I can’t quite believe it’s been two weeks today since I had my elective c-section and our beautiful baby Freddie was born. I thought I would document an honest account of my recovery as I’ve had a few people ask me how I’m getting on and I thought it might be useful for others who are planning an elective c-section to see how my recovery is going. It will also serve as a reminder for me in a few years time what I went through.
09.01.2018 – Freddie’s birthday
The elective c-section was calm and held in a relaxed environment. The staff were incredible and very supportive and I felt very safe throughout the section. I went down into theatre at 9:16am and Freddie was delivered at 10:01am. I was stitched up and wheeled into the recovery ward where I was kept a close eye on. Apparently I lost quite a bit of blood in theatre (700ml) which is classed as a haemorrhage but I didn’t need a transfusion as they got it under control. I had absolutely no clue about this until I went back to the ward so even though I was bleeding, I didn’t realise and had no idea what the staff were doing behind the big blue curtain!
At 11:45am, I was wheeled back onto the post-section ward with baby Freddie attempting to feed off the boob. He was not interested at all so we enjoyed skin to skin cuddles instead. I had no feeling in my legs (thanks to the spinal) but I felt absolutely fine. I was really thirsty and managed to catch the lunch trolley going around the ward so enjoyed a cup of cold water and a chicken sandwich!
The feeling in my legs began to come back after a couple of hours and it felt like pins and needles for a while. The sensation travelled up my legs and I was itchy but thankfully not in pain. I had a cannula inserted into my arm during the section and had to have an IV of antibiotics after delivery. I swear the cannula hurts more than the actual c-section wound!
At 4pm, the catheter was removed (which I was dreading) but it didn’t hurt at all. I was given until 10pm to drink as much as possible and fill a cardboard bowl full of wee. Apparently if you can’t wee independently after 6 hours post section they have to re-insert a catheter and I wasn’t happy about the prospect of that so drank lots and lots of water.
The midwives ask you to get up and out of bed as soon as you’re able to and actively encourage you to take a shower and clean yourself up. I wasn’t feeling much pain to be honest just felt uncomfortable so with help to get out of bed (remember your stomach muscles are basically non-existent now so heaving yourself out of bed is laughable) I attempted to get out of bed.
Unfortunately for me, I had low blood pressure and as I attempted to get out of bed for a shower, I fainted and came around with my husband Greg and the health care assistant shouting my name. If fainting once was bad enough, I fainted again and woke up to a team of people in blue around me. I was given an oxygen mask to wear and was helped back into bed where I had to stay for a while for observation.
An hour later, the dinner trolley came round the ward so I attempted to eat some dinner but didn’t really have an appetite. I tried to eat as much as I could but thankfully didn’t eat too much as just before my parents arrived for a visit, I threw up all over myself. I was all out of sorts. I think the oxygen made me feel sick.
I was helped into the shower by Greg and a midwife who was such a lovely lady. She asked me to remove my wound dressing in the shower and if I got stuck to call on her for help. I felt faint again in the shower so had to sit down and fresh air was wafted onto me using empty cardboard sick bowls. How attractive! The midwife helped remove my dressing in the shower and also helped me stand up and dry myself. She was absolutely fantastic and definitely went beyond her job description helping me in the shower.
I returned to bed to enjoy some time with my parents and to relax for a bit. My husband Greg had to go home at 8:30pm leaving me on a ward to look after Freddie by myself. Thankfully the midwives and health care assistants are all very happy to be called upon and I asked for their help on more than one occasion throughout the night.
I was given oramorph (liquid morphine), paracetamol and ibuprofen for the pain and I took everything that was going. I’m not a fan of being uncomfortable so took the drugs when offered throughout the night and this really helped. I was also given an injection of clexane (anti-clotting drug) into my tummy and will have to administer this at home for the next six weeks, ouch!
Wednesday – on the ward / in a side room
Greg arrived at 10am and was able to assist me with picking Freddie up and changing him. I was a little uncomfortable but the pain was under control. The worst part was trying to get out of bed and not being able to hoist yourself up. I managed it but it wasn’t a comfortable experience. I found walking around small distances helped. If I stayed in bed too long, my legs would stiffen up and I found it harder to get out of bed.
I took a shower and removed my dressing. This is something I was a little bit scared of but getting the plaster soaking wet and removing it with water definitely helped. A midwife came to have a look at my wound and reapplied the dressing on my scar.
The worst bit about staying in hospital after a section is the four hourly observations they do (blood pressure, temperature, heartbeat monitoring). I understand the importance of them so don’t get me wrong, I know they need to be done but the blood pressure monitor squeezes my arm so tight, it’s so uncomfortable.
I’m a big believer in if you don’t ask, you don’t get so I asked the midwife if there was a side room available for me to stay in instead of being on the ward with the most annoying patient ever (don’t get me started!) Initially, there wasn’t any rooms available but one became available and I was moved into a side room with it’s on en-suite! Living the NHS dream! The room was also big enough for Greg to stay over and the lovely midwife even found him a camp bed. It pays to be nice to the midwifery staff!
The hospital bed in the side room was different and had different side rails which made it harder to get in and out of bed but thankfully Greg stayed over night with us which made it easier as he was able to help me out of bed instead of me asking the staff for help.
