My C-Section Recovery

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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80 Comments

  1. Bernadine
    February 13, 2017 / 7:49 am

    It is interesting the dichotomy in the thought processes between giving birth via LSCS and actually having had a surgery. By having a LSCS you have had abdominal surgery and with that comes all of the post op occurrences including diaphragmatic irritation (shoulder tip pain), ileus (bowels going on strike due to being handled/having had abdominal surgery), pain due to fascia, muscle being dissected and once again because of surgery. Some women focus on the vaginal vs LSCS without actually considering the fact that the LSCS involves actual surgery and all that comes with that…the most common being more pain than that by vaginal delivery. Its swings and round abouts. Everything in life has risks and benefits. People just seem to think that there is no downside to their choice. There is always a downside to any choice.

    • Virginia Villalobos
      February 13, 2017 / 12:37 pm

      So in agreement with you Bernadine, and I would add that sometimes hospitals encourage C-sections because it is convenient for them to get you in and out quickly rather than endure hours and hours of labor when they need that bed for the next patient. There is no such thing as an “elective C-section” in the US. There are “scheduled C-sections” in cases where it seems medically necessary. Traditionally this was a strictly emergency basis only surgery which has now somehow apparently become “elective” and I believe many women may not fully know what they are involving themselves in.

      • Del
        February 13, 2017 / 6:15 pm

        Just wanted to clarify – elective does not mean that the mother elects to have the c section, but simply that the c section was planned (e.g. for a breech baby, or placenta previa etc) rather than an emergency.

        In the U.K. we have – to some extent – the opposite problem. Pressure to go for vaginal births in situations whereby a c section may well be more sensible, because it’s cheaper. I know huge numbers of women who were wheeled in for emergency c sections wherein when the consultant was called to make the decision, and he/she was absolutely horrified that the woman had been left to labour hour upon hour under those circumstances.

        The fact of the matter is (speaking as a medic!) that there are pros and cons to both, but that in certain situations vaginal births are far more likely to be very straightforward, and in others attempting a vaginal birth would be foolish and c section far safer.

        Instrumental births are widely acknowledged in my experience to be best avoided wherever possible and it makes me cross how much this is effectively concealed from women. An immediate family member – a surgeon – did a lot of reconstructive gynae work and said that of the women who needed his services, not only were pretty much none of them women who had had c sections (for obvious reasons) but that a HUGE proportion of them had had forceps births. His advice was that wherever possible, unless timing and circumstances dictate otherwise, if it’s a choice between “trying with forceps first” or going straight in for an emergency c section, you do the latter, no question.

        Apologies for the ramble and many many congratulations to you on your lovely boy, Ruth! Am very much with you on 24 hours being far too soon, and to be honest virtually everyone in the biz knows this – very predictably I’m afraid it’s an exercise in freeing up beds. Same as the “fathers can stay on the ward overnight” policy introduced in some hospitals in the last few years – dressed up as a gift to the mother’s when in fact it’s because the hospitals are critically understaffed and the fathers can help with ferrying things too and fro. Awful thing to have to admit but there it is – NHS is in crisis.

      • Georgie
        February 13, 2017 / 7:23 pm

        I would say inthe UK they do not encourage c sections at all. They are very pro natural birth in both the hospitals I’ve had babies in anyway

      • Sk
        February 13, 2017 / 7:42 pm

        They do discourage sections in the UK for the sheer number of physicians (about 10£ and the normal three day hospital stay.

        • Sk
          February 13, 2017 / 7:43 pm

          10 physicians ***

          • Margle
            February 13, 2017 / 11:58 pm

            Just chiming in to say – I think your comment Bernadine was a bit thoughtless and rude. Ruth went through an enormous amount of care and consideration in her decision to have a c-section and she certainly weighed the upsides and downsides carefully. She posted about it a lot, which I’m really grateful for because it helped me with my own thinking around this issue. I don’t know how you could read a post like this one and reply with “well people never think of the downsides do they?”

            Perhaps I’m extra sensitive because I’m three days post my own elective c-section but I think you owe Ruth an apology for your comment.

    • Anja
      February 15, 2017 / 5:11 am

      I have to agree with Margel. It might have been unintentional, but your post, Bernadine, comes across a bit rude and condescending. Ruth did consider all the pros and cons and someone who has had c-section doesn’t make that voice easily. Especially since they have experienced it once before.

    • Rosina Smith-Bennett
      February 21, 2017 / 2:38 pm

      Congratulations Ruth and family.
      Ypur story sounds very familiar to mine.
      I remember with both of my sections the horrid trapped wind, nothing would sooth it and it didn’t help that I’ve already.got IBS so my bowel and stomach is very sensitive already.
      I hope you continue to mend perfectly and can’t wait for your next video.

  2. Cath
    February 13, 2017 / 8:11 am

    I came home after 27 hours with my 2nd (elective) section. I was so desperate to be home, I hadn’t slept, I just wanted my own bed and to get on with being a family of 4! Recovery was so much easier after the 2nd section, probably because it was elective rather than emergency and I knew what to expect. I agree with the drug routine though, being pain free helps you stay mobile which helps with the trapped wind!

  3. Katie
    February 13, 2017 / 8:49 am

    Hi Ruth, congratulations on your new little boy. So interested reading this, I had an elective section last April with my second, after a very unnatural ‘natural’ first birth. Its amazing how much you blank out after a while and reading this has bought some of it screaming back (hilariously in hindsight, I forgot how unbelievably horrible it was to cough and sneeze, felt like my organs were going to fall out my tummy!) and that first wee on the toilet with a cardboard bucket! I actually had a lazy bladder after mine and had to have two catheters put in and out with no numbing *sob*

    Just wandering if you got given two sets of pills to take the night before and the morning of your operation? I had anti-sickness ones and anti-wind ones and suffered no problems with either (a little wind, but not as bad as yours sounded) However a friend of mine at a neighbouring hospital did not get given these and, like you, was throwing up that whole first day and suffered terrible trapped wind. Definitely worth anyone else having a planned section asking if their hospital does this.

    The whole enhanced recovery I think is very difficult one, as you say the medicine you get is no different from home and there is something to be said for your home comforts but I was in for three nights and as much as I hate hospital wards was definitely grateful for the electronic bed. I think the problem when you get home, especially with having an older one there it forces you to try and get back into the swing of things to quickly, whereas you still feel like a surgery patient in the hospital which I do think is better for recovery.

    I took my paracetamol and ibuprofen combination every three hours for about a month I think, maybe even a bit longer and felt like it really didn’t let the actual pain of the wound touch the sides. I am not one to try and tough out pain! I think I went for a little walk after about 2 weeks and didn’t drive until the 6 weeks and I felt I recovered really well and a lot better than I thought I would actually!

    Sorry for the essay, wishing you a very speedy recovery and lots of love to your family xxx

  4. February 13, 2017 / 9:14 am

    24 hours after major surgery sounds kind of early. I went home 36 hours after normal delivery and it felt good, but I think after a c-section I would have preferred to stay, especially with the vomiting.
    But at least you are feeling a lot better now, that is what counts, right?

