Quite a few people have asked me about the things I’ve found most useful during my c-section recovery, so here they are – I’ve divided the products into two groups, one for immediately after surgery and the other for later on down the line. Please do add your own suggestions for the “c-section survival kit” in the comments box – for new readers, I must say that the comments section is quite often an amazing place to go if you’re looking for a bit of support or extra information. Lots of great ideas from other people, lovely consideration shown for one another and beautifully written mini-posts. Always worth checking out.

C-Section Essentials: Immediate

c-section recovery essentials

Not particularly glamorous, this survival kit selection, but my God do I wish I’d had these things to hand when I’d come out of hospital! My worst experience, perhaps of the whole c-section procedure, was the pain from the air trapped inside my body after the operation. I thought I was having a heart attack! Then I thought I’d been paralysed from the chest upwards! So, anything and everything to relieve trapped wind: peppermint capsules, peppermint water (hard to get hold of round by me, but by the time I’d located some my wind was gone!), Tums, peppermint tea bags (though the tea isn’t half as effective as the water) and a laxative to get things moving in the bowel department. My midwives recommended Lactulose and it worked pretty well for me…

Other essentials? Painkillers, as prescribed (I was told to take paracetamol and ibuprofen, which was more than adequate so long as I took them at the maximum dose and as regularly as was safe), lots of water (I used a flask so that I could have it next to me in the bed) and a Kindle for keeping me awake for night feeds when I could barely remember my name I was so tired…

There are no “scar maintenance” products here, because the wound dressing will probably still be on when you get home (especially if your hospital, like mine, has a 24 hour kick-out policy – aka “enhanced recovery programme”!) and then the midwives will check your stitches in the first week. I think, personally, that it’s a bit too soon to start clarting about with creams and potions and scar-reducing sheets and so on – maybe because I’m so squeamish, but also because the wound is still so…raw.

c-section recovery essentials

One thing I did find to be brilliant, though, in terms of protecting the scar region, was my firm little cushion from BabyMoov. I used this all the way through pregnancy to support my back in bed, my legs on the sofa and my neck when I’ve been working on my laptop with my head against the headboard. But it was absolutely invaluable when I came out of hospital – small enough to easily manoeuvre about my person, I could easily swap it from behind my back to put it on my lap or next to my hip to support the baby’s head during breastfeeding. And it’s great for holding against a scar when you have a toddler about and worried they might kick you, or for when you know you’re about to sneeze or cough and you hate that feeling that your scar might pop open! It’s called the Mum & B cushion and you can find it online here – it’s £35.

C-Section Essentials: Ongoing

c-section recovery essentials

My ongoing essentials for c-section recovery are sort of dependent on what suits the individual. I’ve been testing out various support belts and underwear items and have mixed feelings about them – I really do think it depends on your size, your lifestyle and what you’re hoping to achieve.

For those who want support in the tummy region then the belts from Belly Bandit are tight and reassuring, though I think if you’re sitting up for long periods (eg breastfeeding in bed all day after a c-section!) then it’s a bit uncomfortable to have a big wide belt on. I’d say it’s better saved for a little later on when you’re more mobile and upright. It’s quite a nice feeling to have the support around your middle, actually, as it sort of props your lower back up as well as your tummy! It’s sold as a “shaping” aid, to help you get your middle section into shape, but for me it’s the support element that’s useful. I’m too busy trying to survive and stay sane without worrying about my waistline! You can find the Belly Bandit Original online here – it’s £49.95. They also do “undies”, a long pair of extremely tight knickers that pull you in – I prefer these to the belt, because they feel more pliable and allow for more movement in your middle. They do, however, have a long row of hooks, so you need to have nimble fingers and be able to pull the fabric together tightly at the same time as doing them up! It’s a two-handed job for sure, there’s no putting these on in a hurry! They are specifically aimed at c-section recovery, with targeted compression in the scar area and a special antibacterial fabric, though – again – I’d want to wait a few weeks before starting with these, if only because I’m not sure they’d accommodate the enormous maternity mattress pads one needs to wear postpartum… Find the c-section undies here.

c-section recovery essentials

Also tested: the Theraline c-section belt. This is a sort of soft “bum bag” (or “fanny pack” if you’re in the US!) with a pocket to contain the c-section-recovery weapon of your choosing, whether it be a rigid protective “shield”, a cold compress you store in the fridge or a hot pad that you heat up in the microwave. It’s like the Swiss Army Knife of bum bags. It’s also bulky and very obvious, so it’s one to wear around the house and not underneath your Roland Mouret dress. (Joke, obviously. Who’s out in a Roland Mouret dress after a c-section?!) Too bulky for me, really, but the shield is a great idea (and it’s not so bulky with just the slimline shield slipped into the pouch) and I bet the heated pad is great for period pain, once you get your periods back, which makes this the gift that keeps on giving. Personally I didn’t want my c-section wound to be heated up or cooled down, I just wanted it to stop freaking me out, so only the shield part of this appealed. You can find the Theraline belt online here. It’s £20.

c-section recovery essentials

The best postpartum scar purchase? Tea Tree Oil. Once my stitches were out (had dissolvable the first time, but not the second time for some reason, I forgot to ask why) I had a little tear that opened up along the scar. I stressed all day and night for about a week, thinking it would get infected, and even went to the GP to get it examined and dressed. Dressing it didn’t help; I still had a little open split that was raw on the inside after another week. Then I started diluting tea tree oil in the lid of a shampoo bottle when I was in the shower, and after I’d turned the water off, as a last rinse, I splashed the solution along my scar before getting out. Then I let it air dry. I swear the split healed within days! Maybe it would have done anyway, I don’t know, but it seemed to keep the whole area a lot fresher. I used the Tisserand oil here.

c-section recovery essentials

And the one I’m currently testing? The silicone scar sheets from Scar Away. I bought them on Amazon here – they seem quite pricey (£23) for what amounts to a box with four sticking plasters inside, but they do seem to be making my scar less angry-looking and flatter. Apparently it’s what plastic surgeons use on burns and serious scars (can anyone verify this?!) but for me one of the best things is that they feel as though they cushion the scar slightly, and they stop fabric from rubbing up against it, which is the most annoying feeling ever invented. I’ll let you know how I get on in the longterm with these – you take them off at the end of the day and wash them and then they go really really sticky, so much so that when lie them flat to dry off it’s like a comedy trying to get them unstuck from your fingertips. It took me three whole minutes this morning, in the end I had to prod it off with the handle end of a makeup brush, and then that stuck to it, so I just left it stuck to the brush!

And finally, the most important c-section recovery thing of all: lots of help. Pull in all the help you can possibly get, and think about this before you go in for the section so that people have a place to stay or know which dates you need them for. I know this might sound obvious, even slightly silly, but I do think that it makes all the difference between a good recovery and a hellish one.  If you are forced to get out of bed all of the time to let the dog out/see to your toddler/make tea and toast/answer the door to the postman then there’s no way you’re going to regain your strength as fast as if you can sleep all day long and be spoon-fed caviar from the finest silverware. I think that when you come out of hospital you have a false sense of how well you are – you’ve managed to walk to the car, to do a journey, to get back out of the car and climb the stairs, all after major surgery so you must be ok, right? You’re a rare superwoman – what the hell were these other people talking about? Recovery? Pah!

