When I was pregnant with my first child, I prepared for every imaginable thing, and then some! I preordered personalized embroidered baby items, decorated the nursery to perfection, and read up as much as I could on giving birth and child care.
It was, therefore, no surprise that while terrified of the idea of childbirth, I was raring to meet my firstborn and could hardly wait for my due date, June 12, Independence Day!
About three days priot, I went for a routine checkup; when my obstetrician said I probably would not give birth for at least another week, I even tried to convince her to induce me.
She shook her head and was about to send me home when, all of a sudden, she caught sight of a cord coiled around my daughter's neck. She looked at me and announced that I had gotten my wish. I would be delivering my baby within 18 hours-via Caesarian section (CS)!
Now that was something I did not think about. It never crossed my mind that I would not have a normal delivery. Apart from joking around with my husband, who used to tease me and say he would request for a "Z" cut like the famous "Z" of Zorro, I never thought about having a Caesarian.
I never thought about postpartum physical care because of the assumption that I would deliver and recover normally. In hindsight I should have dedicated some time to preparing for a CS and, more importantly, a post-CS recovery plan.
No walk in the park
A Caesarian section is a major operation and requires delicate post-operation care. While recovering from a CS was not as bad as I thought it would be, it is no walk in the park either. From tending to your wound to the limited physical activity, recovery is no joke and shouldn't be pushed aside.
I believe that a mother's postsurgery health and recovery are just as important as caring for a newborn. You have to take care of yourself, too, so you can be in shape to take care of your child.
If I were to compare my recovery from my three Caesarians, I can honestly tell you that my third surgery was the best-even if I was six years younger when I had my first child. Unlike my first, I was much better prepared.
I was very impatient when I had my first child and thought I was Superwoman. I didn't mind going up and down the steep stairs in our old house in the first week. I attempted to do the grocery alone shortly after I came home from the hospital. Fortunately, my mom found out and put a stop to that plan.
Not surprisingly, I paid for those mistakes dearly with a much more difficult and challenging recovery.
Now I wish I had spoken to someone about recovering from a Caesarian before giving birth so I could have covered all bases. If you are giving birth soon for the first time via CS or even normally, try to prepare as much as you can.
Before going to the hospital:
Stock up on groceries for at least two to three weeks, and add allowance for the snacks and meals you will serve friends and family who will come to visit or stay to help out. Most will bring food, but you never know when you will have an extra mouth to feed.
Try to buy a lot of ginger so you can have fresh ginger tea as often as possible. Ginger is known to be quite helpful in healing your delivery.
Pick up maternity pads as well as disposable maternity bed mats to avoid soiling your sheets.
Buy a TV tray with a stand that you can put by your bedside or near you for your meals or whatever things you need to have at arm's length when you get home.
In the hospital:
Get ready to wake up with a catheter which, as uncomfortable as it may sound, is actually quite a relief when you can hardly get out of bed in the first few hours.
However, don't get too cosy in bed, as you will be encouraged to take a few steps to the bathroom on your own within 24 hours.
When you do this, don't make any sudden movements. Learn to lean on your side before getting up, and find a position that will not put any pressure on your abdomen. Move slowly and breathe deeply so you don't get dizzy or weak.
Don't attempt to move around more than what your doctor recommends, or you may find yourself feeling worse than when you started.