Happy New Year!! I finally have the time and energy to write about my recovery after giving birth to Ever. Yes, five and a half months later! First of all, I am obviously not a doctor and I am just sharing my experience for things that helped me… I am no authority, but if anything I say can help any one person, fantastic.
Ever was born via a scheduled caesarean as he was breech. We tried lots of different things to get him to turn, but he didn’t — I wrote all about my experience and emotions around this a few months ago, if you’re interested. And let me tell you, my c section experience was truly delightful! I knew when I was giving birth so the day before I had a private yoga session with my friend and gifted yoga teacher Patti Quintero, Napper and I had a swim and beach picnic in Malibu and then a festive and decadent dinner at one of our favorite Italian restaurants in Venice, Ado. The morning of, I showered and did my hair and make up and we were off to St. John’s Hospital. I was super emotional and cried several times the morning of and when we checked in at the nurse station…. Everything was about to change! It’s like jumping off a cliff and not knowing what the landing is going to be like.
The whole procedure took about an hour where I was awake and chatting and joking with my doctor, the incredible Dr. Sara Klevens, the nurses and Napper who was holding my hand. After being wheeled from the OR to the recovery area, Ever was placed on my chest and breast feeding started straight away! I had my mother, sister Lucy and Napper there with me as well as Denise, an awesomely wise and kind nurse. I was still numb from the waist down and we weren’t able to move to our private room until I could move my legs. That was weird but it wore off about an hour or so later??
I actually felt pretty good that first day — I think the adrenaline and excitement fuels you. I wasn’t allowed to eat solids– they don’t give you the green light until you “pass gas,” and enough time has passed. Have never been more excited to announce to a stranger the status of my digestive tract! The second day was the toughest– I was trying to not take the pain meds– Percoset and something else– but to be honest– you need the pain meds those first few days and the exhaustion that experiencing pain causes can hinder healing. Makes sense, so I took the pain killers and felt a lot better.
We stayed the four days you’re allowed to stay with a c section although we were cleared to leave after three, we loved our little bubble at the hospital. The nurses were amazing, my parents brought us take out from delicious nearby restaurants daily and it was so cozy being just the three of us in that little room.
Things I did to help myself recover that worked for me– I had a really quick (about two weeks til I was feeling much, much better) and easy recovery from what I understand–
1. I took the pain meds for the first four days. I stopped taking the Percoset when I came home– I just didn’t need it. I did keep taking the higher dose Advil for several days.
2. I wore a binder — helps keep pressure off the incision and supposedly aids in healing and retracting the uterus.
3. Sleep! I had the night nurses that allowed me to sleep as much as possible. C section or not, giving birth is the most intense physical act of your life, you need to rest and recuperate. If you can afford one, it is the best money ever spent.
4. Eat well. I had a friend who is a talented chef prepare healthy and nutritious meals full of iron and other ingredients that allegedly speed up healing and are good for breast milk. We had about a week’s worth of prepared meals dropped off that we just had to heat.
6. I took it easy but also went out without him. I started taking short walks around the block and then around the neighborhood about a week later. I started going out for lunch or to browse or to a party about ten days later. Always for short stretches of time (two hours max) but I think that helped my mental and emotional state! Think it is so important to have some time to yourself. For me, a few hours to myself each day makes me a much better mother. If you don’t have family or help nearby, nap times are good windows and getting your partner to take the reigns for a few hours is key!
I must tell you that it gets easier and better each week! Napper and I are so in love with this little man and being a parent truly does expand your heart and mind and soul. Here’s to the adventure of parenthood! Would love to hear from other parents on tips from your early days with a newborn and how you embraced recovery!