Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ship shape

Day 13

Juy 21st. Today was the day my C-section was 'scheduled' for. Ha! Best laid plans. I had a feeling when we were making that plan that we wouldn't last that long. If we had, it would have meant Kaia was stronger, older and heavier. Perhaps she might not have needed so much ventilatory support at birth. But maybe she would have anyway? We'll never know. Today is also the hottest day on record for July 21st in my area...ever. If she had been born today, I would have never got to go outside and experience it!

Kaia is doing well in her new digs. We went to see her last night in her new NICU (so close by!). It's MUCH smaller than the old one. I'm pretty sure only 3 nurses work at a time and there are maybe 10 babies max. It's a lot quieter, which I like, since it might be more restful for Kaia and certainly less noisy for us when we visit. I'm still a little nervous about her new Level 2 status...but I keep thinking "it's this, and then home where there will be no monitors and no O2 sat probes". So this is a good in between step. It's a little challenging to get used to a new NICU though. New nurses, new rules, new expectations of us. It will be so lovely to be 'in charge' when she comes home. I now understand how much it sucks to have to 'ask' to hold your own kid.

Here's another photo! She looks like a mini version of her Dad in this one.
Some of you have also been questioning how I am doing (thanks for not forgetting about me in the rush to ooh and aww over the baby!!!)

The answer is that I'm doing okay, actually. I had a low transverse incision through both my skin and my uterus (yeah!!!) so healing with that is going well. We took the steri-strips off a few days ago and I think the incision will be barely noticeable once everything heals up. I'm pleased about that. I already have a lot of scars on my chest and back from my heart surgeries as a kid so I wasn't looking forward to having another one.

Recovering from a C-section is definitely harder than from a vaginal delivery (unless you have a lot of which case I concede defeat, cuz' that might just suck worse). I have found the associated swelling to be the worst part. For the first week, my belly, feet, ankles and calves were quite swollen by the end of the day after walking to and from the car to the hospital. My legs would start to feel like I was dragging around lead weights and only getting into bed at the end of the day, and having the cool fan blow on them, would make them feel better. It was bad enough that standing by Kaia's isolette was difficult. The swelling slowly seems to be improving. Last night only my feet were mildly swollen as I crawled into bed around 10pm.

Recovery from bed rest is going to take longer than C-section recovery. I can tell I've lost muscle tone, especially in my legs and back. The lack of tone is also probably making the leg swelling worse. The other night Brian was busy starting to paint Kaia's room and asked me to get him something from the basement. The walk back up all the stairs to the top floor felt like I was mountain climbing (we live in a multilevel town house...hence a lot of stairs). I was huffing and puffing and could have used one of those grappling hooks to haul my butt up the last leg of the trip. Seriously, there should have been a 'rest spot' along the way. With water and a snack provided.

However, I'm determined to get back into shape. Which will be difficult initially as I'm not suppose to 'exercise' for 6 weeks (is stair climbing considered exercise...cuz' it sure feels like it!) After that, I hope Kaia will be home and I can start taking her for walks in her stroller (thanks for your help on that everyone!!!) to strengthen my legs and back. I could start working on my arms, which could use some toning too, but I was also informed by my the nurse at the hospital that I'm not suppose to lift anything over 10 lbs for 6 weeks. I keep looking at all the mountains of stuff lying around my house (it needs cleaning) and wondering "does that weigh over 10 lbs?" So I've stuck to sorting out all the paperwork and un-dealt with mail lying around in piles. What I wonder though is "what if your BABY weighs over 10 lbs?" I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure it's necessary to pick up your child in the first 6 weeks after birth...if only to feed him or her occasionally.

