C-Section Recovery

On Dec. 2, 2012 I went through my first major surgery. Up until this day I had never had any stitches and my biggest bodily trauma had been the d&c for my miscarriages. It just happened so that this time it was pregnancy related as well. Thanks to the c-section my son saw the day of light lights of the surgery room, and his mother’s pretty face! For as much as I didn’t want the c-section, both him and I are thankful for it or we would most likely both have died in the process.

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Scar at 50 days after surgery

Scar 50 days after surgery

Getting through the surgery was fairly easy (numb from the chest down), recovering on the other hand is a completely different story.

The first week of recovery was one of the hardest weeks of my life. Luckily for me hubby had a week off work. I could not have done it on my own.
I was groggy and confused for at least 5 days after my delivery experience. I didn’t know my nights from days or nurses from friends. I was in a complete daze in and out of sleep. On top of that I was not able to move from laying to sitting on my own. Every time I needed to get out of bed I had to call for hubby. It was extremely difficult to be so dependent.

It took at least 3 weeks before I could walk 1/4 mile (400 m) [or through a grocery store] without doubling over in pain. After 6 weeks I could finally sleep on my belly again and my body functions felt like they were back to normal. I was cleared at 7 weeks and am now slowly starting to get back into weight lifting and hammer throwing!

My body 50 days post delivery.

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C-Section Recovery

On Dec. 2, 2012 I went through my first major surgery. Up until this day I had never had any stitches and my biggest bodily trauma had been the d&c for my miscarriages. It just happened so that this time it was pregnancy related as well. Thanks to the c-section my son saw the day of light lights of the surgery room, and his mother’s pretty face! For as much as I didn’t want the c-section, both him and I are thankful for it or we would most likely both have died in the process.

image

Scar at 50 days after surgery

Scar 50 days after surgery

Getting through the surgery was fairly easy (numb from the chest down), recovering on the other hand is a completely different story.

The first week of recovery was one of the hardest weeks of my life. Luckily for me hubby had a week off work. I could not have done it on my own.
I was groggy and confused for at least 5 days after my delivery experience. I didn’t know my nights from days or nurses from friends. I was in a complete daze in and out of sleep. On top of that I was not able to move from laying to sitting on my own. Every time I needed to get out of bed I had to call for hubby. It was extremely difficult to be so dependent.

It took at least 3 weeks before I could walk 1/4 mile (400 m) [or through a grocery store] without doubling over in pain. After 6 weeks I could finally sleep on my belly again and my body functions felt like they were back to normal. I was cleared at 7 weeks and am now slowly starting to get back into weight lifting and hammer throwing!

My body 50 days post delivery.

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2 Weeks PostPartum

Time flies when you have a baby at home! Little bean has already passed the 2 week mark (Sunday) and went for his 2 week check up yesterday. He is gaining weight like a champ and is up to 8 lb 15 oz or a whopping 4 kg. He is breastfeeding like a pro and the doc was very happy with him. We like that! We are still waiting for the last of the umbilical chord to fall off and for his dry newborn skin to peel.
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The week before I was in for my first pp checkup. My OB checked on the incision and was surprised and excited of how well it is doing in such a short time after the c-section. She said there will hardly be a scar once it is all healed, but to be careful since I am healing from the outside in. So even though it looks good, I am still broken on the inside. So I’m still on workout prohibition, although she said I can walk and do arm exercises, just no strain on the belly. The heavy lifting still has to wait for a little bit.

Bean and I have been walking around the block a couple of times. 10 minute walks. And today we went out for a 20 min walk in the stroller! Yesterday was the first time to drive after the c-section, which was exciting! All this and no pain meds for plenty of days now! Slowly but surely getting better and pushing toward normality.

My weight is almost back to normal too. On Sunday I had lost about 30 lb since delivery and have 4 more to go to pre-pregnancy weight. I did however lose a bunch of muscle weight, so I am opting to lose the 4 and another 10 within the next 4 weeks. And then start building my way back up again. Just can’t wait!