Then it hits you. Hours, maybe days later. You’ve had major surgery! What on earth were you thinking trying to go to the supermarket on day 2? You really need to rest. Only get up, if you can help it, to go to the loo. Get someone else, if at all possible, to do anything and everything that isn’t a toilet trip – change the baby’s nappy, fetch you water, pass you the remote control. Pretend you’re the laziest person that ever lived and then get even lazier. For me, having a lot of help was the singular most important thing and I still struggled with my recovery! So plan in advance, pull in favours – family, friends, paid help if you can possibly afford it and there’s no alternative option. Because I can guarantee you that chasing your dog about a paddock when you’re two weeks postpartum, trying to get him to drop a dead pigeon and come back inside, is not a lot of fun. (Happened the first time. In a heatwave. When we had no house and were living in a holiday let and there wasn’t really enough room to have anyone to stay and my husband had gone out to work and I’d promised that “everything would be absolutely fine”. Goodness, I don’t think on that time fondly!)

I’m making it all sound rather dreadful, and it’s not – I’ve felt worse with a bout of the flu – but I think it could be if you’re not adequately prepared. Have everything you need within easy reach, stock up on the painkillers and drink plenty of water.

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post-partum depression

I wrote the post that begins further down the page when I was twenty days post-partum, and completely forgot to publish it. Looking back, I had no idea how completely low I was. I feel great now, but it’s so worrying that even with lots of support you can feel completely overwhelmed – people close to me have said “oh I’m so glad you’re better” but I didn’t even realise that there was anything wrong with me!

Thank goodness I had lots of help in the first few weeks – I’m still getting lots of help, I haven’t really had to do a day on my own yet and the New Baby is six weeks old. I think had I been looking after both a toddler and a newborn I’d have felt far worse – to be honest, I don’t think that I felt depressed, it was more that I was overwhelmed by how tired I was and how many different ailments I had. You could say that it was more physical than mental. I felt as though my body was completely out of my control!

READ: My C-Section Recovery

Post-partum is a bizarre time; I don’t know whether it has been like this for other people, but I feel as though one day you can be the lowest you’ve ever been and the next you feel as though you’re untouchable, like superwoman. That anything is possible. And you make all of these plans for world domination from the (relative) comfort of your bed, but when you try to execute them you realise just how limited you are. In time, in energy, in health.

post-partum depression

Now at six weeks post-partum I feel mostly marvellous. I’m not “back to my old self” by any means; I’m more tired and my body needs some healthy food and a bit of fresh air, but I’ve been out to the shops and to Tumble Tots with Angelica and I’ve cooked, had people over, been for a long walk, done quite an astonishing amount of work on my laptop and worn jeans, if only for two hours. I feel as though I’m on my way to getting back to – if not my old self, then a new version my old self.  And that new version is going to be marvellous. Who needs to get back to their old self? (Wouldn’t mind the flattish stomach back and a some extra sanity but apart from that…)

Here’s what I wrote a few weeks ago at what must have been a bit of a low ebb:

“Frustrated, overwhelmed, stressed, anxious; not words I thought I’d be using to describe my first few post-partum weeks. I’ll be honest, I thought that I’d be breezing through them, what with it being my second baby – no surprises, breastfeeding technique already practised and perfected, support network (husband, parents, nanny) pre-organised. But I’ve been totally bowled over by just how hard I’ve found it, adjusting to a new baby again – the sleepless nights, the fear of the c-section scar bursting open (had forgotten about that particular mental horror!), being cooped up in the bedroom whilst the sounds of life continuing as normal can just be heard through the closed door… People telling you to “sleep when the baby sleeps” but not realising what it does to you, to your mental state, to be awake on your own all night and then to sleep all day. To basically have no real human contact, apart from with a tiny, beautiful creature who only knows how to voice his disapproval and has no way of saying “well done Mum! You’re keeping me alive and I really, really appreciate it.”

On some days, (usually when there’s been sleep the night before) I feel as though I could genuinely conquer the world. I make lists as I do the first breastfeed of the morning – I plan activities to do with Angelica, I look at ideas for meals I might cook her and search the internet for Tumble Tot timetables and swimming lesson details. I draft blog posts, eat hummus and salad instead of desperately wolfing down chocolate and biscuits, I think to myself, you’ve got this. This mothering thing. Who the hell said it was hard?

That’s usually at around 8am, but by 10am I’ve crashed out – tired, weepy, c-section scar smarting, boobs leaking milk, hearing Angelica having fun but too exhausted to heave myself out of bed and join in. Was it this hard the first time around? I didn’t even have a place to live, for Angelica’s first three or four months! Surely that must have been more stressful? But I think that I took the recovery in my stride because I didn’t know what to expect – leaking milk, blood, whatever else and basically living in a half-awake stupor, getting through one hour at a time, I had no real expectations and hadn’t set myself any goals. This time, I think I set the bar too high – I imagined myself going out with the double pram after a week or so, sitting in a cafe or at Pizza Express, I thought that the baby would sleep for three hours, feed for one, in a regular pattern.

How naive! How quickly you forget what life with a newborn is like: completely all-consuming. They don’t want to latch on, they just want to be held, then they want a feed but they don’t feed for long, so you can’t sleep because you know they’ll want a proper feed soon. Then they feed and they’re sleepy, but you can tell they need changing and you don’t want them lying in their poo, so you change them and it wakes them up, and before you know it you’re at 3.30am and you got into bed at 10pm and half of the night has disappeared…

post-partum depression

And I haven’t even had to look after two on my own yet – I’ve been extraordinarily lucky that I’ve always had someone else here. Mostly my husband, but when he’s been working then various family members, and our amazing nanny who does two days a week… I mean I do see Angelica, but I can’t pick her up, can’t lean down to the floor to change her, struggle to dress her if she needs her trousers pulling up or her wellies taking off. I can’t bath her, get her out of her cot or put her into it, I can’t lift her into her high chair or chase her around the garden. I’m feeling so incredibly helpless and I keep thinking that she’ll remember these weeks and wonder where I was. Which is ridiculous, isn’t it? But at the same time, I’m anxious about how I’ll cope when I do have both of them! Perhaps because I still feel so crap, body-wise, I can’t imagine ever having enough energy, or feeling brave enough to lift something heavy, like a toddler – how on earth do people cope?!”

If you’re feeling low, post-partum, there are people who can help. My health visitor was very good at keeping tabs on my mood, and they are able to put you in touch with someone you can talk to if you (or they) feel as though you may have postnatal depression. The Association for Post Natal Illness have a helpline and loads of resources, their website is here.

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My Birth Story: Elective C-Section

Five things that will (ok, might) happen after you’ve given birth. Now look, I’ve had two c-sections and so I’m no expert on things that happen to the female form after a vaginal birth, but I’ve read (and heard) enough stories to know that the below occur on an almost universal basis, no matter how the baby emerges. I suppose, when you think about it, that most people will be sore somewhere. Here are a few things that might (will probably/almost definitely) happen post-birth.

