"How long was it before you felt normal? Normal as in, could pick up your toddler, drive a car, clean a house, stand up and sit down like you did pre-section, etc? How long did it take to get your energy back?"
With my first section, I was driving 10 days afterwards. With my last section, I took a little longer because my scar felt odd. I saw my OB and he suggested that it was because I had a new scar growing on top of the old scar. Regardless, its fine now. As far as picking upn my DD, she is 35+ pounds, so I did not life her until 6 weeks. For full energy levels, that took me about 10-12 weeks.
"In complete honesty, how long did it take for your incision to feel *completely* normal, as in no numbness, pulling, odd pain, etc?"
Well, I still have an occasional twinge from my latest section in April, but not what I would call pain. I was at the gym exercising at full tilt by 12 weeks post partum. With my first section, I had regained pretty much full feeling around the scar, but it was over 3 years between my 2 sections.
"When could you have sex again?"
After my first section, we waited almost 3 months, but that was more the whole lack of sleep caring for a newborn thing. This time we had sex for the first time at 5 weeks, but in all honesty the first few times hurt a bit. Not in my scar area, but vaginally. All is normal down there now though and has been for a few weeks.
"What are your suggestions for a quicker and better recovery? What do you wish you had known prior to your c-section(s)?"
Get out of bed as quickly as you can. Ask to have your catheter removed as quickly as they will, shower and eat regular food. All of that will make you feel better. Wear your own clothes in the hospital. Wear tight shorts (like exercise compression shorts) to sort of "hold things in". Be active, but not too active. Stay on top of your pain meds for the first week and that will help your ability to be up and active.