What to expect in terms of recovery after cesarean - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 50 Old 11-18-2011, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am really grateful this forum is up and running!  I've been waiting anxiously since I will be having a cesarean in the next few days.  I'm wondering if those of you who have had a cesarean can share your experiences with recovery?  My first was a vaginal delivery and this time I'll also have my three year old to take care of and a hubby who travels half the time for work so I'm really nervous.

 

I'm wondering.... How much time did your partner take off of work after your cesarean or how long did you have help from someone else?  Was it enough time?  Did you have older children to care for as well?

 

How long did it take before you were able to do dishes, laundry, cook dinner, vacuum, bend over, etc?

 

How long did it take until you felt totally back to normal and could resume all activities?

 

How long were you in pain for and how long did you need to take painkillers for? 

 

TIA :) 

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#2 of 50 Old 11-18-2011, 12:20 PM
 
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I had my Cesarean in February of this year.

 

I took painkillers, percoset, for 7 or 8 days. I took tylenol for a few days after I ended the percoset.

 

I know some women don't even take the percoset, but I am a pain wimp. Also, I had my c section after 44 hours of failed induction, which I understand is much harder to recover from than a planned c section. So i am just telling you that so you know where I am coming from.

 

I felt totally back to normal and able to resume all activities at 8 weeks. I considered myself totally healed. The only effects present at that time was a little numbness around the scar (which is still slightly present but still fading) and the scar was kind of tight, so if I say, twisted my body quickly I would feel a pulling sensation there. That is totally gone now.

 

The first few days were hard. I was glad to be in a hospital bed that raised with a button, so I could use the bed to help me sit up for breastfeeding. After I got home, sitting up was hard. It was helpful to have a heavy nightstand next to my bed that I could grab and use to pull myself up, rather than trying to sit up normally. Or having DH hold his arm out for me to pull up on.

 

They will tell you not to pic up anything heavier than your infant for 6 to 8 weeks, I cannot remember which, but I remember that it was close to the recommended time for me that I really felt OK to lift things.

 

I didn't have any other kids so I cannot comment on caring for a toddler, but I do think that if you can secure any extra help, I would recommend it.

 

 

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#3 of 50 Old 11-18-2011, 01:06 PM
 
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My un-planned cesarean was 14 months ago and I honestly can't recall specifics you are looking for. I will tell you what I can remember.

 

I gave birth late at night on Wednesday and wasn't released from the hospital until Sunday afternoon. Two reasons, my c-section and DS had jaundice.

 

I only took the "strong pain-killer" the first night, cause that's what they gave me (I don't recall what it was). I didn't like it, it made me too sleepy. After that I only took Tylenol. I took the Tylenol constantly while in the hospital, once I got home I only took as-needed. I think I took it for a few weeks, one week for sure.

 

DH did take time off work, he was home the first 2 weeks with me (so awesome). I was home 8 weeks. We did something that I amaze myself I made it through fairly easily, but I would not recommend it to anyone. My DH works 24-hour shift and our first day home he went to work, because it was a holiday and wanted the extra money. My first 24-hours home, I was home alone. We lived in a 2nd story condo (stairs!) and had two dogs that needed to be walked 4-5 times a day. Some how I managed to do it with the baby.

 

I think I was able to do "easy"chores, ie wash dishes after a few weeks. Doing laundry, and cooking dinner - I did after a few weeks, but with caution. I didn't lift the basket of clothes, I would push it with my foot. And I would only do one load a day, not back-to-back loads. Vacuuming and lifting - I waited for the doctor's okay after 6 weeks.

 

DH has 2 older kids form a previous marriage, but they are only with us when he is home. So I didn't deal with taking care of other kids while I was recovering. I did have to care for and lift two 10-lbs dogs. Mostly cause of the dogs, I wish I had more help, but we didn't have family close by and I didn't feel I should ask friends to come help. If friends did come by, I always asked them to help me walk the dogs.

 

My advice would be not be afraid to ask for a helping hand if you need it. Most friends or family probably won't mind helping out with simple chores while you are recovering. I had one mommy friend bring us dinner and it was one of the best things some one did for us.

 

My scar feels numb, but it's healing nicely. I get a twing of pain internally from time to time.

 

Good luck! Hope all goes well for you.

 


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#4 of 50 Old 11-18-2011, 01:16 PM
 
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I also had a long, exhausting, depleting labor prior to my c-section, and I can say that was definitely a factor in the length of my recovery. OP, if you can go into your c-section with lots of rest, I think that will make your recovery much easier!

 

Women have different experiences with pain meds and how long they want to take them. All I would say is, in my experience being in pain just slows things down. I tried to wean myself off the percoset several times and ended up in horrible pain and having to start taking it again. Looking back, I was probably on the really heavy meds for less than 2 weeks (it's all a blur now). But I was impatient to be off the meds and "back to normal" and ironically that impatience actually slowed my recovery.

 

If you can line up help and assume that you'll need a ton of support for the first 6 weeks, that is ideal. Realistically, you will probably feel much better much sooner than that. But keep taking it easy!

 

My partner did not have a lot of leave time & used most of it up while we were in the hospital (we weren't expecting to be at the hospital for almost 2 days before baby even arrived!). But she works from home so I was really alone during my maternity leave. I am so grateful that I wasn't...I really needed both physical & emotional support.

 

Good luck & let us know how it goes for you!


