I started writing about my Caesarean recovery last week, but ended up splitting the post into two when I realised just how much I was writing! You can read the first half here >> Days 1-3 following my caesarean
Day 4: Saturday 1st October
When my first lot of pain medication was brought round on Saturday morning, the duty midwife commented that she would like to see me going home over the weekend and that I would probably recover quicker in my own surroundings, rather than being bed-bound on a ward filled with screaming mothers-to-be and crying babies, reliant on a buzzer by my side. Although I didn’t get my hopes up, and was pretty sure that there was no way I was ready to be discharged (that morning was the first time I had made it to the toilet on my own!) I immediately rang Dan to tell him the potential good news and then I made it my mission to do everything I could to prove I was ready to head home that day, – starting with making it to the Day Room for breakfast.
The nurses hadn’t brought me breakfast for the past two days – merely walking up and down between the bays shouting “Breakfast is now available in the Day Room.” I hadn’t felt strong enough to walk there on the other days, but was determined to do so now, only to discover that the Day Room was at the far end of the corridor, at least four times as far as the toilet had been (my furthest walk to date!) I made it though, and despite perching rather uncomfortably on a hard-backed chair in the room whilst I slowly munched on some toast, felt rather chuffed with my accomplishment!
Dan arrived a couple of hours later and we were told that I would definitely be discharged that day. Along with three other first-time parents, we were sent back to the Day Room to sit in on a breastfeeding and bathing advice session before being discharged. As I waited for Dan to wheel Oscar’s cot in I got talking to a couple of the other new Mums. It seemed that I had been in for the longest, with the others only having been admitted the day before, or at the earliest, on the Thursday evening.
Whilst waiting for the discharge paperwork to be completed the ladies from Bounty came round to take pictures of Oscar before we left. He was a little rockstar and posed beautifully for every position they placed him in. Although we hadn’t intended on purchasing any photos, we did get one of the smaller packages, with photos and digital images to be posted out to us during the week.
Along with my discharge notes I was offered an extra shot of morphine to help get down the stairs to the car as it would be the furthest I had walked by a long way. Sensibly, I decided to take the extra shot which luckily kicked in before we were allowed to leave. I was also given the chat about future contraception. No need to worry on that side of things – I hadn’t realised how traumatic and painful having a baby would actually be!
I packed up the remaining items from my bed bay whilst Dan drove the car round to the loading bay and started to load up my belongings downstairs in the car, leaving Oscar and Me until last. For the past three days I’d seen all the other women on my bay leave, carrying their new babies in car seats and loaded up with their luggage to be driven away to their family homes. When it came to my turn, I couldn’t even carry a shoulder bag, never mind my baby in a carrier, and I shuffled along in pain with every step.
I really wasn’t prepared for just how far the car would be. Having thought that the Day Room was only just manageable earlier that morning, the distance to the car was easily twenty times as far and involved a lift, a small series of steps and getting myself down to car seat level. (It was very painful just allowing myself to drop to the height of the seat!) One of the midwives came out with Dan and I to ensure that we were able to fit Oscar’s car seat correctly, and then we were free to head home!
Getting into the back of the car had been tricky, and I definitely knew about every single bump on the ride home. I never knew the A45 had so many potholes! One of the conditions of being allowed to leave on the Saturday was that I had access to a breastpump at home, as Oscar still hadn’t had a successful latch which lasted on my breast by this point. Luckily, a friend had offered to sell us one a few weeks earlier and so I had sent her a desperate text on Saturday morning to establish whether or not it was still up for sale. It was, and so we headed for home via Northampton (which is in not on the way home!) Lindsay popped out with her little boy to meet Oscar whilst Dan popped the pump into the boot. As we turned out of Lindsay’s drive I realised the route Dan was taking before it was too late…he turned down the road with the most speed bumps in Northamptonshire! Agony!
Dan had been in a hurry to get Oscar home as Wolves were playing on TV that evening and Dan was desperate to sit down with his son, who would be wearing his first Wolves top to watch the game! We didn’t quite make the start of the match, but once I’d fed and Dan had changed Oscar, he managed to catch the second half with Oscar snuggled up to him on the sofa!