  5. Kate
    February 13, 2017 / 9:24 am

    I had an elective c section due to breech and your experience is so similar to mine (including hideous vomiting and having to wee in a measuring jug!). I was also discharged after 24hrs. I felt fairly bad at home but at least I was home. I think I would have felt worse emotionally if I’d been in hospital for longer. X

  6. Emma
    February 13, 2017 / 9:28 am

    Hi Ruth, thanks for sharing your story! I personally think a 24 hour recovery sounds a bit mad, having spent 5 days in hospital after my c section. At the time I hated being In Hospital and almost begged the midwife/doctors to let me home, but in hindsight I was probably in the best place, as it forced me to rest. If I’d been at home I probably would have been doing all sorts of things that I shouldn’t around the house! Looking forward to more stories about your newest addition, hope you can agree on a name soon! xx

  7. Jo D
    February 13, 2017 / 9:39 am

    Thanks for sharing Ruth, and congratulations! I had an unplanned C section just 4 days after you (so +7 days post op this morning) and had a few slightly different experiences, which I think is down to the practices of different hospitals.

    I was lucky to have a very straightforward 24 hours after the op. Pain was manageable on codeine and paracetamol, I managed to go to the bathroom on my own about 15 hrs after surgery, and the hospital said they weren’t letting me go until I’d passed wind (which thankfully I did!). The only odd downside I had from the op was numbness and tingling in my right bum cheek – an odd side effect of the spinal which lasted for days after and made sitting and lying pretty uncomfortable.

    I went home around a day and a half after the op, which felt right for me, but was my choice to make – I could have stayed longer. I’m in two minds about the quick turnaround; I bloody missed the remote control bed the first day home too (everything is much lower and softer at home!), but as this was my first child, I felt I couldn’t establish what was ‘normal’ for my baby until I got home and was away from the noise and disruption of nights on a busy hospital ward. So on balance I was glad to be back in my own environment. So I’d say, go home only if you feel physically and mentally ready to do so.

    Oh, and the scar was much smaller/neater/lower than I imagined. So that was a nice upside!

  8. Laura
    February 13, 2017 / 10:01 am

    Never had a section, but I think home in 24 hours is madness and way too much for a new mum. C sections are no walk in the park, it’s major abdominal surgery.

    I had 2 vaginal deliveries spent 24 hours in hospital with both (due to time of birth and bloody discharges taking forever!) but in all honesty for me even THAT was too soon. I found it difficult to walk, my stitches still hurt, my chest was hurting and heavy from all the pushing. I was physically and mentally EXHAUSTED, my guts felt like they were going to fall out. I could really have done with another night’s ‘rest’ in there. Can’t imagine ever being able to leave 24hr after a section.

  9. G. R.
    February 13, 2017 / 10:06 am

    I almost cried reading your post. Not only am I 30 weeks pregnant and very emotional but it also brought back memories of my own first delivery- the uncertainty, the disappearing midwives and the horrible canula and catheter. I didn’t have a c-section then and I’m not scheduled for one now but I identify so well with all the feelings. I’m so happy for you though, the hospital experience is over and you did it! And now you’re home recovering well and with a lovely new baby! Congratulations!! X

  10. Lauren
    February 13, 2017 / 10:21 am

    I vomited a lot as well after my c-section, in the recovery area and back on the ward. I also remember trying to drink as much water as humanly possible so I could do that wee and get out of there! I also left the hospital within 24 hours and personally I was happy to do that though we had no idea what to do when we got home (first baby!).
    I stopped my painkillers after 3 days. I’m not even sure why why I did that. I was sore but not really in pain so just thought I didn’t need them anymore.
    We went for a very, very slow walk to Costa coffee for a hot chocolate 4 days after my c-section which was lovely.
    I drove after two weeks as I felt ok by then. I was surprised how quickly I bounced back especially after reading lots of horror stories.

  11. Vicky
    February 13, 2017 / 10:30 am

    Gosh, hats off for writing this within a week of giving birth!

    I remember the ‘you must wee by 8’ thing. I gave birth vaginally and didn’t have an epidural or anything similar but my bits were so numb I couldn’t tell if I needed a wee and my abs/pelvic floor (not sure which ones are in charge of this ) were so weak I couldn’t even contract the muscles to go so I can only imagine it’s 10 times worse after a spinal block.

    The 24 hour recovery thing seems so bizarre. Can you imagine a man having major abdominal surgery being told to get up and sit in a chair 6 hours post surgery and sent home the next day??

  12. Ellie
    February 13, 2017 / 10:37 am

    I have to say, this definitely has confirmed my thoughts that should I have a choice I should like to avoid a c-section. Not because you’ve frightened me, but it genuinely does sound like you needed way more time in hospital post birth than you had. I would quite like to just be at home as quickly as I can, I hated being in hospital with my first, all I wanted was to go home where it was quiet and I might stand a chance of actually sleeping/resting! I also know what I’m dealing with when it comes to a vaginal delivery… Feels a bit like better the devil you know, if you know what I mean?

  13. February 13, 2017 / 11:35 am

    Hi Ruth, i can sympathise with you regardng pain & recovery and finding the normally simplest of tasks we take for granted quite a feat..i had a hysterectomy a few years ago and had to have a rather large vertical cut my stay in hospital was 6 days and tooks months to recover..hats off to you looking after a baby a toddler and trying to recover..best wishes xx

  14. Alexandra
    February 13, 2017 / 12:46 pm

    Hi Ruth. Firstly congratulations on the birth of your beautiful new baby. And thank you for sharing your c section recovery. It is so very helpful to read a well written piece that is honest and funny. I’m currently pregnant with baby number two and am trying to decide whether to VBAC or not, as my 18 month old daughter was delivered by emergency c section. I think one of the most helpful things you wrote in this post is how one person’s experience is never going to be the same as yours and that even two births are identical, they will be perceived differently depending on the individual. That was really helpful for me to read as I’ve often felt like I should ‘just get over it’ with regards to my section and have often compared myself to other mums with identical birth stories who seemed absolutely fine (and therefore better than me). My daughter’s birth by c section is something which I have struggled with a lot. I didn’t respond well to it at all. There were complications medically but the worse part was the emotional aspect of delivering that way. Unfortunately I became so bogged down in the trauma and poor aftercare I felt I’d had in hospital that I wasn’t able to concentrate on the baby. With this in mind I’m very reluctant to opt for another section however both options terrify me now really. All my confidence is lost. I’m very surprised that you were discharged so early Ruth given the vomming and I find it quite a questionable new practice. The picture you painted of being left alone on a chair feeling sick, of catching sight of yourself in the mirror trying to wee…all of it just reminds me of what a terribly lonely and painful experience a section, or perhaps, all births can be. Thanks you for your honesty. I’m glad you’re home now and recovering well after the initial pain and upset but really, I would have to say that I think at least two days in hospital should be the minimum. It’s not just the pain that needs to be managed, there is also the issue of whether you feel ok emotionally to be going home. I didn’t see anyone checking out that side of things from my experience. You just sort of get lost and forgotten about as the mum (again just my experience) nevermind the fact you’re grappling with immense pain and trying to work out what the hell just happened to you. Sorry to have gone on…the upshot is that I think the 24 hour recovery idea is a madness. I only slowed down on my painkillers after about three weeks in think and as for walking outside a good couple of weeks and driving was more than six weeks after the op. The emotional recovery and attachment to my daughter took much longer…Thanks again for your honesty, wit and openness.

