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C-section: things I wish I knew!

c section expecting recovery

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#1 DLJ

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 01:26 PM


My sweet little twins were born almost 2 weeks ago and I'm finally starting to feel better after my c-section (Baby A was breech). Now that I've gone through it, I realize there's so much I wish I'd known in advance so I thought I'd share it here with the hope that other people don't have to face what I did.

1) Percocet can cause constipation. I was trying to stay ahead of the pain in the hospital and took them every chance I had. That plus the spinal led to the absolute worse medical experience I've ever had in my life. Truly, the constipation was WAY worse that the c-section and I'd even go so far as to say worse that the vaginal birth I had before. I was up and walking around like they tell you and I still had problems. I would have done so many things differently if I had known this could happen: eaten better at the hospital, taken the stool softener 2x / day and taken motrin to stay on top of the pain instead of percocet.

2) Take a shower and get the dressing tape off in 24-hours! I waited 48-hours and ended up with tape burn that was so bad, the "itchies" continued thoughtout my stay at the hospital. Apparently, it's not as bad if the tape comes off asap and a shower with baby wash helps remove the adhesive.

3) You might be able to use a "twin room" at the hospital! When onw of hte nurses came in, she said, "why aren't you in the twin stuite?" I was like, "What twin suite!?!?!?!"

I'm sure there's more and will post them as I think of them. I hope some of the info is helpful! I feel better just passing it on.


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#2 marisa55

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 03:47 PM

I totally agree about the constipation. I had it really bad after my c-section with my DS and I was taking the stool softeners and drinking prune juice from day two. I really thought I was going to pop my scar open once I did go almost a week later!

I'd also tell everyone that you can swell very badly from the surgery. I went home weighing more than before I had him! It took another week after being home before I dropped the 20 pounds in water weight!
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#3 sullivanre

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 03:49 PM

Ditto on the constipation although I don't know if that would have been any different had I given birth vaginally, but it hurt much worse than the incision, especially after I got home.

Two things I wish I knew:
1) It can affect your milk supply. I didn't have milk until I left the hospital after 5 days, and even then, it came in very slowly. Since I had a scheduled c-section and never went into labor, my body just wasn't ready to give birth, which affects the milk supply.

2) I wish they would have told me how and when to clean the incision. They just said keep water off of it and keep it dry. Well three weeks later I noticed a horrible smell from it, so I called the doctor and went in immediately. It was only a surface level infection, so she suggested I clean it with peroxide and triple antitbiotic ointment. I should have been told when I was supposed to start doing this.


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#4 Lizzybo

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 04:35 PM

Thanks for these tips - please keep them coming. My babies are coming via c-section any day now (they're both breech - boo hoo!).
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#5 kgrew

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 06:07 PM

Bring comfortable clothes for after the surgery. Make sure you have something that will not hit you right at the incision line(hairline.) Getting up out of bed was the hardest part for me. I made sure to take pain medication a bit before I planned to get out of bed.

YOU ARE NOT A BAD PERSON IF YOU HAVE YOUR BABIES STAY IN THE NURSERY AT NIGHT SO YOU CAN GET SOME REST AFTER THE SURGERY. I wish I got over the guilt of this. I would have recovered faster if I rested immediately after the surgery.

IF YOU CAN'T SLEEP IN THE HOSPITAL ASK FOR A SLEEPING PILL. This literally saved my life and my sanity.
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#6 horizon250

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 07:06 PM

horrible shoulder pain is gas pain post c-section. you need to walk to prevent it.

you walk into the operating room which is FREEZING. the bed looks so narrow and all the equipment in the room is very intimidating and makes you just want to run out of the room. once the spinal is in though, it just courses heat through your body and you're instantly warm and comfortable.

pain meds post c-sec: a box will continuously pump meds into the epidural at a baseline and youre given a button to press if you want a higher dose. feel free to press it, you cant overdose.

babies are fed in the nursery at 12am, 3am, 6am. skip the 3am breastfeeding and let the nursery handle it so you can sleep. if you say exclusive bf they need to bring the babies to you every time they cry which is always.

talk to the lactation consultant. i was there 3 days and had her come every day. I brought the ez-2-nurse pillow and had her teach me to tandem. don't be shy.
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#7 adia2007

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 07:10 PM

Great thread!

