Name: Jessica
Child’s name: Theodore (Teddy)

I had my C-section on November 30, 2017. It was not planned, nor was it an emergency. He was a week late and I was induced. Induction was going well, but after being dilated to 9 for 3 hours with no further progress, Teddy was showing signs of distress through his increased heart rate with every contraction I had.

Recovery was not how I expected, but I also was clueless as to what to expect. It wasn’t till I was recovering that I realized how major of a surgery a C-section is. I thought I could “tough it out” and not use the pain medication they recommended, however that was a fail and I definitely fell back on them (Tylenol and something else I don’t remember). I was able to slowly reduce the amount of meds I took with the first week. I was really surprised with the restrictions they give you. It was recommended to not use stairs and after one attempt at them I realized why. Who knew that using stairs affected your mid section? I clearly did not. In addition to pain meds for the first week, they recommended a elastic wrap for helping support my mid section during recovery. I honestly think that thing is a Godsend! It helped protect my midsection against my clothing and rubbing of my incision and also provided that extra support I needed to heal.

I remember when they told me that C-section was recommended I looked right at my husband and balled my eyes out. Teddy was my second pregnancy and with my first, although also induced, he was born vaginally and over all despite induction, it was a very easy labor and recovery – everything fell into place. With Teddy, the C-section was a surprise and I do think had he been my first pregnancy, my outlook on the future with him would have looked different. Breastfeeding was not as easy, my milk took longer to come in. I was more stressed and worried about him. I struggled with the medication to do the surgery. I felt helpless being numb from chest down. I had to have a nurse hold a container so I could puke because the meds made me sick. I had a hard time holding Teddy after birth because I was numb and uncomfortable laying flat. I had to watch him be held by my husband.

I didn’t realize that C-sections can take a toll emotionally. My nurse had given me a great explanation prior to the c section stating that I could be disappointed and she specifically said it was OK to “grieve my birthing experience”. I do think that is what happened. I know ultimately it was necessary due to placement of Teddy (his head was sideways not straight down as it should be) but I did grieve about the birthing experience. It resulted in a healthy baby, but C-sections are not to be taken lightly. They are physically and emotionally exhausting.

When I think about my experience now and look at my healthy almost 2 year old, I would easily go through it all again. However, for anyone who has not had a c-section before – I would tell them to not rush the healing time. Your body will tell you when it is better. Recovery is HARD! Take the time to heal. You cannot do a good job, being a mom if you can’t take care of yourself. Newborns need you and if you don’t take care of yourself you can’t take care of them!