Happy Wednesday friends! If you are just joining the Losing The Baby Weight series welcome! Every Wednesday for the next several weeks I will be posting on this topic.
Here are the topics for the next 4 weeks:
Wednesday, June 12: Pregnancy & Exercise
Wednesday, June 19: What To Expect After You Deliver
Wednesday, June 26: The First Six Weeks
Wednesday, July 3: Nutrition
This week I wanted to be sure to include information on vaginal deliveries and c-sections and what you could expect after each. Since I have no experience with c-sections my friend Jess, from Jason, Me, and Baby T, and I have teamed up to write this weeks post. Yay! I promise that Jess and I have not spared a detail or picture from this post. You are going to get everything. Are you ready? Without anymore introduction here it is…
Caden’s birth was profoundly amazing and life changing. My water broke, I labored unmedicated for 16 hours , had a small tear, and pushed for a total of 6 minutes. Want to read more about my birth story? Click HERE.
After Caden was born and I had a chance to snuggle him, he was handed off to the nurse to get cleaned up. Warm blankets were placed over my shivering body as my amazing doctor proceeded to stitch me up. Another nurse came over and massaged my swollen belly to stimulate my uterus to contract and assists in the release of excess fluid, blood, and of course the placenta. As she massaged my belly I imagined it reducing in size as I studied the hospital menu. I was so hungry and was looking forward to my first meal in 24 hours.
To be honest I thought as soon as Caden was born my stomach would just deflate back down instantaneously. I was in for a rude awakening.
Why Did I Still Look Pregnant?
My stomach did not magically deflate. After pushing out my 6 pound baby and delivering the placenta I imagined that there would be nothing left to make me look pregnant. I laugh at myself now. My uterus had been growing a person for the last 9 months, so naturally it was going to remain swollen even after delivery. I am sharing this next picture so other first time mama’s can know what to expect.
This is me 48 hours after Caden’s birth. I promise the swelling does go down, but it takes a few weeks. More on this next week.
Going To The Bathroom
The first time I went to the bathroom shortly after delivery I felt like my insides were going to fall out into the toilet. I was so afraid to contract any of my muscles that it took forever. Thank goodness for an amazing food selection and laxatives.
Trying to poop was a nightmare! Seriously, a nightmare. I can not even begin to explain the anxiety I had when trying to have a bowel movement. I felt like any kind of pushing directed in that region of my body would split my stitches open. Peeing was no walk in the park either. My skin was already irritated and raw leaving me wincing each time I needed to go to the bathroom.
My advice: take the laxatives when they are offered and order prunes with every meal. It will make going to the bathroom slightly easier. Do not wipe yourself with toilet paper. There will be a wash bottle in the bathroom that you can fill with warm water to rinse yourself. The wash bottle is amazing!
A sitz bath may be created simply by filling a bathtub with some water and sitting in it for a few minutes. There are also special devices that fit into toilet bowls. It is used to relieve discomfort and pain in the lower part of the body.
For some reason my nurse was not a fan of sitz baths and while she was amazing, I should have followed my doctors advice and done several of these before I left the hospital. Showering with warm water will leave you feeling amazing and clean but it does not have the same healing benefits as a sitz bath. Do these often if you have hemorrhoids or stitches.
Hemorrhoids, Tearing, & Stitches (oh my)
I have always been super fascinated by the human body so of course after Caden was born I wanted to take a peek to see my stitches. Ladies, I am not sure why I did this. I beg you. Resist the urge to look down there. It is not pretty. I was beyond traumatized. I feared I would remain in the gauze panties the hospital had put me in for the remainder of my life. That being said, stock up on those gauze panties for when you leave the hospital. Ask for extra’s so you can take them home with you.
Along with the granny panties provided by the hospital I used several witch hazel pads topped with medicated foam and ointment to soothe my stitched skin and hemorrhoids. All of this and more will be provided to you by the hospital.
Vaginal Soreness & Discharge
I did not have any clue how sore I would be after pushing out a baby. I was so sore. It was the best and hardest workout of my life. I took Advil every 4 hours for the first 48 hours after Caden was born. It helped that I had a nurse handing them to me with a cup of water while I was in the hospital. Staying on top of the pain is so important. It will be easy to forget to take your medicine once you are home and settling into your new routine.
Ice packs, chilled witch hazel pads, sitz baths, and wash bottles are all wonderful ways to ease the discomfort after a vaginal delivery. I used all of these natural remedies and highly recommend them.
As awkward as wearing a big bulky pad is, they are necessary immediately after giving birth. Your body will be removing excess fluid and blood that is no longer needed. My bleeding continued for several weeks after Caden was born. Drink plenty of water during this time. It is important to stay hydrated. I was super thirsty and felt like I could not get enough water.
Ok, this one may just be me and probably has nothing to do with a vaginal delivery. I am slightly embarrassed to even write this, but….I had horrible body odor after Caden was born. I mean awful. Showering and deodorant would barely make a dent. I imagine it has to do with the hormones that are being released and the increased rate at which a mama’s metabolism is working but yikes! I would love to hear if you noticed this too. It could also be I that am extra smelly but I would love to believe this has happened to others.
