The c-section survival guide

Some pointers down to help get through it.

The c-section survival guide

Hello, 2013. Hello new baby, child number 3, little bundle of adorableness. And hello pain, aches, and soreness. Yes, I’ve just had my second c-section, and it’s hurting. So in the interest of helping my fellow mums to be out there, who may or may not have been here already, I thought I’d get some pointers down to help get through it.

Unless you’re having a planned c-section, as I was, a section is unexpected and mostly unwanted – in an ideal world, we’d all lie in a birthing pool listening to Enya, pop out a perfect little bubby with ease, maybe with a little gas and air if we’re less hardcore. Real life ain’t like that, as we all know, and some of us will end up under the surgeon’s knife. According to NHS figures, 15% of women end up having an emergency one while 10% women have planned. I chose to go this way, after a full praevia with child 2 and a complicated forceps delivery for child 1, so for me the surgery was the preferable option. But what I didn’t realise was that it takes longer to heal from section number 2, and hurts more, so by the second day in hospital I was having a sobbing melt down over nothing at all, as I failed to hit my own high expectations for recovery.

So here is the most important thing of all: go easy on yourself after a section. It’s major surgery, and you can’t hop out of bed and get on with life within 24 hours.

Next, and I actually wrote this bit while on morphine, on the day I gave birth, on hubby’s Kindle (See? Unreal high expectations of myself – I thought I could actually write a blog entry 7 hours after giving birth. I couldn’t.) grab anything coming your way to keep the pain at bay. If you let the pain catch up with you, emotionally you feel 10 times worse. Stay a step ahead of the pain, take arnica. I swear it works – I’ve had the little homeopathic pillules with both sections and I genuinely feel they have helped the healing process. They’re so easy to take: little tiny balls that you simply chew up to 6 times a day for the first 24 hours. As an infamous supermarket says – every little helps.

And lastly on the drug theme, take lactulose – because believe me; it’s not just after a natural birth that going to the toilet is terrifying! Right, now on to the practical things: face wipes, baby wipes, and anything else you can think of to get yourself clean whilst not having the use of your legs. There’s nothing like a face clean, moisturiser, then a nice full face of makeup to feel that you can take on the world! A lovely woman I know was in for her section the day after me, and when I waddled John Wayne-style round to see her after, she looked amazing – she’d redone her hair and put on lashings of mascara. And why not? There are very few other ways to glam it up in an NHS hospital gown with no back to it, a catheter between your legs and a pile of maternity pads on your bedside table…

Next: let people do things for you. I’ve been told I’m hard to help – and I don’t think it’s a compliment. I find it hard to let go, but I had to, and when I was graceful about it I felt so much better. Let the midwives change that meconium nappy while you can’t feel your legs, let alone stand up. Let visitors fetch you endless cups of tea. Let people bring you lunch on a tray. Surrender to it, because it won’t be long before you’re back in the thick it, doing everything for everyone else. It’s your turn – for 48 hours, at least.

And finally: MASSIVE knickers. Do not underestimate how sore your tummy is after a section. Eye wateringly sore. After all, there’s been an awful lot of rummaging around in it. Possibly by more than one pair of hands. Nothing less than waist-high knickers will do. You don’t want any form of elastic across that quivering mound of jelly that is almost unrecognisable what is left of your post-pregnancy belly.

So that just about covers it, I reckon. Take the drugs, wear lashings of mascara, and make people fetch you tea. Absolute heaven, when you look at it that way.

Written by our guest blogger Treading Water Mum.