Preparing for a c section is very different from the usual method of waiting patiently to go into labor. Having experienced both sides of delivery there were a few things I wish I knew or had after delivering my new little bundle of joy via c section.
C Section Surgery
Cesarean delivery (C-section) is a surgical procedure used to deliver a baby through incisions in the abdomen and uterus.
Reasons for a C Section
There are so many reasons you may need to have a c section. For me, my little lady was in a breech position. Ironically as soon as I stopped inverting on my aerial apparatuses Harper inverted in my belly. She is just a natural circus baby I guess. LOL.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are several reasons why you may need a c section. Some of them include:
- Your labor isn’t progressing.
- The baby is in distress.
- Your baby or babies are in an abnormal position.
- You’re carrying multiples.
- There’s a problem with your placenta.
- Prolapsed umbilical cord.
- You have a health concern.
- Mechanical obstruction.
- You’ve had a previous C-section.
Scheduled C Sections
Knowing that you are having c section ahead of time can help you prepare for the procedure physically and mentally as well as the comfort of your aftercare.
For me the day before my c section I was pretty nervous. There was something about having surgery while I was awake that just did not sit well with me.
I actually ended up doing a little DIY craft project to keep my hands and mind busy. Another thing you can do is get yourself a blowout. Now I am not saying this because you want to look like a movie star while you are getting surgery. Nor am I a princess.
Preparing for your C Section
Get a blow out:
Being a curly haired girl our hair gets tangled. Your movement will be restricted and you are going to be spending a lot of time in bed. This means lots of knots!! Getting yourself a blow out will assist with making your hair more manageable and let’s face it. Once the newborn arrives it’s all about them. You’re lucky to get a shower most days little alone pamper yourself.
Install the car seat ahead of time:
If this is your first baby or even your second, you want to make sure that car seat is installed prior to your scheduled surgery. I had completely forgotten how to adjust the straps on the new car seat so I am glad I planned this ahead of time. The nurses will not let you leave the hospital if your car seat does not fit your infant correctly.
Purchase the necessities:
I must say, I found that there was a lot of missing information out there about what recovery was really like on the internet and the information was pretty generic.
Prepare your wardrobe:
You are going to need comfortable clothing that does not rub around the hips. I wore my dressing gown for the first few weeks. This kept me warm and made it easy for me to pump and nurse the new baby. From there I moved to roomy cotton yoga pant that has a soft elastic waistband. You can read more about the clothing I prepared in my article: What I packed in my hospital bag for the new baby and me.
Make sure your pharmaceutical supplies are stocked up. A few things you are going to need are:
- Stool softeners.
- Hot and cold pack. (Great for sore breasts or if mastitis strikes).
- Loose underwear that sits at the waistline.
- A month supply of any other medications you are on.
Try and keep your medicine separate from your entire pharmaceutical stash. When the new baby comes and you are tired you can accidentally take the wrong medication which is very easy to do! In fact, I thought I was taking three stool softeners but it was three sleeping pills.
If you plan on breastfeeding you will need:
- Nipple cream.
- Nipple shield.
- Breast milk storage options. ( I went for bottles.)
- Breast pump.
- Pumping bra.
- Pumping lube. I also use this for hand expression.
Stockpile your pantry.
You are going to be tired and sore. Newborns run on their own schedule. Make sure you have an ample supply of healthy ready to go foods that can satisfy your hunger. Here are a few that I went with:
- Protein Shakes.
- Lara Bars.
- Cliff Bars. The cliff bars are great because they help with milk production too since they are predominantly oats.
- Quick Oats.
- Greek Yogurt.
If you are planning on having a scheduled c section I hope this information can help you plan ahead a little better!
Planning Your C Section Aftercare
You will need someone to care for you for at least 7 days:
Coming home from your c section can be a little rough. I would not have been able to get through the first week without the care of my husband. You will need to be taking your pain killers every four hours and I did experience breakthrough pain. This made it impossible for me to get up and get my own medication.
Once they kicked in I was able to get up and around although you are still going to be sore. You will find there are quite a few restrictions on your body in regards to movement so you will need someone to help you.
Prepare a transportation plan:
Secondly, you won’t be able to drive for at least three weeks. Firstly you will need to pick up your pain medicine from the pharmacy immediately after being discharged from the hospital. In the first two weeks, you will need to see your OBGYN for a check up and take your newborn to their first pediatric appointment.
Having someone that can help you get around from point a to point b is necessary. Or even better, my hubby went for me, well except for the OBGYN appointment that one I had to show up for myself.
Preparing your bathroom:
You may want to prepare the bathroom for your arrival at home. A few things you may want to think about is how will I get up and down from the toilet. I know it’s a glamorous topic right? In all seriousness, if you don’t have a bench near to help you get up and down you may want to think about what you can place to help you bear your weight. Remember you are going to want to not use your core at all.
Prepare a few helping hands for your family:
If you have young children at home this can make your c section recovery be more difficult too! Why because your daily routine involves others. You can’t pick your older children up which can make it hard to change diapers if they are still young. My son hit his terrible two’s a week after Harper was born so I had a loud, energetic little man running around the house 24/7.
Newborns are demanding and coupled with a two-year-old. My home has become a house that never sleeps.
Caring for a baby after major surgery can be exhausting, and it is not possible for all new parents to manage this alone. Ask for help from a partner, a neighbor, family, or a trusted friend.
If it is possible set up a meal train or a schedule of visitors who can watch the baby while you and your hubby rest or take a shower.
If you don’t have this option because you are settling in a new location, plan ahead by preparing freezer meals that you can easily whip out and heat up. I am also a major protein shake queen so I had my pantry stocked with plenty of healthy ready to eat items.
Prepare a grocery store plan:
Since you won’t be able to lift anything heavier than 10 pounds and you can’t drive. That pretty much makes grocery shopping impossible for the first few weeks.
Ensure that you have a well-stocked pantry and organise who will do a weekly grocery run for you.
Sleeping after a c section:
Secondly laying down and getting up is hard and painful. The first night I spent sleeping in my pink velvet lazy boy. The recliner was perfect and my body was exhausted so I had no problem falling asleep.
The second night I slept on my day bed. This is because it has railings that allowed me to pull myself up with the use of my arms only. You do not want to be engaging that core in the first week. It does not feel good at all. In hindsight, I would have purchased a back supportive wedge so that I could sleep upright in the comfort of my own bed.
I found sleeping straight on my back was the most comfortable way to sleep with my stitches. Many blogs recommended sleeping on the side, although I found this quite painful. I could not sleep on my side for the first 10 days. After that, I could comfortably sleep on my side or tummy.
Accessing Your Newborn
I thought I had it all prepared this time. I purchased a beautiful bassinet for Harper (the new baby) and my son Harrison was still in his crib. The week I came home from the hospital I was unable to lift my son in and out of the crib and being two he wants to climb all over the bassinet.
Not only did we have to deal with the danger of the bassinet falling over from Harrison climbing on it to see the baby he climbed out of his crib that week too. So now Harry had free range of the house.
I was unable to put Harper in the crib because it was a deep bend to place her in and out. It was not ideal with my stomach in the condition that it was.
We solved the problem by buying a crib hammock. To be honest I did not even know these existed. I was considering how I could rig my yoga hammock in the crib to sleep her in it. Then I thought, I’m sure someone has thought of this. Googled it and wham! I was able to purchase one for $20. It was well worth the small investment.
I hope these preparation tips helped you! Did I miss something that you found valuable after a c section? Let me know in the comments below.
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