  • You will realise that you have even less wardrobe options than you did when you were 9 months pregnant. This is because a) you have to wear a sanitary pad the size of a single mattress and massive pants to contain it and b) you will, for ages, have a gut the size of a 5/6 month-ish pregnancy, but instead of it being all taut and rounded, it will be flabby like a punctured bagpipe. Try making that look good! All of the stripey stuff that was so cute when you were pregnant now seems like the worst ever practical joke.
  • Things will continuously fall out of your vagina, including weird pale blood (lochia) and mucus-y stringy stuff and small clots. Even if you’ve had a c-section. With my first baby I bled heavily for weeks – this time it has been very light, but stop-starting when I least expect it. It’s such a joy!
  • You will cough/sneeze/do a poo and feel as though all of your intestines and bladder and womb are about to fall out of your body. Through whichever exit your baby took. Now I don’t know what would be worse: this feeling happening in your vagina, or this feeling happening at the front of your stomach: either way it’s not pleasant. I can only offer some advice for c-section recoverers, and that’s to press a pillow to your scar before coughing/sneezing/pooing. Granted, taking a cushion in with you when you drop the kids off at the pool isn’t the most enticing idea, but: needs must, etc etc.
  • Your face will look like a peeled, misshapen potato. Don’t worry – all new mums have a face like a raw potato. Or a lump of unbaked dough with two currants stuck in for eyes. If you try to put makeup on, it won’t work. It’ll be like trying to put makeup on a waxwork figure – your skin will reject all types of foundation and your eyelashes will have retreated into the puffy depths of your red and swollen lids. Don’t even attempt to use bronzer or blush on foundation-less skin, either, as a “quick emergency fix”: for some reason it clings to post-partum skin most unbecomingly. It’s probably the sweat and tears keeping everything moist.
  •  People will tell you to “let the air” get to your scars, stitches and (potentially) bleeding nipples. Mainly health visitors and midwives will say this, but also people on Google. These people must live in completely wipe-clean houses, or have somehow escaped the indignity of post-partum breast-and-vag leakages. “Lie on the bed naked after a shower,” they say, “and it’ll let the air get to your wound”. In the meantime you’ll have dispensed about three litres of lochia into your Hypnos mattress and shot breast milk at the ceiling. Idiots.

I’m sure I can think of more things but that’s enough horror for now. I am exaggerating all of this, of course, so don’t be scared if you’ve got it all to come…

See also: My Biggest Post-Partum Body Shocks!

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night nursing what to wear

It’s always a bit of a problem to know what to wear in the early days of breastfeeding, when you’re still recovering from the birth and you’re basically a sodden mass of milky skin and sweaty bits of mismatched clothing. You’re told that your various lady bits need to be “left to air” so that stitches and chapped nipples can heal, but nobody really takes into account the fact that you’re leaking from just about every place you could possibly leak from.

So, what to wear to bed? You’re probably going to be feeding the baby more than you’re going to be sleeping, but you need to be comfy and you need to stay dry. (Waking up knackered at 3.30am to a mattress and duvet soaked in breastmilk-turned-cold is one of the most hideous experiences.) You need something that will, ideally, hold your nursing pads in place (I use the ones from Lansinoh or these washable bamboo ones) but you don’t want anything too structured that will put pressure on your breast tissue or cause you discomfort.

Here are the three things I’ve been alternating between for the last month – if you’re currently pregnant and trying to think ahead to the things you might need, then do sort out some bits and pieces to wear if you’re intending to breastfeed. If you’re anything like me then you won’t get out much for the first few weeks and your bed clothes will also be your daytime clothes, so it’s worth planning in advance…

breastfeeding night tops

Most-worn item, the Mamas and Papas x Blossom and Bloom Lace Nursing Top, £19 here. “Lace” is misleading – it’s just a lace trim – but the whole Blossom and Bloom range from Mamas and Papas is just gorgeous. Very luxe and heavy jersey, beautiful colours and prints… The nursing top has clip-down cups with pockets to keep your pads in place, but no restrictive underwiring or tight elastic.

nursing tops

Then we have the Ribbed Henley Tank from GAP, here. Not actually a nursing top, but the poppers down the front are so handy for easy access and I tend to wear it with a soft nursing bra underneath. They have it in a few different colours; I have them all. I bulk-bought a load when the latest good offer code was running, but they always have a code at GAP, you just need to check the home-page! These tops are really long – they just about cover your bottom, unless you’re very tall, which is brilliant if you’re feeling self-conscious about your hip area.

breastfeeding tops

Finally, the Grey Marl Nursing Nightie from excellent maternity brand Seraphine. Just about enough structure to hold your nursing pads in place, though not if you start walking around all over the place, but the drop cups make for an easy feed without having to get your shoulders and chest cold and the jersey is so soft and lovely. This one is £35 here – there’s a matching robe which looks nice, though I’m well into my cuddly massive one I got from ASDA because it hides peanut nips if you answer the door and you can virtually get away with being naked beneath it, should the fancy take you…

 

 

 

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two under two parenting

It’s time for the monthly update – but now there’s an extra person to figure into things, “two under two”, the format has changed slightly. Updates used to happen on monthly anniversaries of Angelica’s birthday (17th), but now we’ve swapped to New Baby Ted’s birthday (3rd), mainly because I couldn’t get it together to write an update post two weeks ago!

Lots to tell you – though I have a dozen posts waiting to be edited and published, so if I miss anything out here then it’s probably because I’m covering it elsewhere in more detail. Here goes…

two under two parenting

Toddler:

Angelica – now 20 months old –  is coping with having a new baby in the house admirably well. She’s actually had more attention than usual, what with my parents being here at the start and then my husband being at home and our nanny doing a few more days this week and next to help out. The only big change for her, I think, is that she’s seen far less of me and so when she does see me she’s a bit more clingy. (But secretly I love that!) Not being able to pick her up because of the c-section wound has been slightly distressing, because she does like her cuddles and her fireman’s lifts, but I think that she’s just about understood now that I can’t lift her – though it’s only a couple more weeks until I’ll be firing on all cylinders again.. (I’ve actually picked her up a few times, either out of necessity or because I’ve forgotten I’m not supposed to, and my bowels didn’t fall out of my body so that’s all good.)

In terms of developments and learning, she’s coming on leaps and bounds. She can say: cup, bowl, fork, tree, Dexter, Ted, Baby, Mama, Daddy, bye-bye. Cheese, quiche, keys and please, (all of those sound the same!), squeeze, heave (don’t ask), beep-beep, choo-choo, bear… And then all of the animal noises for cow, pig, sheep, hen, bird, dog, horse, elephant, lion, frog, bee, cat, duck… It’s great fun! Sometimes there are frustrations when she wants something and is making noises but you can’t tell what the hell she’s saying – we go around the kitchen pointing to about a million things before she finally nods her head and there are often tears of frustration before we reach that point. “Cheese? You want cheese? Face wipe? You want the cake tin? No? The cat? You can’t have the cat! What, you want the tree? The yoghurt? The water? The biscuits? The quiche? Daddy’s keys?” And all the while she’s just sitting there, getting redder and redder in the face, shouting “sheeeesh! Sheesh!” as though we’re complete imbeciles…

Earlier in the week we went to Tumble Tots and she loved it! I mean, she went completely insane with glee! So we’re off to Toys R Us to buy her a fabric tunnel, because she seemed to be through that a lot, and I’m signing her up for a block of classes, though I’m slightly anxious about taking Ted and him needing feeding in the middle of the class, because it’s all quite hands-on and you need to be actively following your child about like some sort of deranged servant. So I’ll let you know how we get on when I’m flying solo, without nanny!

two under two parenting

Baby:

Ted is four weeks old today, weighs 10lbs 13oz and I have no idea how tall he is as I can’t find the tape measure. Sixty-something centimetres, I think, last time he was measured – does that sound right? The red book is somewhere but I can’t be arsed to move out of bed. If I do, the bedside crib will rock and he might wake up and then I won’t get any work done! I have lots of newborn-specific posts coming out soon so I don’t want to repeat myself, but I’d say that the main challenges over the past four weeks have been pretty standard: re-learning how to breastfeed (because even though it’s only been eight or so months since I last did it, Ted obviously didn’t have a clue!), re-learning how to survive without sleep and trying to cope with recovering from the c-section at the same time as looking after the baby.