Knowing that we would be seeing several visitors over the coming weeks, on arriving home I begun to tidy the downstairs, clearing away the washing Dan had done and hung up indoors the previous day. I was careful not to bend too much, and tried to keep my traveling up and down the stairs to a minimum, but I didn’t feel as awful as I thought I would. I unpacked some of my hospital bag and chucked some of Oscar’s dirty things for a wash, clearing away items into his new bedroom before settling on the couch with Dan to watch a film.
And then after the film I went to stand up, and found that I couldn’t. The sofa in our lounge is low and required the use of all of my stomach muscles for me to get up. The morphine shot I’d been given before leaving the hospital had clearly long worn off, and once Dan had pulled me up, every step towards the bedroom was agony. I managed a couple of stairs at a time before having to pause in pain and I was reduced to tears by the time I reached the top of the staircase. I headed into the bathroom on my way to bed and was not even strong enough to pull the cord connected to the bathroom light switch I was in that much pain. I really never considered just how many day-to-day tasks require the use of stomach muscles. Much more than I thought.
Although I had no more morphine, I had been sent home with several tablets. I was due to take iron tablets twice a day (due to the blood loss that I had in theatre), along with ascorbic acid, to help absorb the iron. I also had a couple of packs of Diclofenac and Paracetamol to help with the pain. I was allowed to take one Diclofenac and two Paracetamol every four hours, and did so religiously over those first few days. Dan also had to inject me each night for the first ten nights with clexane to prevent any blood clots from forming as I hadn’t been very mobile for a while. I’m not great at swallowing tablets, but the injection was the worst. Dan would either come at me wielding the needle like an axe murderer, or he would hesitate, by which point I would tense up and then the injection would be painful.
The first night was tough. In hospital Oscar had never really cried. He just kind of whimpered a little and I was able to press a button on the side of my bed. This resulted in the midwives arriving who would automatically know how to stop his whimpers. Dan and I had aimed to head to bed for 10pm on the first night out of hospital but when Oscar still hadn’t settled by 5am I took him down to sleep in the lounge where we had a moses basket set up so that at least Dan was able to get some sleep, even if I wasn’t!
Things were made doubly tough as I was in too much pain to pick Oscar up yet, and leaning over a changing table and fighting to clean the bum of a protesting newborn was still very much above my capabilities. Dan changed almost every nappy for the first ten days, and when Oscar wanted feeding, he would bring him over to me so that I could feed him and attempt to settle him. Despite being at home, I still felt very useless and let Dan take over all the tasks, even after I was feeling a little stronger as it just seemed like he had so much more experience than me, even after just a few short days.
Day 5: Sunday 2nd October
I had been so out of it when returning home the day before, I hadn’t realised that Lindsay had sent a huge storage box of baby clothes back with us in the car. After dropping her a quick thank you message over Facebook it became my mission to organise the clothes by age and type into piles next to me on the sofa. It was something I could do to feel productive when I couldn’t stand or walk without pain.
The only thing I had been looking forward to more than a bed with clean sheets was taking a shower, but I wasn’t well enough to attempt one on Sunday. I must have looked a sight sprawled out on the sofa surrounded by piles of baby clothes we’d been gifted, which I was attempting to sort into piles of size and type. Dan’s parents came to visit and I didn’t even have the energy to stand and greet them. I was still wearing my pyjamas, covered by a dressing gown to hide the fact that my milk was leaking a ridiculous amount.
The midwife I’d been seeing throughout my pregnancy came for a routine visit not long after Dan’s parents arrived. She weighed Oscar (he’d lost slightly more than at Day 3 and weighed in at 6lbs 10oz), did his heel prick test and filled out some pages in his little red book. Most importantly though, she helped to get Oscar to breastfeed properly for the first time, where he was content to stay for more than half an hour. I didn’t dare move in case he stopped! Because I’d had problems breastfeeding during my hospital stay, she booked us a visit from the community breastfeeding support workers for the following day who would be able to assess Oscar’s breastfeeding at home. Following the midwife’s visit though, we no longer had any issues.
Day 6: Monday 3rd October
Finally, time for a shower! Dan had to help me get into the shower as our shower is one which is over the bathtub and I was worried about the pain of getting my leg up so high with nothing to lean on once I was in. Once in, I sent him away to keep an eye on Oscar, with the instruction not to go too far in case I ended up needing him. Within a few minutes though, I had dropped the shower head whilst trying to open the bottle of shampoo and ashamedly I had to call Dan back to hold the shower head for me whilst I showered as I couldn’t manage it alone.
