Thanks to my unbelievably complex twin pregnancy I had no choice about whether I would deliver my boys naturally or via c-section and so at 31+2, 5 days ahead of my planned c-section date (it’s a long story!) out they came through the sun roof.
I’d read up in advance about the procedure and felt as at ease as its possible to knowing your going to be cut open to bring your babies into the world. What it turns out I had no clue about was what happens after the delivery. So here are the 10 things I wish someone had told me before my c-section.
You still bleed, a lot!
So really naively I actually thought I wouldn’t bleed because I hadn’t squeezed a tiny life through my birthing canal and out into this world. How stupid I now realise that was. luckily the midwife did tell me a week before my c-section so although I was shocked I had time to by those delightful nappy sized sanitary towels for the aftermath.
My naivety continued and I assumed there would be far less blood and probably no nasty clots as there would have been no trauma, wrong! I bled for longer and heavier after my c-section than after the natural delivery of my eldest son, who knew certainly not the ditsy twin mummy over here.
Your pelvic floor is shot to shit
Again my naivety and probably optimism ruled my thinking here and despite knowing I was carrying two little people inside my womb I honestly assumed I’d avoid having a ‘weakened’ pelvic floor as I wouldn’t be pushing them out. Once again I couldn’t have been more wrong, it was completely shot to shit!
Although it’s improved over the last 16 months to much laughter still causes a little bit of wee to escape as a warning not to get hysterical, sneezing more than three times makes me to have to literally grab my crotch to brace myself and as for jumping on a trampoline you can bloody well forget it I have no desire to wet myself in front of my family and friends thanks very much.
No pushing doesn’t equal no piles
Another little surprise from mother nature is that you don’t have to push your baby out to gain a little ‘friend’. Obviously this doesn’t happen to everyone just the lucky ones!
Your stomach almost touches your knees
Not literally but it feels like it at the time. I had been told nothing about what to expect after the operation and although I knew my stomach muscles were being cut through I didn’t know how this would make my body look. As I staggered to the shower in my hospital room two days after the c-section I glanced across at the mirror and was horrified, my stomach hung and touched my thighs. My lower stomach appeared to be a pouch with a small baby bump sat on top of it, I sobbed.
I later found out this is 100% normal and fellow c-section ladies have named this side effect their ‘apron’. I know now that as your muscles knit back together and regain their strength your apron decreases until you have your stomach back but in that moment stood full of post baby hormones I thought this was my body forever, I wish someone had warned me so I could have been prepared because it isn’t forever.
You blow up like a balloon
I never suffered with swelling during either of my pregnancies but following my c-section I could literally see my ankles and feet growing in front of my eyes to the point where the skin was so taught I thought it might rip. I couldn’t wear shoes for a week and I had to travel too and from Neo Natal in slippers in bloody February, again a heads up would have been nice.
It really hurts
I’m not going to sugar coat it your going to be in pain, you may have avoided the agony of childbirth but despite what people think a c-section is not the easy way to bring your baby into this world. The spinal block and strong pain killers they push up your bum plus the shot of liquid morphine you get before bed time tides you through day one post section but brace yourself for day two, day two’s a bastard!
All I can say is keep on top of your pain relief and take it as easy as you can, you’ve been through major surgery, don’t be rushed out of hospital and don’t underestimate what your body has just done. I listened to none of this advice, I was up and down to NICU multiple times on day two, I sat for long periods staring at my babies and missed my pain relief because I was off the ward, needless to say by the evening of day two I was in agony, crying and begging for more morphine.
The catheter you didn’t want becomes your best friend
I hated the thought of having a catheter and to be honest it scared me for some bizarre reason but as soon as I had my feeling in my legs back and I had attempted to shuffle around in my bed to get comfortable and I’d felt the stabs of pain I knew my wee bag was my new best friend. I kept mine until the end of day two as the thought of having to shuffle myself out of bed across the room into the bathroom and onto the toilet was a mountain of pain I didn’t want to climb until the midwives made me.
Recovery can be slow
I have friends who had c-sections and recovered quite quickly at home with their babies, this wasn’t the case for me. I was discharged on day four and spent the next four weeks travelling back and fourth to Neo Natal 2-4 times a day, I sat upright for hours on end and unless my husband brought them to me I missed my pain relief, my recovery was slow and painful but to me I came last and my babies and eldest son first. Not everyone’s recovery will be as long or painful but whatever your circumstances give your body and yourself time and let people help and look after you.
Your scar inside can burn for months
I must have asked my husband to check my scare 100 times before I realised it wasn’t my external scar that was burning it was the one inside. I still got occasional burning sensations months after the c-section until finally it stopped.
It’s OK to feel disappointed or sad
Until recently I felt unable to say I had given birth to my twins, I associated giving birth with the labour, agony and elation I experienced with my first sons birth and I described the twins arrival into this world as them being taken from me. I am now certain this feeling was more down to the fact they were whisked away from the delivery room and into Neo Natal than the way in which they were born and I have had to work on forgiving myself for what was out of my control and come to accept what is actually an obvious statement, that it doesn’t matter how they arrived but that they arrived safely.
What I know to be true that no one told me before my c-section is that it is OK to feel disappointed that you didn’t get your planned or preferred delivery, it’s OK to feel sad that you didn’t experience a natural delivery and it’s OK if you feel slightly envious of other mums. Feeling this way doesn’t mean you aren’t grateful for the safe arrival of your baby it just means your processing an alternative delivery and just like your recovery that can take time.