    • Rachel
      February 13, 2017 / 4:36 pm

      The whole when to discharge thing is a bit of a quagmire. Lots of women and desperate to get home before then and feel the are being held hostage if it’s suggested staying in longer, others women think they are ready to go but actually get home and realise maybe it was too soon, some go and feel fine, some stay and are glad to do so. There is no one size fits all. Hospital staff and families can only make what they think is the right decision at the time.

      Its great to hear an honest account of your recovery, I for one would be interested to hear about the emotional/ personal side too if and when you want to share.

  15. Annie
    February 13, 2017 / 1:18 pm

    Oh gosh, it’s brought so much back to me.

    I had a EMCS under GA (due to previous spinal surgery) with a side order of a 2.5l haemorrhage. I don’t remember much pain, just the awful fear of coughing and sneezing. I was out after 48 hours (madness, I couldn’t focus my eyes and I kept thinking my legs would give way en route to the car park). I drove after 3.5 weeks. My scar healed well and my husband didn’t drive, so I probably brought it forward more than I should have. That said, someone told me if you can’t jump down the bottom step of your stairs with both feet, then you are ok to drive.

    I have a ELCS booked for 3 weeks time. Again under GA, so will hopefully avoid the bladder issues. And I guess I’ll find out exactly how boogaloo the blood loss made me re feeling pain. But hopefully avoiding the 72 hours of labour beforehand might balance things out. Eeek

  16. Amy
    February 13, 2017 / 1:43 pm

    Well I’ve never had a baby (can’t? couldn’t? Eggs are expired now anyway) BUT I have had 4 abdominal surgeries where they pump you full of gas (wind as you so Englishly put it) to make room to operate and HOLY MOTHER OF GOD the pain during recovery from the gas is unlike anything – like all your internal organs are bruised? I couldn’t walk upright, had to rock myself into a sitting position from the bed, and once I woke in the morning to find the gas had settled into my neck and jaw and I couldn’t open my mouth entirely. Moving is the best way to get it to disperse but who fancies a brisk trot around the neighborhood when you’ve had your guts mucked with and you are hopped up on pain killers – and in my case anti-nausea meds. Now I know why colicky babies wail night and day. I wanted to too! Congrats on your baby boy Ruth! Wishing you all the best! (also Mr AMR’s rain/wee dance was hilarious!)

  17. Stella G
    February 13, 2017 / 2:29 pm

    Really interesting thank you Ruth! I had an EMCS last time due to failure to progress and reading all your musings about VBACv elective really helped me solidify in my mind that I want an elective section next time so thank you for that. I very strongly believe going home 24 hours afterwards is mental though! Not that you’re mental as it sounds tempting when offered but that the hospital are mental to offer it! In Ireland you’re kept in for 5 days post section and while I couldn’t wait to get home last time I think next time round I’ll enjoy the peace (assuming I have a private room again)! Also I was trusted to tell the midwives when I’d done a wee, being an adult and all!!

  18. Marie
    February 13, 2017 / 2:41 pm

    After my c section, I lay in bed feeling quite quite fine. when the midwives came round to offer painkillers I said ” no thanks, I’m fine”. I must have been delirious with relief that both me and my baby had got through the whole birth fine as my first, natural birth was a traumatic experience, post partum bleeds, blood transfusions, etc. The delirious happiness soon wore off when I tried to stand up out of bed the next morning. It was then that I realised that I should have taken every painkiller offered to me and from that point on I did. So, my advice would be to take the painkillers when offered for as long as poss because if you are not in pain you can get up and move around.
    I had to stay in hospital for a week after my section as the baby had jaundice and needed treatment.I have got to say that this was a gift from heaven because I could spend a whole week with nothing more to concentrate on than the baby and myself. I got help with breastfeeding, meals and snacks brought to me. Visitors came but didn’t outstay their welcome. I had an ensuite to shower each day. It was like being in a hotel. If I had gone home, I would have been having to think about what to make for tea, putting the washing on etc. My older child coped fine as Dad and grandparents looked after him and he came to visit us in hospital eeach day.I have got to say, it was a positive experience and I was lucky to have that week to get to know my baby in a relaxed way. The thought of a rapid recovery sounds a bit rushed and stressful.
    Glad you got through it Ruth, congratulations to you and your family, I can’t wait to hear all about your new tales bringing up two little ones.

  19. DLA
    February 13, 2017 / 2:47 pm

    well…
    I’m from Germany. 2 weeks ago I had some small gyn surgery called konization.
    it’s not compareable to a c section, I know. but this should be more about the works of ambulant surgery. it was done ambulant, by 10am I woke up again, by 1pm I was at home. I was told hospitals HAVE TO DO this as a day surgery. The health insurances don’t pay for stays in hospital… I’m sure this is also a point in GB and for your situation. As I was feeling “well” and I wasn’t fond of staying the night in hospital, I was fine with going home some hours later. It might have been a small surgery but there is a risk of severe bleeding afterwards. Also no walk in the park. But in most cases, if you don’t have real problems (blood circulation, sickness, bleeding), you’re sent home, moneymoney.
    The requirements for going home were: drinking, eating something and doing a wee.
    So waiting some hours until drinking/eating wasn’t possible for me.
    Luckily there was no nausea or worse. I know that they gave me a little bit of anti sickness but no morphine (it was fentanyl and stuff like that).
    Doctors told me that ‘in former times’ my hospital stay would have been 1-2 weeks. so day surgery is madness and blessing at the same moment.

  20. Liz
    February 13, 2017 / 2:49 pm

    Coming from South Africa where you stay in hospital for three nights after a c-sec, 24 hours seems bonkers to me! But maybe we aren’t as tough as British women All jokes aside, after my ECS with my first, I was SO GLAD to be in hospital where I didn’t need to second guess any pain relief as I had nurses shoveling them down for me on the dot, where someone would do all my lifting (not that my husband wouldn’t at home, but you just get too tempted once home to do stuff for yourself), and where any issues around gas etc were immediately dealt with. I went on to have VBACs with my second and third, and I stop felt like my C-sec recovery was the “easiest” because of the longer hospital stay. (As an aside: my husband watch the surgeons cutting etc and thank god for that because every time I’d wonder why I was so sore he’d go “DO YOU KNOW HOW DEEP THEY CUT?! THEY HAD THEIR ELBOWS IN YOU, SCRUBBING ABOUT” )

  21. Anna
    February 13, 2017 / 2:55 pm

    This brought back memories! I had an emergency c-section after being induced. Long story short, I was discharged in less than 48 hours and only because I lost about a litre of blood and they wanted to monitor me, otherwise I would have left the next day. It was just about ok had I not been massively, scarily swollen from the waist down (mostly because of the epidural, lying still for hours and the various drugs…) which made me demand to be seen by a consultant to rule out something horrible happening to me, which they did and I was reassured it was absolutely fine and safe to go home. I was nauseous when they were stitching me up but thankfully not after that. I think I ate a few hours after surgery. It took me a week to decide not to take any painkillers. Another week for the swelling to disappear (best day ever). A month to feel confident to walk twice round the block (rather than once). Two months to feel normal. When I try to remember what the contractions felt like or the pain afterwards, I literally can’t. I know it hurt but I can’t remember how. My dreamy, angel of a baby made all of this so unimportant I only thought of it again after reading your post. That’s not to say that it doesn’t matter or that it should be dismissed, but it certainly comes at a point in your life where something incredible is happening – taking care of a new baby, and for me it certainly paled into insignificance. Congratulations on your beautiful baby – you are an inspiration to me!