I agree with letting the babies be in the nursery so you can sleep. I know how much you want to be with them but you will feel better during the day after a rest.

If they tell you to walk after you surgery you really should. I pushed the babies around, I got out of my little room and got to show them off. It was pretty sore to do but I could tell a difference afterwards.

If you aren't happy with your nursing staff, speak up. I didn't and I had the worst nurses I could imagine.
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#8 mandyanna

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 09:44 PM

If you have never had surgery know this...They tie your arms down! I had a panic attack and could not breathe when I realized I was tied down! And you might get sick to your stomach, me or DH never knew this it was the worst part for DH!
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#9 tamaras

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 09:46 PM

Getting the staples out before you leave the hospital does NOT hurt like I imagined that it would!! I was PETRIFIED of them taking the staples out, I mean reallllllly petrified....it was like nothing!!! good.gif

Stay on top/ahead of your meds...
Take the stool softeners when you get home...
Dont be a superhero when you get home! (I wanted to vacuum my house, not smart.)
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#10 sullivanre

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 09:50 PM

QUOTE(mandyanna @ Sep 21 2008, 10:44 PM) View Post
If you have never had surgery know this...They tie your arms down! I had a panic attack and could not breathe when I realized I was tied down! And you might get sick to your stomach, me or DH never knew this it was the worst part for DH!


This reminds me of something else I didn't know.....on the issue of sick to your stomach. The anesthesia made me really nauseous, and I threw up 12 times. I thought I was going to bust my incision open. Finally, I took a pill (don't know what the medication was called) to stop the nausea.

One more thing that surprised me--it hurt way less than I thought it would. I was taking heavy pain meds, which I took straight through for the first day or two, but after that I took them only when I really hurt, and I stopped taking them at all by day 7.

Edited by sullivanre, 21 September 2008 - 09:53 PM.

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#11 alliandre

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 10:04 PM

One thing I didn't know is that when air gets into your body cavity you feel like you're having a heart attack. You really aren't, but I wasn't expecting this and started freaking out about the chest pain I was having. It took them about 15 minutes to reassure me that it was normal.

Also if you are feeling anxious tell them and as soon as the babies are out they will make it all go away with their special medical magic. smile.gif
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#12 kendraplus2

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 11:13 PM

A few from my own experience -

* Totally didn't expect the horrible gas pains. Thought it was the raw broccoli I ate with my first meal. I didn't ask for gas relief until the next day and spent a needlessly sleepless night in pain.

* The swelling was bad for me as well. After the birth I had only lost 4 pounds and the kids themselves wieighed almost 12! When I got home I had a night where I had a fever and basically sweated a lot out. Normal.

* Definitely take advantage of the nursery to get some sleep at night. I only did that the last night there because my mom basically forced me to. I was so adamant about nursing them for every feeding, thinking one or two bottles would ruin them forever ... um, no. The nurses can feed them and they or you won't be affected, and you will NEED that extra sleep, believe me.

* Bring your nursing pillow to the hospital and have the nurses/lactation consultants show you how to tandem feed. I tandem-fed as soon as I had both of them (Con was in the NICU overnight for infection) and it really helped for when I was at home.

* The sooner you get walking, believe it or not, the better you will start to feel.

* I made sure to tell the nurses when I didn't want visitors, when I was nursing or needed to catch a nap. They are your guards, sort of, and you don't need to be polite to every Tom, Dick and Jane that come to visit. You need to take care of you and those babies and sometimes you just can't entertain as well.

* Oh yeah, I threw up as well. In the hospital room they gave me the gross green crap to drink, and once I was strapped down, I got nauseous, told someone I was going to be sick, and puked on the floor since they didn't get a basin in time.

Edited by kendraplus2, 21 September 2008 - 11:14 PM.

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#13 annelily2000

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 11:35 PM

The only one I can think of right now is the itching. My whole face was itching and it really did not dawn on me until my Doc came in and saw me rubbing my face and asked me if I wanted some benadryl. Apparently the itching is a side effect from the pain medication.
Oh, and if you are lucky like me, I was sick and coughing and what helped me is the nursing pillows the hospital will give you(if you ask) it fit the incision area perfectly. Everytime I coughed I would hold the pillow in the incision spot to help it from feeling like it was going to pop out.
Don't be shy. If you want it, ask for it. I have a problem with not wanting to inconvienence people.
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#14 tamaras

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 12:09 AM

One more thing I just thought of...the shaking/shivering!!
After getting back to my room after my c/s I was shaking/shivering like crazy.
Every visitor thought I was cold & kept trying to put more blankets on me smile.gif
It was just the anesthesia side effect ~
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#15 angelf

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 12:29 AM

When I was on the operating table, the anesthesia made it feel like someone was standing on my chest and making it hard to breathe. Not sure if this is a typical response, but it definitely caught me off guard.