From 40 weeks pregnant to 2 weeks postpartum:
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My Birth Story (A Tad Bit Long…)

This is my birth story. It is filled with pain, stubbornness, unexpected turns of events and the most beautiful examples of the warmth and love that can live and breath when shared between humans. Even when we are all strangers. It will be quite long. But I do think it is important for me to step by step walk through it with some days worth of distance. I am still overwhelmed thinking about it, especially knowing all the strength that has been inside me all this time. An innate strength I had no idea existed, but now I know, there is nothing I cannot do.

Background

My birth plan is important here, because it was one of those things I really wanted to stick to, more than anything. I always wanted a natural birth. No pain no gain, right? I wanted to experience that raw emotional strength that comes with pushing a baby out of your vagina. So no drugs they scare the shit out of me. I wanted a tub birth because they seem so serene and wholesome. I did not want to be strapped down to machines and stuck in bed for labor and delivery. but to have the freedom to move around and let my body do its thing. Those were all the things I wanted. Oh, and labor to start on its own, but my plan burst already at step 1.

Water Breaking

My due date came and went. I was very anxious because I had no signs of labor whatsoever. Couldn’t even feel my braxton hicks contractions. But I tried to be patient and take things as they came. So on 11/29 I went to bed around 10 p.m. as usual. I had a lot of watery discharge that night and thought baby was pushing on my bladder real hard because I had to go pee about every 10 minutes. Then I woke up around midnight, stood up to go to the bathroom again and felt a big gush between my legs. My pants were soaked. I used them as a pad and sat down in the kitchen to call midwife on duty. As I sat there I kept on leaking. Yup. My bags of waters were gone. So off to the hospital we went. I am group B positive so I needed to get hooked up with antibiotics. On the way to the hospital I actually felt a couple of contractions. Yes, I thought it is starting! A fairly wet and exciting drive.

Admission and Induction

As we got to the hospital we were sent into a labor & delivery room. I was hooked up to an IV pumping antibiotics into my system. Luckily I didn’t need to be hooked up to this thing constantly, but only every 4 hours to actually receive the dose and then it was disconnected. Phew. So far so good. The midwife came to check me and she said I was 1 cm dilated but that my cervix was not super high, but in a mid-level position which should make pushing easier. Because of the risk for infection she only used a speculum, no real vaginal exam could be done at this point.

The exam was a little discouraging. We had hoped to come in and be at least a 3, maybe a 4. But had to work with a 1. Longer journey toward the end. I was also given a dose of the first drug that would help my cervix to thin out. Some kind of prostaglandin, it was given to me through an IV. I received 4 does of this during a 12 hour span. It did help my cervix to ripen and my contractions to start. Although at this point I was still on the phone chatting with my parents and smiling when contractions were setting in. All that would change as soon as the first dose of pitocin arrived.

Get the Pit Started

After 12 hours of ripening my cervix the first dose of pitocin (the synthetic form of oxytocin that our body produces naturally to help the uterus contract), or pit as they call it in the l&d circle. Over the next 48 hours I don’t know how many times I heard the words “up the pit”. The pit sure got to work and pretty quickly. My contractions picked up in intensity and strength but as soon as they seem to be more regular and stay at that 3 minute in between that they want, the started to slow down in speed. Me and hubby was sitting watching the contraction monitor getting ready for the next contraction, breathing, massaging, hugging, squeezing hips, crying, some more breathing to finally relax and wait in the next one. So it went. On and on. In the beginning I  kept count on hours by the fact that re-started my antibiotics every 4 hours, but after some odd 24 hours, everything was a blur. There was the monitor. The contractions. Me getting in the zone breathing through them and then napping during my 4 minute rest. This went on and on and on. I remember the despair I felt because the pain in my hips was unbearable with each contraction. The contractions started to last longer and longer. Up to 3-4 minutes a piece. I was breaking down crying not thinking I could get through it. Hubby consoled, gave me strength and we kept on going. Somewhere in the midst of all this craziness my angel appeared in the form of a volunteer doula.