Read: My C-Section Recovery

I’ll admit that two weeks ago I was very low – not depressed, I don’t think, but incredibly overwhelmed. Everything hurt, I wasn’t getting any sleep and I felt really sad and guilty that I wasn’t spending as much time with Angelica as I usually would. I think that I expected to recover very quickly from the birth this time around, and I didn’t – it was just the same as last time, really. So I set the bar too high and failed to meet my own high standards. (Lesson: don’t set any bar, don’t have any standards!)

But Ted is an absolute dreamboat – he’s very similar to how Angelica was, actually. Very chilled out, apart from he gets the same trapped wind problem as she did, which means lots of pained crying and whinging between feeds, usually at night. Fine if he’s held, not so fine if he’s lying down flat, very frustrating when you’re tired and it’s 3am and you haven’t had any sleep yet and NOTHING WILL MAKE HIM STOP CRYING. Oh, he also likes to have a little vomit every couple of days, which was such a shock as Angelica wasn’t ever sick for the first year. Maybe once? Yes, when we were on a packed train at Liverpool Street! I remember that very well – I was absolutely covered in vom.

Anyway, I tried some Infacol last night and (fingers crossed) we had a much better time of it. I wasn’t too keen on putting anything into the baby that wasn’t breast milk, especially as the fluid smelt so artificial and orangey (like a newborn knows what orange flavour is? What’s the point?!) but if it helps him out then so be it. If there are any more natural remedies then let me know – I need to do some research on that, actually, so I’ll save my Googling for the night feed tonight.

two under two parenting

I do about eight or nine breastfeeds in a 24 hour period, though some days maybe more or less – sometimes he just snacks and comes off again after a few minutes, though I try to not let him do that as it’s not the creamy, nutritious milk at the beginning and I remember with Angelica that her poos turned green for a few days when she wasn’t feeding properly. But Ted seems to be gaining weight well – at least the health visitor was very pleased – and his latch has always been good, mainly I think because I got his tongue tie sorted on day 3 rather than a week or so in, which is what happened with Angelica. By the time Angelica’s tongue tie was snipped I had cracked and bleeding nipples from days of her not latching properly! So that was a priority for me this time around.

What else? I can’t think of much else that won’t be covered in my upcoming posts – but in general, things at four weeks are a world away from how they were at two. A fortnight ago I just couldn’t envisage anything ever being “normal” again – I felt trapped in the bedroom, tethered to the baby, crippled with my various pains and ailments (just about every body part had something wrong with it!) and now I feel a lot more positive. I’m beginning to realise that with motherhood there is no such thing as “normal” – the situation changes almost daily and you just have to go with the flow. If you try to compare your new life with your old life then things become overwhelming and, though it’s such a cliché, I think that you really do have to take it one day at a time.

two under two parenting

Me:

Yeah, what about me?! Ha! I feel as though you get ignored a bit as a Mum the second time around. I was virtually pampered in hospital the first time in comparison to the second! “Oh? You’re sat there in a pile of puke? Here’s a cloth. See ya later.” You can read about my c-section and recovery in the birth story here and recovery post here, but everything was quite straightforward and as-expected, although I think that I had wiped much of the scar/wound stuff from my memory because it freaked me out this time just as much as last time! I’m really no good with cuts and sores and stitches and all that sort of stuff, and I can’t say that I’ve enjoyed having to check my wound and bathe it and dry it. Gross. It split open a bit (about an inch or two) and that set me back quite a lot, mentally, because I didn’t want to move or bend or stretch and so took to my bed for days on ends, festering in my milky nightdress and generally feeling very sorry for myself.

two under two parenting

Also I’d forgotten just how massive your tits get when the milk comes in, and how much it hurts when the baby needs to feed but you’re stuck in the car in traffic or what have you – oh my God! Giganta-breasts! Big milky boobs do not make for a flattering body silhouette either, I’m still in maternity clothes or big baggy sweatshirts and cardigans, and the only bottoms I can wear are my leggings (which are almost threadbare at the crotch!) or my cut-off yoga harem pants. Which means that if I leave the house, it has to be the leggings, because it’s too cold for shorts. I’ve done a big ASOS order with ten pairs of high-waisted jeggings in various sizes, so perhaps if one of those can be stretched over my massive flab-gut then I’ll have two outfit choices! Woooo!

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c section recovery

OK this isn’t my birth story, obviously – if I was reporting on my own birth it would be just odd. I don’t remember any of it. Really the title should be My Story of The Birth, or something, but that sounds weird…

Anyway, if you’re still reading (forgive the frequent random rambles), then this is what happened on the 3rd February 2017 when I gave birth to my second baby, a beautiful baby boy, by elective c-section. If you want the backstory as to why I had an elective caesarean then read these posts here – in a nutshell, it was an issue of previous section and potentially very large baby and in the end a section was recommended as the most safe and straightforward option.

So here’s the birth story. I’d like to say, in advance, that some of these pictures are possibly the most unflattering photos of me that you’ll ever see. The vain part of me wants to hide them, but I asked my husband to take them so that you could get an honest idea of what it’s like having a c-section – looking great wasn’t the priority here!

I was incredibly nervous the night before – I had a massive cry when I put Angelica to bed, thinking about how I wouldn’t be able to lift her for over a month and do our little nighttime routine. It was quite odd knowing that I was having a baby the next day – I went into labour with Angelica nearly two weeks late and so the reality never really hit home that a baby was definitely coming!

Surprisingly, because I thought I’d not sleep at all that night, I actually slept for a good six hours. I had dinner with husband and parents at about 8pm, I took my antacid tablet from the hospital at 11pm, checked my hospital bag and then went to bed. After tossing and turning for an hour, I decided to listen to some of the hypnobirthing things I’d downloaded when I was pregnant with Angelica, but they hadn’t transferred across to my iPhone from my old computer. So off I went to iTunes to re-download and what did I find there? A special hypnobirthing download for people preparing for a c-section! It was this one here – absolutely brilliant. I can honestly say that my whole experience the next day would have been totally different had I not listened to it. I only played it through twice (I was asleep by the end of the second time) but I really concentrated on the little techniques for relaxing and staying calm and I remembered them in surgery the next day. So, so useful, I can’t recommend highly enough. I should do a separate post, really – I’ll try and get around to that.

