Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's Not Simple Like Knee Surgery

For today's topic, I'm going to briefly turn from the adorable newborn pretending to sleep in the next room, and instead focus briefly on me and my recovery from major abdominal surgery (as I am constantly being told), which has been a bit up and down.

My L&D hospital stay marked the first time I'd ever been admitted to a hospital for any reason, as well as the first surgery I'd ever had. To put it mildly, I was impatient to get home, get recovered, and get busy developing my new "normal." In the hospital, I was up and out of bed as soon as the nurses would let me, and I never looked back. I had horrible swelling in my feet and ankles, even worse than during my pregnancy, probably because I flatly refused to get back into bed and elevate them. The swelling didn't go down until somewhere around week two. (On a related topic: I have no shoes that fit. My entire pre-pregnancy shoe collection is too small, and my pregnancy shoes are about half a size too big. It sucks. But I digress.) Also, I hate how I feel when I take strong pain killers, so after the c-section, I was only on Advil. In retrospect, not my smartest decision.

For weeks after LL's birth, I felt okay when I was just sitting still, or even walking, but "transitioning" between states really sucked -- standing up, sitting down, shifting in a chair, getting in and out of bed... those were all excruciatingly painful for the entire first month. I also developed a horrible rash across my abdomen from the tape used to hold down the surgical sheet during the c-section.

Anyway, I apparently over-exerted myself during that first week, which caused repeated bouts of increased bleeding until my family intervened and ordered me to sit down already. (Or so I'm told... my labor and delivery are clear as a bell in my mind, but the two weeks immediately afterward are really blurry.) We had a rotation of family members staying with us for the first three weeks, and between them and S, I was carefully watched and kept from even pretending to do anything remotely strenuous. (Driving, lifting things, carrying things, bending over, sitting on the floor, kneeling.) There were advantages: I probably wasn't as exhausted as I could have been, and my incision seems to have healed quickly. Also, S got very good at changing diapers, since I had a hard time bending over to do it, so he's still handling the majority of the poop in our household. There were also, however, disadvantages: my abdominal muscles are completely non-existent now. The result right now is that I'm practically incapable of doing anything with my abs, and my back is really sore from compensating.

I had my 6-week post-partum doctor's visit this week, and I'll admit that I expected to be healed by the time this visit came along. Instead, the area between my incision and my belly button still feels really really tender, I'm still having a lot of vaginal discharge and bleeding (making me continually anemic, which is adding to the fatigue), and I still have to steel myself a bit to stand up out of a chair, get up off the floor, or roll over in bed. Dr. M says all of the above is normal, and when I asked when I could expect it to go away, he kept shrugging and saying, "A few more weeks." Sigh. But at least I'm now cleared for any and all physical activity, so I can start trying to build my abs back into shape. Never before in my life have I been excited to start exercising!

Also, good news: I've lost 23 of the 28 pounds I gained during my pregnancy. The bad news: once I lose those last 5 pounds, I get to focus on the 12 I gained during fertility treatments. And after that, I should really address the weight that I should have lost before even trying to get pregnant. But, um, yeah, one step at the time. For now, the frustrating thing is that, despite the weight loss, I'm still not really fitting into any of my pre-pregnancy clothing. My shirts are too tight around my breasts, which are huge from breast feeding, and my pants are tight around my hips, which is ironic, considering that my hips weren't wide enough to birth LL. At the same time, my maternity clothes are all way too big on me -- the shirts balloon down around my belly, and the pants continually fall down off my waist. Given the continued tenderness around my incision, I'm preferring the too big over the too small, but I feel hideous in everything I own. Blech.

Okay, enough about me. Next post returns to LL: his bris, his ongoing parade of admirers, and our attempts to get him onto some sort of sleep schedule.

3 comments:

  1. I have to admit that I'm very surprised that your doctor did not take the pain and tenderness of your incision more seriously. I'm 4 weeks post c section and pretty much back to normal. Granted everybody heals at different rates, but still...

    I hope you start feeling much better soon. In the meantime take it easy!

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  2. Feel better and let S continue with the poop duty :-)

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  3. A few things honey - REST! I was like you impatient to get back my "new' normal. The lack of rest will catch up with you and like you said, you had um, MAJOR SURGERY!

    (2) hit the cheap fashionable clothing store. It took you 9 months to build that house that cared for your unborn child, its not going away anytime soon. Cheap, fashionable clothes go a long way in helping you feel better

    (3) You are beautiful, and being healthy is way more important than being a particular weight. Your body will burn up alot with the breastfeeding - again it took time to build the house, it will take time for it to go away

    (4) REST, rest as much as you can. enjoy being able to rest. because soon you will not be able to.

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