When I found out I was having a c-section, I started to get advice from new moms who had already traveled down that road. I found that I was hearing the same things from everyone, but I didn’t truly grasp their meanings until after the fact. Here’s my take on frequent comments I heard before my c-section:
“During surgery, you won’t feel a thing!”
Not true. I actually felt a LOT during the surgery, but of course none of it was painful. It felt like the doctors were rooting around in my stomach for something they might have lost… a strange, bizarre yet painless feeling. You don’t have to experience the pain of the baby coming out, but you will feel a certain kind of activity during the process.
“Get sleep now, while you can!”
This is true, but not only because the baby is keeping you up. I found it very hard to sleep, because after nine months of side-sleeping, now you can essentially only lie on your back. I did not find this position to be preferable, and it was even harder to sit up from lying flat (which you will need to do many times a night in the beginning). So even though I tried to sleep while the baby slept, it didn’t work out so well for me.
“You will need help during the first few weeks.”
People say this to all new moms when they are about to give birth, and in my experience, it’s true. Mr. Markers was home with us for the first week and we would not have survived without him. While recovering from surgery, it’s extremely difficult to get up and down and change positions, making it hard to take care of a newborn on your own. And inevitably you will be in the middle of a nursing session and you will all of a sudden be DYING of thirst… it’s nice to have someone get that glass of water for you.
“Recovery will take longer.”
I’ve only given birth once, so I can’t compare my experience to anything else, but this one seems to be true. For the first two weeks, it was difficult to do anything that required using your stomach muscles. This included walking, getting up off the couch, bending over to pick up the baby and pretty much any other movement of any kind. Also (and this is important!), sneezing, coughing and laughing will hurt. A LOT. This was the one and only time I regretted having a husband that makes me laugh every day! It took about a month until I really started to feel normal again, without any real pain while moving around.
Now, at six weeks postpartum, I finally feel like myself again. After being able to fully reflect on the experience, I would say my one piece of advice is to talk to your doctor about what you want and what’s important to you before, during and after the surgery. Seriously – SPEAK UP. Be vocal about your desire to hold the baby as soon as possible, your breastfeeding preferences and any role your significant other wants to play in the process. If your doctor is the right doctor for you, they will accommodate as much as possible.
How was your c-section and recovery? Did you find it was harder or easier than you expected?