We had to get to the hospital for 7.30am the following morning and, as we only live a few miles from the hospital, I got up just before 7am and was in the car by ten past. (Couldn’t have breakfast and I hate not having breakfast, so I didn’t want to be up for ages feeling hungry. And nervous. Hungrous.) The day got off to a bit of a bad start when there was an argument in the reception of the Day Centre we had to check in at – something to do with queues, and it didn’t involve us at all, but it was all a bit much first thing in the morning. What is wrong with people?! At any rate, we didn’t have to wait in the horrible shouty atmosphere because a nurse came to get us almost straight away and we were taken, along with one other couple, to the prep area outside the operating theatres.

My Birth Story: Elective C-Section

There we had a little cubicle where the doctors and surgeons and anaesthetists would come and do their final checks on me before surgery – I was given two gowns, one to put on forwards and the other backwards so that my bare bum wouldn’t be on show as I walked to theatre. Hurrah! My husband and I were in absolute (silent) stitches, though, when we heard the nurse go into the cubicle next to us and say “oh, Sir, I meant that your wife should put the gowns on, not you!” Hahaha….that set us up for the day, pretty much, in terms of lifting our spirits and making us less nervous. Picturing this big bloke just the other side of the curtain, wearing the two hospital gowns…

I had my checks (baby heartbeat, position, etc) and then the nurse put me into my anti-deep-vein-thrombosis stockings (well sexy, gardeners’ green, with a little peeptoe for your toes to stick through) and shaved my lady-garden around where the incision would be made. Then I was asked the same questions about five billion times by five billion people (any loose fillings? When did you last eat? Drink? Are you allergic to anything? What’s your date of birth) and before I knew it, it was time to go into theatre.

I wasn’t nervous at all until I got into theatre, then I started shaking uncontrollably. There’s something quite weird about walking yourself into an operating theatre, with all of its lights and bleeping machines and the people walking about busily with their masks and gloves on. I suppose that the majority of people never actually see the inside of theatre, but with a c-section you’re witness to absolutely everything apart from the procedure itself. (Though I think some people watch that part too and shun the “curtain”? Or is that urban myth? I couldn’t think of anything worse than seeing myself be operated on, I have to say!)

Everything that happened was almost identical to the last time, really. I had a section with Angelica because she was breech, and it was classified as an “emergency section” but in actual fact they decided on it at 11am and I had it at 3pm (I had eaten a load of Tracker bars and had to wait for them to…emerge…) so it wasn’t truly an emergency. Pretty relaxed, really. Nobody was rushing about or panicking, put it that way. So, when it came to it lots of things were quite familiar. I was expecting the little set of steps that led up to the operating table and I remembered having to sit hunched over a cushion so that they could put the needle into my spine for the spinal block. I was still incredibly nervous, but I practised the breathing from the hypnotherapy thing and it seemed to work – at least I didn’t completely freak out, shaking and crying like last time. Even when my cannula went wrong on the first attempt (won’t go into it, let’s just say my arm was rather bruised afterwards!) I managed to keep my cool. I kept the shaking to a minimum.

My Birth Story: Elective C-Section

I’ll admit that it’s a bit stressful having a number of people poke you with needles at the same time. It irked me, with my first section, that they had to do the cannula at the same time as insert the spinal needle – my brain can only cope with blocking out one thing at once, and then everyone is talking to you and asking questions – “can you feel this cold scratch?” “do you feel anything running up your arm?” “can you hunch over just a bit more?” “can you try not to move, I have to get the needle into your other hand”….it’s incredibly hard to stay calm with all of that going on.

And so I totally shut off.

I went completely silent and refused to engage in any conversation. If I needed to answer then I grunted or nodded my head and otherwise, I stared at the floor and imagined myself breathing in golden air, like they said on my birthing download. Whatever I did, it worked, because before I knew it I was lying face up with people spraying air at my body asking whether it had gone numb yet! And then the curtain was going up, and the staff were having their pre-surgery meeting, which they do over your prone body which is very odd! I was just there thinking, you’re staring at my massive swollen belly, all of you, and my PUBES are on show, and you’re saying my name and date of birth and other things about me and it’s just too weird.

My Birth Story: Elective C-Section

Where was the husband through all of this? Just behind my head. But I was ignoring him – ignoring everyone – because I was in my zone. The anaesthetists kept asking if I was ok and I didn’t answer, but I heard my husband say “I think she’s in a zone” or something to that effect, which made me inwardly amused. I think that it’s quite important that you do what you have to do, mentally and emotionally, to stay calm. For someone like me, who has to psyche up to even have a quick blood test, it’s a challenging situation (to put it mildly) to be in theatre, awake, being operated on. Even if the end result is something so wonderful! I was a bit worried about my husband and whether he was ok, but ultimately I was more worried about myself. I reckoned he was a big lad and could take care of himself (he’d been through it before, at any rate) and even if he couldn’t then I had to be totally selfish and stay focused on my cool, calm, collected experience…

Then, the section itself. To start with, about ten minutes of “rummaging”. Everyone says, “it’s just like we’re doing the washing up in your stomach” and “you won’t feel pain, just pressure and tugging”. I’d say there’s a lot more pulling and churning than you expect – I was taken aback, both times, as to how much my head and shoulders moved about on the table, which indicated that there was quite a bit of serious manipulation going on! I would have honestly held my breath for all of those minutes, I was so nervous and excited and anxious to meet the baby, but they kept telling me to take long, deep breaths, and so I did. It seemed an eternity waiting for the baby, but then there was a sucking, lifting sensation from my body and a few seconds pause and then a huge cry.

My Birth Story: Elective C-Section

I can’t even begin to tell you what that first cry does to you, if you’ve never experienced it before. Something just utterly primal happens, even if you’re completely off your tits on drugs – both times I’ve wept uncontrollably. It’s hard not being able to hold the baby when they bring it round to show you (some people have it on their chest but I honestly can’t see where you would even balance it?!) but everyone busies around, cleaning and weighing and doing baby checks, and it does take your mind off the whole sewing-up business that’s going on further down.

I’ve been incredibly lucky that with both sections I’ve had minimal blood loss (this time it was 400ml, which is less than the average natural birth, apparently) and no complications, and so the post-birth part has been trauma-free. It’s still not a great feeling, lying there helpless and knowing what they’re up to, but the new baby is a great distraction and it’s not as though anything hurts, particularly, apart from maybe the pressure of the cannula in your hand where the drips go in.

The new baby didn’t stop crying for almost the whole time, and it’s quite a lot to deal with mentally, when you’re there and you can’t do anything to help stop the crying and all of your instincts are telling you to reach out for the baby… We were still in shock that we’d had a boy, I think, because we were absolutely convinced the baby would be a girl! But there he was, with a willy and gigantic testicles, and I looked at my husband as though to say “what an earth do we do with THOSE?” My husband went off to put a nappy and a hat on the baby, which I thought was quite brave as the table was down the “business end” and I would have been petrified of seeing what was going on, had I been him. He’s even more squeamish than me, so top marks for bravery there. I’m sure he probably side-stepped like a crab all the way down the room to avoid looking in my direction, ha!