  22. Bonnie
    February 13, 2017 / 2:55 pm

    Thank you for posting this. So difficult to get honest factual info from from people. I’m very very early into my pregnancy but for medical reason I know I have to have a c section and I think as much info is good!
    Well done for being a trooper, I had trapped wind in my chest after a laparoscopy and it really is the most hideous pain!
    Yey for meds!

  23. Marie
    February 13, 2017 / 2:56 pm

    Congratulations Ruth! Can’t wait to hear a new set of tales about brining up two little ones.

    When I had my section, I felt fine and said no to the painkillers, that was until I tried to stand up the next morning! Note- always take the painkillers when offered!

    Fast recovery sounds a bit stressful. I had to stay in for a week as the baby was being treated for jaundice. Looking back it was a positive experience, I could concentrate on the baby and looking after myself. My oldest child was looked after by dad and grandparents and visited us every day and was fine.I know a lot of mums worry about their other children coping whilst they are away but I think it is important for mum to be well rested and recovered. It is a major op after all.

  24. Lucy
    February 13, 2017 / 3:23 pm

    Congratulations, sounds like you’re doing well after a week.
    I had an emergency section the same day Angelica was born and felt very lucky as I think I recovered quite quickly. I was desperate to leave hospital quickly but didn’t leave for 48 hours after, although in hindsight I think it was probably a good thing being there as I was forced to rest and had on hand help for getting feeding established etc. I remember having to do the forced wee in a cardboard pot and I remember being asked to fart regularly to deal with the trapped wind. I was given co-codamol and paracetamol at first, but stopped with the co-codamol quickly due to constipation and it not being advised for breastfeeders. I did feel rather energetic a few days in and actually went shopping with my 4 day old (WHY?!!) but all in all bar the odd ache I was off all medication within a week and back driving by 2 weeks.
    I’m pregnant again with my second and (currently) hoping for a VBAC but we’ll see. I definitely think with number 2 whatever birth I end up with I think I’ll try and make the most of staying in hospital for a while rather than rushing home to a toddler, man child etc.

    Hope you continue to recover well and enjoy your boy. xx

  25. Meg
    February 13, 2017 / 3:24 pm

    I had an elective cs in august. It was a really wonderful experience – calm peaceful environment, had my baby in my arms by 9:00am, home by mid afternoon the next day. Recovery was fine, kept to the painkillers routine for 2 weeks. I feel incredibly lucky to have had such a positive time.

  26. Meg
    February 13, 2017 / 3:25 pm

    Also – congratulations Ruth! Gorgeous wee baby x

  27. February 13, 2017 / 3:44 pm

    So many congrats (again!). So excited for you. Squee.

    I absolutely don’t think 24 hours in hospital is enough. I hate anything to do with medical intervention because I’m just a big, fat baby mostly but even I have to admit that once I was home after my section, I struggled with things I hadn’t thought about. I’m a ‘busy’ kind of creature so there was no way I’d stay in bed for a week to rest. Going up and down the stairs was so difficult that it put me off weeing! Just like you, I took myself off the painkillers (hate taking meds too, meh!) altogether as soon as I got home on day 3 and nobody was there to ‘make’ me take them and I suffered. My pain was in my back too. Don’t know whether it was the spinal or just the lack of maintaining any kind of posture or my feeding position. Anyway, it was intense and got me a telling off from a midwife. Whoops.

    I eased myself into taking walks down the street and back about a week into being home. Not gonna lie though, it made me feel really sick & dizzy and I usually returned home and cried at how ‘incapable’ I felt at everything. Major section blues.

    Didn’t drive until my 6 week check up was done because I was so paranoid about my scar splitting in an emergency brake or endangering someone else because I wasn’t well enough to drive. Funnily enough, I was content with hoovering the house 2 weeks post section though! Bloody madness.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery & sending a virtual helium balloon. 🙂

  28. Caitlin
    February 13, 2017 / 3:47 pm

    I love your writing style! This post was so informative and such an interesting read. The wee dance really made me laugh.

    Congratulations on your new arrival. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  29. Sam
    February 13, 2017 / 4:59 pm

    This post brings back so many memories! I had pre eclampsia with my first child, had to stay in hospital 5 days after emergency section. Second time around (1 year ago) i had the 24hour turnaround and my recovery was so much worse because i didnt force myself to rest- when you’re at home the temptation to do bits and pieces is too much! I also found myself more anxious at any little pain, the wind issue, swollen legs etc i was more scared as didnt have nurses on hand to ask 🙂 i started driving about 2 2weeks after each section- felt sort of normal about 4 weeks after first, took about 3 months with second (i think thats more to do with the fact i was running round after a 2 year old in day and night time feeding). Congratulations on the birth of baby boy! Wishing you a speedy, full recovery 🙂

  30. Kat
    February 13, 2017 / 5:11 pm

    Congratulations Ruth! Glad to hear all went well and you have a beautiful baby boy.
    I had an emergency c section with my first last year and despite big blood loss think was extremely lucky with the recovery. Getting on with things and forgetting that it was major abdominal surgery completly resonates with me.
    Husband baby and I went out for dinner on day 2 post section which I now think was ridiculous but felt right at the time. I also not felt much pain so was only on a light dose of paracetamol couple of times a day.
    Wishing you a speedy recovery xxx

  31. shannon
    February 13, 2017 / 5:12 pm

    Congratulations! My 2nd delivery was an unscheduled c-section. I was advised afterwards not to sleep in a bed for several days. I slept in a recliner or propped up on the couch. I tried the bed after a week but couldnt stand the pain of laying down or getting up. I was also advised not to drive for 6 weeks even though I did after 1. Things a bit different in the US though. Couldnt breastfeed either, ended up with an infection and was on meds for that. Best of luck on the re-coup!

  32. February 13, 2017 / 7:21 pm

    Thank you so much for giving such an honest account while it is so fresh. H x

  33. Georgie
    February 13, 2017 / 7:33 pm

    With my second child (and second c-section) I was desperate to be back home as soon as possible. I told the nurse at the pre-op I told the receptionist when I arrived, I told the anaesthetist (hail the anaesthetist- nicest Drs in the hospital) in surgery room, the poor midwives heard nothing else. Anyway, over night me and the baby had a slight temp (I mean a very tiny spike of 0.5 that lasted less than an hour) and we both had to stay in for nearly 3 days for IV. I cried and cried, I was stroppy with the midwives I cried some more, doctor said baby was ready to come off IV then changed her mind and put her back on (they tried 3 difffrent points to get the cannula into the baby – would let me go with her as it was too distressed big to listen to her cry while they tried to get this cannula in.
    Eventually midwife took pity on me (or more likely was worried I would get punched by one of the other women) and offered me a private room – que elation from me. Then another midwife came over and said a mother ‘with more need’ needed the room – floods of tears again – I was a total mess. I am honestly so laid back usually and quite tough but I was a total bitch to everyone. I would be embarrassed to go back and I’d quite like a third – I may have to move house

