The reason I did not want a C-section was its recovery period and process.
With a conventional delivery, a woman will stay in the hospital overnight — longer, if there were complications, of course.
When delivering surgically — this is my new favorite way to refer to my son’s birth — a woman might stay in the hospital for FOUR DAYS OMG.
I was in the hospital for four days. (The last day was technically my son’s fault.)
The first week of my maternity leave was spent trying to get in and out of an uncomfortable hospital bed using abdominal muscles to which I no longer had immediate access to check on my son who’s little nugget-ness lost too much weight (See? His fault.) laying in his baby Tupperware of a bed while my poor husband tried to sleep on what I can only assume was a Styrofoam couch.
Plus, my legs were the size and shape of tree trunks from the swelling. I not only didn’t have ankles, I also didn’t have knees. The swelling was real, y’all. It’s called pitting edema, and it comes with a heart murmur. Fun!
Not my ideal first week of maternity leave.
Of course, it wasn’t all bad.
Our night nurse the entire time we were in the hospital was the single most amazing human being in the entire world.
I loved her.
Plus, a fleet of nurses and doctors made sure my son and I were healthy, recovering well and getting proper treatment. They were also in charge of my pain medication, which was good because — left up to me — I would forget to take it until I was kneeling in pain unable to move <– First day back at the house… (My husband did have to take over the scheduling of my pain medication for a while.)
But I didn’t prepare for a C-section delivery; I prepared for a normal delivery because, after all, I have the anatomy for it and my baby measured appropriately during the entire pregnancy.
Then, my appropriately-measuring baby boy turned out to be not at all small at 9 pounds, 5 ounces and facing the wrong direction — effectively getting stuck. My doctor called me a “hider” and plans to do an ultrasound before I deliver any more babies so we can get an actual size. (This won’t be a problem. I’m never doing this again.)
So mommy had a C-section, and she was not prepared.
My bathroom was stocked with Tucks, aloe vera and witch hazel; my wardrobe consisted of comfy lounge pants that would fit (probably) snug against my incision; and I anticipated returning to near-active-Shae-duty pretty quickly.
Turns out, I wouldn’t need Tucks, aloe vera or witch hazel. Turns out, I wouldn’t be able to wear pants. (Extra large sweat pants, yes. Regular pants, no. Nearly nothing fit over the girdle — OMG, the girdle — nor my tree trunk legs.)
Returning to duty was the farthest thing from my mind.
Three weeks later, it still is.
Of course, three weeks later, and I’m recovering quite well. My pain is managed, and I think I’m finally finished with those awful after-birth contractions for which no one offers an epidural — rude — and no one really warned me about. While I’m not wearing my comfy lounge pants — they do fit a little too snug against my incision — I’m also not wearing the god-awful girdle anymore so breathing is a thing again.
I also sweat out all the swelling so my legs fit in my stretchy pants again, and my heart no longer murmurs. Yay!
My last three weeks of maternity leave can now take on the difficult task of preparing my body, mind and baby to go back to work. Wowzers.
We’re working on getting the baby on a schedule (more on this later), breastfeeding and pumping successfully (more on this later) and enjoying as much of our time together as we possible can :) More on this below!