Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Physical Recovery - Part 1

I think I must be pretty wimpy and I must also have a low tolerance for pain and discomfort.  Recovering from my c-section was harder than I thought it would be.

While I was in the hospital I was taking a big Motrin every 6 hours and a perc every 4 hours.  I decided to only take one perc because I’m pretty sensitive to medications like that and did not want to be loopy while trying to care for my new baby.

One of the days (our second full day) in the hospital I had a nurse that came to see me in the morning and the early afternoon and then no one showed up until after 7:00 that night.  I had visitors come and go, food come and go the baby came and went (more on that later) but no nurse and no pain medications.  The nurse that visited me early in the afternoon told me to make sure I got up and walked around to make sure I healed properly.  She showed me how to clean my incision and helped me put my binder back on after my shower.  So I took the baby for a couple of walks and tried to stay out of bed (something else she told me to do) as much as I could.  Then more visitors came and went and before I knew it, it was just after 7:00, which was shift change time.

 I had been sitting in the nursing chair while we had guests and when I stood up I almost collapsed.  My incision felt like it was on fire.  I was in so much pain I could barely move.  BJ went to find a nurse to bring me medication.  He was pissed when I told him how long it had been since I had seen a nurse.  I just didn’t think about it…I was busy with the baby and visitors and walking.  I completely over did it and had gone over 7 hours without any pain medication.  Holy hell…I could not believe how much this hurt.  The nurse that came in asked me why I hadn’t called sooner and I told her that I had never had to call before…the nurses had just been coming in to give me meds and check on my temperature and my blood pressure.  I wasn’t paying attention to how many hours it had been since my last doses.  It was hard enough to tell day from night and keep the baby’s feeding schedule straight.  So I got my meds and all was well.  Needless to say we complained about the nurse that I had and come to find out she was a substitute from another floor.  I also did not do any more walking, I enjoyed my hospital bed to the fullest.  There was no need to try and rush anything at that point.

My wrist was still hurting me and that really sucked.  I had to maneuver the baby, the boppy and everything else when I could barely move my hand.  It was awful.  And then my right wrist started hurting.  This was all I needed, right?  BJ helped when he could but he didn’t spend much time in the hospital with us.  He had to work because he had used 2 days needlessly right before she was born for our cancelled induction and then our health scare.  There’s more on that, too.  I’m trying to keep things organized in my head.  J

We went home and I made sure to keep up on my medications.  It was nice because we went home on Saturday afternoon so BJ was able to spend lots of time with us.  He stayed home Monday and Tuesday, too.  I really missed the hospital bed because putting my feet up was so easy on my belly.  Laying on the couch was not nearly as comfortable.  I was told to avoid steps so I had to have BJ get a list of items from upstairs for us on a daily basis.  I did go up 3 times before I was released because I had to shower for crying out loud.  I moved slowly but deliberately and still did not understand why I was hurting so much.  There was pulling and tugging and it really was uncomfortable.  BJ suggested I call my OB so I did.  She asked me to come in.  I went in and she looked everything over and said I was healing really nicely.  The incision looked great but I was really sore.  My body had been through major surgery and I couldn’t understand why I was hurting so much.

My SIL, meaning no harm, told me how she was up and moving and felt fine after her 3rd c-section so of course I felt very inferior (do those feelings ever go away?) to her and became very down on myself.  There were times that I would stand up because I had to go to the bathroom but I didn’t realize how badly I had to go until I stood up.  Oh, the pain that seared through my incision on those few occasions.   I could barely stand upright while walking to the bathroom it hurt so much.  I told myself that I would not wait to pee any more.  It was crazy.  Like I said, I think I must have a low tolerance for pain because everyone else told me their stories and I just sunk deeper and deeper.

 There came a point where I started to feel better.  I guess it was about 3 weeks post-partum.  I was able to move around better and the stairs didn’t bother me anymore and I was able to lay on my back with my legs straight without too much pain.  My wrists were still killing me, though.  There were times when I was bathing BG (baby girl) that I just wanted to cry.  I was so afraid I was going to mishandle her because of the pain and my limitations on movement with my hands.  Thankfully, I never did.

It took about 4 months or so until I was able to lay on the floor on my stomach and prop myself up on my elbows without too much pain.  I tried it several times a week before that but there was so much pulling and strain that I could only last a minute or 2.

 I’m much more mobile now, thank goodness.  It took a long time to get here but I kept telling myself that it would get better and I didn’t push it.  I still feel my incision when I lift something heavy or walk uphill, it’s crazy.  I never thought that I’d still be feeling things 13 months after the surgery.  One of my coworkers told me that she still sometimes feels pulling and tugging sensations and it’s been just over 20 years since her surgery.  Yikes.  I guess this is just something I’m going to have to live with.

I’ve been able to start doing Pilates.  And by “doing” I mean I did them once last week.  Ha!  I was so sore after that I wasn’t able to tackle it again (I was going to on Friday but  left work early and then we had a snow day on Monday and I had a lunch meeting today…so maybe tomorrow I’ll get back to it).  It’s been almost 2 years since I did a core work out so I wasn’t surprised at how much my muscles were screaming afterward.  My incision didn’t bother me so that’s good news.  I just need to get back in the gym and work the muscles again.

There’s a few more aspects of my physical recovery that I’d like to share.  Mostly to just get it out of my head but maybe there are women out there that also had a hard time and can make me feel better about being a “wimp”.  J


Anonymous said...

You don't have to live with scar pain forever! There's a place in Columbia MD called Her Health PT that works on women with pelvic and other pain sometimes stemming from surgical scar tissue and adhesions. They are awesome! I bet there is someone near you. If not, someone who does myofascial massage can help.
Sounds like a rough recovery :(.

Anonymous said...

I've had 3 c-sections and I will tell you, my recovery from the first one was brutal. I admittedly refused all pain meds but hey, I was 21...I highly doubt I'd refuse it now!

For months after, I would tense up in the car going over the tiniest little speed bump because I could feel it in my incision. I later realized that a lot of my pain was coming from "babying" the incision and not standing up straight, therefore giving me brutal back pain! I would say it took a good year for me to stop feel slightly back to normal.

Fast forward to my 3rd c-section, I was in the grocery store less than 2 weeks later, with my son in one of those front carrier packs. I bumped into my friends sister who said "I thought you had a c-section?" and I said "I did" lol. The recovery was night and day.

Don't beat yourself up though. The reality is, people DO have different pain tolerances. You had your abdominal muscles cut into and a PERSON pulled from your body...it's painful! Like someone else told you, even 20 plus years later, I still get twinges of pain down there. It hurt to pee for many years after and after my 3rd, my abdomen was completely numb which I was told would never go away but thankfully, after major ab workouts, the feeling came back!

Okay, enough babbling. Don't compare your birth story to anyone else's...it is YOUR birth story and you have absolutely nothing to feel badly about. You should feel proud! HUGS and so nice to see another post from you!

someday-soon said...

My recovery was much like yours for both of my c-sections. It was much harder than some people made it sound. I was on paid meds (both ibuprofen and vicodin) for 3 weeks each time. And I still feel the tugs too. Don't get down on your self...you're a tough chick and you did a great job!

someday-soon said...

That's pain meds...not paid meds *LOL*

Augusta said...

I'm sorry you felt inferior because of the pain you were experiencing following the c-section. It's really major, isn't it! I don't think I had as much pain as you experienced, but I found that the discomfort lasted for so many long months afterwards. I still have a hard time with any sort of abdominal work and it's been 12.5 months since my c-section.
I hope you are all doing well. Happy belated birthday to BG.