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This post on how to prepare for a C Section might seem a little different than my others.
So, this is my story.
Now, on a scale of hippy/crunchy to regular pharma visits, we are definitely on the granola side of the spectrum.
We are part of a beautiful community of family and friends who have had wonderful home births, vaginal hospital births, and successful birth center experiences. My husband and I grew up in families where our mothers had home births for most of their children.
To us, this was normal. Not alternative or weird – it was the only way that was familiar.
So that was what we did first.
With my first birth through a birthing center, I labored 32 hours. Turns out, the baby was posterior.
I didn’t think there could be a worse pain than that.
With my second baby, I labored at home and at the birthing center for maybe 5 hours before they transferred me to St David’s north for an emergency C section. The baby’s head was OP, which means it was in the wrong position to fit through my pelvis.
5 hours of laboring with a baby whose head was OP was an even greater pain than the first.
I endured the trauma of labor, the trauma of an emergency C Section, and severe and debilitating post partum depression for close to 2 years.
In talking with my midwife recently, she tenderly told me that that experience left me “mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally broken”.
Honestly, I couldn’t have said it better.
The combined experience of two very difficult births was so scary, my partner didn’t want to have another baby.
So this third child was hoped and prayed for, and we waited until we were both was ready.
Now, I have longed and yearned for a magical birth center experience for 7 years. But when it came time to figure out a birth plan for our 3rd, I carefully weighed my options. Yes, I could try a birth center again. *Third time’s the charm?!* But my post partum depression was so severe with both of my first babies, I didn’t want to risk that again.
Our decision to have a planned C section was made with prayer, fear, calls to my midwife while ugly crying, and being chastised by those who believed this was the “wrong” decision.
But ultimately, it was the decision that gave us peace.
Part of that is because of the wonderful OB we were so fortunate to learn about and use. We also were able to completely plan everything. There were no unwelcome surprises.
I had almost 9 months to prepare for a few weeks of post partum.
Here are some of the purchases and services that are making my life so much easier as I cradle my little one and do some “lite”, fun work (like writing this blog post)!
And yes, I recommend these services and products for any other type of birth, not just a Cesarean!
One thing I did this pregnancy was actually take my pre-natal pills – in addition to liver, magnesium, DHA, and others.
These were all recommended by Varian Hans, a local-to-Georgetown nutritionist. After working with me for about 2 years, my health took a massive turn for the better in 2019. I don’t know what I would do without her! You can find her office inside The Central Texas Birthing Center in Georgetown.
Before I became pregnant, I started working out with Fitness Beyond Training here in Georgetown. Their name is exactly what they represent. They have a team of trainers that work with clients on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to achieve their goals. Clientele range from professional athletes looking to improve their technique to mothers looking to regain – and maintain – their pre-baby body. (Hi, that’s me!)
They assessed both my stability and mobility, and began retraining the foundational movements of my body. Overtime, these seemingly minor movements (I didn’t know I had that muscle!) created a strong core. Having this core established (so much more than just ab work!!!) led to my smallest bump yet – and this is my 3rd!
AP Healing was recommended to me by Fitness Beyond Training to address some tightness in my adductors and hip creases. Ashley was wonderful and relieved my pain even when I began to get very pregnant.
BONUS: She’s literally across the street from FBT and has a working relationship with the trainers. That means if you are struggling during your training session, the trainer is also talking to Ashley about the issue, not just you.
I booked sessions with a therapist for months before my Cesarean in the event that I would have a relationships established should I need someone for Post Partum Depression. So far, I have not engaged her services beyond our initial consultation, but recommend having someone at hand should you need them.
There are many cleaning companies and individuals in the area! Ask around – both your friends, your therapist, your FB groups – until you find a housekeeper who you work well with and trust. This is especially important if you have stay at home toddlers, or no one to help you those first few weeks!
I was in anguish with my first C Section when I discovered that previously comforting and comfortable yoga pants had seams that were placed exactly the same are of my body as my raw incision. I struggled about how feel like myself again when I had to re-imagine my immediate wardrobe.
This time, I was prepared.
loved that the Belly Bandit C Section Recovery Underwear had medium compression to begin helping with the swollen belly, and put these on before heading home from the hospital.
Next, I needed a go-to outfit that was comfortable, flattering, and restorative, so I also bought their ultra-compressive Mother Tucker Support Leggings. To match, I bought an inexpensive nursing hoodie in black.
I know what those hospital belly wraps are like. Immediately no. I bought the Post Partum Luxe Belly Wrap instead.
These combined, supportive post partum wear have been restorative! It helps protect my core as I recover, and encourage my swollen belly to go back where it came from! 😉
Did you know Spanx makes nursing bras?! Uh, enough said there. (NOTE: I HATE removable padding, and I found theirs especially annoying, so out it came. Works even better now.)
Buy yourself a slip gown and a silk robe from Kim + Ono. I have this one. It’s luxurious and decadent to swan around in while you nurse your baby.
With my first C section, I asked my friend to buy me some of the firmest pillows at Target she could find. I used these and others to create a “throne” that I sat up against day and night while I was in bed for 2 weeks. You don’t realize how much you need your core until you have a C section. Constantly sitting up to nurse your baby during the night is a special kind of hell when you’ve just endured major abdominal surgery.
This time, I bought a wedge pillow that has been wonderful. I feel everyone will use it a bit differently. Experiment with which height is right for you, add more pillows if you need them, etc. Baby will rest comfortably on your chest while you lay back and read a book.
Whoopssssss, is my bougie showing?! OK seriously though, this foldable, raisable bed tray has probably been my favorite purchase because it KEEPS ME IN BED where I belong. I can do a bit of work from my laptop (can you say “write off”?!) with my coffee and a snack, with baby in the bassinet beside me, which brings me to…
With our first two babies we had a cheap (and I mean cheap) bouncy chair and collapsible rocking bassinet that was a… “gift with strings attached” haha. And we were grateful to have them!
But the creaky rocker woke us whenever the baby even moved, leading to more sleep deprivation than I knew existed.
This perfect bassinet swivels and extends 360° so you can move baby out of the way to get out of bed or pull him/her toward you during the night. One side completely folds down so you can take baby out with no strain. We spent a bit more to get the one that was completely washable because… let’s be real. There are night lights, a gentle crib vibration to lull baby to sleep, a small pouch to store midnight essentials like snot-suckers, lanolin, breast pads, wipes and diapers.