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Birth Recovery [C-section verses Vaginal Birth]

Happy Wednesday people of the Internet. I hope you are all having a great week! Today in my “down time” I was thinking back on the birth experiences I have had.

Some of you may already know the details and for those of you that do not,  I encourage you to read my previous posts. Long story short, in 2013 I had an unnecessary c-section in the birth of our son. Just last month I had a non medicated vaginal birth with our daughter. Both birth experiences were completely different from each other and even the recovery period has been different as well.

You may be wondering, what differences are there?
Well from my experiences the vaginal birth was a lot more easier to recover from.
For starters, I hardly remember going from the operating room to the recovery room after my c-section. The drugs had me pretty loopy for a bit (which I am thankful for after having a major surgery). I was pretty tired and run down with the anesthesia. Once the anesthesia wore off and I was starting to get the feeling back in my body HOLY COW was there pain. Sure they give you pain medications to keep you “comfortable”, but it was not easy. I remember even trying to get up to get my son out of the rolling cart was frustrating because I could hardly move. I couldn’t take a bath, but I could take a shower. I did have to be very careful not to get my incision soaked. Walking was a challenge because your muscles are sore, tired, and still slightly numb after surgery. I couldn’t get up without someone supervising me.
After the vaginal birth of our daughter it was like an instant relief of  all pain that came along with being pregnant and the laboring process. There was some cramping after wards, but nothing like the pain of surgery. I was able to move freely and take a bath as soon as I wanted. I even got to take a bath with our daughter. Essentially I felt more normal not having to deal with the pains and incision of a c-section. I did not have to rely on the nurses to help me with anything after the vaginal birth, unlike the c-section they were helping me get up, get down, pick up the baby, put the baby down; you get the idea. After the delivery of our daughter I had an extreme adrenaline rush. I was wide awake and able to enjoy bonding with her and seeing all our family come and meet her. I was able to be present, without being groggy or having severe pains.
Before you go home after having a c-section you have to meet certain criteria; you have to be able to walk on your own and you have to be able to have a bowel movement. After a vaginal birth they don’t really need to worry about those things.

After a c-section, when you go home, you don’t want to be alone. You are still recovering from surgery for at least the next 6 weeks. I remember the day after going home was difficult then it was okay for a few days. About a week postpartum is was hard again. You just want to be “normal” again and not rely on anyone else to take care of your new baby. Luckily my husband had that first week off so that made life more manageable while my body was starting to heal. Once he did go back to work I spent a lot of time on the couch with the swing and a rolling cart next to me so that I did not have to get up a ton. Coughing, laughing, and sneezing became a dreaded thing because it reminds you of how much pain is still there in your incision area.
Going home after a vaginal delivery was so much easier. I did “suffer” from symphysis pubis dysfunction, hemorrhoids, and a second degree tear. None in which are fun, but much more manageable than all the pain surrounding a c-section.  I did not need to rely on people to help me get around the house or doing things for me. I was able to get back to my normal self a lot more quickly.

Even today, 3.5 years after my c-section, I still have numbness in my incision area. I have had a difficult time trying to do any abdominal exercises because my muscle memory in my incision area is gone. It does also get itchy from time to time, which can be annoying.
At this point in time, 4 weeks post vaginal birth, I can’t imagine having long lasting issues from that birth as I have had from my c-section. My pelvic issues have started resolving themselves and my tear has not bothered me at all.

All in all I would choose the vaginal birth all over again over having another c-section. Sure, for me, the labor and delivery part was less painful during a c-section than a vaginal birth, but the recovery is so much more rewarding and worth it to experience (in comparison) a little amount of pain for a day than a lot of pain for weeks and lasting effects for years.

Jenn

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