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C/S recovery & support thread - Page 3

post #41 of 319
Starmama - I never figured I'd have a c/s either, but I didn't get to know it ahead of time! I won't try to tell you to cheer up, but *mine* was not as horrific as I'd always imagined them to be (5 vaginal births, then a c/s during active labor)

I also have a question for those further out from the c/s than I am. My baby is 1 month and 5 days old. My incision is fully healed, but the skin still feels sensitive ABOVE the incision. Will this ever go away? When? What gives? I've chalked it up to bruising since they had to do a bit of manipulation to get my large transverse baby OUT... but shouldn't that be over with now?

I have a bit of numbness around the incision, know that's normal. But why am I hurting an inch or so above it? UGH. So uncomfortable sometimes...
post #42 of 319
[QUOTE/]I also have a question for those further out from the c/s than I am. My baby is 1 month and 5 days old. My incision is fully healed, but the skin still feels sensitive ABOVE the incision. Will this ever go away? When? What gives? I've chalked it up to bruising since they had to do a bit of manipulation to get my large transverse baby OUT... but shouldn't that be over with now? [/QUOTE]

You've only been healing for one month, which probably feels like forever, but really isn't that long considering what a major surgery c-section is. I continued to feel changes in my incision for at least 6 months. Also once I started getting into the dance studio again & using my body for things other than daily tasks, I noticed things about my scar that hadn't been apparant before, and it continued to change.

If the sensitivity is bothering you, bring it up with your doc.
post #43 of 319
Loss of sensation, itching, pulling, funkiness...

I'm a big advocate of scar massage for a whole host of reasons (physical as well as emotional/spiritual)... once the skin incision is healed, you can start doing scar massage along the incision. There are directions in books like the Tupler Technique, Ending Female Pain, Bounce Back Into Shape After the Baby, and in the Natural Family Living C/S Resource thread that is a sticky at the top of Birth & Beyond. (the author of Bounce Back had a c/s with twins so her advice has a strong BTDT quality)

Any surgery can result in funky sensations... I'm 5 years out from my c/s and I still have a small numb spot just above and to one side of the incision. Oddly, I have a very thin/neat scar on the side that is numb and a slightly lumpier/uneven scar on the side with full sensation. From informal polls at my ICAN group and here at MDC it seems that some numbness is par for the course. I find it a pretty creepy sensation (or lack of sensation) and the scar massage actually helped me reintegrate my incision area... I nearly hyperventilated the first few times I did the scar massage (being totally freaked out by the sensation) but over time it helped me "get over" some of the strangeness and feel "at home" in my skin again.

And of course, it can help promote healing, reduce adhesions (which can complicate future VBACs or RC/S as well as conditions like PCOS, POP, or plain old menstrual cramping), and all that.
post #44 of 319
Thank you JTA Mom for starting this thread and a circle of support. I have one IRL, but the meeting times keep getting switched and ... I see some familar faces from other C/S threads. Hiya

I've had 2 C/S with my last one being a failed VBAC attempt with a doula, and a birth plan, and taking all the classes (bradley) and being up on the literature.

I have found more peace with how my second c/s and how the events unfolded that I am slowly healing (emotionally) from my first one. So from another thread I find myself sitting in 2 corners per se. Being ok with my C/S and not being Ok with my C/S. Oh and the guilt from being ok with my second C/S.

I hope with the new year I am ready to begin to tackle emotionally the idea of #3 and what that means in terms of expectations, battles and outcomes.

Thank you!
post #45 of 319
Quote:
Originally Posted by happyblessedmama View Post
I also have a question for those further out from the c/s than I am. My baby is 1 month and 5 days old. My incision is fully healed, but the skin still feels sensitive ABOVE the incision. Will this ever go away? When? What gives? I've chalked it up to bruising since they had to do a bit of manipulation to get my large transverse baby OUT... but shouldn't that be over with now?
I'm not saying this to scare you, but the incision changes at it heals. For me, I had a loss of sensation in my lower abdomen for ~6 mos., and for a year I didn't have much bladder sensation. 20 months out now, everything is back to normal, or a version of normal. It will take time. Definitely talk to your provider if you think it is not normal.

I hope you recover quickly.

To all of the other mamas, thanks for sharing your stories. It is good to know that I'm not alone under this ocean of disappointment.
post #46 of 319
Thread Starter 
Christine, the scar area/healing stuff is an odd thing. Some areas become hypersensitive, some areas go numb, and sometimes they switch!

Seriously though, the scar area is dynamic. I don't know if you are planning more babies, but if so, know that during the next pregnancy, having pain, aching and pulling sensations in your scar area is also totally normal. Creepy and kinda scary at times, but totally normal.