My Birth Story: Elective C-Section

And then? All a bit of a blur. You can tell when the section is almost over, because the atmosphere in the room changes. Two people in the room started chatting about their weekend, one started talking about a new job they were going for. There were sounds of cleaning-up, people were gradually moving away from the table. Someone asked if they could insert a pessary into me – I didn’t ask which orifice and, quite honestly, would never have been able to tell you which one it went up! I just looked down to see both my legs in the air, the weirdest feeling as I had no idea my legs had been moved – it was as though they were comedy rubber legs! – and they were saying that the pessary was in. Oh, the shame, the indignity, when I think of what my lady-garden region must have looked like. I’m surprised they even found a way in, if I’m honest…

My Birth Story: Elective C-Section

Painted with something (to kill germs?) and then lifted (by a team of about eighty-five people) onto a wheely bed so that I could be taken to recovery. My husband had gone ahead with the baby, so he didn’t witness the anaesthetist telling me that I was the “perfect patient”. My God, I was so proud. I bet he says it to all the ladies, but it meant so much because I thought that I was a rude, gibbering wreck but apparently to the outsider I was very calm and collected! Husband obviously is doubtful that any of this conversation took place, and I have no witnesses, but I’m sticking with my story – I was a GREAT patient! I’m adding it to my CV.

c section recovery

Here I am holding my new baby boy for the first time. He weighed 9lbs 7oz, which is quite some weight when you only have bodily awareness from the chest up! It’s rather hard, this bit post-section, when they give you the baby and it’s ravenous and you have to latch it on and feed it, all whilst feeling slightly out of it, with wires coming from your arms and a great big needle in the back of your hand! I remember with Angelica feeling quite cross that they couldn’t just let me be for five minutes, give me a chance to gather my senses and get on top of things and catch my breath, but no (and this is a great intro into the rest of motherhood!): the baby is the most important thing and SOD YOUR OWN FEELINGS!

Ha.

I found latching the baby on very easy this time, but perhaps because I’d done it before and remembered how to position the baby. I also felt much better in recovery this time, too – I felt incredibly poorly the first time – so that helped with getting the baby latched on. He fed straight away, not for long, and then fell asleep on my chest as they wheeled me through to the maternity ward. What a total babe. Look at those chunky little arms!

My Birth Story: Elective C-Section

From here, if you want to know what happened next, you can read my c-section recovery story. I’d say that I couldn’t have really had a better c-section experience, this time around – it’s so different when you’re prepared, and not scared out of your wits, and haven’t already laboured, and aren’t emotionally fraught and absolutely knackered… I mean, still nerve-wracking, but I must recommend that hypnobirthing download again. I suppose you could use any meditation app or download, really, it’s all about positive thinking and clearing the mind and so on, but I did like that it was specific to the c-section scenario.

So there: the arrival of baby 2! As with my recovery story, I hope I’ve not been too graphic? When I read things back, I think oh that sounds horrendous! and I really don’t know why everything sounds so much more dramatic when you commit pen to paper. I can assure you that nothing was dramatic, it was so calm. It could have been dramatic, but I think that your own mental state plays a massive part in how you experience the whole thing – you can be calm and take things as they happen or you can go in with very heightened emotions and everything will seem like the end of the world. (Me, with my first section.)

Did anyone else feel that their elective/planned section was much calmer than a non-planned? Any other tips for coping with the stress or emotions of having a section? Any other hypnobirthing recommendations? Fire away in the comments section below!

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ask the midwife app review

Possibly my best post-partum discovery so far: an app called Ask the Midwife. Strictly speaking it’s not a post-partum discovery, as I was told about it a month or so ago by an app developer I’ve been conversing with, but I’ve used it a few times since New Baby’s birth and it’s absolutely brilliant.

I don’t know about you, but during pregnancy and that new and mystifying post-partum period, I always have about ten thousand burning questions that need answering but completely forget to ask them when the midwives/health visitors come for their checks. And they’re never the sort of thing I want to Google, because – as we all know – Googling anything to do with pregnancy or babies is likely to end up in a tearful, panic-stricken dash to A&E. (“I know I haven’t been abroad in a year but I’m POSITIVE I’ve got dengue fever!” “The baby’s breathing is noisy and I’m SURE it’s that very rare respiratory thing that I read about on Wikipedia!” Etc.)

The first time I opened the Ask a Midwife app was when I had terrible trapped wind a day or so after the c-section (see post here) and I desperately wanted to know which remedies would be safe. The simplicity of the app coupled with the speed of the response (it was a Sunday, I had an answer within the hour) singled this service out as a bit of a winner from the start; you just type in your question and press “Ask Question” and await an answer. I didn’t even get charged for my first question, so the whole process took around three minutes!

The questions are all answered by registered Midwives who are members of the Nursing and Midwifery Council and qualified to work in the UK and you can either ask a one-off question or schedule a ten minute chat, during which you can ask as many questions as you like. (I haven’t done this, but I want to, just to see how many questions I can fit in. Sort of like a “supermarket sweep” of baby information. Hohoho.)

ask the midwife app review

It costs 99p for a one-off question or there are monthly subscription packages, offering unlimited questions for a set fee per month. (It’s £24.99 if you just want to do it on a month-by-month basis or £19.99 if you subscribe for 9 months, a package geared at pregnant women to see them through until birth.)

I’ve now asked three questions and all of them were actually quite pressing. Not medical emergencies (you most definitely call your midwifery team or GP for those!) but annoyances that were making me miserable (things in the downstairs area) and a question about the baby that would have played on my mind overnight had I not had an answer. Questions are answered from 7am-9pm, seven days a week and the team aim to answer all questions within four hours, though I must say that each time for me has been within the hour.

So, money well spent, I think. The app is free to download (it’s here) and then it’s just 99p per question, if that’s how you want to play things. I wish I’d started using the app during pregnancy – there were so many things that I needed answers to that I would then forget to ask at my appointments! Or minor niggles that would then go away before my midwife appointments but I’d have spent about twenty hours Googling and trawling Mumsnet for information! Far better to be able to give a qualified person your own, specific details and get an expert opinion. Big thumbs-up from me for Ask the Midwife – they also have a website here, if you don’t use apps or have a smart phone.

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best space saving baby things

Travelling light? Here are my top five most-used space-saving baby things. You’re welcome.

best space saving baby things

The Yoyo Pushchair, recently reviewed here, if you want to read more about it. Folds down so small you can fit it in an overhead aeroplane locker and is great if you have a small car with limited boot space. It’s £339 here.

best space saving baby things

The Baby Bjorn Travel Cot, reviewed here. Just brilliant – seconds to set up, lightweight, ultra-slim when folded down. I can’t recommend this enough. It was pricey, but I’ve definitely had my money’s worth out of it and I take it with us on trips away even if a cot is promised wherever we’re staying! Find it online here – £199.95.

best space saving baby things

The Washable Squashable Highchair from Totseat fits pretty much any dining chair and means that you always have a reasonably serviceable baby seating option with you wherever you go. This folds up small. And it’s not perfect – it’s not like using a proper high chair, with a tray and so on – but it does the trick when the alternative is sitting the baby on your lap and getting covered in mush. £23 at Amazon here – a great addition to the frequent traveller’s baby arsenal!

best space saving baby things

The Self-Sterilising Bottles from MAM mean that you can travel completely steriliser free so long as you have access to a microwave. These are the only bottles I continuously used; I started on them because they came with my first ever breastmilk-expressing kit and the baby took to them well, but not having to faff about with sterilising  tablets or those big microwave tubs soon became the overriding benefit. Find them here on Amazon – £12 for three.

best space saving baby things

May I suggest another fabulous Baby Bjorn space-saver? Say hello to their innovative highchair which has a folded width of just 25cm, easily detachable legs and is about half the size of one of those big padded monstrosities that come with air force-style restraints and a tray big enough to play poker on. No child’s seat needs to be that big! They’re like alien control pods! The Baby Bjorn is stylish, sleek and everything is completely wipe-clean – the tray goes in the dishwasher. If you’re short of space in your bijoux apartment then this is the chair for you – we happen to have a big kitchen but hate clutter, so also a good one if you like your baby stuff to be tucked away rather than on display. It’s £148.95 here.