Living in Wisconsin with my partner of 20+ years and our DDenergy.gif(Born 10/09/08 ribboncesarean.gif). Why CI Mama? Because I love contact improvisation!

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#5 of 50 Old 11-18-2011, 02:11 PM
 
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Ok, with my 2nd section, I had a scheduled repeat with a 4.5yo at home, so this should be fairly analogous for you. I am nearly 8 weeks out now, and from all the stories I've heard, my recovery was good, but not exceptional (I know people who drove faster, were off painkillers faster etc).

 

Logistics: My mom came and stayed for a week, then my DH took another week off. I would strongly recommend 2 weeks of coverage especially if your older one needs to be driven anywhere. I know people who have driven before 2 weeks. You might get lucky. I wouldn't want to count on it. If you drive a manual transmission, I would extend this even further as using a clutch places strain on the incision. (When I had my first in the UK, they told you 6 weeks no driving!)

 

Pain: I had Duramorph in my spinal (at my pre-op, they mentioned PCA, but the anesthesiologist preferred Duramorph). On top of that I had IV Toradol for a day or so. After that, Percs. I had my C on a Monday. I was just about done with the Percs by Friday. I needed to take one or two over the weekend because I pushed myself too far, and I took Advil through Monday. I highly recommend using an NSAID along with the Percocet. NSAIDs are more effective at treating muscular pain, ie, your uterus contracting down to size. You're allowed a max of 2 Percs every 4 hours. I found that one did not kill pain, but I tried to stretch it to 6 hours between doses, which I mostly did.

 

Function level: I had some mild postoperative complications (blood loss, low BP, low urine output) which delayed me getting out of bed. I was hobbling to the toilet on Tuesday. Wednesday, I was more comfortable: I had a shower, I put real pajamas on, I could get out of bed fairly easily to get things. Wednesday night/Thursday I felt good as long as I kept taking Percocet and Advil. I was sitting in the recliner in my hospital room, not the bed, and was able to read or use my iPad as well as watch mindless TV. (My DS went for phototherapy.) Thursday afternoon I got out of the hospital. I would have been fine had my mother and I not had a giant blowup, which sent me into a hormonal fit where I walked around the block for an hour. Don't do this.

 

After that I was fine as long as I didn't lift anything heavy. There were some cleaning tasks I could not do: I made DH bring laundry up and down the stairs for a few weeks, I couldn't scrub floors on my hands and knees, he had to lift heavy pots and change the bed. But I was definitely cooking, vacuuming, dusting, no problem. I baked a cake the day after I got home. 2 weeks out, my DH went back to work and I was driving my DD to preschool. Lifting the baby in his car seat was tough for another week or so, and long shopping trips were painful. I quit bleeding by 3.5 weeks out and felt fine by 4 or so. At 6 weeks, I got my PP checkup and was cleared.


DD 01/2007, DS 09/2011

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#6 of 50 Old 11-18-2011, 03:47 PM
 
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I had 5 vaginal deliveries then a c/s. mine was unplanned.

 

The first week I did very little. We moved 400 miles on day 7 postpartum and that was hard. I got tired easily. The second week I wasn't up and around much. Week 3 I was cooking. I also drove at 3.5 weeks because my baby had an emergent medical issue and needed to go to the doc, and nobody could help me. I also had my 4 and 20 month old children in addition to the baby and just making it from the parking lot to the hospital was physically hard.

 

Lifting my toddler, carrying the baby in a seat, etc was difficult for me. I was still in pain at 6 weeks. It took me about 8+ weeks to feel normal. I was still taking ibuprofen at that point. 

 

Im planning a repeat with this pregnancy and hope it goes more easily for sure.


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#7 of 50 Old 11-18-2011, 07:43 PM
 
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A couple of quick things. First, ask for stitches and not staples for your incision. I'm so glad that I happened to read a study about it days before my surprise emergency section. Apparently it makes a big difference.
I didn't need any painkillers other than one dose of morpine for the car ride home but the anesthesia they give you actually works for longer than the actual surgery and I was "laddering" ibuprofen and acetaminophen. I had the section at 11 p.m. and was up showering at 9 a.m.
I felt totally back to normal at about six weeks but numbness around the incision lingered for months.
On the plus side, I didn't find that pain from the incision had an impact on breastfeeding. The biggest challenge was making sure my toddler didn't jump on me!

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#8 of 50 Old 11-18-2011, 07:58 PM
 
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I've had 5 c-sections, three scheduled, "planned", and two emergent.  My recoveries have varied, but a few things have been typical of all of them.

 

First of all, I couldn't do much of anything for the first 4-5 days. I could walk slowly, get myself a drink or snack, feed the baby (I could change diapers, but standing that long in one place was close to the very edge of my abilities), but that was about it. So, any help you can get during that time is really important, imo...be it manpower, some meals in the freezer, or whatever. After my first, I went home, my ex went back to work (he was unemployed, we were flat broke, and he'd managed to get a couple of days of work, so he really couldn't take it off), and it was just me and ds1 for hours. At one point, I got stuck on the couch, and couldn't stand up when ds1 started crying to be fed (I'd put him down in the bassinet for a nap while I drank some water). I did eventually manage to stand up, but I've never forgotten how scary it was (ds1 is 19 in March!). For my next one, I was living with my mom and stepdad, and dh wasn't working yet. With my third, I was at my mom's until he was 10 days old, then we moved. That was a bit rocky, but ds1 was 12, and able to take dd1 to the playground and such to give me a break. Other than ds1, my biggest help that summer was actually the harness I used for dd1...I couldn't wear ds2 yet, so I'd put him in the stroller, put the harness on dd1, and go for a short walk. My fourth was kind of different (my son was stillborn, so I had no baby to look after, and dh was given two weeks off with pay to look after his family, including me, which got me over the first hump, physically). When dd2 came along, ds1 was 16, and he helped me out a lot, as her birthday was just before his summer break from high school.

