Name: Angelique DuPhene
Children’s names: Lorelai & Katherine (Kit)
When did you have your C-section?
1st) May 17, 2015
2nd) August 26, 2016
Was it planned or unexpected?
1st) Unexpected, planned a homebirth
2nd) Unexpected, planned a VBAC
What was your recovery like?
1st) Speedy. I was up and walking around the day I got home from the hospital. I found taking short walks around my neighborhood and using the stroller as support was very helpful. I was able to walk a little further every day.
2nd) Speedy. I knew what to expect from my first C-section so I was able to recover even quicker than the first time.
What surprised you about your C-section recovery?
How quickly I was up and moving around. I had heard horror stories about being bedridden for weeks and I was up and walking around almost immediately. I was also surprised by just how gnarly the scar looked given they had used glue instead of stitches.
What types of pain relief/control did you use?
1st) Ibuprofen for the first two days post-hospital, then nothing.
2nd) Vicoden for about a week post-hospital, then Ibuprofen for another week or two after that.
How did you feel emotionally about your C-section in the early postpartum weeks?
1st) Physically and emotionally drained. I felt like something had been taken from me and I had a hard time coping with that. It actually impacted my interactions with my newborn in those first couple of days. I was extremely bitter that I had planned a home birth and ended up with a C-section. I was angry that the C-section had sort of been forced on me for no real medical reason but that the doctors and nurses made it seem necessary.
2nd) Terrible. The anesthesia had failed during the operation and I felt the entire procedure. The C-section was very traumatic and the hospital was cruel and called me a liar when I reported the anesthesiologist. It was a very dehumanizing experience and I spent much of my postpartum weeks dealing with my medical records and writing reports about my experience when I should have been focusing on healing and spending time with my newborn.
When you think about your C-section today, how do you feel about it?
1st) Bitter. I was told I needed to go to the hospital right away at 38 weeks and made to feel like my baby was in danger and that was not the case. The hospital tried for 48 hours to induce me and I found out after the surgery that they had known about 12 hours in that induction wasn’t going to work. I felt like I had been needlessly tortured and then cut open anyways.
2nd) Angry and unheard. There are zero consequences for the extremely negative experience I had on the operating table. I have used this experience to help other women know to advocate for themselves before and after birth regardless of if they are having a C-section or not.
What advice would you give other people who’ve recently had a C-section?
Take it easy, but also make sure to get up and move around as much as you comfortably can. It will get easier each day! Don’t be shy about asking for help from your partner or friends and family. If you don’t have a support bar or something you can use to lower yourself onto and off of toilets, GET ONE. Getting on and off the toilet was one of the hardest things to do. Likewise, getting out of bed was very challenging. For middle-of-the-night feedings, get one of those systems that allows the newborn to sleep right next to your bed so you don’t physically have to get out of bed.
Editor’s note: In this post Angelique bravely shares with us that she feels bitter, angry and unheard as a result of the events of her birth. If you have similar feelings from your own birth experience, please know that you are not alone and there are resources available to you. In addition to our own postpartum care, The Great Lakes Doulas team can recommend support groups, therapists and books that may aid in your health and healing. Simply contact us for more information.