“The Day After a C-Section”
I had to have a c-section with Bean because he was breech and ginormous. Then, I had to have one again with Gracie because I’d had one with Bean so recently. I didn’t mind, really, except that there isn’t a whole lot of practical, useful information out there for c-section recovery that isn’t related to medical info. Your doctor will give you all kinds of recovery information for how to take care of yourself (none of which is pleasant, by the way…), but there are also some things you can do for yourself to make the day after your c-section much easier to handle.
1. Be careful which pajamas you bring. With Bean, I was afraid of anything touching my incision and so I went with a nightgown instead of comfy pants. Unfortunately, that meant whenever a nurse came in to check me (which is pretty often in those first few days), I basically had to lift my dress up over my head. Awkward and unnecessary. With Gracie, I went a different route and was much more comfortable. I wore comfy, lightweight pajama pants and cotton t-shirt. This kept me warmer in the cold hospital room, and was more comfortable for me to greet guests in. Just be sure you are aware of where the pants line hits your midsection. Try to buy pants that are up high on your waist so that you can pull the pants up over the incision.
2. Walk around a lot. Get up and get moving as soon as possible. My doctor told me this with my first c-section, but it was really painful and so I didn’t do it as much as was recommended. With Gracie, I don’t know if it was actually less painful or if I was just more prepared for the pain level, but I got myself up and moving bright and early the next morning and it made a huge difference in how I felt. It will be really painful at first, but if you can push through that, try to. It gets easier and it will make a world of difference in how quickly you recover from your surgery.
3. Use a nursing pillow. Not just for nursing, but for holding pressure on your incision when you laugh or sneeze. They are fitted perfectly around your midsection, so just press it up against you when you have to laugh or sneeze and it will really help relieve the pain of the incision site. You can also use these to help you hold your baby in that first day when you are really, really sore. I was really hard for me to hold either of my babies the day after because my midsection was so sore. I started using the nursing pillow to apply pressure to my midsection when I was really hurting, but I quickly realized that it was also helpful to use as a way to hold the baby. That way, I got to hold the babies without putting any strain on my body.
4. Bring your own toiletries from home and shower as soon as possible. It is unbelievable what difference a shower makes after surgery. Depending on your nurse, you will be given the green light to shower either the day after or two days after. I waited with Bean because they made showering sound like such a big deal that I was a little nervous. But with Gracie, I just wanted to be clean again and so I got up and showered the morning after (right before my walk, actually) and it was awesome. Follow your nurses instructions, and do it right away. Your body will thank you.
5. Bring alcohol wipes or ask your nurse for some. The iodine and medical stuff (how’s that for terminology?) they put on your before surgery stays on your body FOREVER! I swear sometimes I still think I see that orange tint on my belly! It’s so gross! Try using alcohol wipes to wash some of that off as soon as possible. The longer it stays on you the harder it is to get it off.
6. Get ye a belly wrap! These are somewhat on the pricey side, but totally worth it. A belly wrap is a giant fabric wrap that goes around your entire torso and is pulled tight. In traditional pregnancies, it is supposed to help get your stomach muscles back in place and tightened up quicker (can I get an AMEN?). But in c-section recovery, it serves a second purpose, too. That tight pressure form the wrap actually feels really great on your incision. It protects it and holds it still so that you aren’t constantly jostling around your stitches. I had my nurse help me put it on the day after my procedure and it really felt great. C-sections are a beast of their own. Their needs are slightly different than a traditional recovery, which is a beast of its own, too.
Be prepared with a few simple things that can make a world of difference!