This is not one of those, “I wish someone had told me I didn’t really need the diaper genie,” kind of post. This is more like, “I wish someone had told me I would feel gas pains that felt like knives slashing my insides,” kind of post. So, fair warning. I feel like it’s my duty to share so other new moms can know what to really expect. Also, I had to have a C-Section so most of my points will have to do with the c-section process and recovery.
#1. Being Prepared for a C-Section
We took the birthing classes and like all first time moms, I assumed I would deliver vaginally. They touched on it a bit about if you had to have a c-section this is what happens, etc. But, HELLO, I’m a woman that needs as many details as possible so I can mentally prep and prepare for all the possible scenarios.
Here’s what I need new moms like me to know:
- Prepping for surgery, you will get asked very strange questions.“Do you have any loose teeth?” “Open your mouth as wide as you can for me.” “Drink this anti acid stuff,” take it down like a shot, trust me. You will be sitting there thinking WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH GETTING A BABY OUT OF MY BELLY!? (I don’t operate very well when I’m scared.) All of the questions have a reason, just go with it and don’t ask the poor anesthesiologist a million questions trying to buy yourself some time, there’s no use babe. It all moves pretty fast. You will see several different people in a short time span and they will all be talking to you about what’s about to happen and/or doing something to you like checking your IV, blood pressure, etc. Keep your cool, you’re about to be a mom, now is not the time to lose your mind. Have a really good cry if you need to then take some deep breaths and get ready to meet one of the most important people in your life.
- Alright, DURING the actual surgery... you will feel every emotion in your bank. You’re laying there cut open and a nurse keeps pushing on your stomach while the doctors are talking about the vacation they just got back from. While my husband was talking about where his accent was from (he’s British), I was deep into an internal pep talk. It’s scary, but quick. I stared at the IV drip the entire time until they showed me my baby. They transfer you off the table to a bed, remove your epidural and away you go.
- AFTER surgery, you go into a recovery room for two hours. They monitor you and the baby and make sure all is well. They will continue to push on your stomach periodically which will feel so wrong to you but doesn’t hurt because you’re still very numb. Did you know air can get trapped in your body after you have a surgery? It can, and it did and that’s all I could talk about. It was like a stabbing pain in my shoulder and I needed it gone asap. They gave me pain meds and within 15 mins it was gone. You will more than likely be VERY thirsty, ask for ice chips (that’s all you can have) and know that water is coming soon. I was exhausted and ready to get back to our room to show our family how cute our baby was.
- THAT NIGHT they check on you and baby a lot. They will come in what seems like every 10 minutes to take vitals and bring you meds, water, etc. They also take your catheter out and tell you it’s ok to get up when you need to potty. Ummm, what? Yes, they want you to get up. No, your insides will not fall out even though you’re pretty sure they will and you will even tell the nurses that, they will laugh, you will not. Good times. You’re still numb so not in too much pain. You still have a big belly and all of a sudden you’re very aware of your boobs.
- Let people help you. You will need help going to the bathroom, taking a shower, getting in and out of bed, etc. This is not the time to be a rockstar, you need to heal, boo. You and your partner will get real close, quick. My husband had to help me pull up my mesh underwear and I just knew that was the end of our romantic life. Calm down babe, they just want to help you in any way they can, LET THEM.
- When you get home, try to rest when you can. Hold a pillow over your incision if you have to cough or laugh. Take it slow, the recovery is challenging but you can do it. Take your pain meds regularly and drink plenty of water. You will more than likely be constipated from the surgery and the pain meds, there are several different things you can take for this, I drank magnesium citrate water and it helped me a ton. You can get this at any drugstore. Stay ahead of this, thank me later.
Every new mom will have a different situation when it comes to breastfeeding. To the point, go see the lactation specialists. See them while you’re in the hospital and after you leave if you need to. They will help you with whatever problem you’re having. DO NOT sit there and be worried or in pain for no reason. You will more than likely have knots in your breasts, especially in the beginning. Those things will take you down if you’re not careful. Learn how to massage those out and find relief. If you let it go, it could turn into Mastitis and that’s no bueno. Take action and save yourself the heartache. If you choose to not breastfeed, that really is ok. Some new mamas won’t feel like it’s ok, but it really is. A fed baby is a happy baby.
#3 What The Hell Do I Do Now?
I had no idea what I was doing. I’ve never changed a diaper in my life and I certainly wasn’t prepared for baby gas. I had all the baby gear, all the nursing stuff but didn’t have a clue how to console my crying baby. THIS IS ALL NORMAL. I repeat, THIS IS ALLLLLLLLL NORMAL. You’re not the weird one out. You’re not stupid. Now, to be fair, people told me this while I was pregnant, but lord knows, you don’t listen to people. It was only after I got through the first 3 months that I understood. Here’s what I did and what I continue to do today (thanks, Mom!): I mark off a checklist in my head. Diaper clean? Cold/hot? Hungry? Gassy? If I know that I’ve checked the big things I can pretty much narrow it down to being sleepy or sometimes just down right fussy because they can. You will learn what your pumpkin needs and even what their different cries mean. It will all come with time. Give yourself a break and take a breath. The days are long but the months are short.
Again, hormones are talked about pretty regularly. But what do we do? We think “oh that won’t be me, I can control myself, I handle PMS so well.” Wrong, honey bunny. Those hormones come RACING in and you will lose your sh*t. I wasn’t prepared for this at all. I cried about pretty much everything. I didn’t think I was producing enough milk, I never wanted my Mom to leave my side, I was sure my husband was going to leave me, I was exhausted and kept asking myself what the hell have I just done to my life? You are in love with your new creation but you’re also so overwhelmed with everything or at least, I was. Hormones are real. Know that they are normal and you will find a balance soon.
#5 Recovery Gear
If you have a C-Section, you will need some things to make life easier for you while you recover. Prior to me going into labor, Mom and I made “Padsicles.” Ive heard these are lifesavers while recovering from a vaginal birth, click below for instructions. Also, the website where I got this idea from has lots of helpful information regarding pregnancy and recovery.
Here’s what I used while recovering:
- High Waisted Underwear-you’re going to want something that makes you feel secure and protected. I ordered these off Amazon and loved them. They’re only one pair per order so I got some other cheaper ones to try as well.
- Recovery Belt– again with the secure and protected thing, this belt lets you move around while squeezing everything back into place.
- Nursing Bras– I still wear these today. They are WONDERFUL. Comfy and efficient. Please ignore the model with the 6 pack #eyeroll.
- If you get tired of wearing the clippy bras day in and out, try these for sleeping to give the girls a break. Again, please ignore the 18 year old model #eyeroll, #getoutofhere.
I hope my rambling has helped. New Mamas need all the support, tips and tricks we can get. We need constant reminding that we’re ok and we’re going to get through the tough times. Reach out and ask other Moms questions. Do what you need to do to stay sane. We know you’re thankful for this experience, but it can be hard as hell. It’s ok, you’re doing great.