C-Section Recovery Tips – How I’m Doing
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.[mailerlite_form form_id=2]
So glad you are resting and taking the time to heal! That is SO important! Along with the MSM cream you are using you can purchase a high quality all MSM capsule which will help with the pain and inflammation of the incision. I purchase from iHerb.com, the Life Extension Brand. I take 3 capsules at bedtime for arthritis pain (have none unless I forget to take them) it is amazing! Isaiah is beautiful! Enjoy this time with him!
He is adorable! Glad you have been able to rest.
Re: the gas pain – when I had my gallbladder surgery, I was warned about this. I was warned that I would especially have pain in the shoulder on my right side (gallbladder side). I was told to ask to get in a rocking chair as soon as possible and that rocking would help with the gas pain. I did it! I really didn’t feel like getting into the rocking chair, but I got in one a few hours after coming to my room and rocked, and rocked, and ROCKED. Honestly, I had very little shoulder pain. I’m so thankful that others shared that tip with me.
Isaiah is a beautiful baby. He’s perfect!! Thanks for taking the time to give us a little update. Do what you’re doing by resting, as hard as it is. It is your best recovery. I hope you feel better and better as days go by. Your three older boys are just so darn sweet…can’t help but smile when I see them.
Thank you so much for sharing your tips. My second baby boy was born via a planned c-section the day after you had Isaiah (who is gorgeous by the way- congrats!). I had previously had an emergency c-section so have found the recovery this time far better as I hadn’t been exhausted from a failed labour first and the surgery was slower and less rough/hurried. But it still hurts more than I recalled and it’s great to have a reminder about the importance of rest and to actually see someone resting! Lots of times I’ve been tempted to do unnecessary tasks I’ve thought of you and sat down with my feet up instead. I’ve really struggled with night sleep too, but have found wearing a stretchy belly band to bed has helped immensely- it holds everything together enough that I can still sleep on my side with all my pregnancy pillows supporting my belly.
I’ve gone from one child to two now and was wondering if you’ve got any tips about managing the guilt about not being able to spend as much one on one time with your older child (especially whilst recovery from the c-section)? I miss spending all day with my sweet little boy! Thanks and I hope you get some better night rest soon.
I am so sorry to read this and hope you are giving yourself grace. Congratulations to you as well on your sweet new baby and I am praying for your recovery. I don’t necessarily have any posts yet specifically on this since this is my first time recovering from a c-section, but I did write this post after my third, and maybe it will have some encouragement for you, praying for you! https://www.pineandprospecthome.com/honest-thoughts-on-becoming-a-mom-of-3/
Thank you Andrea, I will check out that post. I find your content about family so inspirational so thank you for sharing.
Isaiah is a beautiful baby and the part in the YouTube video with your other boys in the room, is truly heartwarming. Congratulations to all of you and many blessings going forward.
You ask about the pain due to air/gas. I’ve had three C-sections and yes the gas pain is fairly common. Somewhere a medical professional should have mentioned this to you. They pump you full of gas to move some organs out of the way, so they can operate. The gas has to go somewhere and for you it obviously went up into your shoulders. The best way to get rid of the gas is to walk.
Which brings me to your time in bed. Yes, of course you need to rest. You also must prevent lifting and bending, but you should get up and walk frequently, and increase this every day. It will speed your recovery and it will prevent blood clots. I don’t fully agree with your chiropractor’s advice to stay in bed for a week and then near the bed for a week. Neither does my husband who is an MD.
Pillows are important as you’ve discovered. I’d lay on my side to breastfeed and have my babies on a pillow, not on my abdomen. Make sure you wear low rise underpants, and a loose dress or housecoat is easier on your incision than pants or pj bottoms.
Things will get better daily and we do get over this trauma to our bodies…or C-section mothers wouldn’t go through it multiple times. But please get up and move. That is so important.
I wish your sweet family happiness and good health and lovely, joyful times with Isaiah.
Congratulations sweetie! What a handsome little man you delivered unto us. I truly understand the discomforts from a c-section as all 3 of my girls were delivered is this fashion. As you stated, those tummy muscles work out more than we know. I’ve sneezed and LOST MY MIND!!!😢. And a cough is suicide! Do take the time you need to heal. It is needed so your scaring is minimal and less trouble down the rode.
God bless you and your beautiful family. I wish you a speedy recovery and have added you all to my prayers. Stay well, my friend. Xoxo
So glad it all went well and that you and baby are home healthy and happy! Love the name you picked…Isaiah was going to be my 3rd baby’s name but we were blessed with a sweet girl instead.
So glad to hear you’re feeling better! And my oh my, what a handsome little bubba! It really is all worth it when you hold them for the first time.
My experience with a C-section was with my first, Dean. His head was too big to pass through the birth canal so I had no choice. I never went past 4cm within almost 12 hours.
Anyhow, down to brass tax… The absolute worst parts of the C-section was the things that went on in my head during the procedure. I have anxiety so my head went straight to the dark side but I prayed in between for calm and safety for my baby and I. Then after that was when the nurses that to flush out the excess blood post-op by massaging my stomach area. OUCH! And then getting up off the hospital bed for the first time was intense and very painful. Other than that, the pain afterwards hurt but not as much during the first 2 days during and post-op.
Another disconcerting matter is the lack of post-op care for the mother. My OB felt seeing me once post-op was enough to determine I was on my way to getting better. I was shocked! Suffice to say, I plan to do more research on my future OB and after care regimen for both my baby and I.
Thank you for listening to my novel. Blessings to you and yours!
I am so sorry for you to read this, I hope you are able to find the perfect OB next time. Thank you for your sweet words about our Isaiah as well!
I was going through my emails this morning and wondering about you, then there you are!
So happy you’re doing well, and Isaiah looks a lot like you…give him kisses from all of us. We have missed you but your absence has a wondrous reason!
God bless you and baby Isaiah and all your family.
Thank you so so much!
Hi Andrea, I am so thankful for your blog posts and YouTube videos about your breech experience. I am 26 years old and my husband and I are expecting our first child in a couple of weeks. We have tried everything to get her to flip around (even an ECV) and nothing has worked. I’m pretty heartbroken because we prepared for an unmedicated delivery. But, hearing your story and seeing how you responded encourages me. I’m trying my best to praise God in the mystery and rejoice that our baby girl is healthy — just like you did with Isaiah. 💛 Thanks for all you do. I hope to be a mama as graceful as you one day soon!
I am so so happy that it was an encouragement to you, I know exactly how you feel, all the emotions, the unexpected changes, all of it. I just said a prayer for you and yes, trying your best to praise God through the storm is the best thing you can do, even when it is difficult, He already knows. I pray for a smooth birth and congratulations on a sweet baby girl.