I suffered with trapped wind today and my stomach felt so bloated and uncomfortable. I don’t have an appetite and I’m worried about going for a number 2.
Thursday – going home
Day 3 was the hardest day for me in the hospital. We were told early on that we would be going home that day if we were discharged by the consultant but it meant we had to wait for ages. Freddie had to have some more tests throughout the day (I’ll write about these in another post) and I had to have a blood test so they could check my iron levels. The wait was unbearable. More four hourly observations, another hot shower and another re-dressing of my scar later and the test results were back. We were able to go home. I cried, Greg cried and we were so relieved I nearly kissed the midwife.
I had my cannula taken out my arm and it left the most horrendous bruise. It was huge! My pain levels were ok and now I was managing on just paracetamol and ibuprofen every four to six hours.
I was so pleased to be going home. The car journey home wasn’t too bad as I had a pillow over my tummy and I couldn’t wait to get into my own bed and give Olly the biggest cuddle. I really missed him.
Friday – leaky boobs and all the tears
By far the worst day and I think it’s because my boobs were leaking at every given opportunity and the hormones were flooding my body. I was bleeding heavily (yes you still bleed after a section) and I just felt really uncomfortable. I couldn’t get in or out of bed easily and seeing that Greg was tired and getting a little bit stressed with keeping on top of everything was hard. I wanted to help but physically couldn’t. They say you’re not supposed to lift anything heavier than your own baby after a section which I found hard. I couldn’t move the cot, I couldn’t lift myself up. I felt useless and cried quite a few tears.
We had a visit from the midwife who was a bit snooty (harping on about breastfeeding and all its benefits) She wasn’t someone I had seen before but she made me feel a bit rubbish about formula feeding. I tried my best to offer Freddie the boob in hospital but I refused to struggle and feel worthless attempting it repeatedly.
I cried lots today. Feeling useless, I can’t move very quickly. My lower tummy aches and I have the worst cramps. The after pains are uncomfortable as my uterus shrinks back down and my tummy is all swollen and bruised. I need my bed and I need sleep!
Today was a good day. We had Greg’s parents come over to visit and I felt a lot more human. Greg and I are sharing the night feeds and I seem to have my pain levels under control again. I’m showering every day to clean my scar as I’m so frightened it will get infected. Greg is a brilliant nurse and is now a master at reapplying my scar dressing. I had a relatively easy day today and feel good.
Sunday – Midwife visits
Another midwife visited today and checked both me and Freddie over. She was pleased with how my scar was looking and removed my stitches which really helped. They were quite tight so I felt quite uncomfortable with them in but once removed, I was able to move around and bend much more easily. The pain is easing off and I got myself showered and dressed for an afternoon of visitors.
Day 7 – Monday
The reality of routine is kicking back in as Olly is at school. The broken nights sleep are tiring but I’m taking it easy. There was no need to re-apply my scar dressing so now I’m having to shower and air dry it as much as possible. I took the silly decision to look at my swollen belly in the mirror today and yes, it looks like an deflated balloon with purple and yellow bruising. Ouch!
Day 8 – Day 14
Wednesday (Day 9) – We venture out to Merry Hill for a wander around. The pain is minimal now and I’m doing well. I get back ache from walking around but it feels good to be out and about.
Thursday (Day 10) – Popped to the supermarket with Greg and feels good to walking about normally again. Only taking paracetamol now for the uncomfortableness of a numb lower tummy but feeling relatively normal. Health Visitor pops in for a visit and I walked to school to collect Olly.
Friday (Day 11) – Getting back into the swing of a routine now and walked to school to collect Olly with Freddie in the pram. Feeling good and can walk about without much pain now. Reduced painkillers and only taking them as and when I feel I need them. Scar is looking good although tummy is feeling heavy and still feels bloated.
Tuesday (14 days on from c-section)
I feel relatively normal today. My boobs have stopped leaking and I’m feeling good, I’m tired but nothing a few hours kip won’t sort out. I’m still bleeding which is ok, I think I’ve got another few weeks of this off and on. We took a trip out in the car to visit Greg’s work colleagues and his uni students and got some lovely comments from people saying how well I looked. My scar is a little red today but I’m persisting with the daily shower and airing routine and hoping it continues to heal.
Two weeks on from the elective c-section and I’m feeling pretty good. I feel that my recovery this time around has been much better. I’ve been able to let my body rest and recover and I’ve been up and about much quicker. Physically, I still have a swollen tummy but it’s getting better every day. Mentally, although I’m tired, I’m feeling on top of the world. I don’t feel the guilt about feeding Freddie formula (something which I really struggled with Olly) I’m doing the best for me and him.
I also feel like we’ve been able to settle into family life as a four easier without the constant interruption from visitors. When we had Olly we had family around every day and it was hard. I found it hard being up and pretending everything was ok so this time around, it’s been much nicer having the space from people visiting so I can slob about in my pjs (I have three pairs of the same maternity pjs bytheway, I haven’t just worn them constantly since the op!) and take my time to recover.
So, two weeks on and I’m feeling good. I’ve not weighed myself yet but there is plenty of time for weightloss and worries about my postpartum body. I’ve grown an absolute beauty and I’m so incredibly proud.