 

I'm rambling, and not focusing on your questions. Sorry!

 

Basically, I'd say the first two weeks are the most crucial time, in terms of recovery. Don't push yourself to do more than you can (laundry, dishes, cooking, etc.). Cut yourself slack if you need to order in, or you/your partner end up fixing some processed meals or more sandwiches than you're really comfortable with, yk? It's really, really hard to be recovering from surgery while lookign after a newborn, let alone other kids. Keep to the absolutely necessary stuff. And, by all means, encourage people to help. Get a few meals in the freezer (whether you make them yourself or not).

 

The next four weeks (from 2 weeks to 6 weeks) are the danger period. You're quite likely to feel as though you're basically back to normal...but you aren't. I've hurt myself at least once in that period after every c-section, because I feel as though I'm more or less back to normal, but I'm still physically recovering. It's also really, really, really easy to misjudge my stamina, so i'll go to pick up a couple things at the grocery store, and then end up doing a biggish shopping trip, and be completely and utterly exhausted by the time I'm done. Try hard not to push too hard in that time, as it's very easy to get impatient, and you really will bounce back better if you don't overdo it.

 

I don't know if it's universal or not (but it was true for me, and, as far as I can recall, for every woman I've talked to about it who has had both), but I found that getting stitches instead of staples for the outer closure also made a significant difference in my recovery. I had both less pain, and more mobility, with the stitches than I ever had with staples. I really would have been much happier if I'd discovered that one sooner.

 

Everybody has a different experience with pain meds, I think. I prefer to use as few meds as possible, especially after the first day or two, because I'm far more likely to hurt myself if my pain is "managed". I tend to only take them to help me sleep for the first few days, and the first time I get out of bed and/or use the bathroom.

 

I also highly recommend drinking a lot of water after the surgery, and eating fruit - juicy fruit, by preference - as soon as you can. IME, it helps immensely with constipation, and being constipated with an abdominal incision is...not fun.


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#9 of 50 Old 11-18-2011, 08:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Megan73 View Post

A couple of quick things. First, ask for stitches and not staples for your incision. I'm so glad that I happened to read a study about it days before my surprise emergency section. Apparently it makes a big difference.
 



orngbiggrin.gif

 

We cross-posted. I've had both, and if I'd only had staples, I wouldn't have had any idea how much difference it makes. It was huge! I mean...every person who had seen me in the days following my c-sections commented on how much more easily I was moving (this despite more extensive surgery - scar excision and a tubal, as well as the c-section) after the one with the stitches. I also ended up with an infected incision twice with staples (one of them was definitely caused by having staples, as a staple twisted, tore out and that part of the incision didn't heal promptly, then got infected). I only have the one experience with stitches to compare with, but I had no issues with the incision closure at all. And, I don't care either way, because I hate my scar, no matter what...but the scar after the stitches was less pronounced than any of my previous four.


Lisa, lucky mama of Kelly (3/93) ribboncesarean.gif, Emma (5/03) ribboncesarean.gif, Evan (7/05) ribboncesarean.gif, & Jenna (6/09) ribboncesarean.gif
Loving my amazing dh, James & forever missing ribbonpb.gif Aaron Ambrose ribboncesarean.gif (11/07) ribbonpb.gif

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#10 of 50 Old 11-18-2011, 08:15 PM
 
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How long did it take before you were able to do dishes, laundry, cook dinner, vacuum, bend over, etc?

I could do dishes at around two weeks. At three weeks we went out of town for a couple days with baby, and I did some walking around. (I had cabin fever.) I didn't bend or lift more than the baby until after six weeks, because I had a lot of pain on my right side. (The side the surgeon was on.) I was able to do some laundry at around 6 weeks, but it was hard because our washer was deep and narrow. I'd have to bend a lot just to get the clothes out.

How long did it take until you felt totally back to normal and could resume all activities? Probably closer to six-seven weeks. I did a nice mile or so walk with DD in her stroller at around six weeks, and ended up bleeding badly. I was clotting pretty badly and couldn't get up from the toilet for awhile. My doctor said that it was probably just a heavy first period, but I'm not sure what happened.


How long were you in pain for and how long did you need to take painkillers for? I was given Norco, and took it most of the time for the first two weeks. The next week I took it as needed. It was about three weeks total.

We lived in an apartment at the time, and I had to climb a steep set of stairs to get up and down. It was slow going, but I managed. My husband took off the first six weeks, and that was pretty helpful. He did a lot of the chores and took the dog out for walks. I won't have that option this time if I do end up with an RCS. It definitely helps to have someone that can do chores, help with pets, etc. Make sure it is someone you can tolerate, and that understands that baby really needs to be with mom and nursing if it isn't your spouse/partner.

