C-Section: Healing and Recovery

Seven months has passed since I gave birth to my little Achan. Can you believe that? time went by so fast, is what others would say. The first few months felt looooong, but I absorbed it all in. I cherished every pain, every sleepless nights and every diaper change that came with my new life.
In this blog, I will share with you how I recovered from a major surgery. If you read my birth story (link here), you will learn that I gave birth through a c-section. It was not what I planned but It was what was for me, and so I accepted. For someone who was never hospitalized before, more so have a major surgery, everything was a first. Of course given that this is my first born (my first First).

I was never brave. I was afraid of hurting myself or being wounded. This is the reason why, I make sure I was careful in anything I do. I get paranoid sometimes. Adding to that was an unforgettable experience I had when I was, too young to understand but old enough to remember, which made me afraid of things (the dark, horror movies, etc). My fear with needles also did not help. I was a child when I experienced 14 injections (anti rabies) plus 2 for anti-tetanus. I am still not brave, but I have learned to face some of those fears, some I outgrew, but few remained. A little bravery helped me with this journey.

I was brought to the room at around 11 PM. I still had the tubes with me. IV on my left hand, a catheter down there for when I need to pee, and a tube on my back for where they injected the epidural and where they injected morphine (2 shots). Before the nurse left the room, she told me not to speak or open my mouth for a few hours. She told me to rest, and with the strong medicine still in my system, my body went right to it. Since I was unable to get up, the nurse taught us how to feed our newborn lying down. I laid there with my left boob out and allowed them to put my baby on me to feed. It was how we fed Achan for a day.
The next day, first day of recovery. I was still lying down. Thanks to the medicine I was asleep the entire day, waking up only to feed my little one or to eat. They allowed me to eat soft foods and a sip of water. The hospital offered me a jello, my first official food for the day.
On my second day, they removed the catheter. I was instructed on how to properly lift myself up without putting pressure on my wound as they asked me to try to get up. It was not easy. I was able to walk slowly, if I had a race with a turtle, the turtle would win (lol). I rather be sleeping all day than standing, but they say moving around helps with the healing. They also told me to try to visit the bathroom. Oh men! that first visit was something I am not able to forget. I did not have a hard time peeing (as they say it would hurt due to the tube inserted) but the process of sitting down was like being punched in the gut. If i can pee standing up I would. I was not able to go number two though, which was also required. I think my poop got shy (haha) which was not an issue with my OB since I did the other things, you know (pee and fart). I never thought I would be counting how much I pee and fart in a day. Interesting. I did poop though, once I got home, so that was a relief.
I slowly transitioned from soft food to soup, to fish. I stayed away from meat though. Although I was offered meat in the hospital on my second and third day, I opted not to. I was afraid I would get constipated, which was the number one enemy of postpartum specially for those who went through c section. This day, they also gave me last shot of morphine before they removed the tube. I also asked the nurse to remove the IV as it was irritating my left hand. All tubes were out and all that is left was the sticky tape residue. I did not think to let my mom or husband remove it with an oil, that may have helped with the itch but instead I let it be and scrubbed it later when I got home (so wrong! next time self ah).
The third day, I was eating fine (heh! Ako pa! :D). I was also able to walk around and go outside. Watched my bebe catch some sunlight. It was a wonderful feeling being outside and look at different scenery other than the white walls of our hospital room. But all the walking made me tired and I needed to lie down again, which I dreaded since it would be hard for me to get up again.
Trips to the bathroom was still a chore. There were times when I did not make it in time due to my tight binder which left me no room to hold it in, and my slow turtle walk. Good thing I brought adult diapers with me, the ones that my aunt gave (life savior). I saw them in SnR. Brown, pull up ones. So comfortable to wear and it helped me a lot with my bleeding(which lasted for around 15 days) and when I was just too slow to make it in time. My OB also came and changed my bandage. We were discharged after. I was so happy, everything was OK with baby and also with me.

My only regret was that I was not able to prepare a proper binder. Not sure why, but I am the type of person who prepares and organizes everything, but this one I overlooked. Maybe because I was focused and had my mind set in delivering my baby normal. Lesson learned.
The binder provided helped for a while, for me to move around. I also changed to the one we bought from SM. After a while it made my skin itch. I felt like it made my experience worst. I ditched it after 2 weeks. It was hard not using it at first, specially during side-lying feed but after a while, it got better. I found out a little later that there was a good brand (wink, a bit pricey though), but I no longer needed it as I felt OK without it, so I did not bother checking.

For moms who will go through c-section or even a normal delivery, prepare a binder. Also, let others help you clean you up after all the tubes are removed from your body. My mom did not let me take a full bath for a month. Old wives tale, baka mabinat. Although my OB gave me a go sign, I followed mom’s advise (nothing wrong in following old people’s advice). She helped me boil Bayabas leaves for which I use the water to clean my body with. She said that it would help with my recovery, not knowing if it was true, but the warmth of the water helped me relax and I know Bayabas leaves helps as a deodorizer as well (I am not sure, do not quote me on this).

Sleep was a challenge since I had a hard time lying down and getting up. for a month or two, I mostly slept sitting down. If I wanted to lie down, I have to be sure that I would not stand up for a while. I only do this when I am ready to sleep. It took more than two months for me to be comfortable pulling my self up on my own. It was a relief when I finally did it. I was able to move around, change position and feed my little one comfortably.

Healing was slow. I got to the point were I was impatient with the process, questioning myself and got sad that I am not doing enough, but I asked my other mommy friends and they all said that it will get better and it did. Moving around (slowly) helped with my recovery. Although laughing, sneezing or coughing was a struggle, I have to hold my stomach before I do any of those or It would hurt. After 2 months, I was able to get up from bed with little to no help from my husband, still painful but manageable. It took me three months to feel like myself again, meaning I can move at a normal phase but lifting heavy objects, heavier than my baby, was out of the question. Although I felt like I was healed, I know I was still not, I still not am. The wound inside is still healing. It will take a while for me to completely heal (1-2 years), so I take things easy. Careful not to lift heavy objects. Other things can wait. I learned to focus on my recovery, on taking care of myself and my baby. It was a long time coming but I made it. Now 7 months, I still have a lot of healing to do but I am OK now. Although, from time to time I could still feel my wound hurt, maybe due to cold or when I walk or stand for a long time.

This experience taught me to take things slowly. Everything has its own time and place. This gave me a whole different perspective in life and in everything around me. Taught me to appreciate the small things, appreciate my Mom more and appreciate the most wonderful blessing we could ever have in slow and steady phase. In this way, I was able to absorb everything. I was able to remember (I forgot a lot due to anesthesia) many important details in this journey (writing them down also helped). I know that is what He planned and I accept. I would not want it any other way.

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