It can be disconcerting when you have a new baby, but you can hardly lift him out of his crib. Such is life with a cesarean. With major surgery, you may think that healing will take months. In reality, it will only take a few short weeks until you are back to your old self.
The toughest part of the whole cesarean process is when you are actually in “recovery” and the nurses push on your stomach to shrink your uterus. This needs to be done to prevent hemorrhage and can be painful. Once that is over, you will be taken to your room, where you will be given a liquid diet for at least 24 hours. Your catheter will remain in your urethra for the next 12 hours or so, preventing you from having to get up and go to the bathroom until the next morning.
When the nurse feels you are ready, she will come in and take your catheter out. This is not painful at all. She will then lead you to the bathroom, where you will take a shower and use the toilet. Walking will be terribly awkward and you will be shaky. It may be somewhat painful to walk at first, but they usually provide a seat so you can sit while showering.
After the shower, you will feel like a year’s worth of grime has been washed off. They will bring you your baby and you can nurse or bottle feed. You will have trouble lifting your baby out of his bed for the first couple of days. If you are feeling pain, ask for help. That’s why you are in a hospital. The nurses will bring you Motrin every few hours to help with the pain, which should be rather dull.
Once you are out of the hospital, be sure to keep the wound clean. Try not to let your baby kick or stand on your pelvis (easier said than done). You should be able to drive as soon as you feel no pain doing so. DO NOT lift the baby in his car seat for the first two to four weeks. Once you feel no tugging or pain, you may transport the baby using the car seat carrier. Try to minimize carrying him in his carrier as much as possible until you heal.
Once you are feeling no pain, you may begin to exercise. Start out with walking and Kegel exercises, but DO NOT do any abdominal exercises for at least 6-8 weeks. Stop immediately if you feel any pain or straining.
With care and patience, your cesarean recovery should be quick. The key is to use common sense and to listen to your body. If you are feeling strained or any pain in the incision area, stop what you are doing and rest.
When the doctors performed this procedure, they had to cut through fat, your abdominal muscles, and your uterine wall. That means your body has to heal in three places. Give your body that time to heal and you should be back to your old self sooner than you think.
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