For those doing scar massage, how soon after do you do this? I've heard from anywhere from skin healing to 6+ weeks pp. Skin wise, I heal really fast. So I'm not sure if I should go with that?

Also, when can I take baths?

Gah, should have asked for a written rules.

Mentally, I'm doing okay. I seem to be having night time anxiety attacks tho. They are scary. I get a sinking feeling like something horrible is going to happen. Not sure if this is just more PTSD or what.

Ami
post #47 of 319
Quote:
Originally Posted by JTA Mom View Post
For those doing scar massage, how soon after do you do this? I've heard from anywhere from skin healing to 6+ weeks pp. Skin wise, I heal really fast. So I'm not sure if I should go with that?

Also, when can I take baths?

Gah, should have asked for a written rules.

Mentally, I'm doing okay. I seem to be having night time anxiety attacks tho. They are scary. I get a sinking feeling like something horrible is going to happen. Not sure if this is just more PTSD or what.
I didn't do scar massage, looking back maybe I should have now .
As for some of the other items I would call your Dr. office and get them to clarify some of the post-partum care. Again its major surgery - why do they let folks go without after care instructions. Any nurse should be able to go through the list of them, as I remember getting a sheet/instructions which included looking out for redness/infection and such around the incision site.

for the anxiety, I remember feeling horrible more for "failing" after my 2nd but I think that was part of the mourning process for me to reconcile the loss of my expectation but not anxiety inducing.
post #48 of 319
I am now at the point where I'm tired of hurting. I'm tired of the evil troll. I'm tired of feeling like I'm broken and feeling broken emotionally. I'm tired of looking back with sorrow. I'm really ready to move on and not hurt. How do I do that? How I do I go from here to healed? I know 'it's a process' like everyone says, but is sitting around waiting to 'get over it' the only option? I know it sounds impatient, but that's where I'm at.

I know there are a lot of those out there who think that we should just get over it and move on, but do they know how hard that is to figure out how to do, let alone do?
post #49 of 319
Quote:
Again its major surgery - why do they let folks go without after care instructions
That's actually why post-c/s scar massage is such a "soap box" issue for me. I know plenty of people who have had surgery (heart, knees, back, arm, hip, appendix, hysterectomy, breast, etc) and ALL of them were given some sort of idea about how to care for themselves, and most of those care packets included some sort of scar massage technique. They may not have been "called" scar massage, but there were guidelines for moving the tissue and muscle and maintaining range of motion while speeding healing.

But I've only met one person who was given scar massage instructions by her OB following her c/s. Just one! It's a well know technique, it's used in post-op care all over the place, there is no reason why women undergoing major surgery, on organs that can be so radically affected by adhesions, should NOT be given this basic self care information.

Ok, ok, stepping off the soap box. But it does really get to me that such a simple (free, DIY) care practice isn't routinely offered to women undergoing one of the most common major surgeries.

Timing... you can start out with steri strips as soon as the sutures/staples are removed. The hospital where I had my c/s would place steri strips automatically and told me to remove them at about a week pp. I think the "6 week" guideline is probably related to the 6 week pp visit... the dr can check the incision for infection and healing and green light massage. But if the area around the incision is healing well (no swelling or redness, no intense pain or "new" pains or extremely "localized" pain points) then you probably don't need to wait till 6 weeks. Just start slowly and gently and stop if it doesn't feel right.
post #50 of 319
Quote:
Originally Posted by happyblessedmama View Post
I also have a question for those further out from the c/s than I am. My baby is 1 month and 5 days old. My incision is fully healed, but the skin still feels sensitive ABOVE the incision. Will this ever go away? When? What gives? I've chalked it up to bruising since they had to do a bit of manipulation to get my large transverse baby OUT... but shouldn't that be over with now?
Are you talking about the sensitivity that feels a little like a bad sunburn? If so, it's not bruising - it's caused by nerve damage. I only had it with two of my sections, and it was only bad with one of them. (That same section left me with almost no bladder sensation - and I'm five years out, so I'm guessing that's probably permanent - and large numb patches throughout my lower left abdomen and pelvis.) I can't remember exactly how long it took to go away, but I think it was a few months (3 or 4 or something like that). It's very unlikely to be permanent.
post #51 of 319
So, a close friend had a baby last week, and I was feeling all proud of myself because I was really 98% completely happy for her and only 2% letting my inner troll unleash the envy machine.

Turns out that because she didn't mention how the baby was born in her FB post, I assumed she had a vaginal birth. Wrong. I got an e-mail from her, and she had an emergency c-section after laboring naturally for 20 hours.

