Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Post C-section body: The shiz no one tells you


I could probably write a book or two about all the things that happen to women's bodies that no one prepares you for. But what I found the most shocking is what happened to my body after I had a c-section that no one told me about.  I'll post another day on the actual surgery and recovery, but for now I'll concentrate just on what happens appearance wise.

First things first, you may not have pushed a human out of your vagina, but that doesn't mean your lady parts don't get mangled. Your labia will swell up something crazy. It may not swell evenly. It may scare the bejesus out of you to even look down there. You will worry that this is what your lady bits will look like forever. I promise you, the swelling will go down! And quickly - give it a week or two, and your lady lips will be back to normal.

Then you take a gander down to your incision, which is a little scary. Just remember, your belly was CUT open and then a child was yanked out and then you got stapled or stitched back together (I had both done - no real difference either way).  You will have these surgi-strips along your incision, which come off on their own in about two weeks, and a thin line that is kind of smile shaped. It may look crooked in the beginning - not to worry,  you are swollen and your belly is all sorts of mush in the beginning. It evens out, and eventually the scar will be so thin that you kind of forget it's there.

Because of the vast amounts of fluids that are IVed into your body both before, during, and after surgery, your legs may swell up to tree trunks. The first 24 hours you have to wear these leg compression contraptions to prevent clotting since you are laid up. But after that, you may look down and realize that you no longer have ankles. Make sure you WALK as much as you can when you are in the hospital - it helps get those fluids moving and out of your body.

And your belly - oh the joys of the weird, squishy, enormous uterus post-partum belly. You expect to pop out that baby and then have your belly and uterus shrink back down just the way it was. Sadly, this does not happen (and if it happened to you, bravo!). Instead your belly becomes this like empty sack for a while. You will lay on your side and your belly just kind of flops over. But like everything else, this too shall pass. I'm not promising that your abs will return to their former glory, but that squishiness goes away as your uterus shrinks back. Think about it - your little uterus, usually the size of a small fist or pear, gets as big as a watermelon when you are pregnant. That doesn't reverse itself overnight (and if it did, again, good for you).

I could wax poetic about how it is amazing that you created a beautiful life, and that is what you should be concentrating on right after birth. And yes, much of that is true. But that is a disservice to  how much our bodies have been through, and how crazy it all feels at the time. It's okay to be freaked out! Take a deep breathe, sniff that baby head, and remember this too shall pass.


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