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#11 of 50 Old 11-18-2011, 08:28 PM
 
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How long did it take before you were able to do dishes, laundry, cook dinner, vacuum, bend over, etc?
I could do dishes at around two weeks. At three weeks we went out of town for a couple days with baby, and I did some walking around. (I had cabin fever.) I didn't bend or lift more than the baby until after six weeks, because I had a lot of pain on my right side. (The side the surgeon was on.) I was able to do some laundry at around 6 weeks, but it was hard because our washer was deep and narrow. I'd have to bend a lot just to get the clothes out.
Oh, yeah - I forgot about that. I can't remember how long it took me to be able to do a full load of laundry. I could start one (by putting in a few items at a time) very early. I could definitely unload the dryer by six weeks out. But, I can't remember how long it took to be able to reach into the washer. I have to bend way over - if there's something on the far side of the cylinder, one of my feet leaves the floor - and I just couldn't put that much pressure on my abdomen.


 

Oh, OP - something else I want to mention. If your hospital is anything like mine, you're going to be pushed hard to use the football hold. If that doesn't work for you, don't give up. There are quite a few women it doens't work well for, and we still manage to get breastfeeding working out just fine! For some reason, a lot of nurses seem to think that the only possible way to breastfeed after a c-section is the football hold. So, if that doesn't work, it can be easy to feel as if it's just not going to happen at all.

 


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Loving my amazing dh, James & forever missing ribbonpb.gif Aaron Ambrose ribboncesarean.gif (11/07) ribbonpb.gif

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#12 of 50 Old 11-18-2011, 09:24 PM
 
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I haven't had a C-section but I did just want to note really quickly that Percocet, as well as some other prescription painkillers, has Tylenol (acetaminophen) in it, and I saw posts upthread about mixing ibuprofen and acetaminophen, or Percocet and ibuprofen, both of which would be okay, but you have to be careful mixing some painkillers and Tylenol so as not to get too much Tylenol (adult max is 4000 mg/day). Check with your doctor or pharmacist if in doubt.

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#13 of 50 Old 11-19-2011, 12:32 AM
 
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In Australia it is standard practice to offer regular (every 6 hours) NSAIDs and paracetamol starting as soon as the woman is able to eat and drink. The first dose is usually given PR in Theatre. Women who have this regime tend to have much better pain control and need significantly fewer narcotics. It varies from person to person but 5-7 days is pretty common for the regular 6 hourly doses. After that most women seem to be able to start reducing the frequency and/or stop the NSAID.

 

Another thing I found really useful was a bolster. It's something else we use really commonly for all types of abdominal surgery. Get a bath towel (a fairly thin one is best). FOld it in half longways. Then fold it into thirds or quarters (depending how long the towel is) in the other direction. You should have a square-ish shape. Using two long strips of masking tape, secure the towel without squashing it out of shape. Whenever you move, hold the bolster firmly against your incision with one (or both) hands. I used one for the first few days whenever I got out of bed, or stood up fro ma chair, even for walking for the first day or so. When I was in bed I just left it sitting on my tummy and it protected it a bit from little feet as well.


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#14 of 50 Old 11-19-2011, 06:53 AM
 
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orngbiggrin.gif

We cross-posted. I've had both, and if I'd only had staples, I wouldn't have had any idea how much difference it makes. It was huge! I mean...every person who had seen me in the days following my c-sections commented on how much more easily I was moving (this despite more extensive surgery - scar excision and a tubal, as well as the c-section) after the one with the stitches. I also ended up with an infected incision twice with staples (one of them was definitely caused by having staples, as a staple twisted, tore out and that part of the incision didn't heal promptly, then got infected). I only have the one experience with stitches to compare with, but I had no issues with the incision closure at all. And, I don't care either way, because I hate my scar, no matter what...but the scar after the stitches was less pronounced than any of my previous four.

I think your experience is born out by a recent study. Women with staples are FOUR TIMES more likely to have wound separation and the only benefit is the staples save the surgeon a measly eight minutes. eyesroll.gif
I asked the OB for sutures when I was on the operating table and she had no problem doing it but she'd never read the study (!!!) and was clearly humoring me. Can you believe it! This is a high-risk OB who sections women every day of the week. Unreal.

OP, here's the study: http://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378%2810%2900895-1/abstract
If I were you I'd print it out and show it to your doctor - it could make a real difference to how quickly you're up and about.

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#15 of 50 Old 11-19-2011, 08:33 AM
 
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I had external stitches with my first and internal with my 2nd. I asked my OB the 2nd time and told her I wanted stitches, and she said she only does staples in an emergency if the patient needs to be closed ASAP. She prefers stitches.

 

The internal stitches were amazing. The external ones healed ok in the end, but I had a separation.

 

I found that the issue with breastfeeding was not pressure on the incision, but limited mobility and issues with positioning. If you have a choice of hospitals, find out if the nurses all have up to date training on helping with nursing. They did at my 2nd and it was a big help--I was able to get baby latched every time. (They did suggest football hold, but that was after I struggled with cross cradle--I think they would have suggested it anyway.)

 

Oh, speaking of nurses... with a C, good nurses make a huge difference. Again, if you have a choice of hospital (might be too late for the OP but for anyone reading this later), ask about that. You'll be in the hospital longer and make more use of the nurses and LCs, so a CS mom's needs are a little different from someone who had an uncomplicated vaginal birth. I always sigh when I read hospital reviews where people rave about how nice the rooms were.


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#16 of 50 Old 11-19-2011, 09:31 AM
 
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Has anyone had glue in their incision? I had glue and it was great! No stitches, no staples.

 

I think the hardest thing for me with my first c-section was how fast it was. I'm hoping they can slow things down this time.


