Becoming a mother is an overwhelming experience filled with so many emotions. There is a lot of happiness and contentment coupled with anxiety and fear. Looking at your new born baby for the first time and holding him/her in your arms is an out of the world feeling. When throughout my pregnancy, I never worried about the way my delivery will happen, for a major part of my 9th month I couldn’t stop thinking and worrying about it. Amidst my worries, my childbirth happened through an emergency c section. My EDD (expected delivery date) was 2 weeks away but during a regular scan my doctor discovered a major complication and decided to deliver the baby that very night.
It all came too sudden for me and I was not prepared well. But once my child was delivered safely I by and by understood that when people say that “c section is a painless form of delivery”, it’s a myth. As a matter of fact it is a major surgery in which a patient takes a 6 to 8 weeks time to recover. Even after being treated in the hospital for 3 to 4 days, when you return back home, you feel weak. Your stitches restrict your movement and give a lot of discomfort. Sometimes a pain in back neck or lower back also develops. Besides one’s own physical condition one has to take care of the new born baby too. Breast feeding every couple of hours, pee and poop management and erratic sleep schedules are enough to test your limits. All you want at that time is to recover as soon as possible. So, I am sharing these 5 things which helped me come over this phase successfully and which can be of help to others who are nearing their delivery or have already delivered their child.
1. Taking good care of the stitches: you get almost 20 -22 stitches in a c section delivery, so handling them well is really important. Once the surgery is over, you are under anaesthetic affect for a few hours but there is pain in the incision area which is now stitched and bandaged well. Doctors usually give painkillers and antibiotics to give relief in pain and help the wound heal faster, but even after that the stitches give a lot of discomfort and even pain while turning, sitting and even standing. Even a small jerk due to coughing or sneezing is painful. Thus, taking care of your movements while sitting, sleeping, turning and standing is necessary. Keeping pillows for support, restricting excessive movement by keeping useful things in reach, not carrying too much weight and not using the staircase too often helps the stitches heal faster.
2. Maintaining hygiene: Besides taking care of your infant’s hygiene, it is important that even a new mother does that for herself. Once the bandage on the stitches is removed it is advisable to take help from someone at home and get that area cleaned gently with a cotton swab dipped in a disinfectant liquid like Dettol for at least a week. This prevents the stitches from getting infected. Sometimes there is vaginal itching due to the use of catheter in the hospital and some people develop a mild UTI (urinary tract infection) too. Also post delivery menstrual bleeding is profuse in some cases. Thus, using vaginal wash twice a day, changing sanitary napkins regularly, washing hands many times a day, taking good hot water bath when allowed, proper hair care (washing and oiling hair) not only helps prevent many infections but also makes you feel light and active. It also helps you sleep well.
3. Food and water Intake: My baby was born in peak summers. My doctor had advised me to drink a lot of water. I consumed, boiled water (ajwain or carom seeds boiled in it) which was at room temperature for at least a month and refrained from consuming cold water, juices or fizzy drinks. I sometimes drank this water warm after meals which helped me lose weight since beginning. It also helped relieve my pains, reduce swelling in my body, improve my digestion and even detoxify it. I took soups prepared at home, light home cooked meals which comprised of lots of green vegetables, seasonal fruits, cereals, pulses etc to gain my strength back while breastfeeding my child. I also took milk with nuts which helped me recover fast and even help me breastfeed well. I took care that I am not constipated and I don’t consume foods that cause gas or acidity.
4. Lower back and neck pain: There are so many people who complain of a pain in the back of their neck or lower back after delivery. This can be attributed to months of carrying the baby in your womb, days of lying in the hospital, bleeding after delivery etc. In my case the pain was very severe so I consulted the doctor for the same. He advised me to sit in a correct posture (sitting in an L shape) and avoid a pillow under my neck while sleeping. He instead asked me to use pillows for side support and a pillow under my legs to help me sleep well. He also gave me a mild and safe pain killer, as I was breastfeeding my baby. This was of immense help when the pain was unbearable and I felt exhausted with the baby. I also started keeping a pillow on my lap and feeding my daughter by placing her on it to keep my shoulders and neck from straining.
5. Taking a lot of rest and prescribed vitamins: A c section delivery takes time to recover. There is blood loss during the surgery which may later develop into anaemia. Like any other major surgery a lot of rest is recommended in this case too. “ sleep while the baby sleeps “ may not work everytime but creating time for enough sleep (taking help from family) helps you recover faster and in a better way for your newborn child. Also, taking prescribed medicines like antibiotics, vitamin and mineral supplements, calcium etc religiously is imperative to recovery.
Besides these 5 things, taking a light massage (including legs, feet, arms, and shoulders and avoiding c section area) helps reduce swelling and pain. Also, as one is mostly restricted at home with the baby, laughing and spending good time with the family, getting some entertainment, walking a little and doing easy chores helps in getting over this phase soon.
It is not at all easy to give birth to a new life. The journey which starts with pregnancy and culminates in childbirth is a very long and tedious one which can drain a person physically and mentally. It is really amazing how a new mother, who herself is recovering from a major surgery manages to acquire the stamina, strength and will to take care of her child too. But that’s what motherhood is all about and the delivery is the beginning. But, believe me, strong will, support and care from family and good advice from doctors makes it happen.
I hope my experience is helpful to someone in need.
This article is an entry for BLOG-A-THON.
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