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#31 of 56 Old 11-19-2011, 06:11 PM
 
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Music via earphones ... totally a great way to get 'out' of the hospital, stormbride.

  • For me, getting up as soon as the epidural wore off was a great way for me to start to feel normal again.
  • Also, I asked for the catheter and IV to come out way before protocol (once I was mobile).  If they argue with you on that, tell them they can put in a new IV if necessary and put in a new catheter if they need to. 
  • Bring your midwife into the surgery room with you, along with your parter.  I was so exhausted (from 36 hours of labouring at home to no avail) that I couldn't have advocated for myself if my life had depended on it.  My partner was too tired and terrified as well.  Your midwife can be your advocate for things like saving your placenta, no eurythromycin for the eyes, no bath, no vitamin k, etc.
  • Drink tonnes and tonnes of water to get your bladder going once that cath is out.
  • Of course, have baby with you in recovery (if your hospital allows ... sometimes it's not possible if the c-section recovery is shared with general surgery because the general surgery nurses don't have newborn training) and get nursing started as soon as possible.  Both these things might affect your choice of hospital, if you have a choice.  One of our hospitals rooms baby in with mom during recovery and the other doesn't.  Thankfully I was registered (in case of transfer) with the one that does.
  • Have your people bring you real, yummy food ... most hospital food is crap.
  • Take an immune booster of some sort while you're there ... you'll be quite run down. 

 


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#32 of 56 Old 11-19-2011, 06:54 PM
 
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Music via earphones ... totally a great way to get 'out' of the hospital, stormbride.

  • have your people bring you real, yummy food ... most hospital food is crap.. 

 



This. This. This.

 

My local hospital isn't terrible - not great, but not terrible. But, the one I went to when I had Aaron had horrible, horrible food. Everything was white flour and highly processed, and I think I got about a serving and a half of fruite and vegetables (combined) a day...maybe three, if I count the sickly sweet orange juice. I think the trays were over 50% carbs, mostly sugar and white flour, and had no flavour. Fortunately, my loved ones fed me better than that!


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#33 of 56 Old 11-19-2011, 07:54 PM
 
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Oh, man, having someone bring in food is SO IMPORTANT. My best friend brought smoothies and I could not get enough of those. She also brought yummy sandwiches from the gourmet health food store. Pure bliss. Unlike some surgeries, there are no dietary restrictions once the surgery is over, so have some good food.

 

I think someone mentioned constipation. Man, this one nearly killed me. I felt like I got my pushing stage and birth a few days out of the hospital when I passed my first BM. UGH! Next time I will make sure to do everything possible to keep things moving smoothly.


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#34 of 56 Old 11-19-2011, 07:58 PM
 
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Oh, man, having someone bring in food is SO IMPORTANT. My best friend brought smoothies and I could not get enough of those. She also brought yummy sandwiches from the gourmet health food store. Pure bliss. Unlike some surgeries, there are no dietary restrictions once the surgery is over, so have some good food.

 

This depends where you are and/or on your doctor. I was on fluids only for the first little while (actually, 3.5 days, the first time!) until my last one. The rule was that I couldn't eat until I'd passed gas. But, after dd1, I just ignored it, and got dh to bring me fruit.  I never thought of smoothies - wish I had. That would have really, really hit the spot.

 

I think someone mentioned constipation. Man, this one nearly killed me. I felt like I got my pushing stage and birth a few days out of the hospital when I passed my first BM. UGH! Next time I will make sure to do everything possible to keep things moving smoothly.

 

Yeah. It's bad. I found eating a bunch of plums, peaches, bananas, etc. made a big difference. I think it was partly because of their fluid content, although I always drink lots of water, too.



 


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#35 of 56 Old 11-19-2011, 08:02 PM
 
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Oh, man, having someone bring in food is SO IMPORTANT. My best friend brought smoothies and I could not get enough of those. She also brought yummy sandwiches from the gourmet health food store. Pure bliss. Unlike some surgeries, there are no dietary restrictions once the surgery is over, so have some good food.

I think someone mentioned constipation. Man, this one nearly killed me. I felt like I got my pushing stage and birth a few days out of the hospital when I passed my first BM. UGH! Next time I will make sure to do everything possible to keep things moving smoothly.

