Having a caesarean section is never an easy option. Some opinions wouldn’t agree, but having major abdominal surgery to safely deliver a healthy baby is too often the only option.
Although I was induced and tried for many, many hours to have a vaginal birth; it still resulted in an emergency caesarean. My first daughter was born small but safe. I went on to have a further four, with a mixture of electives and an emergency. No two were the same, but each gave me a baby.
Here are a few things which helped me during the recovery.
My final caesarean I was also sterilised, so my abdomen was a lot more sensitive than my other babies’.
I played Suitcase Tetris so many times, in the months (yes I said months!) leading up to the caesarean dates; if I am honest I still packed too much!
I don’t need to tell you the obvious for you and baby – so here are maybe some of the less obvious ones.
- Straws (non-plastic of course). It isn’t the easiest to move after the operation so; to manage a drink isn’t easy either. But you really do need to keep your fluids up.
- Flip-flops (or Slides). Footwear that is waterproof, easy to get on so you can wear them in the shower; hospital showers aren’t always the nicest under foot – but also you lose a lot of fluid too.
- I was always offered tea and toast once back in recovery (why is that always one of the best meals you ever get?!). Pack something healthy and naughty to nibble on in the middle of the night.
- Coffee sachets. You can often get your favourite coffee made up in individual sachets.
- Maternity Pads, the hospital do supply some, but they’re often not as nice as the ones you get from the shops. There’s also the option of postpartum cloth sanitary towels too, which are even more comfortable.
- Dry Shampoo. The hospital gets very hot and sticky, and while waiting for your anaesthetic to wear off the spray can make you feel a little more human.
You can request skin to skin with your new baby, it wasn’t until my 5th baby that I knew this could be done, if you have the screens it isn’t the most comfortable of positions, but it can be done, and so wonderfully beneficial to both you and baby.
Cord Clamping, again this wasn’t something which was done until my 5th baby, but I have a wonderful photo of my daughter sprawled out on my legs, while still being connected; I won’t show as she is completely naked, legs and arms stretched out completely brand new!
Photos, there is most likely someone available to take photos of the birth if your partner isn’t comfortable, or if you would rather your partner be next to you. My very first baby a health care professional took photos of the whole birth, right to when she was born. My last baby as I mentioned before I have a photo of her chilling out waiting for her cord to stop.
Also be prepared if your baby is born in a rush, or unexpectedly poorly, there may not be an opportunity for photos; rest assured should you be separated there will (hopefully) be other opportunities.
You don’t have to have visitors; you are well within your rights to say no. If is incredibly overwhelming having this tiny new human to look after without out queues of visitors. Of course, they’re excited and happy for you; but (providing baby is healthy and coming home) they really do have plenty of time to meet baby. The bed spaces aren’t big either, so can feel claustrophobic too.
Have a towel or muslin cloth handy to hold across your stomach while coughing or laughing, this helps with the pain giving a little support to your new stitches. Try and move as much as you can to relieve any stiffness.
Going home; I was incredibly lucky to go home 24 hours after delivery with three of my babies. To be honest our youngest two we made sure this request was taken care of due to anxieties of being in the hospital. Make sure you do rest when you go home; take one day at a time. Remember to take regular pain medication, there are no prizes or point scoring if you do or don’t accept the pain medication.
Ask for help; accept offers of cooked meals, or babysitting any other children. Not all Dads can get the time off after, or at least not long enough when it comes to recovery.
Enjoy being waited on if you are able to. Enjoy your newborn. If you have to turn away extra visitors due to hormones, or feeding or just simply wanting time alone to adjust; have no guilt in doing so. If and when you do have visitors, let them make the tea!
Settling in with a new baby can be hard work without the added surgical pain; take your own time.
Congratulations on your new baby!