And that just did a number on my inner troll.

This is a woman that I care about and admire, who is a fantastic dancer and athlete, very smart, a total tough cookie. She took fabulous care of herself during her pregnancy, and I know that especially during the last few weeks she had quit work, was resting a lot, and was really ready to give birth. And it was her 2nd baby, so she had some experience under her belt.

And I truly feel so very proud of her. I haven't had a chance to talk to her yet to see how she feels about the birth, but I'm not making any assumptions.

This gives me hope that if I can feel that proud for a friend that I love and respect, I might someday be able to do the same for myself.
post #52 of 319
Hey mamas, I just had my little guy on the 12th, 3rd c/s. My last birth was a great hospital vba2c, so it's pretty disappointing. This time I elected to do an induction after my edd due to bp issues. Everything seemed to be going as it should, but after 24 hours of labor he would not budge and come down. He actually moved *up* from -1 to -2 station, even though my pit was almost maxed and my ctx had been 2.5 minutes apart for 4 hours (and the 4 hours before they had been about 3-4). Since he wouldn't come down my cervix wouldn't budge past 4cm (and they broke my water, so there wasn't much else we could do, had been bouncing on the birth ball and doing what I could to encourage him to descend). Anyway, with the last VE showing no change and him moving up, I just felt like there was a reason he wasn't coming down. He was also having decels in his heart rate *after* ctx, so I was concerned he was having a cord issue. And as it turns out, he had a true knot (pretty rare apparently, the anestiseologist was totally amazed and kept trying to get my husband to look at it!) I know some babies are born with true knots and have no issues, but I also know other babies are still born or have serious complications because of knots (and I don't think his cord was terribly long, so it could have been very bad for him) so I feel like he was up high for that reason. Still sucks, though. Apparently I have a lot of bad scarring from my first 2 c/s and an ectopic surgery. We'd really like one more some day but my OB suggested I might want to consider not having anymore. Blah.

I'm sure I'll have more to say later, but right now I just sent my little guy to sleep at the nursery so I can get some rest.
post #53 of 319
I have my third, and second planned, cesarean scheduled in a week and a half. I'm really happy that I had such great medical care. My first birth was a really bad combination of all sorts of things (I was sick and really dehydrated, started spotting heavily on my due date, they induced, then it turned out I have a genetic heart condition and every time I contracted my heart stopped, they pulled that baby out of there as fast as they possibly could get her! I barely remember any of it.) and I was REALLY upset to have a C. But it was definitely for the best, and by the time DS's section happened I was okay with it. This time, I'm downright looking forward to it. 4 days in the hospital sounds downright luxurious!

I think a lot depends on your hospital. I'm lucky that I have a really great one that (I've heard) makes all their money on maternity, so it's like the 5 star resort of maternity wards... wood floors, paintings on the walls, huge private rooms, full page menus that you can choose everything you want, 24 hour room service, a fully stocked kitchen, every nurse a licensed LC, dedicated LCs who come visit a few times a day, really nice nursery. And it's just my local hospital! The rest of the place is kinda grotty, to be honest. I hate their ER.

I want to second what a few people said about how you really have to remember that it's major surgery! And abdominal surgery no less. I think I really pushed myself too hard after DD's birth, trying to prove that I was just as good as anyone who birthed vaginally. I ended up popping a few stitches picking up heavy things, and really just ran myself ragged. With DS I really tried to take it easy and let other people pick up the slack in the initial period. I found this recovery to be much easier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by palmgal View Post
This time I am planning on pre-pumping colostrum prior to delivery. I would of course, rather nurse him right away. Did any c-section mamas get to nurse immediately (i.e. while they were still completing the operation), and was it difficult positioning the baby?
I am not an expert on this, but I think that might be very hard. You do have to be on your back while they sew you up, and I imagine that any pressure put on your chest (even a little 7lb-ish baby) would push down on your organs while they're trying to to get everything back inside of you.

While I was being sewn up, after they did the Apgar and whatever else it is they do in there, they swaddled the baby and gave her/him to DH and he held the baby right next to my head. So I didn't feel like we were separated, even though there wasn't immediate skin to skin. I think Babies and I did rub cheeks

My hospital is extremely pro-BFing (I've heard lots of complaints about it from women who couldn't or didn't want to BF), and they make it a priority to get the baby nursing ASAP. For both of my Cs, they sewed me up while DH held the baby, wheeled me to the recovery room (baby in bassinet... hospital policy that baby is in bassinet when moving from room to room... I guess I can't really fault that because I am still woozy at this point and BOY would I feel bad if I dropped the baby from my bed!), and immediately started working on getting the baby to latch. In my medicated state, I can't tell you how long all this took but I've talked to DH about it and he thinks it was within about 1/2 an hour.