The Doula

I almost don’t know where she came from, but somewhere along the decision making line hubby and I had decided to bring in a doula to help us. She was wonderful! She kept me focused on making low monotonous sounds during contractions, helped me sway, helped me stay relaxed and positive. Handed me water. Stroke my back. Calmed me down by a hand on my chest. Inspired hope and strength. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. My mantra. With her help the contractions got bearable again. I found new strength and the power to continue through.

The Tub

I don’t know how long time it took before I got to go to the room with the longed for tub in it! I knew they wanted be in good active labor before I went in the tub and had lost hope, but then all of a sudden we got the go-ahead. Phew! I saw the light toward the end of the tunnel and knew that we were getting to the harder but shorter phase of labor, transitional labor and then we would have a baby.

The tub was a dream come true. It was nice and warm. My contractions were still long (up to 4 minutes) and intense, but the water really did help soothe the pain. I was in there for a while fighting contractions. Not trying to push when they came but just let the contraction do the job to open me up. I knew in my mind that every contraction would bring the baby closer to me.

But somewhere in this time-crazed mess I had no idea what I was doing. Everyone kept on telling me I was doing a great job, that I was really strong and everything was going perfectly. I looked at hubby and said, “but I don’t know what I am doing”. They kept on promising me I was doing great and in the midst of my despair I felt the urge to push. Midwife came to check on me and sure enough I was at a 10. Not until then did I understand that what I was doing was letting my body open itself up. I felt more strength and hope again, and knew the end could not be far off now.

So we Push and Push and Push…

Then baby bean decided he was not happy in the tub. So I had to move (increasingly scary with a baby about to pop out of your vagina) to the bed. We tried some different pushing position, and baby bean who had been so happy and content throughout the entire labor now decided that the only positions he liked was when I was on my hands and knees or having my legs up on the squat bar pulling myself into it. After trial and error and trials we ended up with the squat bar. Somewhere in there my doula had to leave and I was left with another one. She was nice, but it wasn’t the same. All I (and hubby) wanted to do was throw ourselves around her legs and plead her not to go. But off she went. And we kept on pushing. I kept on asking the midwives if he was coming, if he was making progress. The mirrors came out and sure enough we could see a tiny bit of hair in there. High in spirits I pushed on with every contraction. Then a doc came in to check on me, and said with a stern face “he is still way up high. We either try to push for another couple of hours and you could have a baby out, but most likely won’t. The other route is to go straight to the c-section. But if you want to we will push more.”

The Dreaded Decision

So there I was. 60 hours into labor and was faced with the one reality I never wanted to deal with. A c-section. The one thing I tried my hardest to avoid. The one thing I just did not want. I wanted it natural, so badly. I went through 60 hours of mind games working with my body to end up saying “let’s go for the c-section. I just want to meet him.” The decision was made with tears in my eyes and such a feeling of devastation. Like I had been robbed of something. All I had wanted to set him to this world. Hubby hugged my hands with tears in his eyes, not wanting to see me suffer knowing that all I ever wanted was a natural drug-free child birth. And we had came so close. We had worked so hard. Both of us.

The C-Section

Once the decision was made. Things happened quickly. My pitocin was turned off. But the contractions were still strong and that only upped my misery. In the operating room I thought (and hubby thought) I would freak out. They got the needle in my back fine, I didn’t even flinch. As they laid me down everything from my boobs down turned warm and freakishly weird. I couldn’t move anything, but instead of panicking I succumbed to the feeling and was actually enjoying the wits of the surgery crew. So was hubby. They cut me open and started pulling and tugging on bean and it was a feeling far weirder than the contractions. Hard to describe what it feels like with hands inside your stomach guiding a baby out. Surreal. Then all of a sudden we heard the cries. They put baby where we could see him and hubby cut the chord. Then on to my bare chest bean went. It was such an emotionally charged moment. For 9 months I carried him and nurtured him in my belly and now he was all of a sudden on my chest. And he was beautiful and perfect. Everything else tuned out and I was in my own blissful state of mind with eyes only for bean.

