C-Section Secrets: 5 Ways It Was Different the Second Time Around

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C-section

My last C-section was seven years ago. I honestly don’t remember much about it — I recall my son’s first cry and the moment I met him, but the whole procedure and the days following are a blur. I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t remember too much and opted for another c-section in April when my second son was born. I figured if I survived the first one, how bad could it have really been?

Well, it’s been six weeks since my surgery, and from what I do remember, at least five things have been different the second go-round. All of them occurred once I left the hospital and resulted in a couple of postpartum visits to the OB and the emergency room within the first few days of being home.

1. Holy swelling, Batman. I never had any abnormal swelling during my pregnancy. So when my legs and ankles and feet swelled up to the size of tree trunks, I knew something was wrong. My feet physically ached, even flip-flops didn’t fit. No matter how much much water I drank (seems odd to drink more fluid, I know!), how much I elevated my feet or walked around, nothing helped. My OB suggested I go to the ER since it was a weekend and they wanted to be sure it wasn’t a blood clot or preeclampsia, which apparently you can still get after you deliver. It was neither, thankfully. But my blood pressure had shot up to 168 over 93, and I was obviously retaining a lot of fluid. My blood pressure has never been over 110 over 80 in my life, so this was pretty scary. The swelling was crazy — they told me it was from all the fluid/IV they pump into you during the surgery, and it would go away eventually. It took about a week for me to recognize my ankles again.

2. Is it hot in here? I was sweating like I was running a marathon in the Sahara. It mostly happened during the little sleep I managed to be getting. I would wake up soaking wet and have to change shirts. I am not a big sweater generally, so this was unlike my body. It lasted for several weeks, and my body regulated again. Blame it on the hormones, I guess.

3. Insomnia. While you might expect to not get much sleep with a newborn baby at home, I was exhausted but couldn’t sleep. It was so frustrating, and it would stress me out watching the clock tick by, knowing I only had a short window to rest as it was. I don’t function well on little sleep — I may get a little emotional, which is not ideal when trying to survive the first few weeks with a newborn.

4. Pass the pain meds, please. I woke up from a nap a few days following the surgery and felt like I had been hit by a bus. My incision and stomach weren’t painful, but every part of the rest of my body was. My fingers hurt. My shoulders hurt. My feet hurt. My neck and shoulders hurt. I burst into tears because I hurt so badly. I was popping 800 mg of Motrin every 8 hours, plus the stronger stuff they send you home with and I barely noticed any relief. My neck and jaw are still stiff and sore — I think from all the positions I’m not used to being in while feeding and holding the baby — but I’m doing things like massage, acupuncture and cupping to find relief.

5. Taking time to heal. I am not a patient person and being 42 didn’t help my cause as I recovered from major surgery. Sure, I was up walking around and taking the baby on short walks the week after I got home, but I don’t think it helped me recover more quickly. I think it may have actually made me feel worse in the end.  I left the hospital after two days, though I had the option to stay. Looking back, I should have rested another day. Instead I felt like crap longer than I remembered and expected.

Six weeks later, I finally feel normal again and just got the all-clear from my OB to slowly get back into exercising. But it was a long six weeks, and I certainly didn’t bounce back as quickly as I did seven years ago.

 

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Kerry Schicker
Boy mom. Household CEO. Corporate leader. Outdoor lover. Social seeker. Sun worshipper. Curious traveler. Champagne enthusiast. These words describe me, Kerry Schicker, and contributor for Jacksonville Moms Blog. I first approached founders Vicky and Megan after a heartbreaking miscarriage a few years ago. I had a very unpleasant experience with my OB at the time and I needed to get it off my chest so I wrote an anonymous blog that resonated with some of our readers. I have since written dozens of blogs about mostly motherhood. I have a passion for writing. My 20-year career has grown through some form of writing including TV news reporting and producing, magazine publishing, public relations, advertising, marketing, blogging and my current day job doing HR and employee communications for a Fortune 300 FinTech company. I am thankful that Jacksonville has such a supportive community for moms like me, and I can't imagine raising my two boys anywhere else.

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