All in all though, I feel I've done fairly well physically with this whole pregnancy thing. In fact, when I think about it, in the last 20 months I've been pregnant twice (lasting a total of 55 weeks + 5 days), been on bed rest for almost exactly half of that time (27 weeks + 5 days). However, my heart has done just fine and seems pretty much the same as when I started. I never had any major 'pregnancy' illnesses such as pre-eclampsia, extreme vomiting, or gestational diabetes. I had very few minor 'pregnancy' complaints either. I almost never had heart burn, only minor nausea and vomiting in the first trimester, almost no swelling and no stretch marks. I weighed myself yesterday and I'm only 12 lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight (although I've lost muscle too, and that weighs more). I've also discovered I'm a good 'cow' too. I'm pumping between 70 to 120 mls each pumping session. Over 700 mls in total yesterday. That's enough to easily feed a 9 to 10 lb baby. Even my placenta, while totally abnormal looking, managed to get both of my kids to the 'alive' point at birth.

So really, my only complaint is my amniotic sac. That tiny little membrane of mine just couldn't keep it together long enough to have a nice normal pregnancy (TWICE). The rest of my body seemed to be on board...why couldn't it?

If you've had a C-section how did you find recovery? How long before you felt normal again?


  1. I had so many complications with my c-section that my incision didn't even close until the 8 week mark, and the recovery took about 7 months. Scary for sure, but ending with a living healthy baby so I can't really complain. I still don't feel completely normal and now that I'm (surprise surprise) pregnant again, I'm worried that the recovery will be worse this time. But you seemed to have a completely routine c/s so I imagine you'll heal up just perfectly. Again, so glad all of you are doing well!

  2. my son was 11 lbs at birth, not lifting over 10 lbs my ass! I just was more deliberate with picking up things or more gentle i guess. You are lucky not to have a huge scar, mines still very pink and huge a year later. But I did have a few issues. It took the full 6 weeks to recover as I was induced for four days, pushed for three hours...moving with an epidural is really hard...
    oh and then had a c section. So I was pretty beat up. Anyways enough of my pity party! Your little lady is ADORABLE!!!

  3. I think it took almost 3 months each time to completely feel like my old self. It seemed quicker this time though, with a living baby.
    Little Kaia is adorable! It looks like she's doing so well. Hope your recovery goes smoothly and quickly.

  4. My c-section was low transverse. Dr. K looked at my surgical notes and seemed pleased.

    I have to be honest, I am a big wimp and 9+ months later, the incision site still aches a little bit.

    I took my first steps 3 days after he was born because I was so sick. By day 5 I was shuffling at a good pace (and went home). Day 6,7 & 8 I had to sleep on the couch in an up right position because a full recline in my bed was not possible.

    10 days post op (at his funeral) I couldn't stand during the mass, and I was still having difficulty getting up and into bed.

    I hated having the c-section, I would take a natural vaginal birth over a c-section any day of the week.

    Kaia is looking great, glad your boobs are cooperating and that you have enough pep to be walking up and down stairs!!!

  5. What an awesome picture of K! I can not get over how BIG she looks! She looks like she'll be ready for Kindergarden next week :).

    After 2 c-sections I felt pretty good. The first was a little harder than the second with nerve pain. I'm guessing a lot of the nerves that got cut the first time never grew back? The second time I felt almost totally normal the day after I had him. I'm hoping and expecting that the 3rd time around will go just as easily.

  6. Kaia is looking great. You must be making good milk as she looks to be getting some cute little chubby cheeks.

    I've had 2 C-sections too. I never had any issues with swelling afterwards, but do know people who had vaginal births who did. When they did the second surgery, they removed the old scar so I only have one scar and it has healed very well and I hope if I make it far enough to need the 3rd surgery that they can do the same thing again. I was walking less than 24 hours after both surgeries and had no complications but damn did the pain meds constipate me which is not pleasant with an incision. I do hear that recovery is better when you don't have to go through labour first, but I'm guessing that being on bed rest for months makes recovery even hard than 12 hours of labour.

    I also had nearly 10 lb babies. With my daughter, I just had to not lift her in the car seat. I would carry the carseat out and then take her out. By 5-6 weeks, I was feeling pretty good but it probably took about 3 months to feel "recovered". It did make doing laundry very difficult.

