I’ve mentioned here and there that Carter’s delivery was a C-Section. C-Section is short for the medical terminology Cesarean Section/Cesarean Delivery. It’s a surgical procedure to deliver a baby through incisions in the abdomen and uterus. This type of childbirth delivery is necessary when vaginal birth is not possible. Reasons for a C-section could be due to the health of the mother, the size or position of the baby, mother is carrying more than one baby, baby’s health is in danger, or labor is not moving along as it should be.
In my case, I had to get a C-section because Carter was breeched at the time of the delivery. Which is crazy to think because during my entire pregnancy, Carter was head down haha. I was also a breech baby and had to be delivered via C-section. Did you know that the average number of C-sections in this country is about 32% of all childbirth delivery?
I know many people out there have opinions about how childbirth should be done. In my opinion, all births, whether via C-section or vaginal delivery, are equal and mothers should not be judged for the way they delivered their babies. As long as baby and mother is healthy, that’s all that matters.
Having a C-section birth is a major surgery. All your insides are taken out in order to deliver the baby. The recovery time and hospital stay is longer than compared to moms who delivered via vaginal birth. I stayed in the hospital for three days. That first day, I was not allowed to walk or get up from my hospital bed for 24 hours. So they did not remove the catheter until I was exactly 24 hours out from surgery. The first time I took my first step was hard. So I started small and only walked to the bathroom with assistance at first. As I got more conformable walking to the bathroom without assistance, I started doing a lap around the maternity floor.
Recovery took about 6 weeks and there are strict restriction such as no lifting. Let me tell you, trying to take a step back with a newborn is really hard. Newborns need a lot of attention and it’s hard to figure out when you should or should not do something especially when I can tell Carter needs me. So if you can, ask for extra help!
I could not wait until I received the green light from my OB/GYN that I can resume my usual physical activity. Not only that, I experienced the baby blues. If you experienced the baby blues too to be open about with your doctor. I told mine and they were so helpful, supportive, and provided me resources. It also flagged them to monitor for postpartum depression.
If there’s anything cancer had taught me, it is to be open with my healthcare provider about my mental state. I was able to receive the help I need and get in a better place mentally and physically.
C Section Recovery Essentials
This post is dedicated to recovery essentials the are specific to the needs of C-section mamas and hopefully help C-section mamas recover quickly. If you know ahead of time that you will be getting a c-section, this post will help you pack for your hospital bag and what you will need when you’re home.
Even if you are formula feeding (which I am), a nursing pillow such as the Boppy is extremely helpful during the recovery. Since you can’t lift, it may be difficult to carry or hold your baby. The nurse told me it is possible to hold your baby by placing the Boppy around my waist while sitting down and lay Carter on top of it. That way his weight is not all in my arms. I never thought to use it that way! Plus, the Boppy is multipurpose and you can use it a lounger or a tummy time pillow. Currently, Carter is using it as a way to hold himself up when he sits up.
C-section mamas also experience lochia and trust me you will use and only want to use mesh underwear / disposable underwear. I used the mesh underwear that the hospital provided and used the Fridababy Disposable Underwear when I was home. It’s nice that all I had to do throw them away when I was done using them.
Based on my conversations with other mamas I know who had a C-section, everyone’s incision was closed differently. For me, they used dissolvable stitches, and therefore did not bandaged my incision site. So it was nice that I wore disposable underwear over it and don’t have to worry about cleaning or ruining my underwear haha.
Another great underwear to wear is high-waisted underwear that are c-section friendly. I used the Kindred Bravely High Waisted Postpartum Underwear. It’s very soft, comfortable, and sits above your c-section line. They also designed this underwear to hold post surgery dressing or postpartum maternity pads.
Like I said before, C-section is a major surgery which means you will be in pain. Typically, you will be prescribed with pain meds and then you will switch over to over-the-counter pain relief. When you’re in pain, you can’t function and I believe pain management is very helpful in any surgical recovery.
Some hospitals will give you a belly binder to take home. I received one but I honestly had to switch to the the Belly Bandit one. It’s so much easier to put on and much more comfortable. I recommend getting your pre-pregnancy size. It’ll feel really snug especially at the beginning of your recovery. But as your body heals, it gets easier to put on.
The purpose of the belly binder is to pull your post-pregnancy tummy and help it feel secure. Right after birth, my tummy felt like jelly as if my organs are just shifting and jumping around whenever I move. So the Belly Bandit binder held everything together. I was told it is most helpful to wear your belly binder when you’re moving (versus sitting down). So I used mine whenever I would go on stroller walks.
Just like during pregnancy, you have to drink A LOT of water during postpartum recovery. You might not need to bring a water bottle to the hospital but it is handy to have one at home so you don’t have to constantly get up and get more water. I didn’t need a water bottle at the hospital because every time someone came to my room, they brought me a large cup of water for me.
Love using this water bottle because it kept my water cold. I’m not a fan of drinking warm water haha. Drinking lots of water also helps soften your stool. And believe me, you will be backed up haha.
Aside from drinking water, your body will need assistance from a stool softener. Like I said, you will be very backed up and that first poop is painful because your incision is still healing. Bowl movement is a sign that your body and its organs are healing and functioning well. This might be TMI, but I struggled with my first poop. And that first one was painful!
You really don’t want anything to rub against your incision. So I recommend wearing loose-fitting clothes. You either want something to sit above or below your incision. I personally prefer to wear a dress (haha surprise, surprise). It’s just much more comfortable and didn’t have to worry about where it sits on my incision as long as I’m wearing the proper underwear. I highly recommend the Hill House Nap Dress. This dress is breastfeeding friendly (it’s also great during pregnancy too), and I recommend sizing down. I wrote a full review of them here.
To help with your c-section scar, my OB recommended I used the CICA-Care Silicone Gel. I used it and saw a difference with the appearance of my scar. It will not make your scar disappear but it helps protect your scar and reduce the appearance. All you have to do it cut out the patch to match your scar’s size and place it over your incision site. Super easy to use and it is reusable.
Even though there are strict restrictions during recovery, you are allowed to walk. In fact, taking regular walks is encouraged. It helps with healing and you’ll be able to gain back your endurance. It’s also great way to add a cardio workout without too much pressure on your body. I personally loved taking walks because it is good for my mental health Something about getting out of the house and the fresh air helps so much! Carter and I did lots of stroller walks. I love to use these postpartum workout leggings. They’re engineered to support your tummy without losing its shape and doesn’t feel constricting. I usually wear my belly binder with it too during my walks.
Massaging your scar is very important. To help massage my scar, I used Coconut Oil or Bio-Oil. Massaging helps break up the fibers that surrounds the muscle. If you don’t break apart the fibers it can grow like spider webs and create adhesions to your muscle and organs and it can be painful. Massaging your c-section scar also helps reduce the appearance of the ‘C-Section shelf/C-Section pooch’.
All you need to do is rub the coconut oil or Bio-Oil over your incision site. Place your fingers 2-3 inches from your scar and start moving them in different direction. You only need to do this for 10 minutes. Remember to check with your doctor before you begin massaging your scar. Everyone heals differently!
Ask For Help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Having a newborn is already overwhelming and trying to heal from a major surgery at the same time is a lot to take on. Anyone that offers, take it! It will help so so so much and you will feel so much better. I feel so grateful that both Tre and I’s parents were able to come over and help.