Baby A was born on Wednesday 17th February 2016 at 8.38am. He was born by a c-section, not something to take lightly. Because of the surgery, I was in hospital for longer (needing more professional care/medication), a total of 4 nights/5 days versus a vaginal birth. The first day was absolutely amazing, my husband, mum and dad were all the hospital with me, a time I’ll never forget. I think we took well over 1000 photos between us that day and just couldn’t stop cooing and aahing over him, facebooking, phoning and watsapping everyone we knew with the good news!
Sometime around mid day I started to loose feeling in the bottom half of my body, the nurses had explained this would happen and sure enough it did (due to the anaesthetic). This gradually became a major hinderance over the day and I’d been totally bed bound the whole time. Yes that means catheter 🙁 which, at that time I swear I could not even feel because of the anaesthetics again. I had a reclining bed which meant I could sit up for food or lye back, but when it came to evening and sleeping, this was a real struggle. I usually sleep on my side (despite this being hard becoming increasingly hard through out pregnancy), so not being able to move and being totally stuck on my back left me feeling paralysed and uncomfortable. Combined with needing to (and learning how to) breastfeed, the whole experience was really difficult through out the first night.
By day 2 the feeling started coming back in my legs but I still felt terrible. The nurses wanted me to get up and shower, I wanted to feel fresh, of course, but the immense pain combined with the healing of the surgery + not being able to move was a complete nightmare. I actually kept refusing to get out of the bed because of the numbness and sheer thought of having to drag myself out, but in the end I had to give in. If you’ve had a c-section and take too long to stand up again after to become mobile, this can be really dangerous. I remember one of the nurses actually saying that ‘the gas gone in during the op can make you feel worse than the surgery itself if you don’t move‘. I think that’s probably what scared me the most, the fact that the pain I felt right then could actually get any worse, jeez. After crying my eyes out, it took 2 nurses and my husband + probably a good 45 minutes for me to get myself out of the bed. I had everyones hands, the support of the reclining bed and still absolutely no strength in my body to lift myself, I’ll never forget the pain. I didn’t want to be 100% assisted and did try and lift and support myself along. I remember half way, having my hands on the bed railing and trying to put my feet on the floor with the nurses telling me how amazing I’m doing and me just thinking they’re total bitches for making me do this. I was hating every minute. Sorry, excuse my French. (I loved them after, promise!!).
The senior nurse took me in to my en suite and rinsed me clean, maybe one round of soap but nothing thorough, I can’t remember. I still had my catheter and was still feeling terrible but albeit admittedly better after showering. God, looking back, I must have been a nightmare. After that, back in bed. My parents encouraged me to move and I did attempt getting out of the bed again, slowly that day. My dad was to continue encouraging me the most and make me go on walks with him round the ward for days to come. Later that day the nurses were back to remove my catheter. I had been relying on it a lot and it wasn’t healthy. I lay back and mum held my hand, I was actually so scared of this even being removed. I felt sharp pain and the nurse kept saying I wouldn’t feel any (so by then I was really hating the nurses). After what felt like a crazy burning sensation in my urethra, the catheter was out. I had a major feeling of needing to pee, but apparently that was just the piping sliding out, despite me thinking and worrying I was going to wet myself. For the rest of that day, I continued to rest in my bed and learn how to care for my newborn, having family around at this time was such a relief, I honestly would not have coped without any of them. Each time I needed the loo (or worried that I would have had an accident) they were all there to walk me over to the loo.
Day 3, my doctor had instructed the nurse to ensure I had a shower. I wanted too anyway, I hated feeling groggy and bed bound despite the pain. My husband managed to help me get out of bed that morning, I wanted to shower before the nurses, my doctor or my parents came to see me that day and have my own time to figure out my body. I felt so much better using my own soaps and then getting dressed in my own pyjamas. Before getting back in bed I walked around a little, although I needed to hold on to whatever I could in the room. This felt nice and I was really pleased with myself although through out the day I still needed help getting in and out of bed. Later that day a nurse had come round to change my dressing. I was absolutely petrified, I didn’t know what the cut looked like or even the dressing and I didn’t want to either at that stage. I had the first layer of plasters covered by a wide bandage with sticky tape all around, it was this tape that had to be changed. The nurse would remove this, use a spray to wipe clean the surface and then apply a new bandage. The doctor had instructed for this to be done daily and even after I came home, my husband would change this for me for the next 10 days. It was only after a few days at home that he took a photo & showed me what everything looked like down there after him and my mum were praising how neat everything looked and how well I was healing.
That night on day 3 I suffered with the gas the nurses were talking about. When I reclined back in my bed I could feel pain in my windpipe in my back, if that makes any sense at all. This became so bad, I was so tired but couldn’t lay back. In the middle of the night I ended up calling the nurses in my room twice to prescribe me something to get rid of this pain. I started googling this and saw that actually it was extremely common in c-section recovery to be feeling so much gas, all accumulated from the operation and being cut open. The nurses gave me a couple of gel like tablets although I didn’t feel like it helped much.
Day 4 was progressively better, I was walking around the ward with my dad, albeit at the pace of a slow snail. I felt like I was getting better. The morning of Day 5 I had a breastfeeding class with other mums on the ward, it was lovely to be able to talk to other women about our own stories whilst trying to figure out this whole world of motherhood. After the class I was ready to go home, the nurses had come round with discharge forms and a whole bag of medicines for me to take home and continue with. We dressed up baby A in the cutest Hugo Boss newborn outfit (we had bought it especially for his coming home outfit 🙂 ) and I was so excited to be leaving the hospital and taking my little prince home.
For the next few weeks I would continue with my bandages and overall recovery which I’ll be writing about very soon. I found the overall birth experience a beautiful but painful one. I have so much admiration for mothers everywhere after becoming one myself and going through a birthing experience not to mention the whole breastfeeding thing (more on that here). Caesarean births are tough, it’s a major operation that needs longer professional care and recovery time, I feel like I’ve mentally and physically gone through a lot just from the first 5 days alone, but every time I look at my cute little king and as cheesy as it sounds, it does make it all 100% and totally worthwhile.
Love, Anisha xox0