Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How bad was the recovery?

Any woman expecting multiples knows there's a good chance she'll be having a c-section.  Knowing that, one can't help but wonder how painful the recovery will be.  That unknown can cause some anxiety when all you want is to care for your new babies without extra obstacles.  Here's how it went for me.

(If you're not interested in details such as gas and bowel movents, skip this entry.)

Day 1 - My surgery had been at around 11 a.m., and I was numb until the evening when I started to feel some pain in my abdomen. I stayed in bed and kept on top of my meds. Not being able to eat or drink anything other than ice chips for the entire day was difficult, especially since I had been perpetually thirsty since my second trimester.  Luckily I was passing gas very easily, so I was allowed eat that evening and didn't feel the discomfort I've heard a lot of women experience when the gas backs up.  The whole time I was in the hospital, Mike, my mom, my mother-in-law Gail, and the nurses brought the babies to me for feedings and changed their diapers as needed.

Day 2 - My nurse made me walk to the bathroom first thing in the morning. I needed her help and moved very slowly. The pain was an unpleasant pulling sensation around the incision that forced me to hunch over a bit and made standing and sitting back down difficult. I spent the rest of the day in bed and had to stay on top of my meds because I did feel pain as they wore off. Some nurses asked me if I wanted them when it was time, but most of the time it was up to me to request them. That evening Gail wisely encouraged me to walk around L&D, so Mike took me on a stroll. I had to move slowly but a little faster than I did that morning. I was only able to walk for 5-10 minutes before feeling tired and some pain, but I could tell moving around was helping to loosen that pulling feeling.

Day 3 - Getting out of bed was still tough, but it was easier than the day before, and I took a shower completely unassisted. Changing into my own clothes and doing my hair and make-up helped me feel more comfortable and like myself again. I voluntarily got up to tend to the babies a few times as well, still shuffling slowly.

Day 4 - I felt a lot better walking around and getting up and down. We left the hospital mid-morning.

I continued taking Tylenol-3 and Advil at home.  I didn't take it on a shedule, just when the pain returned, eventually not needing it anymore (two weeks or so).  Bowel movements were really painful, but they got better once I got off the meds.  I also took my prenatal vitamins, DHA, and iron supplements as I had during my pregnancy. My main discomfort once I returned home was from the incision itself which felt like any healing wound but really not that uncomfortable. I kept my clothing loose, rested as much as possible, avoided the stairs to the basement, and didn't lift anything heavier than the babies. The incision was sore for about a month with some occasional twinges of pain in the weeks after that.

I felt really good for the most part, fully able to care for the babies, and was grateful to Mike for being such an involved dad and caring husband, allowing me to get the rest I needed.  Afternoon visits from my mom and Gail in the two weeks after he returned to work helped to ease me into moving even more actively during the day.

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