Weight Loss After Delivery
So here it is, the big question! How much weight did I lose after delivery? I actually didn’t weigh myself for a week. But when I did was shocked to find out I had lost 15 pounds and was only 5 lbs away from my pre-preganacy weight. Check back next week as I highlight the first six weeks after my delivery.
Now I am handing it over to Jess! You are all in for a treat. This sweet girl is sharing all of the details about her c-section recovery with you. I learned so much by reading this and I am so grateful to have become friends with this other fit mama.
I have to start by saying how excited I am to be guest-posting on The Workout Mama! I’ve been following Tamara for a while now and always enjoy her insightful posts, fitness tips and motivating words. Oh, and who can forget the pictures of her sweet little boy! I’m sure I also speak for others when I say what a huge inspiration she is in so many ways!
I had my first baby a year ago this month and am going to share my c-section experience with you. Before delivering, I had read up on all sorts of labor scenarios but I never came across much detailed information on what exactly to expect DURING a c-section, or how I could expect to feel afterward. It seemed like everyone who had a great experience just said, “Oh, it wasn’t bad at all!” while anyone with a c-section horror story was eager to share every frightening detail. It left me scared about things that could go wrong but most likely wouldn’t and wondering about the details of what a good surgery and recovery was like. I hope that sharing my experience gives some mama’s-to-be a little more peace of mind about the whole process, should they end up in a similar situation.
I quite possibly had the easiest and most enjoyable pregnancy in the history of all pregnancies (please, don’t hate me!) and a labor that started off and progressed really well. Nobody, myself and the doctors and nurses included, expected me to end up needing a c-section. You can read my full, detailed birth story HERE, but long story short, I was wheeled to the OR for an emergency c-section about 11 hours after being admitted to L&D.
My contractions had been coming fast and furious when I arrived to the hospital 3-4 cm dilated, but as the night went on, they started to fizzle out and lose intensity. I did end up fully dilated, but Sadie wasn’t able to drop down. Turns out she was stuck and in a posterior (face up) position, so a vaginal delivery just wasn’t in the cards for us. Looking back, I’m actually very thankful for the c-section because I know how difficult the delivery can be when the baby is “sunny side up” and the surgery allowed her to be born safely.
Cramping Through My Shoulders & Chest
After Sadie was born and the doctor began working to close me up, the anesthesiologist warned me that I would probably have some residual pain/cramping across my shoulders and chest as my uterus was manipulated and stitched up. Totally weird, right? Well, right he was because I experienced exactly what he described. Again, you can refer to my birth story that’s linked above for the full details on this, just know that it is possibly something you could experience. I had never heard or read about it before, so I was surprised!
As we headed to our post partum room, I begin to shiver and shake uncontrollably. Not like “Oh, it’s a little chilly in here!” but rather my upper body was full out convulsing and super tense. This is also a fairly common reaction from the epidural and meds. I’ve heard of some woman experiencing the shivering soon after it’s administered, but I was totally fine for the 11 or so hours that I had mine and didn’t experience that side effect until a few minutes after surgery.
I was asked if I wanted to try breastfeeding, and although I was doubtful we would have any success because I just couldn’t keep my arms still, I wanted to give it a shot. As soon as my baby was placed back in my arms, the shaking immediately subsided. It was one of the most amazing things I have every experienced! Sadie latched right on and we were off to a great start with nursing within that first hour of her being born.
Several Hours of Bed Rest
Once we were settled into our room around 8:00am, I had to stay in bed the rest of the day. Not that I really minded all that much. I was soooo tired from having been awake about 30 hours and obviously I had just been through a pretty major surgery! I did lots of snuggling and breastfeeding with my sweet girl, her daddy took care of all of the diaper changes and we tried to rest in between people popping in to say congrats. My Foley catheter was removed (thank-you-so-much!) but my IV remained in place. My nurse came in later that night to remove my IV and help get me get up to use the restroom.
Getting Up For The First Time
I honestly wasn’t in any major pain during the recovery process because I stayed on top of my meds (more on that in a bit), but getting up out of bed that first time took some major effort! I needed the help of my husband and nurse to support my back/shoulders in getting me sitting fully upright and to swing my legs over and off the side of the bed. Again, I wasn’t in pain, it was just very difficult to move.
I felt a lot of tightness and sort of a pulling sensation through my abdomen. The nurse held on to me as a baby-stepped/shuffled my way to the restroom and I did ok as long as I kept myself sort of bent forward, if that makes sense. There was definitely no way that I could stand up straight. It makes you realize just how much you use your core without even thinking about it! Walking, sitting up, reaching for things, etc and all of those actions that are normally effortless suddenly take some concentration! That first time getting up was definitely the toughest, but it really wasn’t all that bad. After that, I was able to do it with just a little bit of assistance.
Despite being starving, I was only given foods like broth, jello, etc. until later in the day to be sure everything was back up and running as it should be. Expect your nurse to ask you several times if you are passing gas and/or had a bowel movement. I was good in the gas department (sorry folks, just trying to keep it real here!) but it was actually almost a week until I had my first post-delivery poop! Turns out that the combination of the surgery and pain meds usually results in things getting backed up. Take stool softeners and/or whatever your doctor recommends until things are back to normal.