  34. Lina Tessy
    February 13, 2017 / 7:54 pm

    Hi Ruth, congrats again, sorry you had to go through such a messy lonely day.
    i had an elective 3 years ago in NZ, i remember the spinal making me sick straight away as it lowers blood pressure, i remember the doc injecting a medication in the saline bag to help with the sickness.
    i remember eating a couple of hours later and not feeling sick, so maybe whatever they injected in the OR helped.
    i was on morphine the first day, i wasn’t taking big doses though cause i was worried of falling asleep on my baby while he was on my chest.
    i remember the lonliest night was the second night when they kicked my husband out to go home, i just felt like i needed family with me and i needed to sleep, and the midwives and nurses were too busy to help look after babies while mums napped for a bit. i remember crying (the surge of hormones probably didn’t help), then i rolled myself out of bed and made a cup of tea at like 2am…hahaha
    my total hospital stay was 2.5 days, i was desperate to go home cause i was sharing the room with another mum and it was impossible to get any sleep between the general hospital noise and having 2 new borns that cry in one room!
    i do feel like 24 hours is not long enough to be discharged though!
    they put me on panadols and votarin which i think is an anti-inflammatory that is stronger than ib-profen, so i didn’t feel much pain at all, i remember feeling discomfort from having a soft belly..etc but i think all women after any type of birth go through that!
    i went for a walk after a couple of weeks i think and i was driving after 10 days, midwife recommended i put a towel on my scar so the seatbelt doesn’t cut through in case i need to do sudden braking!
    i’m pregnant with my 2nd now and also going for a c section, i do think people recover differently in every c section. but my only advice is to try and do small moves as much as you can and don’t stop pain killers so early. so many people might tell you to, but i would try and skip one round and see how i feel, i wouldn’t go a whole day with none.
    love your stories and posts, take care, hope you come up with a name soon 😉

  35. Anna
    February 13, 2017 / 8:54 pm

    Ruth this is fab!! Totally not OTT but realistic and that is so much better for a Mummas mindset, it allows people to have no guilt, no panic – this will be tough but in a matter of days it seems like a lifetime away! We are trying for number 2 (fingers toes and everything crossed) – I too like you was an emergency c section first time round, now trying to recall it is a blur! I think I kept up the painkillers for maybe 4 weeks if not a little more, I was so so squeamish over my scar I was petrified it hurt so this kept me moving without freaking out that it was going to pop even though now in a more stable state of mind I know this wasn’t going to happen! I tried to move a little every day, literally a walk of 400m or so, seems an effort but really helped me to just get some fresh air as I am sure you know it cures better than anything. However this was all with no other littlies so had the total luxury of if it took 30min to get out of the door it really didn’t matter! Sending lots of love to team AMR xxxx

  36. Jo Hutton
    February 13, 2017 / 9:48 pm

    Congrats on your baby boy. I had my 2nd in August. Elective c section like you. After horrendous natural first time round.

    Firstly, I agree being discharged after 24hr with c section is crazy. Reasons being
    1. hospital beds better for sleeping up right & can be lowered to get out of bed more easier
    2. If you have a energetic toddler at home you can avoid the excitable cuddles or knocks you may get – just safer
    3. Takes ages for all morphine / spinal block to run its course & for you to be composed & remember all the things you need to do once your home. i had to learn to inject myself & that in itself took a lot of time & patience

    Take it easy, don’t worry. Rest. It will get easier. Ignore all the time lines, if you feel you can drive or lift then do it. Good luck x

  37. Francesca Fell
    February 13, 2017 / 9:51 pm

    I think I wish I hadn’t read this. I’m clearly too squeamish to have babies.

  38. J
    February 13, 2017 / 10:08 pm

    Congrats Ruth
    I am 2 weeks past my section -I had a virginal birth first time that ended with me in surgery due to tearing so was advised action this time
    Preferred that fact with section I felt more aware what was going on as gas and air made my out of it first time
    I was home 36 hours later even though I told them I had a ringing in my ear and s headache (which I never get)
    Cue that night the worst headache of my life leaving me bedridden -spent next two days being sent back and forth from hospital with a spinal headache which is apparently really rare -was advised by midwifes I need a blood patch -hopital reluctant to do but eventually they did do it and I felt like a new person-so anyone who had this side effect of having a spinal don’t leave hospital till you feel better or they give u a blood patch x

  39. February 13, 2017 / 11:39 pm

    Glad you’re recovering well and that baby is feeding well too!

    I’m always amazed that they discharge women so soon after C-sections. Is surgery! You never hear of people being discharged after 24 hours after a heart op or anything like that!

  40. Alicia
    February 14, 2017 / 12:02 am

    I’m 28 weeks pregnant with my second and have opted for an elective c-section for the same reasons as Ruth – a big baby. And a horrible first time experience which involved being induced, induction failing, raced for an emergency c-section, epidural not working (felt everything), throwing up while open on the table, losing 2+ litres of blood… not fun at all. So i figured that seeing as though my son was 4.47kg (9lbs 13oz) on his due date, and given my past experience, a planned one is the way to go.

    Here in Australia (if you opt to pay privately), we can stay as long as we like – up to a week, I believe. They like you to stay at least three nights. I stayed four (because of blood loss and needing transfusions), and felt ready and happy to go home.

    I didn’t have trouble with weeing (thank god!), and only had a little wind pain. I took it really easy, and was very lucky to have my mother in law stay with us and help with the cooking and washing. I think I drove for the first time after 5 weeks, but that’s because my husband was around the whole time before that, so I had no need to.

    The one thing I really hated about the c-section (excluding the actual, scarring event), was that I couldn’t carry my son while standing. I would have loved to walk around with him and rock him, but I could barely hold my own weight for about two weeks!

    I love reading about you, your family and your experiences. I have a good chuckle every time I read something you’ve written! You’re brilliant and I can’t wait read more! A lot of us who are waiting for their babies to arrive are living vicariously through you! Thank you x

  41. Mo
    February 14, 2017 / 12:43 am

    Hi ruth, well done and thanks for sharing. I had forgotten so much of my own cs that reading yours brought much of it powerfully back to me. Amazing the things you block out when you really just have to, as you say, get on with it. I think 24hrs is inhumane and just unnecessary. God forbid the NHS count the real cost further down the line. Anyway, avoiding that rant I would just say that it took my brain a good 10 weeks or so to return to normal in the peeing department. I could pee but I had absolutely NO urge to go or sensation to make me do so. I had to be reminded on the hour to just pee until something in my brain relearned it. Bizarre as hell and utterly weird. Like you say, no 2 experiences the same. Rest a lot and get strong soon. X

  42. Goga
    February 14, 2017 / 5:30 am

    I am so happy for you on your healthy and beauiful boy! I had an emergency c-section and stayed in hospital for 5 days. Only those days I was on painkillers and got plenty of rest. The first day after birth was no food day, second one was unsweetened herbal tea and 1 (dry)slice of toast. Second day was biscuits wirh some milk so…no vomitting. I could take a proper walk outside with the baby after 30 days later since my boy was latched on 24/7 the first 3-4 weeks…however we are all different. But, I was happy! And I know you are, too. Lots of love, G ps.You are very brave and doing great, so enjoy it!

  43. Tarynkay
    February 14, 2017 / 6:11 am

    On the 24 hour stay- it does seem crazy on the one hand. On the other hand, we had to stay in hospital for 3 days after my son’s birth (it was vaginal, but he needed antibiotics afterwards and they had to monitor that.) Anyhow, I think someone came in every 15 minutes. There was no rest possible in there. So I could see how you could recover better at home.