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#17 of 50 Old 11-19-2011, 10:05 AM
 
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The next four weeks (from 2 weeks to 6 weeks) are the danger period. You're quite likely to feel as though you're basically back to normal...but you aren't. I've hurt myself at least once in that period after every c-section, because I feel as though I'm more or less back to normal, but I'm still physically recovering. It's also really, really, really easy to misjudge my stamina, so i'll go to pick up a couple things at the grocery store, and then end up doing a biggish shopping trip, and be completely and utterly exhausted by the time I'm done. Try hard not to push too hard in that time, as it's very easy to get impatient, and you really will bounce back better if you don't overdo it.

 

So true! I had to slow myself down and just let things go (I'm a little OCD and the "messy" house made me crazy).


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#18 of 50 Old 11-19-2011, 07:14 PM
 
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My DH was home with me for 3 weeks after my c/s. MIL stayed with us for a week and my parents who live locally also came by to help. If you have friends or family near by that are willing to help, let them. I only have one child so I'm not sure what it's like to try to take care of older children as well as a newborn, but I'm sure I would definitely need help.

 

I was prescribed Norco and took it pretty much on schedule for the first week and a half after returning home and then as needed after that. I slowly started doing little tasks around the house, but I think it wasn't until after my follow-up appt with my OB that I started settling back into my regular routine.


 

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The next four weeks (from 2 weeks to 6 weeks) are the danger period. You're quite likely to feel as though you're basically back to normal...but you aren't. I've hurt myself at least once in that period after every c-section, because I feel as though I'm more or less back to normal, but I'm still physically recovering. It's also really, really, really easy to misjudge my stamina, so i'll go to pick up a couple things at the grocery store, and then end up doing a biggish shopping trip, and be completely and utterly exhausted by the time I'm done. Try hard not to push too hard in that time, as it's very easy to get impatient, and you really will bounce back better if you don't overdo it.

 

 

This is totally me too. As soon as I started feeling a little better, I tried to do too much and ended up paying for it.

 


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#19 of 50 Old 11-20-2011, 07:48 AM
 
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My section was almost 6 years ago, so some of the details are a bit fuzzy, but I wanted to try and add my 2 cents to the discussion, for what they are worth. :-)

 

 

 

 

I'm wondering.... How much time did your partner take off of work after your cesarean or how long did you have help from someone else?  Was it enough time?  Did you have older children to care for as well?

 

My xdh went back to work the day after we brought my daughter home; he was self-employed, we were broke at the time, not working was not an option. My mom worked full-time as well and couldn't take much time off, but she did take a few days off the first week to help me out. I was totally on my own, with after-work help from my mom, when I was five days to a week out. I had two older children; my daughter was almost 10 and in school full-time, my son was 5 and in preschool three hours a day. The 10 year-old was a HUGE help with the the 5 year-old, and having the 5 year-old him in preschool those few hours a day was a God-send. 

h

How long did it take before you were able to do dishes, laundry, cook dinner, vacuum, bend over, etc?

 

It took me a couple of days before I could stand up straight, a few more days before I could move normally. Getting to a sitting position from lying down was tough for a good couple of weeks, from what I remember, but once I was up, I was golden. I don't remember a lot of actual pain after the first few days, just crushing exhaustion if I tried to do too much. My mom went to Target when baby was just a couple of days out of the hospital, and I insisted on going with; by the time we were 10 minutes into the trip, I was ready to climb into the buggy and let my mom push me around the store, I felt like I'd been hit by a Mack truck, and it was like that until I was about six weeks postpartum. I could do things, by no means was I totally incapacitated,I just had to build in frequent rest periods. I hurt more after my VBAC, because I had stitches out the wazoo, but I had my energy back SOOOO much quicker than I did after my C-section.

 

How long did it take until you felt totally back to normal and could resume all activities?

 

About 8 weeks. 

 

How long were you in pain for and how long did you need to take painkillers for? 

 

Only in actual pain for 3-4 days, don't remember taking any real painkillers after I got out of the hospital, just Ibuprofen or Tylenol for a week or so. 


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#20 of 50 Old 11-20-2011, 03:31 PM
 
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Had planned c/s on Thursday, home on Sunday.

Stopped all painkillers by day 5.

DH home for a week, then at work for a week, then home for another week- my mum helped a bit.

Cooking by day 10, cleaning by day 12, driving by 3 weeks.

BUT I didn't leave the house until my daughter was 16  days old.

 

If you can, order your weekly grocery shopping online and have it delivered. In our area they have to deliver to your kitchen, which meant no lugging bags or boxes up stairs.

 

I had spent 2 days before I went into hospital filling the freezer with homemade food to reheat- highly recommend doing that.

 

Teach DH to use the washing machine if he doesn't know already, and prompt him to put it on when the hamper is full!

 

The postnatal support here is so good- I had midwives calling daily for the first week ( and they took out my staples in my living room), then alternate days for the next two weeks, then the Health Visitor called a few times, I saw my OB week 4 and my GP week 6. That really helped.

