Thursday, March 18, 2010

c-section recovery guide

Kaitlynn and Kinley

Well the past few weeks have been very busy and wonderful!  We welcomed our newest edition to the family, Kinley Estelle, weighing 6lbs. 10ozs. and measuring 19 1/2 inches long.  She is perfectly healthy and absolutely beautiful!!

I have been considering doing a blog about my c-section experience and have decided that while I really don't have the time and energy at this point to make it perfect, it may still be helpful to someone out there.  I recently emailed a friend of mine who is expecting in the next few weeks and will also be having a planned c-section some tips for a successful recovery.  I will post those emails along with some links to some items that I have found to be very helpful. I hope that these tips will come in handy for someone out there looking for reassurance prior to their own c-section.

c-section recovery guide

Before the Hospital:

Take care of yourself during your pregnancy, excercise, drinking water, eating healthy and taking your prenatal vitamins are all very important, and it's never too late to start doing any or all of them.  In addition to a prenatal vitamin I took an extra calcium, folic acid, and one week prior to surgery an extra iron vitamin.  I made these choices based on previous experience with my first pregnancy, research both on-line and in pregnancy books and with the help of my doctor.  Since every woman and every pregnancy is different, I suggest you take the time to research what vitamin supplements you may benefit from.  Excercise doesn't have to be stressful or strenuous, and shouldn't be!  A nice 30 minute walk 3-4 times a week will help you out in the long run; as will pregnancy yoga classes (in person or on-line!).  Eating healthy can be a challenge especially if you're like me and craved starches and sweets!  Have some self control and some self indulgence, if you have a sweet during the day make sure that you don't go over board, and try to have healthier choices for the other meals that day.  The old saying of you're eating for two is NOT a good saying unless you plan on gaining enough weight to make you think you're going to have a 60 pound third grader as opposed to the 6 - 8 pound infant you will have.  Trust me on this, it was the biggest difference between my own pregnancy number 1 and pregnancy number 2, I gained 60 pounds with the first and only 30 with the second.  I have been able to lose 25 of that 30 pounds this second go round within 2 weeks of having my second beautiful daughter!  I believe breast feeding is a great aid in my weight loss, but I'll talk more on that later.

Packing your bag and the baby's bag can help you to get into the birthing mindset. Knowing ahead of time that you are going to have a c-section can make it easier for you prepare both mentally and physically.  Here are the links to a few sites that can help you make a list of your own needs for the hospital stay, a basic checklista more detailed listone more list .  All of these sites are helpful, but I suggest reading over them and then making  your own list - you can put it in your baby book so when you're little bundle of joy grows up they can see all of the things you took with you too.  In my own bag I packed 2 nursing tank tops (wonderful product!), breast pads (These don't stick to you), lanolin, 2 big comfortable t-shirts, 3 pairs of comfortable pj/work-out pants, slipper socks, 1 pair of socks for the trip home, tennis shoes (whick I didn't wear), a light robe, 1 nursing bra, 3 pairs of c-section friendly undies (yes they are huge and not very attractive, but they are comfortable and that's what matters!), 1 pair of flip-flops for the shower, all standard toiletries, hair ties and clips, my make up bag (and yes I even used it!), birth plan, pre-admission forms, baby book (which I didn't work on until after I got home), plastic bag for dirty clothes, 3 changes of comfortable clothes for my husband, a saduko book to keep him entertained in the more dull times (those were few and far between), a snack bag, camera, extra batteries, etc. The baby bag was fairly simple, i just followed the basic checklist, the only thing i wish i would have had more of was outfits in smaller sizes - there is a difference in newborn and 0 - 3 months!  The 0 - 3 month outfits are still huge on my daughter while the newborn onsies and such fit her pretty perfectly, she weighed in on the low side of average at 6lbs 10ozs. 