I had to wait a full day for solids, and then it was bland food for a day. They waited until they could hear my stomach making noises and moving gas around. After that, though, it was SO nice to have someone bring food. The hospital food wasn't bad, but things like a smoothie were heaven.

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#36 of 56 Old 11-19-2011, 08:08 PM
 
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You know, now that you mention it, I had my c-section at night, and my friend brought food the next afternoon, so you may be right about having to wait on solids. I can't remember now, to be honest. I might have been that it was almost 24 hours anyway.


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#37 of 56 Old 11-20-2011, 04:35 AM
 
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Oh, man, having someone bring in food is SO IMPORTANT. My best friend brought smoothies and I could not get enough of those. She also brought yummy sandwiches from the gourmet health food store. Pure bliss. Unlike some surgeries, there are no dietary restrictions once the surgery is over, so have some good food.

 

I think someone mentioned constipation. Man, this one nearly killed me. I felt like I got my pushing stage and birth a few days out of the hospital when I passed my first BM. UGH! Next time I will make sure to do everything possible to keep things moving smoothly.


Food:  I have NEVER been so hungry or thirsty after my second child was born (via c-section).  One night when I was up for the zillionth time, I got a cut watermelon out of the fridge, put it on the counter, and lowered my face into it for a bite since my hands were quite full.  Food, for me, was the best gift--especially if it could be eaten one-handed!  My DH would pack night snacks for me, which was WONDERFUL.  A peanut butter sandwich and a juice box (so you don't have to get out the juice, the cup, pour, and transport to wherever you're sitting) were very appreciated.  I was lucky he was so considerate, I know.  I did 100% of the nighttime parenting, so I figured I was due for some being taken care of!

 

Regarding the constipation:  my, yes.  The narcotics did me in, I guess.  I did tons of water, mad fiber, cherry juice, walking, and stool softeners, none of which worked.  An enema did.  I now give them along with regular gifts if a friend is having a c-section.

 


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#38 of 56 Old 11-20-2011, 06:01 AM
 
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I put the bit in about the catheter because I know at least one person on MDC who has said that it was inserted before her epi was effective and she found that particularly traumatic.

 

I've had to self-catheterise or had prolonged indwelling catheters at various points in my life (post spinal surgeries, mostly) so I, personally,  don't find catheters a big deal anyway. After my c-section mine was in for 24 hrs with lots of messing about with measuring urine volumes and post-voiding scans of my bladder because of my existing issues, but obviously my experience is not the rule!

 

I only got 2 litres of IV fluids total, and they were run in over about 4 hrs, although the IV cannula stayed in the full 3 days of my stay (I got an extra 24hrs more than the usual 48hr stay because of my medical issues). I am particularly obsessive about how much fluid I take in, because I need to work out if my urine output is ok, so I kept a note of the IV fluids! Unless you lost a lot of blood or can't drink, you don't need IV fluids post-op and can ask for them to come down.

 

If you can, ask for any Clexane/Lovenox/Heparin injections into your abdomen or buttocks- they're painful and you'll bruise, so I prefer not to have my arms affected. If you're very slim (under 50kg) check you get a lower dose. I always have to remind people that I need half the normal dose because of my weight  (and check you get more if you're bigger too).

 

I like Fentanyl/bupivacaine for spinals- it doesn't make me itchy, drowsy or nauseated. Personally I don't like morphine because it makes me too tired and a bit loopy. I'm personally not fond of IV or epidural PCA, because I've found I can manage without them, and those rely on IV or epidural opiates, which I try to avoid, and mean more tubes and lines, which are constricting.

 

Spinals are weird- the sensation of being paralysed is not pleasant and not something I ever get used to. The issues with my spine have put me at risk of paralysis in the past, and it is pretty frightening to be unable to move and have that running through the back of your mind too. The jerks and twitches as the sensation comes back to your legs can also be scary if you're not expecting them!

 

For post-op analgesia I like oral Diclofenac and paracetamol (acetominophen), with oral codeine (15-30mg) as my emergency back-up painkiller (but if I take that laxatives are definitely needed). This regime has been fine tuned over time and is personal to me, obviously you might need to try a few things before you get what works best for you. I found I needed pain killers during my hospital stay after the-section, but once I was home managed without them, although I was very gentle with myself for a while!

