If you're lucky, the final weeks of your pregnancy are spent asking fellow moms what you really need to know about childbirth. I asked all the down and dirty questions getting ready for the birth day. Most, if not all, of the moms I spoke with had delivered their children vaginally, so there was the requisite Sitz Bath discussion and the "honey, get the biggest maxipads you can find" comments. But no one prepared me for what I needed if I had a C-section.
A C-section is, obviously, a whole different beast of childbirth, which I learned just over two years ago when I had my son. Sure, I was fully prepped with maxi pads and breast milk bags and the usual gear, but I was completely at a loss for what to do during and after the procedure.
In an attempt to be the Friend Who Gives You Unsolicited But Useful Advice, here are some things you need to know if you have a C-section, courtesy of yours truly.
DURING THE SURGERY
1. That "mild tugging sensation" line was clearly first said by a man. Mild is perhaps the understatement of the century. You feel like the wind is being taken out of you as your teeth chatter from the anesthesia. This is not a surgery for claustrophobes, as you're completely stuck on the table -- arms pinned down -- while the inability to breathe overwhelms you.
IN THE HOSPITAL
2. The catheter keeps you company in the days following birth because you can't really walk to the bathroom without those trusty ab muscles helping you out (more on that below). And then, as in all cases with a catheter, you have to learn to pee again -- the longer the catheter is in, it seems, the harder it is to remember how to pee. Also not fun when you have a nurse and some loved ones waiting outside the bathroom door and you feel like you're 5 again.
3. Have someone teach you how to even get up and out of bed. Congratulations! Your ab muscles are completely non-existent now. The good news: Your arms are gonna get buff.
4. Do yourself a solid and go to your local drug store (or better yet, send someone else) to buy some big-ass high-waisted underwear. You're not gonna want anything -- zippers, buttons, elasticized underwear -- coming near your stomach, especially the birth area, for a while.
5. Walking is a challenge. Your core is called your core for a reason. Go easy on yourself.
6. Those drugs are your best friend. Give yourself some time to wean off the heavy stuff. Stock up on Aleve, which you'll also need daily, and be prepared to use it A LOT.
7. I'm getting really real here now: Get some Colace. Your first bowel movement will hurt that much more since you have no stomach muscles with which to push. But man, will you be proud when you walk out of that bathroom.
8. You can't lift anything because of how it can affect your core, and you can't really lean over to even empty the dishwasher. Basically, best case scenario is that you're an immobile, milk-producing machine with a baby attached to your breast sideways cause you're scared he or she will kick the scar.
9. Don't worry. No matter how your child is born, it'll still likely be the best thing that ever happens to you, you tired shell of your former self.