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c section recovery

I thought I’d write a little about my c-section recovery, at least for the first week. I’ve had loads of people asking me questions about it, some who are booked in for caesarean sections themselves and want to be prepared!

I’m always a bit wary when people ask me about my “birth experience” or what have you; as soon as you write things down, they sound so much more dramatic and I hate the idea that someone might read my words and be made anxious about what their own experience might be like.

I think it’s important to remember that each person will recover from surgery differently, so please don’t let anything I say scare the wits out of you, if you are booked in for a section. Recovering from a c-section is definitely no walk in the park, but it’s not the same as recovering from other surgeries because – and this is what you have to focus on here, it helps to keep your mind off the potentially gross stuff – you have a brand new baby!

You also have to remember that one person’s experience is never going to be the same as yours – and, in fact, even if their birth was identical they will still have perceived it in a different way, and have had different emotions that will colour their memories.

So, I’m going to try to report on my post-elective-caesarean-recovery with as little emotion as possible – just the plain facts. If you don’t fancy reading on, then in summary I’d say that the first twenty-four hours were…trying…and the rest of it has been pretty much as expected. Lots of painkillers, no heavy lifting and a general squeamishness towards my scar area!

c section recovery

Day 1:

Elective Caesarean Section at 9.27am – no complications, very little blood loss, minimal time in the recovery area before transfer to the labour ward. Obviously completely off my tits on whatever I was on, but hey. They wheeled me on my big wheeled bed through the corridors and I gurned at everyone we passed, holding my little newborn creature to my chest and wondering why I could see elephants on the ceiling.

11am: was offered orange squash and biscuits. Consumed heartily.

11.05am: threw up squash and biscuits – a lot – and the pain in my wound was immense. Even through whatever cocktail of drugs I was still on. Even through the SPINAL BLOCK! I couldn’t move my feet or legs, yet I could feel that I may have split my newly sewn-up insides.

11.10am: was assured by the professionals that nothing would have split. Wound checked and no bleeding.

12pm: horrific, horrific pain from my wound site and further inside my body, begged for more pain relief. At the same time, breastfeeding (yay!) and trying not to throw up or think of throwing up or smell the throw up that was in my hair and all over my chest in case that made me throw up.

The rest of the day was a blur. I needed morphine for the pain that (I’m certain) my initial throwing-up caused, but the morphine made me throw up again. Oh, the joys. As I was on the “enhanced recovery programme” where they get you home after 24 hours (HAHA! How did I fall for that one?) I had my catheter removed at around 8pm and then was encouraged to get up and sit in the chair next to my bed. I got up and sat in the chair next to my bed, helped by two lovely midwives who then disappeared. I sat there semi-naked, staring at the floor and willing myself not to puke, but then I puked, loads, and my body felt as though it was being torn in half.

(I’d like to point out that – had I not puked in the first place – I would have actually been A-OK. So don’t freak out if you’re having a section and reading this: my advice would be not to eat or drink so soon after the op. I didn’t eat or drink for hours and hours afterwards with Angelica, so not sure why I was encouraged to this time around. Last time they kept listening to my stomach for bowel sounds so that it was safe to eat, this time they said “we don’t do that anymore”. Maybe they should..)

10pm: informed that I had to pass urine on my own by 4am, otherwise a catheter would have to be “re-introduced”, but couldn’t feel any real sensation or urge to wee-wee. Fed the baby – who, in all fairness, was like an angel sent from heaven, latching on like a dream and never crying – and went to sleep.
1am: still no urge to wee. Despite having drunk about eighteen litres of water. This, apparently, was not a good sign! Had a big anti-vomiting injection in my arse, which was supposed to have hurt but I didn’t feel anything at all. It was water off a duck’s back by this point! Read a bit from my book about 18th Century pirates, where they were all coming down with this terrible disease and then one of them died. Didn’t help my frame of mind, much, but I perked up after eating an illicit bag of Haribo Star Mix .
3am: text my husband crying as I had been told that if I didn’t have a wee within the hour my catheter would have to go back in, otherwise my bladder might implode, or something like that. Went into toilet with my cardboard wee-bucket (I had to show evidence to the midwife) and tried every single squat/wee position imaginable. Quite difficult with no stomach muscles to speak of and a cannula stuck in my right hand which hindered any sort of “support”. No wee came. It was a real low point, especially when I caught sight of myself in the full-length mirror (WHY?), nightie pinned up under my chin, squatting over a grey disposable potty whilst using my left hand to grasp onto the plumbing beneath the sink.

3.56am: husband text to say he had done a wee dance (I have no idea either) with the dog and the cat (I can’t even imagine), to send good urinary vibes my way. A minute later I did the most enormous wee and proudly carried it along the corridor to the midwives’ office with two minutes to spare before I would have been having a tube re-inserted into my bladder, this time NOT under any anaesthetic. Thank the lord for small (humungous) mercies. I slept like a bloody log after that.

Day 2
No sickness, actually woke up in hospital feeling pretty, pretty good. The nightmarish first day was but a memory (good job I wrote it all down in my iPhone notes, otherwise you’d be getting a totally different story right now!) and I had all of my discharge exams and checks done and dusted by 9am. I was out in the bright daylight by 12.30pm. (This whole accelerated recovery thing is a bit mad, if you ask me – I mean, 24 hours! Not even! And after such a rough day and night… I’m going to do a separate post on it, but part of me thinks it was way too soon to be discharged, even if both of us were in tip-top condition. On the other hand, there was nothing I was getting in hospital that I couldn’t take at home (paracetamol and ibuprofen) because I couldn’t have the morphine anyway, so it made sense for me to be somewhere more comfortable and quiet and – well – homely.)

But as soon as I got home, a different sort of pain hit me. I had this with my first c-section but didn’t ever work out what it was: trapped wind! Sounds like a joke, is anything but. I actually think that the pain from the air that gets trapped in your body during the op (combined with the fact that your bowel has been messed with, and all of the drugs) is worse than any pain from the surgery incision itself. It makes it almost impossible, if you have it badly (which I did), to get up, lie down, straighten out, roll over, anything. Imagine being inflated like a balloon and then having your entire torso squeezed in a pincer grip – that’s what it was like. Immense, all-over torso pain.