    I’m in the US and a friend of ours had actual brain surgery last year. As in, they cut his head open and removed a tumor. They sent him home in 24 hours! They said he would recover better at home. Then my brother in law had a surgery for his diverticulitis and they kept him in for two weeks straight. So really, I have no idea what they base it on.

  44. LuLu
    February 14, 2017 / 8:32 am

    What a week. I have had two electives and came off lightly compared to you with the vomming and wind. But like you the first 24 hours was the hardest and I stayed in hospital for two nights both times as I do think a slower pace to get you up and mobile sounds better. Obviously great to be home but I liked having a day of hospital care before I had to be mobile and sorting myself out.
    Like you say, each c-section gives you something to focus on, I had a terrible experience with the epidural the first time.
    Agree on pain relief – you have to keep the levels even and up. I had some dihydrocodeine which helped at home in the first days (I took with care as can constipate and be addictive) but this and the paracetamol/ibuprofen meant I didn’t have too much pain at home. Except getting up and out of bed.
    I didn’t do a walk for 10 days. And did a very small one. And then built it up from there. So would recommend taking a very slow approach.
    Arnica tablets I also think helped loads with recovery.
    Do you have to do the injections? I hate that. Squeamish about that and scar.

  45. Rebecca
    February 14, 2017 / 10:09 am

    What a lovely post – I had an emergency and then elective like you and a few months before you with both children. You’ve really captured the pressures that are put on caesarean patients in the UK. I too was panicking about having a wee because I was told if I didn’t then I’d have to wait another day to go home. I found I healed well with both and this time round, with a toddler to care for as well, I’ve just had to get on with things a lot more and have done more than I did last time – lifting him in and out of his cot and what not after about 4 weeks. Probably not advisable but the health visitor didn’t seem concerned. One little infection but other than that it’s been smooth sailing. I hope you are enjoying the little one and everything is healing nicely x

  46. Emma
    February 14, 2017 / 12:01 pm

    Oh Ruth you poor thing! I don’t know 24 hours after giving birth being kicked our does seem a bit intense, especially if you’ve had a c section. I’m not really sure I was ready to leave within 24 hours of a vaginal birth, and a C section seems so much harder on your body in terms of recovery. I mean, they wouldnt send you home 24 hours after you’d had abdominal surgery for any other reason. I’ts mad. Maybe 48 hours is a more sensible suggestion? I’m not sure whether it was your intention, but you description of having to do the ‘first wee’ made me giggle so much, especially the bit about Mr AMR and the wee dance!!! I was also banished to the bathroom with a paper pot and told I had to wee, and also assumed the million positions trying to get something to come out but I didn’t have a belly full of freshly made stitches (though did have some in another area!). I can imagine the thought of the catheter without any anaesthetic put the fear of god into you – prior to placenta delivery they thought my bladder was really full and that’s why I wasn’t delivering it so tried and tried (and failed) to insert a catheter in me before I suddenly had a contraction and just pushed it out! But the failed insertion of the catheter into an area that was already horrendously swollen and god knows what else after just having given birth haunts me a bit still! Isn’t it funny how its the ‘after’ bits that seem worse than the actual event? I’ve never heard of trapped wind and it sounds terrifying. You poor thing. Sounds like you are doing really well now though.

  47. Barbara M
    February 14, 2017 / 12:45 pm

    What a beautiful new baby boy!!! And how I love your posts, Ruth. I’m old enough to be your granny, so no threat of me being turned off by your vivid descriptions of post C Section etc but it did sound a bit horrid. Yikes. At least you have tiny baby ( did I just say ”tiny”) to comfort and adore you while you recoup. And your daughter and Mr. AMR as well, so you get little sympathy. Just kidding. I feel your agony even all the way across the pond in NC!! Keep writing as you have time b/c I feel like a friend is talking to me, and your sense of humor is the best!!!!!! Congratulations to all.

  48. Promise
    February 14, 2017 / 1:09 pm

    Well, I had an uneventful, albeit 23 hours of mostly natural childbirth when I was barely 19 years old to my beautiful daughter who turns 20(!!) in April. Everyone thinks we are sisters so I’m still hanging in there. Lol
    I have to add, based on having worked in the medical field, and having done plenty of research after some friends bad experiences- I have told my daughter that if she doesn’t take but one damn thing I’ve ever told her to heart, or only follows mom’s advice just once, that if she ever has a baby, she is to under all circumstances short of holding a Dr at gun point, to demand a C-Section. If she never listens to anything else, that’s the life lesson I want her to take. I was lucky with having a vaginal birth, but it is a lot more luck than you realize. The biggest risk with vaginal deliveries, is third and fourth degree tears that leave the woman permanently, forever and ever incontinent, and a lifetime of wearing adult diapers and a plethora of other issues. You don’t hear about it bc the ones it happens to are too ashamed, embarrassed and depressed to even talk about it. I know one girl who had a 4th degree tear from a 9 lb baby, and was left with permanent rectal muscle defects, and vaginal fissures that had been unable to be repaired after 7 surgery attempts. When her son was 3 or 4 years old, she committed suicide. She said she was unable to have sex with her husband, could not be a real mom to her son bc she could barely leave the house because of the fecal incontinence, and she just couldn’t get over the depression. After that I did some research and issues of that nature are a lot more frequent than you’d think… and I worked in Labor and Delivery and didn’t even know that. I didn’t type this while you were making your decision, Ruth, because I didn’t want to suade you, but I’m glad you had the c section!!! So if anyone has an option and is researching pros and cons, be sure to look that up for consideration…. it’s definitely not something you want to be unaware it’s a risk!

  49. Louise M
    February 14, 2017 / 2:02 pm

    Many many congratulations Ruth and family on new baby boy – you did it! It’s such a relief isn’t it when you get home and both of you are (mostly) in one piece. There does still seem to be a bit of an assumption (by the medical establishment?) that child birth is like falling off a log but I think many women, myself included, would say it’s anything but! Don’t get me wrong, I am enormously grateful for the NHS and the care that all of us have received throughout our lives, but child birth is still a dangerous business and sometimes I feel as though the “system” doesn’t (or can’t) really accommodate this reality. I do think your “home in 24 hours after c-section” experience rather emphasises this point! Madness in my humble opinion. Bloody well done for managing it! I spent a week in hospital after baby number 2, but that was following an emergency c-section at 36 weeks after a mega-bleed (over 3 litres – yup, seriously. Big blood transfusion after that one!) and our little boy spent two weeks in NICU with initial lung problems. All hale and hearty now though (an enormous, thriving two year old!) but it was a very scary experience at the time. Amazing how you forget though – I find myself these days thinking about a number 3! Anyway, after all that ramble, just to say again WELL DONE and sending you all best wishes for the rest of your recovery x

  50. Vanna
    February 14, 2017 / 2:37 pm

    Big congratulations and a huge thank you for this post!

    That information about the change in them listening for inner rumblings before food is really helpful, we’re “TTC” and I’m 99.999% likely to be c-sectioned because of a pre-existing issue, so anything like this is very useful to add to the list of questions and things to know about ahead of time.

    Also makes me wonder about hiring a hospital-style bed, maybe, for the added height and lift option – might have to look into that!

    And I loved the image of the wee dance! Followed by a result – some serious mojo at work there! 🙂

    The short turnaround sounds like it has good and bad points, I keep thinking it lessens the chance of hospital-acquired infections, though, and that has to be a huge plus.

