the procedure wasn’t successful, and we ended up scheduling a c-section for later that week. If you’d like to watch the delivery, I shared a post last week with details.
I feel so blessed that my husband has been home with me, helping me recover. He has been amazing, and all the time alone in bed with Isaiah has been so very special. I’m not going to pretend it’s been all roses and butterflies – I’ve been in a lot of pain. I can say that today I’m finally starting to feel like myself again, but I’m definitely still sore and my incision still hurts when I bend over or use my abdominal muscles.
I thought it might help other mamas to share my experience with c-section, c-section recovery tips, what has helped and what you can expect that first week postpartum. After having three vaginal deliveries, I personally feel that my recovery after Isaiah has by far been the hardest.
Immediately Following my C-Section
One thing I experienced right after Isaiah was born was something that no one had really warned me about. After I announced that our baby was breech, several moms reached out to me sharing their c-section experiences, which was so helpful.
I felt more confident going into surgery, and if you are planning a c-section for whatever reason, I would encourage you to do the same. Talk to other moms and ask them questions, it will put your mind at ease and give you a better idea of what to expect.
I honestly can’t recall anyone warning me about what happened after Isaiah was born, so I’m not sure that this happens to everyone. But while the doctor was stitching me back up, I suddenly felt the most intense, sharp pains in my shoulders and neck.
It frightened me a little, and the anesthesiologist asked me if I was okay. When I told her what I was experiencing, she explained that it was air in my body from the surgery that had no where to go but up. The cramping was so sharp that I was holding back tears, and when Mike came over with Isaiah I couldn’t even move my arms to hold him.
Again, I’m not sure this happens to everyone. If you’ve had a c-section, let me know in the comments below. What helped me most with those gas pains was having my husband massage my shoulders. Thankfully I brought some all natural pain relieving cream that’s made locally, and it has both spearmint and peppermint essential oils which really helped to break up the air and soothe the pain.
I also had peppermint essential oil with me, and putting a few drops under my tongue every so often helped as well. I stopped drinking with a straw so that I wasn’t sucking up more air, and simply walking around and getting on my feet again once the epidural wore off helped tremendously. I tried to get up and walk as often as I could without pushing myself too hard.
It’s so important to stay on top of your medication, I remember breaking down once the epidural wore off and the pain set in.
Nursing After a C-Section
Nursing your baby when your abdomen hurts is no fun at all. Not to mention the postpartum cramps and potentially sore nipples if your baby’s latch isn’t great. What helped me was to lean the hospital bed back so that Isaiah wasn’t resting so heavily on my stomach. Pillows are your friend, cram them under your arms and use them to support the baby so that you don’t have to.
In my postpartum preparation post I shared an all natural nipple cream that helped as well, I will link it here for you if you tend to get sore nipples like I do! It’s so soothing and really helps so much. The cooling pads that they give you at the hospital are also amazing!
In my YouTube video I shared a few new finds with you guys, these awesome nursing tops from Amazon that I will link for you here, as well as some tank tops that have a built in bra which I love so much. No tight underwires or hard metal latches against your back!
After Leaving the Hospital
When I was making regular visits to my chiropractor before having the baby, she told me that after I had Isaiah I would need “one week in bed, one week around the bed.” She explained how important it was for me to rest, and once I got home that’s exactly what I did.
I stayed in bed every day, reading books, watching the Magnolia Network, and taking naps. My mom and sisters brought meals, and the day time was wonderful.
Night time, on the other hand, was rough. I am a side sleeper, and the pain from the incision made it impossible to lay on my side. I tried to prop myself up that I was laying on an incline, but eventually my butt, back, neck or shoulders would increasingly become sore.
It got to the point where I literally dreaded bedtime, not because of Isaiah but because I was awake all night in pain, tossing and turning. I share that with you only to say this – it eventually gets better.
Each day, you are a little less sore. Isaiah is 11 days old and nights are far better now than they were that first week. I’m still in some pain, it’s still hard to sit up and nurse. I usually wake up with a sore neck and shoulders. But every day gets easier, so keep telling yourself that. Try to look ahead instead of focusing on the now.
Daily showers have helped tremendously, there’s something about standing under the hot water and letting it hit your shoulders that feels so refreshing. The pain cream continues to help as well, I often have my husband massage it into my back and shoulders both at night before bed as well as the morning when I get out of the shower.
My Biggest Tip
Honestly this post about my c-section recovery is way longer than I thought it would be! I didn’t mean to scare anyone, I think my hope was that it helps other mamas so that they can prepare.
If I could leave you with one more tip, it would be to share what you’re going through with a loved one. Don’t keep it all inside, don’t try to be strong. Ask for help, as hard as that might be. Those first few days, it was too difficult for me sit up by myself without asking my husband for his arm. Share your struggles and share your joys. Cry if you need to.
Drink plenty of water and rest, rest, rest. Listen to your body and lay down if you feel tired. I have been using both Balance and Cheer (essential oil blends by Doterra) that have helped to keep my hormones in check. C-sections are hard, but they are even harder if you are trying to recover alone.
I truly hope sharing these c-section recovery tips will be a helpful to someone. Thank you all for the kind messages, emails and comments you’ve sent my way. I can’t tell you what a blessing you all have been to me. Thank you for sharing in this crazy, unexpected journey with us! Your encouragement has meant so very much.
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