After posting just a bit of my own experiences with the ups and downs (and the really downs of living beside the potty) of my own pregnancies, I thought I'd follow that up with my experiences with those post partum days.
When I was pregnant, I honestly gave very little thought to how I would feel post-delivery. I worried constantly about the actual delivery, about breastfeeding, and about keeping a 7 pound ball of mush alive with only my husband here to help. Those things were so consuming to me that it just didn't seem like it would be that big of a deal recovering from childbirth. Enter - surprise C-Section!
I think most people can sort of imagine what it would feel like to have a C-Section... I mean, how pleasant can it really be to have your stomach cut open and a human being pulled out of it? The aftermath is expected to be at least a bit painful. But, what about those crazy things that you had no clue you would experience after having a baby? Let's talk about what to expect AFTER expecting.
Though my experiences were all C-Sections, having never tried for a VBAC (vagainal birth after Csection), I can assure you that a lot of the post-pregnancy symptoms I experienced will ring true no matter how the baby made its way from womb to arms.
Day 1 - Delivery Day
Immediately following the birth of my babies, I got to see them, snuggle them, kiss them, rub their heads.. cry at the sight of them - all from the operating table. I was so busy meeting my little ones that I didn't even care what was going on down on the other end. I kept pushing the thoughts of them shoving everything back in and sewing my body back together out of my mind. I mean.... gross.
Hours later I had gotten to nurse for the first time, and was still feeling awesome. Totally numb the entire day thanks to the epidural. No pain... lovely! Peice of cake!
Main symptoms include exhaustion... exhaustion... exhaustion. Cannot. Keep. Eyes. Open.
Nurses keep coming in to "check on my incision" and to see how much urine I'm putting out via the clear bag hanging on the side of the bed. Lovely. Nothing screams "welcome guests!" like a bag of pee, right? I always worried that somehow the cathetar would slip and I'd wind up peeing in the bed. Now, that would be crummy. Never happened, just so you pregnant people don't have to have the same worry in the future.
Lunch and Supper time come and I cannot make myself eat anything. No appetite at all with the first two babies.. the third one was the first that I did want to eat by supper.
Nurses bothering the crap out of me making me do breathing exercising, check my temp, blood pressure... everything. "Hey lady.. could you NOT jab around where I was just cracked open? Thanks!" All night they come in..every two hours to examine me and baby. Annoying.. but necessary. (quick thank you to all nurses.. seriously... you are awesome and make or break hospital experiences! Loved my nurses! Gotta bond quickly with someone looking at your entire body in its worse possible state.)
Day 2 - Epidural Out
Right after lunch was the magic hour in which the mean doctor would order my good drugs to be removed. Within 20 minutes the pain would set in. First just soreness. Then, pain. Horrible pain with my first csection - almost but not horrible pain with the second and third. Thankfully, repeat csections tend to be MUCH less painful than the original.
Catheter is taken out along with the epidural. Peeing hurts. It doesn't burn, but it feels like I'm really bruised. My bladder cramps each time I empty it... I hate it. It hurts when my bladder is full.. feels like bad cramps. It makes my incision hurt. No one warned me about that little side effect
Nurses not bugging me as much - just making me walk around. Fun! Still doing breathing exercises to avoid pnemonia.
Nursing, holding, and taking care of baby much harder once epidural is out. Husband or someone to help me is necessary 24/7. I hate feeling so helpless.
Gas pains begin. What are gas pains? They happen after a lot of abdominal surgeries... air gets in during the operation and then gets trapped. It has no where to go.. so it moves around in huge bubbles. Sometimes you can feel them in your upper back and chest and it feels like you're having a heart attack. Mine were mainly all in my lower abdomen, right under that nice, fesh, incision. Walking is a magic cure!
Still no appetite at all. (except for the third baby)
Day 3 - Going Home From the Hospital with Baby
I was SO blessed. All three of my babies got to come home on day 3 after birth. I remember after my first Csection BEGGING to stay longer - but we had Medicaid at the time and they basically would've only kept me longer had I been on my death bed.
I finally get to shower on this day, too... praise God! (hospital bag tip - take those shower fresh wipes with you just in case!! I used them constantly!) I hesitantly look at myself in the mirror after undressing...
"Oh my gosh..."
What will you see in the mirror 3 days after having a baby? What will your body look like 3 days after having a baby? Well... for me... my boobs were ginormous - like a boob job gone horribly wrong big. My stomach actually looked tiny compared to its 9 month pregnant state. My arms and legs looked amazingly thin. (consider their size compared to the boobs and belly..) Seeing the huge bandages across my wound makes me cringe and makes my teeth hurt for some reason.
"Must pretend that's not there... just shower and get dressed!"
Shower is refreshing yet painful. I feel much better once I'm out, dressed, and back with my baby. People visiting comment how great I look... I am so out of it that I believe them.
Time to go home! The nurse wheeling me to the car manages to hit every bump that is located in the hospital, and I believe took a detour to a particularly horrible rigged walkway just to keep me from ever coming back again. (Fun Fact - after my first child was born and we were heading home, the nurse (who looked all of 14) actually said to me, "Wow, you must've gotten really big..." as she examined my body in the wheelchair. I so pray she wound up pregnant with triplets...)
What to Expect Post Baby - The First 6 Weeks