What to Expect Post C-Section

This is my story.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting; What to Expect The First Year; What to Expect The Second Year; What to Expect…wait. Nope. There is no book on “What to Expect Post C-Section”. I mean, I’m sure there is, but let’s face it, it’s not on your list of books to read when you’re pregnant. Never mind the “What to expect when you fully dialate and push and need an emergency C-section”, as was the case with my delivery with Maxton. I was there! Pushing! Moments away from meeting my baby! Boy? Girl? It all changed when his heart rate spiked and the doctor informed us that he had become distressed, and was stuck because he was too big, so off to the OR we ran. THANK GOD he was delivered safely and once I was aware of what was going on, I finally got to meet my 11lb baby boy.

I honestly skipped over the C-section part of all of my books (so did Steve). I was so focused on how to allow my body to open like a “flower” I didn’t think much about it. (Despite the fact I was a big baby and delivered via C-section). I also didn’t want to put the idea out in the universe. (Go ahead and laugh.) In the end, it was the safest thing for myself and Maxton, and due to the tearing he caused my uterus, all future pregnancies would be delivered by C-section as well – which is why Miss Everly was a planned C-section. Do I feel cheated? Sort of. In the sense that my number of kids has to be limited because I must have a C-section every time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I want 5 kids, but still. I remember my OB giving me the “all clear” during my C-section with Everly, letting me know things looked good, and we could have a third if we wanted to. I felt so stupid lying there, wondering if she would say I could have another baby, when I had literally just had a baby seconds before.

Recently, a Mommy friend of mine had an emergency C-section with her third baby. She had two vaginal births in the past, so not only was this a shock, but a completely different post-partum experience. Unless you have had a C-section, there is no way to describe how difficult the recovery is. I understand some women can tear badly, which can be extremely difficult to recover from I’m sure, but I am talking about the whole “abdominal surgery” part of it. Her story really got me thinking about how I felt after Maxton was born, and how angry I felt as all the Moms bounced out of the hospital carrying their carseats, while Steve carried ours, and I shuffled along the wall. When I was pregnant with Everly, my sister-in-law told me she was running through a parking lot to the pharmacy the day after having her third. I almost cried realizing it would be weeks before I would be able to walk normally never mind running a simple errand alone.

It’s painful. You feel like your abdomen has been run over by a truck. Nursing is also painful because the slightest pressure on your abdomen is torture (imagine resting an 11lb baby on it minutes after). You can’t get out of bed to get your baby, you can’t bend over to change your baby, it takes 10 minutes to walk to the washroom only feet away from your bed, and getting out of the hospital bed and walking to the door to “move around” causes excruciating pain. You have no muscle strength to get momentum to sit up, and when you finally do, you want to lay back down from the pain.

The gas pains. Oh the gas pains. They were so much worse after having Everly. I was in tears as my sisters and Steve watched, feeling helpless. My stomach sounded as hallow as a drum when my OB tapped it. The only relief I was told would be moving around. Seriously? Pain + Pain = Pain.

I think it took me like 20 min to walk from my room down to the car, and Steve drove ever so slowly over each bump, to keep me from wincing.

Getting up off the couch, sitting on the couch, getting into bed, getting out of bed, walking, going up and down stairs, coughing, sneezing: pain. Every day it gets a little better, and after a while, everything feels “normal” or what you think normal is, and you forget, and want to do it again.

Recovery after Everly, was so much different. A friend told me I would “bounce back” faster the second time around. I am not sure that’s the case, rather, you feel like you NEED to. I remember my OB coming in the day after my C-section, and I asked her: “How long until I can pick up my 22 month-old son?” “Wait at least four weeks. If you feel pain at that point, wait two more.” How do you tell a 22 month-old you can’t pick him up when he looks up at you, arms stretched out saying “Mama pick ee up.” It broke my heart. Steve took some time off work, and my Mom took time off to help me. To take Maxton out of his crib, put him in it, put him in his booster, take him out of it, put him in his car seat, take him out of it. All of those simple every day tasks you take advantage of. It broke my heart.

The guilt consumed me for weeks. I felt like I was half the Mom I should have been to him during those weeks of recovery; but I know now, if I had rushed anything, it would have done more harm than good. My OB advised two weeks before driving; which I waited with Maxton, but I drove after a week with Everly. I needed to do something normal.

I had staples with Maxton, which I thankfully I didn’t have with Everly. They stung and pulled my skin, and because I chose to have my GP remove them and not my OB, he was over-cautious and they stayed in too long and started fusing to my skin, so they were basically ripped out. That was awful. With Everly, because the C-section was planned, my OB chooses not to use staples, so I was happy to avoid that extra pain this time around.

Every day, is a step on the road to recovery; but it takes great patience. In the end, having a healthy baby is so worth it, but no one tells you just how hard it is after having a C-section. Emotionally everything is a whirl wind, your life completely changes, and you struggle to be the best Mom you can be, while trying to recover from major surgery. Never carry anything heavier than the weight of your baby (which I laughed about when I carried my 11lb newborn around), move around – but not too much, rest, keep your incision clean, don’t lift anything to avoid the risk of tearing your incision. GAH!