The Aftermath

I am still a little disappointed there was no vaginal birth. And there will never be. Apparently there was a construction error at some point when I was made. When they had me open on the surgery table doc said my pelvic opening is far too small for a head to push through (no wonder I had the worst hip pain when in labor! Little bean was just trying to descend). But at least now I know and can be prepared for it. I am still so happy I went through with my natural labor. Every second was worth it. The experience will forever be in my mind and I now know my inner strength and stubbornness. Hubby and I both learned a lot about ourselves during the 3 days, probably more in a short period of time than we could have learned in years. I will be forever grateful to the awesome people helping us through. We were at the hospital a total 0f 6 days and went through many shifts of midwives, nurses and other staff. It is weird because they all played such a huge and important role in our lives, whereas we were just another patient to them.

I have worked through this enough and even though I didn’t want this post to be so lengthy I think it needs to be to at least try to describe my experience. But there are really now words for it. Just feelings. And baby bean. We are so happy and delighted he is finally here. And he is just perfect! ❤
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Pregnancy and the Bicycle

Many people (especially random strangers) have strong opinions about bicycling and pregnant women. A lot of them would advice any pregnant woman to put the bike in storage and let it collect dust until after the baby is born. But no, not this girl!

As I am nearing the end (very soon I hope) of this pregnancy I must say I feel fantastic. Despite the 31+ pounds gained so far, I feel physically in really good shape. I am attributing that to my workout routine throughout the second and third trimesters.

The routine might not have been very rigorous or tough, but it has been consistent and adapted to my needs. So I am happy and pleased to say that even though I am 40 weeks tomorrow I can still take long walks, bike around and get in to most yoga poses. [I do have trouble with anything that is bending over toward my toes since my belly is stopping me.]

However, a  lot of strangers that I meet are very concerned about my preferred method of transportation, the bicycle. I get a LOT of comments and frowns when I run my daily errands.

You know that is dangerous for both  you and the baby!
You probably shouldn’t bike anymore because you are getting quite big.
It is much easier to fall when you are pregnant.
Are you seriously biking? What kind of mother are you?

Etc. Etc. Etc.

People need to mind their own business. I think it’s funny how random people think they have a right to voice their opinion about my body and what I am doing. What the heck do they know?

From what I have been reading online (a lot) I didn’t think I would be able to bike beginning third trimester, mostly because the changes in balance that happens during pregnancy. As my third trimester started and has passed by I realized I was wrong. I can still bike, without a problem. Either my balance hasn’t changed much, or my body has just adjusted well to the balance change. And wow, am I glad I was wrong. It would kill me [figuratively writing] to take the car everywhere, because I just love moving by bike so much more!

SIL had her baby!

Hubby is now officially an uncle. My SIL had her baby today!

Her water broke Friday evening, they came back from the hospital with the verdict no labor within 12 hours, come back for an induction. 12 hours later they went back and started the Pitocin. After a long long time of getting going she finally started dilating. Got her epidural. Stayed at a 9 for over three hours and then pushed for another three. All in all a 30 hour labor, but both baby and mommy are good. SOOOO excited for them both!

Very exciting to see that there is an ending to pregnancies…! Her and I had the same due date, so I am a little bit jealous, not over the induction and long labor, but the fact she finally has her bean out in the world while our little bean is not making any signs he wants to come out…. at all!

Wednesday November 28 is the official due date. Three more days. That could end up being 17  more days. ARGH! This waiting game is killing me because everything is going by so slow and I can’t think of much of anything except what I can do to get the labor started. So I walk and walk and walk. And walk. And then I cry a little. Tomorrow is another nst. Just hoping everything continues to be well with bean.

 

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