I really don't know for sure, but I really like and trust my hospital and I do feel like if they thought it was a good idea to get the baby nursing even earlier, they would.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JTA Mom View Post
Seriously though, the scar area is dynamic. I don't know if you are planning more babies, but if so, know that during the next pregnancy, having pain, aching and pulling sensations in your scar area is also totally normal. Creepy and kinda scary at times, but totally normal.
Also, it ITCHES as the skin stretches for future pregnancies! DH keeps making fun of me because I'm wandering around scratching myself. 'Everything okay down there? Feeling not so fresh?' "IT'S MY SCAR, I'M SCRATCHING MY SCAR. Leave me alone!" LOL.
post #54 of 319
Quote:
Originally Posted by palmgal View Post
I do have some questions for those who have recently gone through it. My son had low blood sugar after birth (not shocking since my blood sugar went sky-high during surgery and they really lagged providing me insulin). The had to supplement him with formula at first, but they did not even offer him to me to nurse (presumably because his sugar was quite low). This time I am planning on pre-pumping colostrum prior to delivery. I would of course, rather nurse him right away. Did any c-section mamas get to nurse immediately (i.e. while they were still completing the operation), and was it difficult positioning the baby?
With dd2, my last baby, I was able to do this. I had requested it in advance, and the OB told me it wasn't possible, as there isn't room between the mom's head and the sterile drape, especially with the monitors and stuff. However, once dd2 was taken out, she started to cry. The L&D nurse (who had been there for my IV, the stuff they make you drink, and then accompanied me to OR) said, "she sounds hungry - would you like to try feeding her?". I obviously said, "yes". So, the L&D nurse and dh ended up holding dd2 above my head, so that the top of her head was pointed towards my toes, and most of her body was being held by their four hands...and that's where she nursed for the first time. It was awesome. I don't think I could have positioned the baby in front of me at all, though - the area is just too cluttered up.

Talk to your OB and the anesthesiologist ahead of time, and see what they say.


ETA: My experience with ds2 was much like what lach described here:
Quote:
For both of my Cs, they sewed me up while DH held the baby, wheeled me to the recovery room (baby in bassinet... hospital policy that baby is in bassinet when moving from room to room... I guess I can't really fault that because I am still woozy at this point and BOY would I feel bad if I dropped the baby from my bed!), and immediately started working on getting the baby to latch.
This is standard practice at our hospital. I didn't get it with dd1, because there wasn't an L&D room available for me to go back to after surgery (they use the L&D units for post-c/s recovery rooms). I had to go to the hospital's main post-op recovery room, and spend an hour there. Obviously, a room full of people coming out of anesthesia (mostly general) isn't the best place to bring a newborn and try to establish breastfeeding, so dd1 and I had to wait.
post #55 of 319
Thread Starter 
I had a meeting with a trauma therapist a few days ago, more of a 'getting to know you' kind of meeting. I then went to ICAN.

BIG, FAT mistake. I was fine after I left the therapist. NOT fine after ICAN. So not okay.

I was incredibly anxious afterwards. And it's only built. Yesterday night I was having issues breathing, that's how intense the panic was. I couldn't figure out why I was so afraid, especially so afraid to be alone.

And yesterday night, in the midst of the panic attack, I figured it out.

I am afraid of dying. In both of my c/s, I reacted to the anesthesia in a way that felt like I was dying. Struggled to breathe, felt weaker and weaker. It was like all my energy was being drawn inwards and downwards. And the last time, with the botched epidural, the anesthesiologist wouldn't listen to me and turn it off. No one was there to help me, since they sent hubby out of the room.

I am afraid of being in a position where I am dying, and can't get help. And being alone with my toddler and newborn. Scratch that. Terrified of it. Deeply, deeply terrified of it.

I've told my husband, and he's great. But the moments are still there. I managed to calm myself down some yesterday night and actually got some good sleep. However, now that I'm awake, it's back, though a low level.

I feel really nauseated, weak, tired. And I need to get this out. How do I get this out? I don't want to feel like this anymore. I want to run away from it, take something that blocks this feeling. Help, please.

Ami
post #56 of 319
Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinMom View Post
I am now at the point where I'm tired of hurting. I'm tired of the evil troll. I'm tired of feeling like I'm broken and feeling broken emotionally. I'm tired of looking back with sorrow. I'm really ready to move on and not hurt. How do I do that? How I do I go from here to healed? I know 'it's a process' like everyone says, but is sitting around waiting to 'get over it' the only option? I know it sounds impatient, but that's where I'm at.