The Hospital 

While in the hospital, ask as many questions as you have and relax knowing that you are in good hands with your nursing and doctor staff.  Take in a birth plan, but remember to be flexible and that every hospital has a different set of policies so some of your requests may or may not be possible.  Get to know your nur,sing staff and doctors as they come in and introduce themselves, don't be nervous to ask their opinions, and if they are a truly great staff (mine were) order them a cookie tray to be delivered, or have one of your support people go get one for them.  I'm not going to sugar coat the pain side of a c-section, it is major surgery and it will be painful, but it is managable and you will get through it.  My first daughter was an emergency c-section and I believe the combination of laboring for 16 hours, an epidural and some major anxiety over the emergency part of the delivery turned my first birthing process into a nightmare.  The second time around I was determined to have more presence of mind and to heal as quickly as possible, as well as make sure that if I had some choices I knew what they were and which options were best for me.  In this case the spinal over an epidural was a great decision, while it certainly hurt initially, it worked extremely quickly, effectively and then wore off after only 2 hours, which for me was great because I felt more present for the arrival and first breast feedings.  GET UP and moving as quickly as they will let you, but not before, just try raising your bed as high as it will go into a sitting positition several times until you can get up.  Make sure to be honest with the nurses, especially when it comes to your pain level and whether or not you have passed gas after surgery.  One of the cna's told me that when they ask you about whether or not you have passed gas, other wise you could end up with some major stomach issues and in the hospital for longer with a  feeding tube. She explained that the reason they ask you about passing gas is to know when it's ok to give you solid foods again, if you haven't, then you stay on a liquid diet for a while, but hey that's better than more time in the hospital. My doctor used disolvable staples on me, i don't know if that has been a contributing factor in my recovery, but if you have that as an option it seems to me that it has helped in the pain level, possibly because these don't pull like the metal ones did.  Oh yes, and your first meal out even though it's liquids, take it slow and don't sit up all the way.... nausea is the prize if you try to sit up too far!  Rest, breast feed when you can, take your time eating and make sure to get up and walk as often as you feel you can. 

Heading Home

 Let's talk pain killers once you're released from the hospital, my preference is darviset and ibuprofen over hydracodone because I was able to be more aware.  Remember that when you get home if you are having a hard time going to the bathroom (#2) all narcotics cause constipation.  My 5th day home I had to just switch over to taking 2 500mg tylenol every 6 hours to ease the pain, or i think i may have been back at the hospital only it would have been because i couldn't go to the bathroom!  I had taken an over the counter stool softener, a suppository, and even eaten a fair amount of prunes, but nothing worked! That's when the pharmacist suggested no more narcotics, tylenol only.   Don't forget to rest as often as you can even if you don't feel like you need it right then because in a few hours, you will be needing the rest you didn't take. Don't forget that there is a hormone rush and you may be a bit of an emotional rush for the first few days or even weeks home especially if you don't allow yourself the rest that you need.  Make sure you sleep when the baby is sleeping and let the hubby know ahead of time that there will very likely be some emotional moments so he won't be wondering what he did to upset you.  If you're breast feeding exclusively like I am then the second or third week you will probably want to start to pump a bottle a day and let Daddy feed baby once a day to introduce this foreign process.  It will help in the long run. 

Breast Feeding

First, it won't hurt forever!!!  Use the lanolin! A pea size drop on the sore spots after every feeding. The breast pads make a difference, some can stick to already tender areas - ouch. Use the lanolin before you get in the shower, water hurts for some reason. the first 24 hours the feeding probably won't hurt and it's the best time for the baby to learn to feed so as soon as you can, attach baby and let them feed as often as possible.  The next 2 days, they may not eat as much because they will want to sleep more, at least that was what the doc and nurses told me, however my daughter was like a breast feeding champ and nursed like crazy the entire 3 days in the hospital - which by the way, brings your milk in quickly.  Have a pump on hand for when your milk comes in and someone willing to be there to hold the baby if she's asleep and someone else willing to bring you some very hot, wet towels to lay over I know that every baby and boob is different, but a day by day break down for me pain wise went like this - day 1, mild discomfort at latch on, day 2-3 mild to medium discomfort at latch on, however ending day 3 and on into days 4-5 were painful at latch on and the first 10-15 seconds there-after, have no fear the pain will subside and will get much better after, i'm at day 8 and am back to just a very mild discomfort at latch on. I believe that the pain meds (even tylenol) help with the breast pain too.  Read up on engorgment, know that it will not last forever and speak with the lactation consultant if there is one available in the hospital. I didn't think I would need to since I had breast fed my first daughter, but it was reassuring to speak with the nurses (the hospital I was in did not have a consultant) about the feeding and to have them ask how it was going.  I got a "hooter hider" cover and it has come in handy a few times when I've had mixed company, but honestly I can't see her to latch her on unless I cover my head in it also!

oh yeah and the differences in the first few days and there-after, your first few days are collostrum and so there isn't much in the way of spit-up, then when your milk comes in, have a burp rag/recieving blanket handy just in case some comes back up. diaper consistancy goes from tar like substance to a yellow color after about day 3.  a few other things regarding the changing station idea i stole from the internet, get some boudreaux's butt paste instead of the other diaper rash meds, it is very mild and doesn't sting baby at all. get a small wipes carrier for your mini changing station, keep your meds, prenatal vitamins, extra change of baby clothes, and the butt paste there for ease. get a small notebook and chart out when you're taking your meds, and the baby's feedings and diaper changes times and which breast you fed from. this will help you keep track of how many diapers the baby has and that will tell you if he is getting enough milk.

 Baby wise

I'm considering trying the babywise method this go round, but haven't made up my mind 100%.  This is a linkto the site that is helping me decide whether or not I'm going to try it, and so far I have found it very informative.

No comments:

Post a Comment