  7. I had a c-section following my fetal surgery. So still a transverse cut like yours just higher up on the top of my uterus. The 6 weeks I guess went fine for me. They got me up walking the next day after surgery and I walked halls. I have stairs also I had to walk daily and they were tiring for me the first couple weeks and I wasn't on bed rest. About a month out I started taking a little longer walks about a half mile to a mile fine. My incision healed fine my dr. said but I did have moments of pain that I was told were my organs falling back into place and such with the tissue from surgery and being prego. It has been over 6 months now and I still have numbness in the incision area from the nerves bring cut which bugs me a little but overall everything is fine. Mind you I was also greiving my son from the point I woke up from surgery.

    Kaia is such a cutie!

  8. What a great photo. I am glad you are feeling better but please take it easy. I had such a desire with my first to get back to normal/back into shape etc but the reality is with all the changes to your body, lack of sleep and especially with the stress of a NICU stay you need to remember you are recovering. No one would have surgery and then be running up and down stairs to redecorate yet new moms do this after c-sections! Making milk also takes a load of energy so take that into account too. Take care Emily!

  9. I have had 4 c-sections.. each time I would say the first two weeks are the toughest, and it gets better each day from there. My best advice would be to stick to the 6-8 week healing time. As soon as you cross that mark you can resume as much activity as you want ( I went back to running with my first 3 kids) but at least you will have healed completely.. the last ting you would want is to strain your incision and have a setback there. Take care of yourself and your beautiful daughter!

  10. My only experience is with the TAC surgery, which is quite similar except for the uterine incision, and I can say I was walking well the very next day, but I had pain for two to three weeks. Then it was all good. I went back to work about ten days afterwards and was fine. I avoided lifting for one month to six weeks, like they say, but was not too anal about it, if something hurt I would just stop doing it.

  11. I am so sorry to be so very late to this but huge congratulations on your amazing and truly beautiful gorgeous girl. I am sure that Aidan is such a beaming big brother and so proud of his Mummy, Daddy and Kaia.

    I did have a section but can't really comment out recovery as I was in total shock about losing Ava. I didn't even really think about it if that makes sense, I guess it shows I was lucky in that it can't have been too bad. The first few days were the hardest and I remember almost fainting in NICU whilst holding Ava's twin.

    Wishing you a gentle recovery and so glad you girlie is here safely and even better news about moving to a lower stage NICU.

  12. I have had 3 c-sections myself, never had any pain with was more just taking things slow because I was scared I could tear it haha....coughing and laughing was the scariest. I think your baby is absolutely gorgeous and you are going to be the best mommy to much love to share.

  13. I've never had a c section. But I do remember doing way more than I should have in those first few weeks when he was in the NICU. (checked myself out of the hospital 9 hours after delivery, so I could go see him in the other hospital, etc). I imagine the recovery from the bed rest and low muscle tone and stamina are only compounding. Try to rest as much as you possibly can.

    So glad little Kaia continues to be a rockstar!

  14. Glad to hear you are healing well. I agree, C-section is much worse than vaginal, I've had both. I don't think I listened to the doctor about not lifting more than 10lbs, because after c-section, I was home alone with newborn twins and a toddler. My husband had to work, but I managed. :)
    I hope you show pictures of the nursery when you get finished.
    Kaia looks so alert and beautiful!! I bet you can't wait to get her home and have your family united as a whole, under your own roof, and your own rules.

  15. I am loving these updates! Yesterday I was thinking that it was supposed to be the day and how far away it seemed when you told us that.

    I'm so glad the new NICU is good and you are happy with it and it is a nicer environment for Kaia.

    Glad to hear you are healing well too. It's amazing what a body can go through and come out ok.

  16. Honestly, recovery has been a breeze. I've been super lucky (the no bed rest thing makes a huge difference). I went home from the hospital feeling like 90% and off drugs.

  17. I have no c-section experience but I just wanted to say that your sweet girl is a beauty (I am sure you had already figured this out but I couldn't resist saying so).

    I hope that you continue to heal and that the set backs from bed
    rest start to ease up in the coming weeks. Take care!