You know that show “The Doctors”? A teaser for an episode was, “Who has a harder recovery, mothers who have a vaginal delivery or a c-section?” I was curious, so I tuned in to see what they said. Their response: could be either one. The vaginal delivery recovery is bad if you had to get stitches (Check! But, thankfully, no major tearing) and c-section recovery is bad if you have to get cut up and down instead of side to side (Check!). So, the real answer is, it’s actually terrible if you have a baby vaginally and then get emergency surgery that slices you up and down. Winning!
Chances are, if you have stumbled across this blog, you know exactly what this sort of recovery is like (I’m sorry). However, I promise, you will feel pretty close to normal at some point. It took me a little longer than most women do postpartum, but most women don’t go through crazy complications during birth.
It was amusing to watch my nurses process through my chart. The doctor’s orders were: vaginal delivery recovery protocol, c-section recovery protocol, and a transfusion protocol. A couple of times, my nurses would just stop reading, come in, and say, “OK, what happened to you?” I appreciated being able to tell them what was going on myself. Inversions are fairly rare, so I was a first time case for many of them.
My night nurse was amazing though. I was her 3rd inversion case AND she had abdominal surgery herself at one point. She was the one who had to remove my cath, get me out of bed, and make me pee the first night. She made sure to jack up my morphine right before moving me. She didn’t get frustrated with me when I was terrified to pee, and made sure that, after the first night, she and the nursery nurse came at the same time (4 am) to prevent interrupting my sleep unnecessarily. I missed her after we got home!
My nurses also helped me come up with a pretty genius way to wrap my belly and protect my vertical incision. I had a belly binder, so we took a maxi pad and laid it over my incision before binding me up. Then, after being all wrapped up, we put those diaper size pads in the mesh panties, which I pulled up over the bottom edge of the binder. Not the sexiest ensemble, but it did the job!
I wore the binder at home for a while. They took out my staples over the course of the week after delivery. The OB then super glued the incision and taped everything to be sure everything stayed super secure. After the incision was healed better, I switched to an Ace bandage wrapped around my stomach for a while. Pants were painful for a long time, especially anything with zippers, so I got cozy with loose waist band pants in my closet!
The trick to recovering at home was keeping up with pain meds. Pure and simple. Don’t be a hero, your insides were forcibly moved outside your body. My OB warned me that those pesky RLPs would be a problem because everything was so pulled and so stretched during the inversion.
WARNING: If they give you narcotic pain meds, start taking Colace ASAP. Pooping after surgery is miserable. Pooping after surgery, having taken narcotics, and not taking a stool softener is terrifying. I thought I was reopening all of my stitches. Take Colace, end of story.
The other trick to recovery is moving around. This part blows. Walking is not fun, and stairs are a nightmare. Shoot, sitting up is a nightmare. But, the silver-lining is, the sooner you get blood flowing properly, the sooner you will feel better. It took me a good 3 months or so to be completely pain-free, but the pain was significantly lessened after about 3 weeks.
The last thing I wanted to say about my recovery was, it really did take about a year to 18 months to feel 100% “myself” again. Every nurse and doctor I’ve spoken to in this field has echoed this principle, “It really does take 18-24 months to fully heal your body after that sort of trauma and surgery.” I run, eat well, take my vitamins, and all of those other things essentially to feeling good, but giving myself the time to really feel “recovered” was the most important piece of the puzzle.