 

Because I have some mobility issues the midwives were very helpful making sure my daughter was within arm's reach, and that the bed was always at the correct height so I could get into and out of it easily, and reach her. The bed height is adjustable- but often set at a convenient height for the medical staff- remember it might not be at a convenient height for you!

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#39 of 56 Old 11-20-2011, 07:07 AM
 
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Adhesive from the drape??  Wow, I had no idea that might be to blame for my itching!

 

I had full body hives last time and could see the outline of the staples and adhesive for over 3 months on my belly from something.  They claim they'll use something "hypo-allergenic" this time, but since aloe gives me eczema and non-latex band-aids give me rashes (and my hospital is latex free), that word means little to me.

 

But now that I'm thinking about it, I ought to make sure to up my Vit. C and D doses for the next couple days to try and carry me through and hopefully help my system dead before my surgery.

 

I'm trying not to focus on the potential negatives though and think about how exciting it will be to finally hold my baby girl at this point.  :)


Yes, it was really really bad after my first cesarean.  It was the exact outline of the surgical drape.  At first we thought it was the abdominal binder, but I didn't have any problem on my back, so we talked to a few doctors and figured it had to have been from the sterile field.  The adhesive had literally given me a ten out of ten dermal reaction.  My skin looked like bubble wrap.  (sorry sorry, not to scare!) but I guess this is kind of a rare, yet real issue with the surgical sterile field drape thing.  Having them wash me several times afterwards and using a cortisone cream really made it fine after my second surgery.  I had some irritation, but man, NOTHING like the first time.  But I did have the IV morphine the second time, and I'm not sure what I had the first time, but I know the Morphine gave me full body itches until they put some other thing in the IV to stop it.  Oy.  I'd love to avoid that!  

 

BUT, knowing these things now, I know that if I do have to have a third cesarean, I will be prepared in order to deal with those discomforts that CAN be avoided and have a better physical experience.  :)

 

Ohh, and my number one best piece of advice is to give yourself an enema (saline) the  night before your scheduled c-section.  For me, it made a huge difference in comfort.  Then, when I was home a few days later, I gave myself another one.  After that, I was pretty much healed enough that I had no issues in that department that a little colace couldn't see me through...perhaps TMI, but this is important stuff!  

 


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#40 of 56 Old 11-20-2011, 08:23 AM
 
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Spinals are weird- the sensation of being paralysed is not pleasant and not something I ever get used to.



That's another thing ... if you've never had an epidural before, be prepared to not like it one little bit!  I felt claustrophobic and helpless, two feelings that I did not appreciate at all.   I detest the sensation.  I think it was the worst part of the entire rushed, panicked, unplanned experience for me.

 

The other sensation thing that surprised me is how your tummy (around the external incision and where they did the internal suturing too) stays numb for sooooooo long!  I've heard it can be tingly or numb for up to a YEAR after!  I swear, I could use my tummy as a pin cushion and I wouldn't feel a thing!


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#41 of 56 Old 11-20-2011, 10:30 AM
 
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Good Low Tech Stuff

  • Abdominal binder (I loved that thing)
  • Breathing apparatus to help prevent pneumonia (don't know if this is common, but I got this plastic thing-like a peak flow meter-to breathe into to help clear out my lungs)

Information

  • All C/S patients should know that everyone reacts to pain meds differently and if a med isn't working for you, they should try something else (never having had surgery before I had no idea, now I know that I am in the minority that does great on morphine).

 

For High Risk/Mag Sulfate deliveries

  • Hospitals should do everything they can to get mom up to the NICU.  I was taken up about 8 hours after I got out of surgery, still on mag and with a catheter.  I've since heard tons of stories of women who didn't get to see their babies for 48 hours because hospital policy didn't allow them out of bed on mag.

The Good of my experience

  • smart hospital staff who respect naturally minded women
  • a doctor who saw me as a person and came up to my room to hang out with me and just chat a couple times after the birth
  • Hospital staff who explained everything and were clear about evidence, and were honest when they were just trying stuff because they didn't know what the hell else to do.