    My mother’s birth story with me (all natural, no meds or gas, and over 30 years ago) had a similar prolonged period of loneliness, pain, and messiness, if that’s any use – I think it comes with the territory of getting one human being safely out from inside of another.

    This was in the heyday of the NHS (compared to now) and there still weren’t enough staff, the nurse-call thing wasn’t getting a response and she started panicking at one point because the contractions and exhaustion meant she couldn’t call for help.

    And recently, one of my USA friends had a home birth (not her first baby) with family there, and even then had an agonisingly lonely night of labour pains, worry about whether home-birthing was the right choice, with contractions seeming to get further apart, everyone asleep and worried about being selfish waking them, and then thankfully she had a trouble-free delivery just after sunrise. But that long night was really rough, even with a more or less ideal outcome and setting.

    It’s a cliché, but safe mum and baby afterwards is the only thing that matters! 🙂

  51. February 14, 2017 / 3:28 pm

    Oh Ruth, I really feel for you! I hope you’re feeling better than you did and are recovering well. You did it tho! Massive well done and sending lots of love I can’t believe you’d be discharged just 24 hours after a c-section. It is major surgery after all and it’s a shock to your body anyway giving birth never mind going through that as well. I had a vaginal birth and felt like I’d been hit by a bus afterwards so goodness knows what you felt like! It depends on how you feel I guess. I’m not a lover of hospitals and I was told I’d have to stay over night after having my baby, even though I had her at 6.35am. I was adamant that I wanted to go home and in the end I was discharged at 5.30pm as the midwives were happy for that to happen. I just wanted to be at home with my hubby and our new baby. After a c-section though I’m not so sure how you’d feel.

    My mum had c-sections with both me and my brother. She was in hospital for a few days and said the nurses back then (30 years ago) used to feed the babies for you! (formula fed ones of course not breastfed! ) and looked after all the newborns so the new mum’s could get some proper rest. You wouldn’t get that now!

    I hope you continue to recover well Hun xxx

  52. G
    February 14, 2017 / 3:52 pm

    Promise- no one thinks you are sisters they are being polite and what a load of rubbish. I would never, never advise my children to have elective c sections – some people are so odd!

  53. February 14, 2017 / 5:50 pm

    I also had an elective caesarean back in November when I had my twins. I, too, was under the enhanced recovery but something in my gut was telling me not to go home after 24 hours so I stayed another night in hospital. I clearly needed it. I think most of it was just fuelled by fear of having to go home and look after twins, but I was definitely right to stay in. I had a bad night, albeit mainly emotionally, and needed the support of the midwives. I think 24 hours is ridiculous. No one else after having their stomach cut open would consider walking out the door after a day, it’s just because we have children to look after that it’s considered a good thing to do. I think there’s a reason people used to stay for a week after caesareans.
    Best of luck with New Baby! He’s a dream!

  54. Rachel
    February 15, 2017 / 12:25 pm

    Ruth, how wonderfully you write! I burst out laughing at the wee dance passage.

    I gave birth in Germany, in a birthing house – which is quite unlike any mifwifery units/birth centres in the UK. It’s essentially a large apartment, with a couple of bedrooms for birthing and one bathroom with a water birth tub. The idea is that you leave the birthing house max. 4 hours after giving birth, because the adrenaline’s still in your system and anything thereafter is a real drag and VERY exhausting. I had to go to hospital after the birth anyway (blood loss) and it was there I experienced the dip – and I must say, getting home from hospital after that was REALLY exhausting. I would have been fine if it was a bit earlier, otherwise I think they should try to keep you in a couple of days.

    But – it was truly lovely to spend the first night at home with my baby and boyfriend IN OUR OWN BED. Neighbours made chicken soup, I was in familiar surroundings and it was just so peaceful – and totally worth the stress of getting home.

  55. Cat Parr
    February 16, 2017 / 12:20 pm

    Hi Ruth, Congratulations firstly! I had 3 sections in 2 and a half years (yes you did read that right, 3 separate deliveries, in 3 years – mad in itself!) and after all of mine I recovered very well. I did feel very sick after the first due to morphine and nearly threw up on the baby but I put that down to the large glass of champagne I had had – a very silly move! I stayed in hospital for 2 nights for all three births which to me felt like the right amount of time. Enough time to recover and sort out any problems I had with feeding etc. I did have more significant bruising after the 3rd section but nothing too bad considering. It really does depend on the individual I guess. I have friends who couldn’t sit down for month after a normal delivery so it’s swings and roundabouts and at least I don’t pee my pants when I giggle or sneeze! A small bonus! I hope you continue to recover well and I have no bad after effects from my sections (2 of which were emergencies). In fact my scar is pretty invisible now. I drove after 2 and a half weeks but I felt absolutely fine so only do it if you are up to it.

  56. Anja
    February 16, 2017 / 7:49 pm

    A great read as usual, Ruth! I had to love at some parts and cringe at others. I had a secondary C-section a year ago (my son just didn’t engage and nothing we did, helped). I stayed the usual 4 nights at the hospital and I certainly needed them. Well looking back, I might have been ok after three nights, but he is my first baby and I was a little anxious about taking that little person home with us! I took ibuprofen for two weeks and got along well like that. I was amazed by how awful trapped wind can be! Hit even made my belly twitch and I was like “WTF the baby is out, what is twitching inside of me???”
    I just can’t imagine going home after 24h. I believe I was in quite good shape, but would never agree to that! It is major abdominal surgery for God’s sake. A friend of mine crawled to the loo on all fours two nights after the operation! I work in gyn/orbs in Germany and I am glad they don’t do this here…
    Oh and btw I would never choose a C-Section if a vaginal birth was possible and quite likely. I would also not recommend my friends to have their child that way. That being said, I would have made the same choice, you did, Ruth. If my next baby is going to be as big or bigger than my first, I’m not going to go through those long hours of contractions to have it end in the theatre anyway.
    I always tell my patients that a C-Section is an amazing operation (and one I quite like doing myself) and it is great in patients/births that need it. However I would not choose it if I could help it!

  57. Emily
    February 17, 2017 / 4:30 am

    Bless your heart. I can’t believe you were left on your own so much in the hospital – with such little support after having MAJOR surgery AND a new baby – and then hurried out in 24 hours. (The fact that you had to carry your own urine down the hall to the nurse’s station is bananas. In my country, you wouldn’t have been going to the toilet alone without a nurse’s aid or your partner.) I know it’s vitally important to control healthcare costs, and some women want to get home ASAP, but this is too risky and callous.

    I’m glad you made it through with your sense of humor intact! The new baby is beautiful.