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#21 of 50 Old 11-20-2011, 07:29 PM
 
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I had a C-S about a week and a half ago so it is all fresh in my mind.  While I was in the hospital I was given Toradol (like IV motrin) every 6hours - that worked the best for my pain and small doses of dilaudid and then percocet for breakthrough pain.  I really try not to take pain medication but I found it really important to stay ahead of the pain (otherwise I couldn't move out of bed).  It was also really important that I emptied my bladder really frequently or the pain was unbearable - oh and the stool softeners were very important as well - I was famished after the surgery and by day 2 I felt like I could barely breath because I hadn't gone to the bathroom in 3 days.  I had my husband or my mother stay overnight with me during my entire hospitalization to help out (and the other would watch my 2 year old at home) and I wasn't even rooming with my babies (they were in the NICU).  I was still in a fair amt of pain when I was discharged after 4 days but was able to stop the percocet after about 7 days post op.  Most pain was when trying to get up out of bed, out of a chair, out of the car.  I used a belly binder starting about 3 days post op and that helped a lot with my mobility.  I did have staples which didn't start bothering me until day 4 (pulling pinching sensation) but I had them out day 6 so it doesn't bother me now.  So far no separation.

 

My husband went back to work yesterday (10 days post-op) and I am able to do most things on my own (dishes, laundry) though I have enlisted the help of my mother for help with dd1.  My babies are still in the NICU and she plans to spend a lot more time at my house when they come home (hopefully in the next 2-3 days).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

 

The next four weeks (from 2 weeks to 6 weeks) are the danger period. You're quite likely to feel as though you're basically back to normal...but you aren't. I've hurt myself at least once in that period after every c-section, because I feel as though I'm more or less back to normal, but I'm still physically recovering. It's also really, really, really easy to misjudge my stamina, so i'll go to pick up a couple things at the grocery store, and then end up doing a biggish shopping trip, and be completely and utterly exhausted by the time I'm done. Try hard not to push too hard in that time, as it's very easy to get impatient, and you really will bounce back better if you don't overdo it.

 


I am in this stage right now - I am almost 2 weeks out and I physically feel able to do basic things like chores etc.  It is really hard for me not to pick up my 2 year old (though I know I shouldn't), I've resumed driving, I am occasionally take a motrin but off of percocet.  I do feel a lot more physically drained/tired by the early afternoon/evening.  While I wake up every 3-4 hours to pump I am able to get some quality rest time which will likely end once my babies are home.

 

I have never had any major surgery so I had no idea what to expect.  I still don't know what to expect as far as the rest of my recovery and I am still mentally trying to come to terms with some of the issues I had with this pregnancy (also probably not the best mind set for recovery) so I am also really glad for this forum.


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#22 of 50 Old 11-21-2011, 08:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dsb76 View Post


I had a C-S about a week and a half ago so it is all fresh in my mind.  While I was in the hospital I was given Toradol (like IV motrin) every 6hours - that worked the best for my pain and small doses of dilaudid and then percocet for breakthrough pain.  I really try not to take pain medication but I found it really important to stay ahead of the pain (otherwise I couldn't move out of bed).  It was also really important that I emptied my bladder really frequently or the pain was unbearable - oh and the stool softeners were very important as well - I was famished after the surgery and by day 2 I felt like I could barely breath because I hadn't gone to the bathroom in 3 days.  I had my husband or my mother stay overnight with me during my entire hospitalization to help out (and the other would watch my 2 year old at home) and I wasn't even rooming with my babies (they were in the NICU).  I was still in a fair amt of pain when I was discharged after 4 days but was able to stop the percocet after about 7 days post op.  Most pain was when trying to get up out of bed, out of a chair, out of the car.  I used a belly binder starting about 3 days post op and that helped a lot with my mobility.  I did have staples which didn't start bothering me until day 4 (pulling pinching sensation) but I had them out day 6 so it doesn't bother me now.  So far no separation.

 

My husband went back to work yesterday (10 days post-op) and I am able to do most things on my own (dishes, laundry) though I have enlisted the help of my mother for help with dd1.  My babies are still in the NICU and she plans to spend a lot more time at my house when they come home (hopefully in the next 2-3 days).


I am in this stage right now - I am almost 2 weeks out and I physically feel able to do basic things like chores etc.  It is really hard for me not to pick up my 2 year old (though I know I shouldn't), I've resumed driving, I am occasionally take a motrin but off of percocet.  I do feel a lot more physically drained/tired by the early afternoon/evening.  While I wake up every 3-4 hours to pump I am able to get some quality rest time which will likely end once my babies are home.

 

I have never had any major surgery so I had no idea what to expect.  I still don't know what to expect as far as the rest of my recovery and I am still mentally trying to come to terms with some of the issues I had with this pregnancy (also probably not the best mind set for recovery) so I am also really glad for this forum.

 

Congratulations on your twins! Hope they get to be home with you soon. Glad to hear you have help.

 


Sandy (41), Mama to Oscar (Feb 2009) and Aria (April 2012), infertility and miscarriage survivor brokenheart.gif 11/25/10 and brokenheart.gif 6/22/11.

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#23 of 50 Old 11-21-2011, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What a great thread!  Thank you all so much for sharing your experiences.  It is good to know what to expect and that there is a huge range of possible experiences. 

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#24 of 50 Old 11-21-2011, 05:31 PM
 
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I was 17 when ds1 was born.  He came 14 days after his due date.  I was induced and in labor for 44 hours when the OB called time and wheeled me to the OR.  It was quite unhurried and not at all medically indicated.  I had an epidural from labor and they just upped it and cut ds out.  It was a Friday afternoon and I was home Sunday morning.  I was caring for my dying mother and two little sisters and by Wednesday afternoon I was back on full duty.  I took no pain killers after leaving the OR.