Day 3

On Sunday morning I woke up on my back to find that the trapped air was in my chest and shoulder area (or felt as though it was) and I was virtually paralysed on the top half of my body. I had to scream for help, but I couldn’t even scream properly because my lungs felt as though they weren’t working! Once I had been hauled upright by my panic-stricken husband, I was fine, but it was a scary few minutes – I spent the rest of the day Googling trapped wind remedies and sending my husband out to more and more obscure chemists. I seriously upped the peppermint intake (tea, capsules – extra strong mints worked well) and took some Lactulose laxative (advice of midwife) and slept in a pile of pillows to ease my discomfort. It’s this sort of thing that makes me think that a 24-hour discharge after a c-section is a really bad idea. I could have done with the electronic up-down bed – trying to get out of a normal bed, from a lying position, was absolute agony!

Day 4

Trapped wind situation was about seventy billion times better. But I didn’t sleep a wink due to the constant feeding of New Baby. My mobility was better, still weak but more out of being wary of causing pain than anything else, I think. I’m very squeamish and any sort of sensation from the scar area sent me into apoplectic fits of silent, inward hysteria. Unfortunately my husband is also squeamish, and a hypochondriac, so there’s no “problem shared is a problem halved” with us when it comes to medical issues…

Day 5

I felt almost normal. Bad stomach, probably from the Ibuprofen, so I considered cutting them out of my painkiller “schedule” as I wasn’t feeling any pain anyway. Considering I hadn’t slept for two nights, I really felt as though I’d made a ridiculously fast recovery. I was virtually sprinting up and down the stairs (an exaggeration) and getting out of bed no longer made me feel as though I was being sawed in half. Hurrah for fast recoveries!

c section recovery

Day 6

The executive decision to stop some of my painkillers turned out to be a terrible, terrible decision. The midwife turned up to remove my stitches (I didn’t have dissolvable because of the type of repair work they did and/or previous scar tissue, I don’t fully remember the reason) and as she tore off the dressing it pulled on the wound and OH MY GOD the pain afterwards! It was unreal! It’s really hard to get back on top of  pain once it’s been unleashed and it really sets you back in terms of wanting to do anything, like get up or bend forwards or go to the loo. I made the mistake of thinking the pain had gone – HA! It was just the painkillers doing their painkilling work…funnily enough. What a rookie error – I really regretted trying to run before I could walk.

Day 7

I realise I’ve counted the day of the baby’s birth as day 1, when I suppose the day after should have been day 1? Anyway, whatever this day was, the day before a week afterwards: the wound was still smarting somewhat. Because of the midwife ripping the wound dressing off? Or because I sneezed about eighty-eight thousand times in the night? Who knows. I went back on a strict painkiller routine and took them with food to minimise stomach discomfort, but was definitely feeling a lot better. It’s easy to forget that a c-section is major surgery – you try to just get back into the swing of things, because you have a new baby to look after, but it’s so important to rest and get well. For the next week, now that things are settled, I’m just going to get loads of sleep whenever I can and stop staying up late to write incredibly long blog posts!

I hope that this recovery report hasn’t been too – erm – informative or explicit. I wouldn’t say that I’ve had a particularly horrendous time, apart from that first day in the hospital with the vomming and the forced urine sample – as I said before, everyone has their own experience. With my first c-section, the worst memory was them messing up my cannula (the thing that the drips feed into in your hand through) but this time it was the vomming. Neither experience has particularly traumatised me, but both times I was very focused on the baby (I’m guessing that most people are) and so you just sort of get on with it. I certainly wouldn’t be saying to anyone “oh it was a nightmare” if they asked how it all went – I feel very lucky that the birth itself was uncomplicated. All the bits afterwards are just to be expected, really, aren’t they?

What do you think about this “24 hour recovery” idea? Madness or perfectly reasonable? As always, I welcome your thoughts! Did anyone else prematurely stop their painkillers? How long was it before you stopped them? Or took a walk outside? Or drove a car? I’m interested to know!
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Mini Rodini x Adidas Originals

I know that the word “cool” is a bit outdated, but I don’t know how else to describe the collaboration between kids’ brand Mini Rodini and Adidas. When a top-hatted panda mini-tracksuit arrived on the doorstep, my first thought was: my sister would LOVE this in a full-size version. And my sister is sort of my barometer for all things cool.

I have a PO Box in central London and every month it gets cleared out and sent to me in the back of a van – I never know what’s going to be in the postbag, but usually it’s 80% random nail polishes, dog biscuits and homemade beauty products and 20% very intriguing, niche skincare. Always interesting, always fun to pick through – none of it ever expected – but now and then, something lands in there that is so brilliant that I scream with excitement.

Mini Rodini x Adidas Originals

This little tracksuit from the first Mini Rodini x Adidas Originals drop was a “scream with excitement” moment. It’s not something I would ever have picked out myself, not for Angelica, anyway, but it’s just such a collectors’ piece – so striking, so retro, so…cool. Sorry, that word again. But I was a proper Adidas Originals girl when I was in my teens (the striped-arm tracksuit tops were the ultimate badge of conformity where I was from, everyone had one) and I can’t help being a tiny bit in love with this off-beat, cute-but edgy design.

Mini Rodini x Adidas Originals

The Adidas-Mini-Rodini collaboration is happening for a whole year and there are going to be a number of limited edition designs released – this one has sold out already, but you can keep an eye out for the future releases here. If you’ve never browsed Mini Rodini before then do, especially if you’re into kids’ clothes that are a little bit different.

Mini Rodini x Adidas Originals

I have to say: I would very much like these trainers in an adult size. Don’t they just look supremely comfy? I’m off to see if there’s something similar that I could squash my hooves into…

Mini Rodini

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birth announcement ruth crilly

For those who don’t follow me on Twitter or Instagram, an important update: New Baby has arrived! A boy! He was delivered on Friday 3rd February weighing in at 9lbs 7oz and he is just absolutely perfect in every single way. (Not the seventy eight thousand kilos I was led to expect, but then I suppose if I’d left things naturally and had him at 42 weeks like Angelica then there could have been big trouble as he’d very well have been edging over the ten and a half pounds mark and up towards eleven…) Everything went very well in terms of the c-section and we were home the next day after a stay of around twenty-seven hours. Which I have mixed feelings about, but that’s for another post.

On that note; I have so many posts in the making! I’d forgotten how boring it can be recuperating, when the newborn is asleep, so I’ve actually been rather productive, including drafting a rudimentary sort of “birth story”, some thoughts on the c-section procedure and recovery process and a load more gumph that’s been floating about in my head. Does any of this sound appealing or helpful? I’ll probably write it all down anyway…

ruth crilly and baby son

For now, I must get on with sleeping. Because opportunity has been rather sparse – New Baby has been having a little crazy session every night from about 11pm until 4am (I know!) and making the hours up in the daytime never works, does it? I mean, I can nap like an absolute pro, but I’m never going to get a full five hours slotted in – by the time I’ve done essential stuff like eat and go to the toilet and spend time with Angelica and check Rightmove for fantasy houses, it’s almost time for bed again…

So I just wanted to update you on the family news – we are all over the moon with our new addition, there’s a proper warm glow going on in the house that feels like we’re in one of those candlelit Christmas card scenes. Everything in order, both babies (big and tiny) safe in our arms…now all we need to do is to think of a name.

If you want to follow me on social media, here are my “places”:

Twitter @modelrecommends and @theuphill

Instagram @modelrecommends and @uphillbaby

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