The Bad

  • An OR that was like a war zone with people screaming and cursing-note to health care workers, if the patient is conscious save your freaking out for later.

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#42 of 56 Old 11-20-2011, 11:14 AM
 
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The other sensation thing that surprised me is how your tummy (around the external incision and where they did the internal suturing too) stays numb for sooooooo long!  I've heard it can be tingly or numb for up to a YEAR after! 


It can be longer than that. I never got full sensation back after ds2, and he's almost 6.5. My scar line, extending both up and down, slightly, is also still completely numb from dd2, and she's almost 2.5 I think a year is actually quite common. I've had the sunburn-y feeling a couple of times, and it lasted several months each time...over six once, but I can't remember which child that was, anymore.

 


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It can be longer than that. I never got full sensation back after ds2, and he's almost 6.5. My scar line, extending both up and down, slightly, is also still completely numb from dd2, and she's almost 2.5 I think a year is actually quite common. I've had the sunburn-y feeling a couple of times, and it lasted several months each time...over six once, but I can't remember which child that was, anymore.

I don't have tingling, but 5.5 years out, I still have a loss of sensation. I can feel pressure, but light touching I can't feel. It bothered me for a long time to wear pants with a regular waist, like jeans. It took a long time for it to get a little bit better, and I had to deal with it emotionally. My sister, on the other hand, regained all sensation after her 3 c-sections at about a year out. I just wish that the doctor would have mentioned the possibility of nerve damage. I've had several other surgeries, and the possibility of nerve damage was always discussed. It didn't happen with my c-section, and it was planned.

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#44 of 56 Old 11-20-2011, 11:38 AM
 
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I don't have tingling, but 5.5 years out, I still have a loss of sensation. I can feel pressure, but light touching I can't feel. It bothered me for a long time to wear pants with a regular waist, like jeans. It took a long time for it to get a little bit better, and I had to deal with it emotionally. My sister, on the other hand, regained all sensation after her 3 c-sections at about a year out. I just wish that the doctor would have mentioned the possibility of nerve damage. I've had several other surgeries, and the possibility of nerve damage was always discussed. It didn't happen with my c-section, and it was planned.


I was having gas and bladder issues, both related to the lack of sensation in the area, after I had ds2. When I talked to my GP (assisted in the surgery, and was my primary prenatal provider) about it, she told me it "couldn't" have anything to do with the c-section. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. I've never been warned about nerve damage, either. For some reason, it doesn't seem to be on the medical radar.


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#45 of 56 Old 11-20-2011, 11:46 AM
 
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I was having gas and bladder issues, both related to the lack of sensation in the area, after I had ds2. When I talked to my GP (assisted in the surgery, and was my primary prenatal provider) about it, she told me it "couldn't" have anything to do with the c-section. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. I've never been warned about nerve damage, either. For some reason, it doesn't seem to be on the medical radar.

This isn't a c-section issue, but my mom had similar issues from fertility surgeries that she had. One to clean out her tubes after she got an infection from birthing my sister, and another to reposition her retroverted uterus. After the second surgery, she had issues with frequent urination and gas. The doctors swore up and down that it had nothing to do with the surgery. (BTW, they made a low bikini-line cut just like a c-section.) This year, she had laproscopic surgery to fuse two vertebrae in her spine. The surgery took much longer than we had expected. Why? The orthopedic surgeon realized that when they did the fertility surgery, they actually relocated her ureters, bladder, and some of her intestines. Because the orthopedic surgeon had to be so careful to navigate around the displaced organs, they're going to have to go back in to relocate the organs and do more work on her spine. It just boggles my mind that doctors can be so adamant that they "couldn't have" caused issues like this. I've read the studies, and they're a lot less likely to have pissed off patients sue if they're honest about the risks and any screw-ups. I am glad that I found a new OB, and she's known for being gentle AND honest.

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#46 of 56 Old 11-20-2011, 12:15 PM
 
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It just boggles my mind that doctors can be so adamant that they "couldn't have" caused issues like this. I've read the studies, and they're a lot less likely to have pissed off patients sue if they're honest about the risks and any screw-ups. I am glad that I found a new OB, and she's known for being gentle AND honest.