 

I was 25 when I had ds2.  He came 17 days after his due date.  Labor started naturally and I went 5 hours (before the on-call OB decided I was nutso for trying to VBAC and called CPS.  My choice was have another section or birth vaginally and have my baby sent to a foster home.)  This surgery was also unhurried.  I was not given a choice for an epidural, so I had general anesthesia.  After leaving the OR, I had one dose of extra-strength Tylenol, which I only took because after-pains while nursing were pretty bad.  The delivery was in the wee hours of a Wednesday morning.  I was home on Saturday, early afternoon.  The next day I drove my 7yo ds and the new baby to the grocery store, shopped for a full weeks' worth of food, bagged it, and loaded it into the trunk of car, took it home, unloaded it, and cooked dinner.

 

Both times, I took no narcotics and was back on full duty in under a week.  Not by choice, by circumstance.


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#25 of 50 Old 11-21-2011, 06:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blessedwithboys View Post

I was 17 when ds1 was born.  He came 14 days after his due date.  I was induced and in labor for 44 hours when the OB called time and wheeled me to the OR.  It was quite unhurried and not at all medically indicated.  I had an epidural from labor and they just upped it and cut ds out.  It was a Friday afternoon and I was home Sunday morning.  I was caring for my dying mother and two little sisters and by Wednesday afternoon I was back on full duty.  I took no pain killers after leaving the OR.

 

I was 25 when I had ds2.  He came 17 days after his due date.  Labor started naturally and I went 5 hours (before the on-call OB decided I was nutso for trying to VBAC and called CPS.  My choice was have another section or birth vaginally and have my baby sent to a foster home.)  This surgery was also unhurried.  I was not given a choice for an epidural, so I had general anesthesia.  After leaving the OR, I had one dose of extra-strength Tylenol, which I only took because after-pains while nursing were pretty bad.  The delivery was in the wee hours of a Wednesday morning.  I was home on Saturday, early afternoon.  The next day I drove my 7yo ds and the new baby to the grocery store, shopped for a full weeks' worth of food, bagged it, and loaded it into the trunk of car, took it home, unloaded it, and cooked dinner.

 

Both times, I took no narcotics and was back on full duty in under a week.  Not necessarily by choice, but a mama's gotta do what a mama's gotta do, yk?



Editing, because I realized I was projecting, because of things other people have said to me, and I took the above post completely the wrong way.

 

I will say that, after several of my sections (probably not all of them), I wouldn't have been capable of loading groceries,etc...even if I'd been capable of waking around the grocery store in the first place, which I wouldn't put money on. Recoveries vary wildly.


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#26 of 50 Old 11-21-2011, 07:46 PM
 
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Hi OP.  I think it is going to vary widely depending on a lot of different factors.  For me, there were a few factors that I think allowed me to recover quickly.  The following is strictly based on what I think allowed my own quick recovery, but I don't think it is the norm based on what I've heard of others' experiences.  I went into labor six weeks early and DD was breech and I think too that my OB/GYN was a little concerned about my advanced maternal age (I was 42 at the time), all of which led to the cesarean.  I went through some other types of surgeries in my youth, so I wasn't particularly nervous about the cesarean, although the whole situation did take me by surprise.  My own OB/GYN did the procedure and I remember it happening fairly quickly and then crying when he handed DD to DH and then me.  The hospital that I was in was super pro-breastfeeding and within hours there were lactation specialists helping me out with DD.   DD was so tiny that it was difficult for her to latch at first, but they kept me at it and it turned out to be a successful venture!   That aside, I was walking around the next day and released after three days, but DD had to stay an additional night because of jaundice.  DH and I were both devastated about leaving her for a  night and we stayed as long as we could and then came back early the next day.

 

Regarding physical recovery:  I don't know why it was so quick and easy for me.  I was a long distance runner for years prior and perhaps part of it was good overall physical shape.  Part of it may be that my OB/GYN was/is good at what he does.  Part of it may be that me and my kin can recover fairly quickly from trauma (my dad for instance, recently almost completely severed his thumb in an accident and to the surprise of all, he is recovered and has full use of his hand).  Sometimes I think it was because I experienced very little stress from not being full term or going into excessive labor.  There are just so many reasons that could have possibly contributed to quick recovery that I don't really want to pinpoint one.  I was on codene (sp?) for about three days post-op, and then did tylenol after that for a week or so.  It probably took me about two weeks to feel my former strength (although I tended to be a little more cautious when lifting).  I would say that after a month I was exercising again regularly and I was working full time by six weeks.  The only lingering effects are problems with incontinence (which may or may not be related to the cesarean) and some fairly painful cycles since then (which may be related to perimenopause or scarring of the uterus, I don't know).  


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#27 of 50 Old 11-22-2011, 01:17 AM
 
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I had two and each was a little different in terms of recovery.
Quote:
How much time did your partner take off of work after your cesarean or how long did you have help from someone else? Was it enough time? Did you have older children to care for as well?
The first time he took off four weeks. He'd planned to regardless of the type of birth though, and had sick time and all saved up for it. My oldest spent a week in the NICU after she was born, and I spent most of the week in the hospital myself (emergency c-sec due to severe and sudden pre-e). We didn't have any other kids at the time.