  58. Sarah
    February 18, 2017 / 12:11 am

    Hi ruth
    Congratulations on your new baby boy. I had a c section due to 4 failed inductions 15 months ago, i had my daughter on the wednesday afternoon and came home friday afternoon, during which time in hospital i was given a cocktail of drugs including tramadol and liquid morphine together which resulted in me ‘dropping’ 1 day old baby onto luckily a pile of dirty washing….not my finest moment as you can imagine, anyway as you rightly say every recovery is different but on day 5 i did a big tescos shop and was driving within 10 days….yes very quick but i seemed to recover quickly, i was also diagnosed with a chest infection when my daughter was 12 days old so was given antibiotics by my doctor was informed me they would help my scar heal..anyway congrats to you all again xx

  59. Angela
    February 20, 2017 / 10:13 pm

    Congratulations Ruth on the birth of your son, and you are quite brave for writing such an honest account of your experience. I had a ‘planned’ c section for my son 3 years ago (it was most definitely not my choice but he was breech and 12 days overdue so unfortunately I wasn’t given many options). I left hospital after three nights and felt quite vulnerable so I think the prospect of going home within 24 hours is frightening. I could barely stand 24 hours after my son was born and fainted on the bed after my shower. I put a lot of pressure on myself to get on with it and look after my baby, but really just wanted to be looked after myself!

    Best wishes to you x

  60. Bex
    February 20, 2017 / 11:01 pm

    Congratulations Ruth and well done! Thank you for sharing your story.
    I’m 37 weeks tomorrow and just found out I have GD. I had planned for a c-section (for medical reasons) anyway but it’s likely to be earlier now.
    Anyway, I think it’s absolutely OUTRAGEOUS that women are allowed/told to go home 24 hours after major abdominal surgery. Absolutely bonkers.
    I had a myomectomy in Australia – fibroid removal – and spent three nights in hospital. After emergency c-section with my son in a private foreign hospital I had five nights. I asked the midwife in the U.K. NHS hospital if I would be in three nights and she pretty much laughed and said two nights – at the very most.
    I’m really wishing I was still in Sydney where I would have had five nights in private hospital, but I’m going to have to put my big girl pants on and suck it up.
    Still makes me very angry though.
    You have coped marvellously x

  61. Meghan
    February 22, 2017 / 10:01 am

    Well in a way I learned a lot. I’m moving from America to England where I will have my first baby. I’ve been a nurse here for almost 20 yrs. I just have to say somethings are definitely done differently here. You would not eat that soon after. You would have water. You had major surgery. Also we don’t allow anyone to get up out of bed by themselves. If you even try we put a bed alarm on. Too much of a risk for falling. The drugs, tubing, and just overall weakness. So this is gonna be a learning curve. But I do love how you have someone to come visit to check on you.

  62. February 22, 2017 / 10:30 am

    Congratulations Ruth! Crazy that you get discharged after 24 hours, in Germany it is a 4-5 day stay in hospital and I really needed that! It really helped having the nurses there to help with my baby and also give me the right drugs/support I needed for all the horrible things like trapped wine, constipation etc.

  63. Gaz
    February 22, 2017 / 9:38 pm

    Hi Ruth,
    I had an emergency C-section in France and was kept in hospital for 8 days. The French midwives on the ward we’re great. I had help getting showered and dressed for the first couple of days, and if I still needed help thereafter, all I had to do was to ring for help. There was even a nursery for formula fed babies so that mums could rest, but since I was breastfeeding it wasn’t much use to me. I think you need at least 5 days to recover from the operation. I was happy to go home when I did, but I missed being looked after – the meals and advice/chats with the kind midwives. At home, I didn’t have time to feed myself as baby had colic and needed constant attention. As a British citizen living in France, I’m glad I gave birth here and not in the UK. However, the UK does much better on Mat Leave. I had to go back to work 10 weeks post partum.

  64. February 23, 2017 / 12:28 pm

    I have never birthed a baby (yet) but I must say 24 hours seems quite fast! I’m sorry you were so ill! I’m so happy both you and baby are doing well now! I keep seeing photos of his precious face on my insta and it just makes me smile knowing there are new little babies in the world with parents who just love them to pieces! Sending love from the US!

  65. Erin
    February 25, 2017 / 5:32 am

    I was 11 days late for my wee Alice, and went through 2 grueling days of induction, followed by 3 hours of unsuccessful pushing, and eventual emergency section. The baby was in distress, so had “left me a little present” before coming into the world, and had also dislocated my sacro-iliac joint on her descent. Long story short: my incision ended up getting badly infected, and 4 days after being released from hospital (after 6 days) I was readmitted with sepsis, and the wound was an 8×5 inch hole that needed home care nurses to pack and dress for FOUR MONTHS. I wouldn’t walk without a walker and without having to grit through immense pain in my hip….had physio, and a cocktail of analgesia, muscle relaxants, antibiotics, kinesio-tape, massage etc. Baby never slept….ended up having acid reflux and required prevacid twice a day and alimentum formula. Still dealing with horrible post partum depression from the trauma of it all.
    Glad to see youre doing well.

    • February 25, 2017 / 8:44 pm

      Oh my God!!!!!!!!!! I feel incredibly lucky. xx

  66. Lisa
    February 26, 2017 / 1:32 am

    Erin I really feel for you that’s shocking!
    Ruth hope you and baby are doing well?
    Has anyone mentioned tongue tie to you? Just noticed on babies new born photo (where he is crying) he looks to have a tongue tie which can affect feeding… I’m a health visitor so have seen a few… Some babies have no problems feeding and others have problems with BF…just a thought in case you were having any issues? Xx

  67. Maria
    February 27, 2017 / 9:30 pm

    Hello Ruth and the rest of the Up-hillers!

    First of all congratulations on the new arrival! He’s so very handsome!

    Second, 24 hours is crazy! In Russia they actually keep you in longer after a C-section (5 days) than after a vaginal delivery (3 days). No matter private of state hospital. I ended up staying for 10 (cause of some unexpected complications I had). During that time you are looked after and get regular visits from all sorts of specialists. There is a pediatric nurse available at all times which was great if you are a first-time mum. It was rather long in my case but I had complication no one could predict and I did ask to let me go on the 10 day even though my doctor wanted to keep me for 2 more days. It is long but then again better safe than sorry, imho.

  68. Helen
    March 4, 2017 / 4:56 am

    24 hours after a C Section sounds like madness to me. In Australia for C-Sections they keep you in 5 nights (2 longer than VBAC) and I need everyone of those nights. It was my first (and only child) and I was clueless. I think especially when you have another child at home that 24 hours is way too soon. You are a superhero for going home that quickly. Congrats on your adorable baby boy!

  69. Rachael
    March 6, 2017 / 9:21 pm

    I was sent home from hospital after not even 48 hrs after having a c section. Once I had my baby boy I was just left trying to breastfeed which unfortunately was not a great success. I felt like I got no help and was an emotional wreck. I couldn’t wait to get home because of this but it was far too soon. I ended up getting a gallbladder infection and was in the most horrific pain and unfit to look after my newborn son. They really should give you more support and more time in hospital if you want it.
    Ps. Ruth, love your blogs – keep up the good work.

  70. Jo
    March 7, 2017 / 5:51 pm

    I’m not sure how it works in the hospital you were in but where I am the enhanced recovery pathway is optional and there for those women who prefer to go home sooner rather than later, on average post Caesarean section the stay is 2-3 days. The pathway is designed to give women choices, some are desperate to go – however personally I think it’s a little too soon. Wind pain is awful, hot water with peppermint cordial works quite well, also consider that you still get afterpains following a caesarean and that afterpains tend to get worse with subsequent babies and especially when breastfeeding so really you’ve done incredibly well recovery wise. I think it’s really good that you posted this, a walk-through what it’s like to have a caesarean and then the recovery process is a really good way to inform other women about potentially what to expect. You have an absolutely beautiful family and the pictures you thought were unflattering??? You look beautiful x

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