 

This. I have a deeply rooted distrust of doctors now, and it's almost entirely based around the crap that went on around my c-sections. I really wish they'd just be honest.


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#47 of 56 Old 11-20-2011, 12:34 PM
 
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Back to the subject at hand, I highly recommend taking the hospital tour, even IF you have a scheduled c-section. That's your chance to ask questions about policies, see the rooms, find out their prep procedures before the c-section, how they handle recovery, etc.

The hospital I had DD at was older, and handles a big portion of the high risk cases for Nor. Cal. They prepped me in a shared room, but luckily I had it to myself. The hospital had two dedicated operating rooms, and access to several others if needed. I was allowed to bring two support people. DD was whisked off to the NICU because she was snorting a little, and I didn't see her for over an hour. I found out later that the neonatologist said she didn't even need to be there. She likely would have regulated her breathing just fine if she was placed on my chest. I was able to nurse in recovery after she was allowed back. I was a little out of it because I was itching and shaking, and got a lot of meds to stop the side effects. I think I was in recovery for about two hours before getting a room.

I had a HORRIBLE roommate. She didn't speak English, she had no support, wouldn't breastfeed because of cultural reasons, and the nurses were in there with her around the clock. I don't fault her for those things, but it made sleeping impossible. The first day we were allowed only clear liquids like broth, jello, etc. The second day we were allowed food, but it was bland at first. She had her family visit, and they brought the most horrible smelling ethnic food. It wasn't a good choice for her to eat...she ended up with severe diarrhea and I couldn't get up to pee. I got chastised by the nurses for it. Eventually I broke down crying, and told them I needed my own room. I hadn't slept in two days because of the nurses coming in and turning on lights every 20 minutes for her. I got the first available room, and things were fine after that.

What I learned:

- Opt for a hospital that has private rooms if possible.
- I'll ask for different pain control if I end up with an RCS. Norco was not sufficient, but the OB would only give me Norco or Vicodin.
- I did my research, and a better OB. One that doesn't push c-sections, one that is evidence based, and one that supports natural birth. (Even with twins!)
- I'll bring magnesium or vitamin C with me to the hospital, in case I get constipated again. I tried walking, prune juice (GROSS!), lots of that sweet cranberry juice, colace, etc. Nothing helped. I've since discovered that a little magnesium or C help, and it is much quicker than the other methods.
- I picked a different hospital that is more family-friendly. (Actually, baby-friendly as they say.)
- I'll probably bring my own snacks this time. The hospital food wasn't bad, but I would have been hungry in between meals.

The hospital I chose this time also has two dedicated operating rooms, with others available but not normally used. Prep and recovery happen in a regular L&D room as long as they aren't incredibly busy. If they are, moms can recover in the 3 bed triage room. (I've already had to go their twice...triage isn't so bad there. At the old place it was ratty and small.)

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#48 of 56 Old 11-20-2011, 06:45 PM
 
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Definitely food! I went into the OR around 8am and was eating in the afternoon. My hospital treats all patients like they're 60 a d in for a bypass. Lowfat everything, yuck.

 

With my first the bed could only be adjusted by the midwives. I was so much happier with the electric one you get in US hospitals (and the private room).  Also, if you really feel out of it the first night, don't feel bad if you think about sending the baby to the nursery. If your partner can stay that's even better, but mine couldn't and it really was better for baby to be looked after properly which I wasn't fit to do. 


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#49 of 56 Old 11-21-2011, 11:14 AM
 
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Oh! How could I forget jammies. I do NOT like the hospital gowns.


Additional note on JAMMIES. My c/s was un-planned and I had brought yoga pants and t-shirt to wear in the hospital, I could not handle the little pressure the pants put on my incision while it was healing. I was stuck wearing the hospital gowns for 4 days. irked.gif  If we have another, I will investing in a few nightgowns.

 

Also consider what you bring to wear home. I think I brought my normal capris and top, again I couldn't wear the bottoms. DH brought me a pair of his basketball shorts to wear home. I felt silly in them, but I didn't have alot of options. I wish I had had some kind of loose dress to wear home.