For my second, he was off five or six weeks, again all planned, this time with an older child to care for too. It was enough time (maybe a little too much). lol.gif:

Seriously though, I would have wanted help during the day of some kind for at least the first two weeks.
Quote:
How long did it take before you were able to do dishes, laundry, cook dinner, vacuum, bend over, etc?
I could bend over fairly soon both times--maybe after a week or so? Laundry was fine so long as I didn't have to actually carry the basket. DH would bring the clothes to me, I'd sort them into piles while sitting on the floor, he'd carry them downstairs and either I'd actually go down and dump the detergent in or else he'd start it. I could fold all the stuff into the baskets afterward, but I left them for him to carry up until I was at least 5-6 weeks pp. I didn't bother cooking at all either time (ditto for dishes). I think I might have been vacuuming around 4 weeks pp or maybe sooner both times, but I don't remember.
Quote:
How long did it take until you felt totally back to normal and could resume all activities?
That depends. I felt normal enough around 4-6 weeks pp, and I started running again at 6 weeks pp the second time around. The first time I started walking at 6 weeks and running at 8 weeks. Mostly, I felt pretty comfortable by 4 weeks in, but if I pushed too hard I'd find myself bleeding red which is supposed to be a sign that you're overdoing it. I'm not sure I bought it because I felt fine, but I went with the advice to back off a bit. I think I felt completely and totally normal 6 months later or so (i.e., my scar no longer had little numb spots and I didn't feel weird twinges down there--though I have no idea whether people who have vaginal births sometimes feel like their bodies are resettling themselves into place afterward), but the difference between then and 6 weeks was pretty minor.
Quote:
How long were you in pain for and how long did you need to take painkillers for?
The first time I took painkillers for about a week. I'd forget sometimes, and I was basically taking a combination of a stronger tylenol (percoset maybe?) plus regular advil. The stronger meds made me sick and seeing as I'd spent 9 months throwing up, I found throwing up to be much worse than any pain.

The second time I had a similar med combo and I think I took pain meds for a good month. A lot of this was because my incision didn't close properly the second time, so I had a spot in the middle that needed to be wet-packed twice a day for a couple of weeks. That hurt. If not for that, I probably would have not bothered with pain meds as long.

BTW, the worst of the pain is in the first few days. The first day of my first c-section, I felt fine as long as I stayed perfectly still. Moving hurt considerably. This was mostly true the second time around, though I was more comfortable and managed to walk into the bathroom about 10 hours after the operation itself. Days 2 and 3 are pretty uncomfortable, and after that things start to improve. Walking helps recovery, but go easy and don't try to push yourself too much.

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#28 of 50 Old 11-22-2011, 04:17 AM
 
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I haven't read all the responses, but I would plan on having help right after birth. Night time parenting was the worst, so if you plan to do anything other than co-sleep plan on having someone there to get baby for you at night. I couldn't easily get out of bed, I was too stiff to move easily if I'd been sleeping, and reaching into the crib to get baby was hard.

 

Also though this is an attachment parenting board I would encourage you to use whatever services the hospital can offer that get you as much rest as you can. With my first I roomed in and went home less than optimally rested. With the second I sent baby to the nursery at night and they brought her to me as needed. I got a lot more rest and had a much better recover, therefore was able to heal a lot quicker at home. I know many on this board are not comfortable with baby out of their sight, but it is something to consider.


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#29 of 50 Old 11-22-2011, 09:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

I am really grateful this forum is up and running!  I've been waiting anxiously since I will be having a cesarean in the next few days.  I'm wondering if those of you who have had a cesarean can share your experiences with recovery?  My first was a vaginal delivery and this time I'll also have my three year old to take care of and a hubby who travels half the time for work so I'm really nervous.

 

I'm wondering.... How much time did your partner take off of work after your cesarean or how long did you have help from someone else?  Was it enough time?  Did you have older children to care for as well?

 

How long did it take before you were able to do dishes, laundry, cook dinner, vacuum, bend over, etc?

 

How long did it take until you felt totally back to normal and could resume all activities?

 

How long were you in pain for and how long did you need to take painkillers for? 

 

TIA :) 


My partner didn't take time off work. I stayed at a friend's house in town for a couple of weeks. She was not a close friend, but offered her place because I lived in the country on a rough road that I was afraid to travel on (because of pain-potential). A best friend came and stayed for several days, helping me. She even went to bat for me when I ran out of pain pills and they resisted giving me another bottle (I didn't like the way they made me feel so I was lackadaisical about making sure I had another bottle, but I didn't like the pain either. I ended up taking only one or two of the pills she got for me because of the way they made me feel). I didn't take them for longer than three days.

 

I only had the one child. It was probably 4-6 weeks before I felt normal. By two weeks, I was well enough to travel the rough road to home.

 

In the hospital, I didn't want to bother anyone, so I waited until I began to feel pain before I asked for a pain reliever. By then it was "the changing of the guard" and I had to wait another half hour or more. I was in agony by the time I got the meds. I would recommend that you ask for it as soon as you feel the slightest twinge, if you are not on a schedule.

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#30 of 50 Old 11-22-2011, 09:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyGG View Post

Night time parenting was the worst, so if you plan to do anything other than co-sleep plan on having someone there to get baby for you at night. I couldn't easily get out of bed, I was too stiff to move easily if I'd been sleeping, and reaching into the crib to get baby was hard.


My baby was in a bassinet next to my bed. The lady I was staying with disapproved of mothers sleeping with their babies, so I'd wait until she went to bed, then I'd take my baby out of the bassinet and sleep with her. A crib would have been a nightmare to get her out of.

 

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