Surprise, surprise, there’s more that I didn’t know about having a baby… And what I needed to aid in my cesarean recovery was included in that long list. I was lucky (or I guess as lucky as you can be when you have to be cut open to get your baby out) to know ahead of time that I would need a belly birth, even though I didn’t know it would be at 34 weeks. Since I knew it was a possibility, I read through websites and blogs galore about what to expect after surgery. I was thankful to those women who wrote about their experiences (if you haven’t already, you can check out my birth story post here). What’s great about these items is they can be used no matter what type of birth you end up having. So I can only hope that there’s a mama who’s preparing for hers, a caring husband wanting to relieve some discomfort, or a concerned friend piecing together a curated care package that can benefit from these 5 things I swore by during my recovery.
1. Stool Softener – Dulcolax
Yeah yeah, I know it’s gross and no one wants to talk about it… But pooping hurts after a cesarean (and a vaginal birth – shit gets real). And honestly, it’s mostly mental. The thought of using any muscle below the arms is terrifying already, and any attempt to push something else out (especially if you went through a trial of labor) is pure torture. That’s where stool softeners can really come in handy. But don’t mistake stool softeners for laxatives (like I did…) cause then you’ll just be in a whole new world of misery.
2. Gas-X Strips
After your insides being exposed to air and then sewn back up with some air that made itself at home inside ya, you’re bound to let out some lady puffs. And girl, those aren’t comfortable either. Do yourself a favor and pick up a pack of these strips that just dissolve on your tongue so you don’t have to worry about taking another pill. Plus, they make your breath minty-fresh so you don’t even have to brush your teeth! JK JK LOLOLOL.
3. Dry Shampoo – Batiste
I’ll be honest here, I was so scared to take a shower after my cesarean. The thought of potentially getting my incision wet or soapy, let alone just STANDING in the shower, freaked me out. Needless to say, showers were scarce those first few days, especially since we were living in the NICU and the showers there aren’t too glamorous. During that time, dry shampoo was my greasy hair’s BFF. I recently switched to Batiste and love it (they make ones specific for hair colors too which is SO helpful for those of us with not blonde hair!), and I threw a couple carry-on sized cans in my bag for touch-ups. Bonus tip: You can spray a bit down there to freshen her up too until you’re up for a shower.
4. Granny Panties – Hanes or Kindred Bravely
The skin all around your incision is incredibly sensitive. It can be pretty painful to have clothing, especially fitted items like underwear, rubbing up against it all day. After you’ve run out of the mesh underwear from the hospital (OMG take as many pairs as you can, they’re amazing), I’d suggest having your husband or a friend who won’t laugh at you grab some granny panties that are 2-3 sizes larger than you usually wear. Get cheap ones too, because chances are they’ll get some… ahem, lady stains on them. You can also grab some prettier ones from Kindred Bravely for after the mess is gone, because your incision will hurt long after the bleeding stops.
5. Nightgowns/Nursing Dresses – Target or Milkmaid Goods
As mentioned above, having clothes that rub against your stomach is hell. Do yourself another favor and invest in boobs-easily-exposed nightgowns or nursing dresses. Milkmaid Goods has cute house dresses that I hear are incredibly soft. Of course, you can’t go wrong by heading to Target either. They have a great long sleeve nightgown and a tank option as well.