I know there are a lot of those out there who think that we should just get over it and move on, but do they know how hard that is to figure out how to do, let alone do?
s I saw your post earlier and I have been trying to work on a response because I have been where you are and it feels like being trapped between a rock and a hard place to "get over it".

So this is my opinion, but I don't think we get over trauma or the loss of expectation. We cope, we make peace and we live with it, but "getting over it" for me makes what I've experienced as trivial. I can get over missing a concert or losing something like my wallet, but not this.

For me - its been more similar to the grieving process and its steps (denial/isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance). Of course the steps didn't happen in that order or right away after my 1st c/s. But slowly I was angry that I didn't speak up more, I was sad and scared I would continue to make the same mistakes with any future pregnancies, I blamed my partner for his lack of support, I blamed it on the fact we crammed in a quick marriage in L&D and etc... acceptance and peace are in the distance for me with my 1st c/s, and I am close to making peace with my 2nd one. I know I will be ok with the process once I can actually write out the birth story, and finish my belly cast, those are my milestones of healing.

As for not looking back with sorrow or hurt... you have good days and you will have crappy days. The good days will outnumber the bad days and before you know it, the guilty thoughts only pop up every once in awhile. On how to move forward... everyone finds their path, but keep talking on here, and I believe the women here will keep listening and have open arms for support. And that is why I believe we are not meant to get over it, but to make peace with it as it will be a part of us as mothers forever.
post #57 of 319
CherryBomb- congrats on your new little one! I'm sorry the birth didn't go as planned, but it does seem like there was a reason for this one, and I'm so glad you've got your little one in your arms safe and sound.

breastfeeding "on the table"- this is actually one of the "family centered cesearean" points and it's certainly do-able, though it can take advanced planning. The sterile drape can be set a bit "lower" on the chest so that there is room for nursing without restricting the surgical space, but that needs to be done before the surgery starts. A planning session with your care provider and the anesthesiology team is important to ensure that. And having a warm blanket available to begin skin-to-skin with mom (nekkid babe, nekkid mama, warm blankets over all) is a good thing too. There is a brand new study that shows that c/s babes placed skin-to-skin with mom and topped with a blanket are on par with babes who have been wrapped and placed in an isolette in terms of maintaining body temps. And the skin-to-skin babes show some specific benefits (less crying, more interactive vocalization with parents, etc).

JTA- I'm so sorry. Big huge hugs. I remember having lots of "death" type thoughts after dd1's birth... I was diagnosed with PPD and PTSD at about 6 months pp. Have you tried things like tapping? And do you respond to rescue remedy? I use some homeopathic remedies for my ongoing panic attacks... Kali phosphoricum and Aconite are my go-to remedies. And I carry a small bottle of Rosemary essential oil because I find that breathing in the scent helps me focus on the hear/now and get through the panic attack breathlessness. It's not a "formal" aromatherapy thing, just a scent that seems to help me, so if you have a favorite comforting scent or one that always perks you up maybe give that a try? Or check an aromatherapy chart for ideas?

I wish there was a quick and easy cure, but hang in there.
post #58 of 319
Lisa/Storm Bride - YES, the weird bad sunburn feeling! I never would've thought to describe it that way but the minute I read that I thought YES. Glad to know it's unlikely to be permanent...
post #59 of 319
Quote:
Originally Posted by happyblessedmama View Post
Lisa/Storm Bride - YES, the weird bad sunburn feeling! I never would've thought to describe it that way but the minute I read that I thought YES. Glad to know it's unlikely to be permanent...
I've known quite a few women (mostly through ICAN) who have had this, and it hasn't been permanent for any of them.
post #60 of 319
Quote:
Originally Posted by JTA Mom View Post
I am afraid of dying. In both of my c/s, I reacted to the anesthesia in a way that felt like I was dying. Struggled to breathe, felt weaker and weaker. It was like all my energy was being drawn inwards and downwards. And the last time, with the botched epidural, the anesthesiologist wouldn't listen to me and turn it off. No one was there to help me, since they sent hubby out of the room.
I cannot believe he didn't listen to you. In my experiences the anesthesiologist was the most sympathetic and the most compassionate of everyone in the room. That is horrible they didn't listen to you.

I had the anesthiology not take on the first and the surgeon gave me a local. It always surprises me to learn how very few women get that. I don't think I have ever seen someone else say they received a local and a LOT of people say the anesthiology failed.

Could you still a complaint?
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