Regardless of the type of birth you’re going to have, planning for the first few weeks postpartum is a smart idea.
As my due date drew closer, it became clearer I was going to need a scheduled c-section. Knowing when I was going to be in the hospital was a silver lining, but I was not looking forward to the c-section recovery. I usually felt close to normal at two weeks postpartum after my vaginal births. I knew a c-section would be at least three times as long. I knew it was best to plan ahead before I was too tired to think straight or unable to drive.
There were a few things that I’m glad I did before heading to the hospital that has made my c-section recovery a little less stressful.
1. Meal Prep
We don’t have many friends or family around who are willing to bring over meals for us, so I made sure I prepped a few freezer meals ahead of time. I did this when I was pregnant with L and it was extremely helpful! The day before my c-section, L and I hit the grocery store for some of the sides and fresh fruit.
The best thing I made were these banana muffins. I added chopped walnuts and chocolate chips to make them more enticing for the boys. Once cooled, I put them in zip lock bags and froze them. It was so easy for Mr Boots to take a couple out and warm them up in the microwave for me. G even surprised us by using the microwave all by himself to warm one up for his breakfast one morning!
2. Reschedule/Schedule Appointments
Once I had my c-section date, I rescheduled or canceled appointments that were scheduled for my time in the hospital and the day after I expected to be home. Since I wouldn’t be able to drive too much for six weeks, I was also able to schedule summertime doctor appointments for after my six-week checkup.
3. Wrote Out our Weekday Routine & Schedule for Mr Boots
I won’t forget the look on my husband’s face when he realized how busy he was going to be our first week home with J. It was something along the lines of exhaustion mixed with dread, and I won’t lie — it sort of made me happy. He might come home to me sitting on the couch in the afternoon, but the truth is I’m doing a lot of running around the first half of the day.
Anyway, I wrote out what typically happens on a school day as well as the upcoming appointments the boys had scheduled while he was on leave. I felt like I was micromanaging but after our first day home I realized he really didn’t know the routine the boys and I have during the week.
4. Got My Nursing Clothes Ready
I sorted through my nursing clothes bin prior to my c-section. I removed things that didn’t quite work out when I nursed G and L and keep what I loved. Then I washed it all and put the clothes out where I could easily access them when I got home. The night before my c-section I put away most of my maternity clothes (shirts mostly) to make room for nursing attire.
5. Washed, Showered, Plucked, Shaved
It was a couple of days before I showered for the first time after my c-section and even that wasn’t a pleasant experience. Putting my arms up above my head pulled on cut muscles so I didn’t bother washing my hair. Bending over aggravated nerves so it was a few more days before I shaved. Doing some of these things the night before and the morning of my c-section meant I felt less gross while I was in the hospital.
6. Asked My C-Section Mama Friends for Their Recovery Advice
I’ve learned that by being open about what I’m going through helps others open up as well. A couple of weeks before surgery I wrote a post on Facebook asking for advice and what surprised them most about recovering. Most of my friends had the same advice, which implied importance and I made sure to keep it in mind. It also meant I had a realistic idea of what to expect since I had never had a c-section before.
7. Not Having a Set Visitation Plan
I am a big believer that everyone’s visitation plan needs to be contingent on how well mom and baby are doing, and that is not something you’ll know ahead of time.
The only visitors I wanted in the hospital were the boys so they could meet their new brother. I got asked a few times when they’d come to visit or if they’d visit each day I was gone. Every time I responded with it really all depended on how I felt. I didn’t know how the surgery would go or how miserable I would feel.
The boys came the day after surgery, but I kept them home the remainder of my hospital stay. I had an issue with my incision leaking blood. The baby was having trouble spitting up amniotic fluid and would choke every time he tried. I couldn’t get in and out of bed well in my own and definitely couldn’t pick Baby J up out of the bassinet yet. We were exhausted from little sleep. I just wasn’t up for anyone to visit and the truth was, the boys got bored after 10 minutes. It was best for us to focus on my rest and recovery and I needed Mr Boots to be around for that as much as possible.
Once we got home, we allowed immediate family to visit the first two weeks. I could only stand about 30 minutes at a time though. My meds made me sleepy and the men that came by didn’t really want to be around when I nursed. Plus, visitors wound the baby up which stressed me out.
Rest is essential for c-section recovery. We kept our Quiet Time in the afternoons visitor-free to allow us all to regroup and asked them to come either in the morning or just before dinner.
These tips don’t apply to c-section recovery. I would have done them even if I had been able to have a vaginal birth. But now that I’m seven weeks postpartum I am so thankful I made the effort as I am still recovering and unable to do all the things I could do when I was pregnant.
I’d love to know…Did you do anything before you had your baby that made your c-section recovery easier?