Name: Carrie Stephens

Children’s names:
Malone, Beau and Jocie

When did you have your C-section?

1st – July 2, 2012

2nd – December 7, 2015

Was it planned or unexpected?

1st – Not planned; My C-section was scheduled at 39 weeks due to Frank Breech position. However, at 37w1d my water broke with no onset of labor, turning it into an emergency C-section.

2nd – Planned; I was expecting twins and had even been offered a VBAC from my provider, but I doubted my body’s ability to carry twins to term that I just assumed it would end in a C-section and opted for that.

What was your recovery like?

1st – Difficult; I wasn’t allowed out of my hospital bed for 12 hours and was constantly woken up by the compression things on my legs, and hardly sleep. Once at home I could barely walk up stairs, was unable to drive for a month, my body felt heavy and I didn’t like it at all. My pregnant belly was gone (or smaller), but I didn’t feel like I had given birth or just had a child.

2nd – Pretty good; I was allowed to move early on and shower this time, I felt more listened to by
my postpartum staff and that they genuinely cared about me physically AND mentally (I was
very upfront about my postpartum history and need for sleep so they took the twins to the
nursery for me with ZERO issues).

What surprised you about your C-section recovery?

1st – Just how much our core muscles is used in just about EVERYTHING we do.

2nd – My second c-section recovery was so much better, I could do stairs & drive sooner, also had more energy.

What types of pain relief/control did you use?

1st – Norco and Ibuprofen

2nd – Ibuprofen

What types of comfort measures were helpful to you?

1st and 2nd – Ice pads on the incision site and rest.

How did you feel emotionally about your C-section in the early postpartum weeks?

1st – Numb, I was overcome quickly with postpartum depression and anxiety… intrusive
thoughts, no sleep, not eating, feeling lost/hopeless and detached from my body and mind.

2nd – I was much more prepared for the 2nd C-section and had set up more help
(MomsBloom volunteer, friends helping with older child, my mom bringing meals and doing laundry,etc.). It was still difficult to do some things but a better recovery than the first.

When you think about your C-section today, how do you feel about it?

1st – Numb, I don’t know if I’ve ever fully processed everything about it, nor have I ever discussed it much. My birth story for my son has always just been “I had a C-section” but it was so much more than that and has taken me becoming a doula to realize that it impacted me more negatively than I thought.

2nd – more positive experience

What advice would you give other people who’ve recently had a C-section?

LET YOUR BODY HEAL, it’s okay to take time to rest and not jump back into life at 100%. See a physical therapist after you’ve healed to work on your pelvic floor muscles!

Editors Note: Carrie is a fellow doula! You can learn more about her here: www.gingerblossomdoula.com