Just over two weeks ago I had my baby boy by c-section. It was planned, but wasn’t the first preference. My boy was breech and due to gestational diabetes, my doctors thought he was going to be far larger than he was. So, we opted for surgery, and for the most part, everything went well.
What I was surprised about is how unprepared I was for the week following the birth. I had stocked up on all the things I thought we’d need for a new baby, but somehow I felt so lost when I came home. I had my dear sister here (she had a c-section 16 years ago), and she was the glue that held us all together. So I’m super thankful for that. But here are a few ideas of things I wish I’d known ahead of time:
- There is going to be pain — It may not be the worst pain you’ve ever had, but it will come. My pain was a pulling, almost tearing pain, mostly at the edges of my incision. My nurses told me that’s common, but it was hard to lie down, stand up, twist, turn and walk. It’s a good idea to take the pain meds they give you as long as they don’t make you sick.
- Stock up — on maxi pads, both for bleeding and to use to help soak up any drainage from the incision.
- You might have something called a PICO line left inside your incision. It’s basically a drain to make sure your incision heals well. There is a thin tube on the outside of your body connected to a small battery pack. You can tuck it into your hospital wrap, but it is irritating, especially when the battery gets accidentally turned off and it makes a highly annoying sound until you fix it. The drain should come out very soon after you leave the hospital.
- Showering can be challenging also. The drain needs to be sealed off so you don’t get water into it. I used a Ziploc baggie and tied it off with a hair tie. Make sure your towel is right by the shower and that you have something dry to step out onto so you don’t slip.
- Have someone come help take care of the baby. If possible, have a friend or family member stay with you to help with late night feedings and to be a moral support. C-section surgery is a major surgery, and it comes with all the same warnings to heed as other surgeries.