Despite SilverSpoon London being a luxury travel blog, my most read posts are about my birth experiences with Oscar. In particular my story of what it’s like to have a c-section at the Lindo Wing is the blog post that I’ve received the most messages and emails about. I’m so happy to be able to reassure people who contact me about the excellent experience I had and the confidence that I feel in the decision that I made both for Oscar’s and my own well being. With it being C-Section awareness month I thought it was a good chance to update you on how I’m doing nearly two years on.
At week 34 of my pregnant our obstetrician discovered placental insufficiency which meant there was reduced blood flow through the cord. Our doctor told us this would mean delivering early either by induction or planned c-section which went against our original plan of a natural birth. When we first found out about the problems she wanted to deliver in ten days time but with careful monitoring we managed to keep Oscar in until exactly 37 weeks for an early term delivery. In the time between finding out about the placenta insufficiency and the delivery, I had a few weeks to deliberate between the induction and the c-section, you can read about that in this post and find out how I came to the eventual decision.
The day of the C-Section I was of course incredibly nervous as I’d never had an operation before, honestly I’ve never even been in pain before having never had a serious injury or anything like that. I won’t go into detail about the actual operation as you can read about that more in my birth story post . Don’t worry there aren’t any actual gruesome details, it was more about how I felt at the time – which wasn’t much physically though it was everything mentally and emotionally. The best bit of the c-section is that the baby is born in the first few minutes so any fears that you might have about having an operation melt away as your baby is placed on your chest.
I covered the immediate after effects of my C-Section and the stay in hospital in the birth story post so in this post I’ll focus more on the long term recovery.
Getting Back on my Feet
For the first few weeks after the C-Section you are advised not to do any exercise, heavy lifting or driving. I found once at home I could do most things without Mr S’s help unless it involved lifting anything big or heavy.
Personally I had neither the time or the inclination to do exercise anyway and the only thing I was lifting was a six pound baby. We started off with short walks but at first anything over about fifteen minutes left me tired and with a weird heavy feeling where my scar was. After about eight weeks I started doing post natal exercise videos from YouTube as well as gentle stretches etc recommended by the physio at the hospital. Before having Oscar, I used do an half an hour workout nearly every day usually a YouTube HIIT video or something like that, it took a few months to build back up to the level of work outs I did before Oscar but I was doing it no where near the frequency. Even back then with an immobile Oscar by my side as I worked out! Nowadays, I’d be perfectly capable of doing the level of work outs I used to, I just don’t have the time to do them. Oscar and I often rush to the park first thing in the morning or to a baby groups. I’m always running around after him so I don’t really beat myself about the lack of proper exercise.
(Back on my feet! Our first meal out with Oscar)
In terms of pain, I genuinely never felt any. The hospital had me on a course of painkillers which I stayed on top of and gradually reduced over time. I would get the odd twinge where the scar is but nothing painful or alarming. Now nearly two years on it does feel weird if the anything goes on there (eg if a hefty toddler bounces on my stomach) but it’s not painful more like a numb feeling. I did read that after a c-section you will feel numb in the area forever more, whilst I do have this experience it’s not something that bothers me or something that I particularly notice.
The obstetrician removed the surgical glue after six weeks (I think six weeks is quite a big turning point post birth in many ways) and I was left with a red and raised scar. The doctor recommended a special cream to help fade the scar which I diligently applied for the new few months. I don’t know if the cream did any any good but my scar has faded to a very thin white line. You can honestly hardly see it at all. Plus as it’s really low down it would never show in a bikini or anything. Everyone scars differently but if you are faced with the choice of having a c-section I wouldn’t let the worry of a scar deter you, it’s very small and is actually a reminder of how your little one came into the world!
After birth you’re advised to wear big full coverage pants for comfort so I went out and bought a whole load from M & S. I must admit I’m still wearing those high-waisted big pants nearly two years later as I really don’t like the idea of any form of pressure in that area.
My Weight and Body
During the course of my pregnancy I put on 18 pounds (8 kilos) which is close to the advised amount of weight that you should put on in pregnancy given that I found out late and didn’t know my weight before and that I ended up having Oscar three weeks early. I generally don’t weigh myself but I did during pregnancy out of interest. When I got home from my four day stay in hospital I weighed myself and I’d lost 6 pounds. Pretty annoying given that Oscar was 6.5 pounds! I was confused as to how that was even possible to be honest but over the course of the next few weeks, most of that weight fell off with me doing literally nothing. I was breastfeeding on demand and while I’m aware breastfeeding burns calories, I was also eating loads as it makes you very hungry. It was actually only after I stopped breastfeeding at nine months that I lost the last few pounds. I can tell you that the only difference in my body between now and pre-pregnancy is that my boobs are smaller and that I have this tiny unnoticeable scar. I was worried about the ‘overhang’ or ‘pouch’ that’s common with a c-section but I don’t have that. I don’t weigh myself now but my clothes fit and that’s enough for me!
1 week postpartum.
2 weeks postpartum.
3 weeks postpartum.
This was 8 weeks postpartum – I was feeling pretty good by then!
Before I had Oscar I was worried that my body wouldn’t go back to normal so I bought compression underwear which is supposed to be good for a c-section anyway. And a Belly Bandit which supposed to slim and support to and help shrink you back down to normal. I did try all of these things but after a few tries I just found them way too uncomfortable and I was happier in my big knickers and looser clothing. I personally don’t think it made any difference and I went back to normal without it.
The day I had Oscar was the best day of my life. C-Sections, as with any operation, are scary plus there’s the added taboo of feeling like your body has failed you in someway. Though a c-section isn’t the ‘easy way out’ as it’s often dubbed, my personal experience was a positive one… there is no ‘right way’ to give birth so lets celebrate however your baby came into the world!