From my now-permanent spot on the sofa I could see so many things that needed doing in the lounge and dining room and kept pointing these out to Dan, much to Dan’s annoyance! It was very frustrating to see all these things and be able to do nothing to fix them! I pointed out that the architrave round the doors still needed painting, that we needed to put up picture frames heading up the stairs, clear baby items from the dining room table and put Oscar’s cards up on the windowsill amongst other things. I couldn’t even lean down to the windowsill to put up cards without being in pain. I did feel so guilty for pointing things out to Dan afterwards, as he was already doing so much.
Out of curiosity I weighed myself on Day 7 to discover that I had lost all but 6lbs of the weight I had gained during my pregnancy. I had never been bothered about the weight gain/loss during pregnancy and was surprised to have returned to relative normality so quickly. I’ve since lost all of the remaining 6lbs and am back at my pre-pregnancy weight again, with no attempt to lose anything. I’ve changed shape – my stomach is not as flat as it once was, but I’m not too concerned right now.
Excuse the glasses and leafy pavement but this picture was taken one week post-baby. (Last Tuesday) It was the first time I had weighed myself in ages and it seems I lost all but 6lbs of my baby weight in the first week without realising. I’m pretty sure I’ve lost more since and will weigh myself again tomorrow, purely out of curiosity. Losing the ‘baby weight’ was never something I really worried about during pregnancy as I continued to eat as normal and exercise throughout, right to the very end. (Last parkrun was three days before delivery!) I was curious how my body would behave post-baby and other than being in so much pain for those first few days following the section it’s been fairly strong since. Fingers crossed it remains that way for a strong return to running! #postbaby #babyweight #babyweightloss
A photo posted by Mary (@ahealthiermoo) on
It was day 8 before I finally ventured out of the house. To be honest I was still in an immense amount of pain, but desperate to get outdoors by this point. To go from running several times a week and ticking off 10,000 steps a day throughout my pregnancy to barely leaving the lounge was incredibly tough mentally as well as physically. I didn’t want to lose my fitness but I also didn’t want to go insane from staying housebound! Our first walk was literally around the block and no more than 10 minutes, but it felt so good to be outside. Unfortunately, as the porch swings round into our house the buggy needs to be put up outside, and I’m not strong enough to carry the heavy duty travel system on my own yet so am only able to head out for walks with Oscar when somebody is able to go with me.
Day 10: Friday 7th October
I’m not sure if it was the high temperature our central heating was now permanently set at (babies have to be kept in an environment at 18-20°), the man flu Dan had been rocking the week I was in hospital, the lack of sleep, or a mixture of all three but by Friday I had developed a fever and was shaking one minute and burning up the next. I layered up and felt freezing, despite my face seeming to be on fire. I had gone off food. Absolutely nothing was appealing and there were a couple of days that I made myself eat a bowl of cereal in the evenings just to make sure I was getting something in and had the energy to be able to feed Oscar.
The lack of sleep was finally catching up with me and it was on Friday that a friend mentioned to me that I should think of each day as 24 hours now, not as separate blocks of night and day. This helped when it came to my stubbornness of going to bed early and so began the routine of being in bed by 8pm. Yes, 8pm. I was up again by 10 for the next feed, but it was hard having to devote my ‘free time’ when Dan got home each evening to sleep.
Dan’s best friend was getting married on the Saturday, so by Friday lunchtime Dan had disappeared off to the Midlands, armed with a speech he had hurriedly written in between baby snuggles and having given me instructions that I was to call if anything happened. It wasn’t until after he had left that the reality of still feeling pretty useless myself whilst now having sole responsibility of a newborn hit.
Luckily, there were still plenty of people who were hoping to squeeze in a visit and I slotted in one visitor on the Friday night, another Saturday morning, with a couple and their three children at lunchtime and two more first thing on Sunday. I was relieved when Dan returned though and Oscar went back to being a joint responsibility! But being forced to step up and look after Oscar over the weekend had given me more confidence and I felt much better about Dan returning to work the following week.
Oscar will be five weeks old tomorrow, and although the last few weeks have been tough, I do feel like we’re finally beginning to get there now, and I’m no longer having to make absolutely everything up as I go along! Days are completely dictated by him though. This post was written and all ready to go apart from photos by 5am this morning. It’s now 3:30pm and I’m finally hitting publish!
Is it my nap time yet?…!