There is no “easy” way to have a baby. Every baby is a blessing and a miracle, and it wouldn’t be as special without all the bumps (pardon the pun) along the way. However, to all those Mama’s out there (like my own) who only had or will only have C-sections, I admire you all for doing it more than once; because the older you get and the more kids you have at home, the harder it is emotionally and physically to recover from. Power to all the Mama’s out there.

Maxton and Everly, I would do it a million times over, for each of you. xo

 

Mommy Guilt

When I finished work, I decided I would keep Maxton in daycare to keep his routine the same, and to allow me time to get things done in preparation for the baby. A part of me felt awful for sending him to daycare while I was home, but at the same time I know he loves going and playing with his little friends.

Last week daycare was closed Friday and Monday so Maxton had a “long weekend”. When I went to bring him back on Tuesday, he lost it. He clung to me and cried “Mama”. Being as hormonal as I am, I started to break down and tried to pump up daycare and how much fun he would have. I ended up passing him over to my daycare provider and ran out the door crying and feeling like THE WORST MOTHER IN THE WORLD. Within two minutes, my daycare provider texted me saying he was completely fine and eating a snack. He had an awesome day and was fine the rest of the week.

I hated the feeling of guilt I had keeping him in daycare while I was home; but I know it was important for me to rest before the baby came, and to keep his routine the same. We are going to keep him in daycare full-time until the end of September, to allow me time to recover, and then just two days a week to keep him used to the environment and routine, for when I go back to work.

Daycare aside, Maxton totally knows something is up. He has been tantruming more the last few days (I know it’s an age thing), and is much more clingy. For the past two days he cries hysterically when we try to put him down for his nap or to bed. This kid is smart. I know he will be okay for my Mom and sisters, I just can’t believe how=in-tune he is, and how he is picking up on the change that is about to come.

I feel so sad and heartbroken that I have to leave him for a couple of days, and hope he really doesn’t notice my absence too much. I know that giving him a sibling is one of the greatest things I could do for him, so I just have to keep thinking about that.

Maxton, you will always be my baby boy, and Mama loves you so very much.

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xo

38 Weeks: The Countdown

Well we are down to counting down the days, folks. This will be my last update for this pregnancy – bitter-sweet. Sometime between now and 40 weeks (August 6) my baby will be born. I am hoping this babe stays in until C-section day, but it’s ultimately up to him/her.

I can’t believe how quickly this pregnancy has gone by. Granted I have a toddler to keep me very busy (who will be 23 months tomorrow).

The end of the pregnancy has definitely been harder this time around. Not as much resting or relaxing, and a lot more “running around”. Picking up/carrying a 30lb toddler at 9+ months pregnant is…interesting. I cannot begin to describe the pressure I feel this time around, that I NEVER felt while pregnant with Maxton. Some days I feel like I should have my hand ready to catch a baby…sorry for the tmi. Ha-ha.

I am starting to feel A LOT of “mom guilt” with Maxton these days. I have been working on a post to share more on that, but it is taking some time to put my thoughts into words.

It’s hard to believe that very very soon, I will be holding my second child in my arms, and introducing him/her to his/her big brother, Maxton. I cannot wait for that moment. I packed a lot of tissue in my hospital bag! Although Maxton won’t really understand what it means to have a baby brother/sister, Steve and I will cherish the moment they meet for the rest of our lives, as we watch them grow up together in the years to come.

Physically we are ready for the baby, just some last-minute cleaning and shopping (groceries etc.) to do. Mentally? Can I really be ready? I am so excited to meet this little person who has been growing inside of me for the past 38 weeks, and am so anxious to find out if it’s a boy or a girl. I am still thinking girl at this point – I actually had a dream the other night that the baby was a girl, born at 10lbs 2oz. We shall see how accurate that dream was – my OB seems to think that is a great guess for the weight and also said she believes something can be said for “mother’s intuition”. I thought Maxton was a boy, we’ll see if I have any intuition left. I am still measuring big, of course, this week I was measuring 40 weeks, which is where I was with Maxton at this point.

So, here I am at 38 weeks pregnant:

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We will take one more photo, before we leave the house to go to the hospital – I will share that photo with you after the baby is born.

It’s going to be hard to be away from my little boy for a couple of days, but I am looking forward to bonding with this little one.

Here is to a safe delivery for me and the baby.

2 weeks to go (but really it’s less…)!

Extreme Heat Wave

So, here I am at 37 weeks pregnant, full-term (YAY!) and it’s ridiculously hot. Like, stay inside all day with the blinds drawn, hot.

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That’s the temperature, without the humidity. Gross.

I forgot how much hotter it is when you’re pregnant in the middle of the summer. Maxton was born August 24, so I have been through this before. As hot as it can be, it’s fun having summer babies.

I can’t say I will be spending much time outdoors with the way the temperatures have been the past few days. Lots of air conditioning, ice cream and cool drinks for this pregnant Mama. I can’t say Steve or Maxton are complaining about the increased amount of ice cream we have been consuming…

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Not much longer now…