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#50 of 56 Old 11-21-2011, 11:20 AM
 
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Additional note on JAMMIES. My c/s was un-planned and I had brought yoga pants and t-shirt to wear in the hospital, I could not handle the little pressure the pants put on my incision while it was healing. I was stuck wearing the hospital gowns for 4 days. irked.gif  If we have another, I will investing in a few nightgowns.



I'd actually meant to mention this, with respect to underwear. I'm overweight, which means that if I wear things (underwear, in particular) that don't sit on the incision, they tend to push my belly down onto the incision, instead. I find that horribly uncomfortable, so I actually prefer to have my underwear sit on the incision line...over a dressing, obviously! Most women I've talked to are the opposite, so they recommend "granny panties" (my preference, anyway - I just push them down at the top), so that the waistband isn't on the incision. I think this one is probably obvious to most women who have already had a c-section, but it's worth mentioning, just in case!


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#51 of 56 Old 11-21-2011, 03:38 PM
 
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Our hospital stocks one-size-fits-all (kind of fits all) mesh undies. You can order plus sized panties online ahead of time if you need them. They were more comfortable. When I covered up the incision with a bandage, I ended up with a yeast infection in the incision. The mesh undies helped the area breath when I was treating the yeast.

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#52 of 56 Old 11-21-2011, 05:24 PM
 
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Our hospital stocks one-size-fits-all (kind of fits all) mesh undies. You can order plus sized panties online ahead of time if you need them. They were more comfortable. When I covered up the incision with a bandage, I ended up with a yeast infection in the incision. The mesh undies helped the area breath when I was treating the yeast.


I use those in the hospital, too - but I can't let the area breathe most of the time, because my stomach sits on the incision. I need to have a wound dressing between my flabby abdomen and the incision...and I prefer to also have my waistband there (even on the mesh ones), because it's more comfortable than having my tummy sitting on it. When I had a fresh incision, I'd try to remember to lie on my back and hold my tummy up sometimes, but I didn't do it as often as I probably should have.

 

Actually, looking back, this is another area I could have used information. My notes from two of my c-sections are full of comments about how I'd been informed of the necessity to keep the area dry and aired out, but was not doing so. But, nobody ever gave me any suggestions on how to do that, and the only thing that worked was physically holding my abdomen off the incisions...not something I could reasonably do all day (between eating, feeding baby, etc.). Does anyone have any solid tips on that? (I don't need them, anymore, but I'm sure others do!)


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#53 of 56 Old 11-21-2011, 06:31 PM
 
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Aside from binding the flabby parts (I have those too - it is a shelf of flab after the section), I'm not sure. I've seen them tape up HUGE bellies before surgery for women that are really big, but that isn't exactly feasible once you're moving around. My nurse told me to use a maxi pad to cover the wound, and that is what caused my problems. God bless my husband for going down to the pharmacy, only to have to ask where the Monistat cream was. It was bad enough having to call the OB to ask why my wound was oozing something that smelled like beer.

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#54 of 56 Old 11-24-2011, 10:23 AM
 
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To cover the incision, you need something clean and absorbent.  I don't like maxis because they are full of crap I don't want on me and don't use them for my periods.  I used some rolled up undies for coming home and am using sterile surgical wound covers right now. I used gauze pads last time,but didn't start until I'd healed a bit.  M belly rearranged itself oddly while pregnant this time, so I'm pretty focused on keeping things dry.

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#55 of 56 Old 11-25-2011, 11:07 AM
 
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I gotta agree with you here, how on earth is that even an issue?!?  I suspect it isn't the standard of care as much as the occasional stupidity of humans not paying attention to what is going on.  I think they usually pull the catheter out before the spinal has worn off, and I can't even imagine the scream that would issue from me if they tried to cath me BEFORE the spinal.  maybe if I was already in labor, because I didn't even feel the needle at my first, emergency c-section (so it was a bit of a shock when I had it done without laboring...wish I would have known that because I think I accidentally hit the nurse in shock).



Or if you have to have a catheter before the spinal for whatever reason, ask for a nurse who does NOT have fingernails to put it in.  I've had three or four caths in the last two weeks and was fully conscious and feeling for all of them. 


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#56 of 56 Old 11-25-2011, 11:15 AM
 
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And one more quick post to adjust my subscription option.


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