I would also recommend using the hospital lactation consultants as much as you can while you are in the hospital.

I would definitely also recommend to stay ahead on your pain meds. I missed a dose of mine b/c the nurse didn't think I wanted them, and it took awhile to get the pain under control again.
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#16 akameme

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 12:40 AM

one of the best tips i got (from this board) was to put a maxi pad in your underwear to wear against the incision. It keeps underwear from rubbing on it.


Also, take the stool softener, for a few weeks.

I don't think i was tied down (keep in mind, stuff differs from hospital to hospital)

I took a shower 48 hours post and that was the hardest thing i ever did. The nurse dragged me there and sat with me. I was so tired from the effort I fell asleep. What a bizarre 3 days that was.
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#17 muscaria10

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 01:45 AM

This thread came just in time!! I'm scheduled for a c-section (no arguements becos I had a cystectomy when I was 5 weeks preggy) at 38 weeks or so, and I've always wondered how is it going to be like!! Thanks for all the tips, encounters and experiences!! It freaked me out a little, but it also prepared me!! rolleyes.gif
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#18 isis

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 02:57 AM

good thread- wish I would have read something like this before I delivered!

The nurses gave me a choice of what pain meds to take, T3s or regular tylenol. I had never had a csec before so I thought tylenol would be fine, so that was all I took for the first 2 days. Until the dr came in and asked what meds I was taking, I told him reg tylenol and he looked at me like I was crazy and told me to take T3s. The pain was much more manageable after I took the T3s - i think I took them for a week or so and then didn't need them anymore. Don't be a hero, take the pain meds. I was bfing so I thought it might hurt my supply or my milk, but it appeared to be fine.

Yes, take the stool softeners!

I put my babies in the nursery at night with instructions to bring them to me to feed. They brought them to me every 3hrs and not before. Wish I would have skipped the odd feeding now looking back.

Ask for a private or double room - there were none available when I had my twins, so I had to share - but it was a big room, so it could have been worse.

Taking the staples out did NOT hurt, just a few tiny pinches.

Shivering after the csec - took a number of hours for it to stop.

I told nurses no visitors - they did a great job at keeping people out. We actually only told the ils and my parents because we did NOT want visitors at the hospital. It's hard enough having two babies, trying to breastfeed and recover from a csection while coworkers are walking in and out of your room! I was strict with this and I think it helped a lot.

My milk took like 12 days to come in, not sure if it was due to being induced and having a csection or not.

Good Luck!


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#19 mel&2

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 06:41 AM

Ditto to most of the posts, I had the nausea during the surgery, shaking and itching for about 2 hours out, and then developed a spinal headache two days later. If you have the worst headache of your life after, don't stay quiet about it! Lay down absolutely flat immediately (it relieves the pain greatly) and request consult with anestesiology to get a repeat spinal tap to patch the hole. Also, remember your razor and makeup! Having shaved legs and a decent appearance at the hospital made me feel sooooo much better! Lactation consultants are saints and will usually cater to a twin mom like she's the center of the world and the only person at the hospital (at least that's the way it was for me)! Constipation and gas are aweful after the surgery, start the meds immediately for help. And it will be hard to pee for the first time, too, after they remove the catheter sometimes your body has trouble starting the process again.
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#20 idril

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 09:04 AM

What I wish I had known:

1. Not everyone has a bad experience. I expected the worst, and the actual C-section and recovery were actually quite easy.

2. It will hurt to get out of bed. Sometimes it will feel like you are going to split yourself apart. You won't. Just push through the pain/discomfort and get up.

3. Get up and walk as soon as you can. This truly speeds up your recovery.

4. Bring very very comfortable clothes. Long flowy yoga pants, a tank top and bathrobe worked for me.

5. Even if your milk doesn't come in while you're in the hospital, you can pump the colostrum and feed your babies. They don't need formula.


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