I wound up being the surgeon’s third procedure of the day. We bought him a Kit Kat bar to keep his blood sugar up after one of his nurses told us he loves chocolate and candy. A few quick kisses and I was wheeled into the OR. I was calm (thanks to something they throw in your IV as you’re being wheeled down the hall) and remember a few things about the room and the people getting me situated, including them scolding me for attempting to move onto the OR table on my own, before going completely out. Surgery lasted approximately two hours. The doctor said it was pretty easy to operate on me without the usual “Wisconsin padding” he contends with, so my surgery was a little speedier than anticipated. They wheeled me back to my room at about 7:45 pm and my sister and husband were waiting for me. I got to finally drink some cranberry juice and gatorade (after not eating for 24 hours they never tasted better) and spent the night watching more bad tv with my sister and getting poked and prodded every couple of hours. I was instructed to take five deep breaths every hour with a plastic spirometer to prevent pneumonia, which can develop from laying around so much. I took my first short walk that night about 10:30 pm around the halls.
Aside: When our first dog had half of her foot amputated and I picked her up the next morning I marveled at how she was wagging her tail and trying to get to me on her little stump, even though it was obviously painful and made her limp. There is a reason animals in the wild get up and moving so quickly after being injured – use it or lose it.
I was mostly sleepy and swollen feeling, but no pain. My surgeon used a slow-acting nerve block that kept my abdomen numb for nearly three days afterward. The next morning it was a steady stream of doctors, nurses, PT/OT, nutritionist, coordinators, etc. I was given a goal of five walks around the halls and stepped up from clear liquids to a transitional diet for lunch, and told after lunch I could go home later that afternoon. The 20 minute ride home wasn’t too terrible and it was great to be in my own space. I was given prescriptions for Hydrocodone, Tramadol and a stool softener. I had been on Tramadol and Toradol in the hospital and wasn’t interested in anything new (or highly addictive and constipating) so I stuck with the Tramadol and Tylenol XS the first day or two, rotating on a three-hour schedule. The pain was low and dull, similar to period cramps, nothing that wasn’t manageable. I also slept and dozed a lot and utilized more pillows than one would think possible to keep my legs elevated and my back supported. After 15 years of yoga and pilates to learn how to use my core to move properly, 50% of the discomfort I felt was from protecting my abs and recruiting my lower back to compensate. A heating pad or Bio-Freeze gel helps with that periodically throughout the day and to fall asleep. Sneezing and coughing (which is exasperated by the intubation) are kind of scary, so you need to be prepared with a pillow to brace your belly, and even then it still feels like your stitches are going to blow.
At this point I want to start a gofundme to buy gifts for every woman who has ever had a c-section. I can’t imagine dealing with the retrieval/lower incision on top of having to care for a baby every two hours and not having the luxury to sleep whenever you need to. Someone get on this.