My experience: c-section recovery

I feel like I should preface everything I write about pregnancy/ birth/ life with a newborn with “my experience” so everyone understands I’m not suggesting this is How Life Is For Everyone, but rather am just trying to get my experience out there because I think there’s value to knowing everyone has different ones. Moving on.

So, c-section recovery. Honestly, it wasn’t that bad, except that five weeks later I still have some pain, which is disappointing.

First, the questions I would have asked, answered:

  • Yes, I still bled for multiple weeks.
  • No, my vajayjay didn’t have to “recover,” I guess because I never dilated and thus never attempted a v*ginal delivery.
  • No, I didn’t need to sit on a pillow but yes, I needed to hold one for dear life if I sneezed or coughed.
  • Yes, I was still able to breastfeed and hold my son, but after about a week he learned how to kick, kick, kick so we had to adjust because his little feet were right on my incision.
  • Yes, I took meds. I made the mistake of skipping a few doses in the first week while I was still in the hospital because I was feeling okay, then woke up from a nap in so much pain I was shivering uncontrollably. The baby chose that moment to start screaming for food and my husband was left to handle things while calling for help from a nurse. Oh, THAT’s why you have to stay in the hospital for a few days after a c-section!  I stayed on a Percocet schedule for about ten days with decreasing frequency, on an ibuprofen schedule for another week, and now only take either if I have pain.

Within a day, I was up and walking, albeit slowly. Within a week, I was doing everything I normally would except moving furniture and climbing stairs (no laundry chores for me!).

Since then, though, I’ve hit a plateau. My incision still aches most of the time and hurts like hell sometimes. Today, for instance, I’m medicated and sitting very still on the couch because I have a sharp pain in my lower left abdomen, a pain that’s come and gone often over the past few weeks. I suspect it’s an indication that I’ve overdone the “being normal” thing, which is a bummer, but hey, what am I gonna do?

Oh, and I should mention the coolest thing: I got to watch it courtesy of an indulgent surgeon, my talking up my time spent in OR’s, and a mirror. It was AWESOME! (Though I should have asked my husband if he wanted to watch, too. He got to by default and it kind of freaked him out.) I think getting to see the procedure kept me from freaking out at all, though I couldn’t avoid the uncontrollable shivering or puking, which I blame on them shoving my uterus back in and rearranging my internal organs.


12 thoughts on “My experience: c-section recovery

  1. I would totally want to watch the procedure. A very close friend of mine recently had a preeclampsia-related c-section, and I couldn’t even fathom how neither she nor her husband wanted to watch. Then again, I demanded to see my own cervix during a colposcopy, and I’m that person who watches the needle be inserted prior to donating blood. Squeamish does not describe me.

    • @Heather, I watch the needle too. I don’t really understand people who are wigged out by needles. I even asked to see the epidural needle because I didn’t believe it was really as scary as everyone says it is (it’s totally not scary).

      • @Erin, I’m totally wigged out by needles but I feel the need to watch them inject me every time. I think it’s because while the reality of the needle is pretty awful and terrifying to me, everything I imagine is much, much worse. Plus there’s definitely a part of me that is fascinated by the weird/interesting/crazy things we can do to our body.

  2. I had the same sharp pain about 5 weeks postpartum (right side, though; I thought it was my appendix) and that’s exactly what they told me — I needed to scale it back and rest more.

    I’m interested to hear, after your incision site has healed fully, if it’s numb. Mine isn’t, but everyone else I know who’s had a C-section is numb right around the incision. I thought it was weird when the first few mentioned it, but now I’m starting to think I’M the weird one, because I’m the only one who’s not.

    Also, I totally wish I could have watched my surgery. I was so upset about having it that there’s no way they’d have let me, but I think I’d feel better about missing out on getting to hold my daughter right away if they’d at least let me watch her being born (that said, I had a very strict “no mirrors anywhere in the room” policy when I thought I was going to have a regular delivery … somehow seeing my innards bothers me less than seeing my vajay all stretched out).

  3. I don’t mean to compare, but I imagine that a recovery from a c-section can’t be *that* different from my recovery from an appendectomy 2 months ago, especially since what you describe seems to similar to my experience. My biggest scar still hurts too, and I imagine that it will take some time to heal as my belly continues grow with the pregnancy, stretching out the skin and muscles on and around the scars.

    And I would have loved to have watched my appendectomy — I’m actually a bit jealous that you got to watch your c-section! Is it weird that I refused a mirror when I was delivering Claire? That I would rather watch my baby being born via a c-section than vaginally?

  4. Omigosh! You are super Mama!

    You guys are impressive, I could NEVER watch! I would hyperventilate and…DIE. I have panic attacks when the hygenist cleans my teeth!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing, so informative!!!

  5. You are amazing! Can’t believe they let you watch, I have never heard of that, but I would totally love to watch it! Especially the part where they’re holding the uterus, such an amazing look at an organ that is so important but never seen!

    Glad to hear you are recovering well – my sister just had her third c-section and she has been swearing by one of those wide workout bands they make for men’s stomachs – she tightens it as she shrinks, and she says it keeps her belly from moving when she walks, which keeps it from pulling at the incision. Maybe that would help?

  6. Oh my gosh, that made me weak, I do not NOT want to watch, it’s on my top ten “holy snit- what if list”. I have an aunt that went into to labor so quick they couldn’t move her to the delivery room and she saw the whole birth reflected in a tv. I have,no joke, 19 aunts (my mom’s one of 13 and my dad one of three and all the men are married)so I’ve heard (WAY to many times) all sorts of delivery nightmares and horror stories. That was a tangent. I have my own blogs for these, but, ah, i’m already typing here.

  7. I didn’t watch my csection but the anesthesiologist took a lot of pictures. I have some where she is half in an half out. They are pretty cool to see now. I didn’t think the recovery was as bad as everyone said it would be. I went back to work after 10 days (we own a restaurant and we had a massive catering order with noone to help). I also pushed for 3 hours (with no progress) before the midwife decided I might need a c section.

  8. I am four weeks post c-section and still have considerable tenderness and pain in the incision area. Its also still bleeding and oozing from the right side. Totally not fun. My incision site is also completely numb in that area. I didn’t have any idea how long the recovery process would be!

  9. i had a c-section as well, and was pleasantly surprised to alsp find the recovery not *that* bad – just wondering if you had staples or an incision?

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