One of the most common questions we’re asked as doulas is how to physically prepare for pregnancy, birth and recover postpartum. Join us on the blog today with Stacey Hendricks, a Cincinnati Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist.
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Can I enjoy a glass of wine, a beer or a cocktail when breastfeeding? Do I have to pump & dump? Join us on the blog today with Laurie Nommsen-Rivers, PhD, RD, IBCLC for the most up-to-date information.
Sleep. More specifically, sleeping-in. That's what I was afraid of while I was pregnant. HOW ON EARTH WILL I SLEEP-IN? My perfect Saturday: Sleeping in and brunch. I don't ask for much in life. I swear it. Girls just wanna have fun, ya know? But then you're pregnant, and thinking of everything you might miss out on...
“You’ve had 5?”
“Yes, I’ve had 5.”
I know how to burn bacon in the oven, how to organize a family of 7 in a house built for 3, how to run a half marathon… I know about so many things, but not many as intimately as recovering from a cesarean.
It is a completely foreign idea to most, to think that someone could even have five cesareans, but for me, it is reality. I’m going to help you out a little and try to save you a bit of the learning curve on the other side...
Here are the top 5 things I know about recovering from a cesarean for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th times:
- You will be more prepared.
Especially if it is a planned repeat cesarean. You’ll know what to expect and have a little prep time before the birth and baby coming home to think out where you’ll sleep so you don’t climb too many stairs, who will be there to support you those first few days home (since now you’ve had major surgery and a newborn plus older kids), and you’ll have picked a date and time that works with your schedule so holidays and birthdays and, for the most part, life as usual won’t be interrupted.
- People will ask questions and decide what you should have done.
Why did you have another cesarean? Why didn’t you even try? Don’t they tie your tubes after that many? You know you could have had a VBAC? The questions from even complete strangers will roll in and so will those opinions… and it is those that can tear your postpartum apart. They sneak into your mind and soul and even when you know in your heart you’ve made the very best decision for your family, the “what ifs” still creep in. Phone a friend. Talk to your partner. Talk to your doula. Don’t let those nay-sayers get you down. Step away from the mommy boards and try to remember why you made the choices you did. You are a strong and capable adult and those questions and opinions from others stink because you freaking ROCK!
- You will push too hard and test your limits.
Those restrictions mean about half as much as they did the first time you were told; at least to you because you’ve already been there done that. You know what works best for you and, now, with older children at home to care for as well, you will push your limits. You will forget to eat, forget that you just had major surgery, and forget to even sit down! Don’t. It will catch up to you and it will catch up to you quicker than you think. Rest. Get help from your partner, a friend, a postpartum doula, whomever it may be, you need to take time to recover! And even though you may feel fantastic and know what to expect… your body needs to heal, just the same (if not more).
- People will expect more.
They’ve seen you go through this before. They know you know what to expect and have planned for a lot of it this time around; they will expect you to be fine. Not on purpose, not because they are jerky-jerk faces, but because they know you’ve done this before. People think it is easier the second time around, but typically that’s not the case. They forget to tell you to slow down, to rest, and that you need the support… you know, all those sweet things they did the first time? Take a breather. Talk to the people around you and ask them for help to remind you to slow down. I know how hard it can be to ask for help, especially when you feel like people will be looking for you to be super woman, but deep down they want to help and they aren’t not supporting you on purpose. When in doubt, go back to #3.
- Every cesarean recovery is different.
Every recovery will come with its own set of new challenges. There’s no way to predict how quickly or slowly you’re going to feel yourself again. What may have taken you 3 days post cesarean last time, may take you weeks this time around. You may have developed an infection last time, but this time around it is like smooth sailing. You just never know. Take your time. Be gentle with yourself. Push yourself, but get more rest than you think you need. I can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure you have a support system in place. Recovering from a cesarean after having one previously (CBAC) is no joke; it is no walk in the park and it is by no means an easy way out. You need to take time and let yourself heal. Surround yourself with people who you can talk to and will support you. Whether that is your family, your friends, a postpartum doula, or all of them… You deserve support, probably more than ever before!
Jessica Dill is the owner of Special Dilliveries, LLC (www.specialdilliveries.com) and resides in the tiny town of Burlington, Indiana with her husband (Rob), 5 children (too many to name), dog (Timber), cats(Tali and Al), and slew of chickens.
Parenting is hard. Adulting is hard. Life is hard.
And since the universe is a sadist that enjoys watching us suffer, eating vegetables is also hard. Apparently, the so-called “experts” say that we’re supposed to eat at least three servings of veggies every day-- the greener, the leafier, the better.
That’s cute. Real cute.
Are these experts aware that most of us fancy grown-ups are barely getting one fruit or veggie in our diet in a day? Sometimes we manage to eat one of each, if we’re feeling like an overachiever. The pressures of modern life causes our time and energy to be consumed in other way more important things, like planning the most Pinterest-worthy baby nursery or getting in our daily kegels. (Or do squats if kegels aren’t your thing. Taking care of your pelvic floor health is the hottest new trend.)
So, what do we do when our doctor is giving us the “I’m not mad, I’m disappointed” face when they find out about our sub-par diet? What if we’re not “salad people” and we think that broccoli smells like farts? (It seriously does.) There’s hope, I promise. Let me share some things that I know about leafy greens to help transform you into a fancy grown-up that eats kale sometimes without having to put in much effort.
- Iceberg lettuce doesn't count.
I’m sorry, guys. I’m really, really sorry. Iceberg lettuce has practically no nutrients. It’s basically just fiber and water. Plus, it’s only really palatable when it’s raw. Don’t martyr your lunch for a bland salad with iceberg lettuce. If you really need some crispy greens in your life, swap iceberg for romaine lettuce. It still has the soft crunch, but it is way more nutrient dense. With prenatal nutrition, the name of the game is quantity and quality.
- Spinach is basically magic.
Think of your favorite dinner recipes to make at home. Chances are, you can wilt spinach into it. What if I told you that you could hide an entire 9 oz bag of raw spinach into your favorite lasagna, and no one would be able to taste it? When are you cooking the tomato sauce, throw the spinach or kale in the pan with the tomatoes and watch it wilt down to almost nothing. It’s like eating a salad that tastes like lasagna!
- Smoothies hide everything.
Even the most veggie-averse of us would likely agree that fruit smoothies are palatable. The next time you make a fruit smoothie, throw in a generous handful of spinach or kale. Don’t look at me like that, just do it. It’s a win-win situation-- you get to enjoy a yummy, fruity treat while still patting yourself on the back for tricking yourself into eating something green. (Take note: this trick also works well on toddlers!)
- Put it in a sandwich.
Sandwiches are basically an American pastime. We eat sandwiches like it’s nobody’s business. The next time you’re in line at Subway or making a melty grilled cheese at home, try adding spinach to your sandwich. The spinach is hard to notice when it’s stuck between toasty bread and cheese and tomatoes and pickles and sliced turkey and mayo and all those other things that make you go “mmm…”
- It can reduce your risk of perineal tearing.
The nutrients in leafy greens, mostly Calcium and Vitamin A, can help improve your skin elasticity and reduce your risk of stretch marks and perineal tearing. So, um...yeah. If that doesn’t make you want to eat a big bag of raw spinach right now, then I don’t know what else to tell you.
I get it. Green things are yucky and so much less tempting than a savory plate of french fries most of the time. But I believe in you! You are a fancy grown-up, and you can do hard things. And sometimes those hard things include adding a bag of raw spinach to your weekly grocery list.