When I came out of surgery, I had some gauze lightly taped over the incision area which my nurse removed a few hours later. After that I just had steri strips over the incision…no stitches or staples. I was instructed to just leave them in place until they started to loosen up on their own. After about 4-5 days I was able to pull the last ones off.
I was able to take normal showers, I just had to take care to make sure water and soap didn’t directly hit the incision. Instead, to clean the area, I just let soap and water run down over it. They told me to use a clean, fresh towel to gently pat the area dry after showers.
You won’t be able to wear anything low rise, including undies, for the first few weeks. Yes, that’s right, get ready to rock the granny panties for a little while! I was back in my pre-pregnancy jeans by my 2 week checkup with my OB, but those and my normal low-rise underwear still bothered me a bit when I would sit down.
Speaking of check-ups, my doctor came to see me and check my incision right before I was discharged and then had me go in for a checkup at 2 weeks and 8 weeks post delivery. Each visit was short and sweet since I was healing really well. He just took a look at the incision site each time and we discussed birth control options at the 8 week mark.
Get Up & Start Walking ASAP
This is important! My nurse encouraged me to start walking the halls the following morning, so about 24 hours after the surgery. Even though I totally didn’t feel like doing it, I listened. A lot of it was just that I was still super tired, and a little bit because it took some effort to get around. We put Sadie in her rolling bassinet and I sort of leaned on that for a little bit of support and we began making our laps. I would go in spurts of maybe 15-20 minutes at a time, a few times a day. By our last day there (she was born Friday morning and we were discharged Monday afternoon), we were cruising those hallways like a boss….and by “cruising” I mean we were walking at a grandma pace, but I was able to do it pretty easily and enjoyed being up! Making myself get up and walk as soon as I was cleared to do so definitely helped me feel a lot better and jump started my recovery. I think it also really helped to ease that feeling of tightness/pulling in my abdomen that I described earlier.
Stay On Top Of Your Pain Medication
Your doctor will likely prescribe you a few different things. I am not the type who likes to take medicine of any kind, but I had been given the advice to take what I was prescribed and at the suggest times, and that’s what I did. Let me tell you, I needed it. Especially that first week or so!
Rather than waiting to “see” if I needed it, I just went ahead and took them at their scheduled times. My nurses were great at coming around to give them to me while I was in the hospital and once we were home, my husband helped me stay on top of it.
I recommend having your spouse or someone else help you keep track of when you’re due for it because time is bound to get away from you as you adjust to home life with your new little one! There were a few times in those first couple days that I forgot and went a good 30-45 minutes past when I would have normally taken a dose…and every single time it dawned on me that I missed it because I was barely able to get around. I wasn’t in horrible pain, mind you….I just caught myself walking around half bent over or wouldn’t be able to get in bed by myself. That really tight/stiff feeling would be back in full force and any kind of movement would remind me of it. As long as I stayed on top of everything and took it easy, I was able to get around the house pretty well and didn’t have any major discomfort.
Go Easy On Yourself
Remember that you just had a pretty major surgery and that your body needs time to recover from. You hear over and over about how you should sleep when the baby sleeps, not worry about housework, cooking, etc and this is especially true after a c-section! Let your body rest and heal. This is a selfie I took 24 hours after my c-section.
While I don’t have anything else to compare my delivery to since it was my first go-round, overall I consider it to be a good experience. There were definitely a few unpleasant aspects but overall, it is one that I wouldn’t mind going through again. Looking back over the whole picture….the time I actually spent in labor, the c-section surgery itself and the recovery process, if I had to pick what the worst/most unpleasant parts were, they would be the shoulder cramping I experienced as my doctor worked to close me up and the shivering that hit me a few minutes after the surgery. Both were probably exacerbated by the fact that I was eager to hold my baby and just be settled into our room and resting, but nevertheless, they were unpleasant.
One other thing that I stopped to take notice of was the way that my husband bonded with our daughter during that first day of her life. The get-up-and-go part of me wanted to be up out of bed changing those first diapers and walking around holding our little girl, but instead I had to stay in bed and rest. I spent so much time snuggling her in my hospital bed and breastfeeding, but it was up to her daddy to do the rest. I remember sitting in my bed and tearing up as I watched his face light up while he changed her first diaper, the way he would change her clothes so carefully and the mad swaddling skills that he seemed to be born with. (Who knew!) Watching him take care of his baby girl like that just made my heart overflow with love for both of them, not to mention the way he was so attentive to anything and everything I needed. Had I not been cooped up in bed that first day, I might not have noticed all of those small little details like I did, but they will forever be ingrained in my mind and heart…and in my book, that counts as a blessing.
If you have any questions, or would like to hear more about any aspect of about our labor/delivery/recovery, please feel free to ask! You can find a lot more details in both of our birth story posts, but we are more than happy to answer anything that might still be unclear or help ease your mind if you have any specific worries or concerns. No question or concern is silly if it helps you go into your delivery feeling more relaxed and prepared!