What C-Section Recovery is Like

I’m no stranger to surgery, even when that surgery is a Cesarean Section. Why? Pregnancy #2 ended a bit dramatically, culminating in a Traditional C-Section. Turns out one’s not allowed to labor after that.

This Ol’ Pregnancy Rodeo happened a few years after the others, however, so I’d forgotten a few everything. So what have I learned so far?

  1. It hurts.
    What hurts? Everything. My stomach is tender, my uterus aches, my intestines can’t quite figure out where they’re supposed to end up, and my nether regions are trying to remember how to function.
  2. I can’t bend over.
    I can, but am certain that action’s bringing on the rupture of something I need later, like my bladder. Mostly I shake my fist at everything that drops and curse gravity.
  3. I am SO EXHAUSTED.
    Right after my first C-Section, I remember trying to dust the furniture in the living room. I did one table before collapsing on the sofa, ready for a nap. I’ve had even more to do this time and am therefore entirely dependent on chocolate and threats to my other children.
  4. Babies don’t sleep.
    Well, they do sleep A LOT. If the baby boy’s not eating, he is only content to be asleep. Still, his schedule’s enough to make Buddy the Elf want a nap. This is true whether I had a C-Section or not, but makes Side Effect #3 that much more difficult.
  5. Babies need stuff.
    From diaper changes to laundry to walking around, the baby’s needs are tricky to meet when you consider Items 1-3. Just holding the little one to nurse and burp involves dexterity in order to avoid my midsection.
  6. I’m fat.
    In the space where the baby once occupied there’s a big, squishy void. It hurts (see #1), it can’t firm up yet, and it makes me feel like Totoro since I put on an extra 50 pounds during pregnancy.

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The upside of the whole thing was scheduling exactly when I would deliver. This came in handy for arranging babysitting and planning out the month’s events afterwards. I also didn’t have to deal with labor pains or tearing during delivery.

Now, someone may be reading this when she didn’t schedule surgery. My second, unexpected, emergency C-Section fell into that category. No, there’s no scheduling. Still, this can give one a handy guide if she’s wondering what’s normal and what’s not.

Hang in there for a relaxing six weeks, buy a belly band, and accept any and all offers to help. And have hope: this is my fourth time recovering, and I’ve always bounced right back to bending and sleeping. I even lost the extra weight …eventually.

 

Photo Credit: Image by manseok Kim from Pixabay

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Top Ten Things to Never Tell a Pregnant Woman

As I’m more obviously pregnant now, I’m getting a few well-meaning comments and questions from people. While most know to avoid the “are you pregnant” one, a few of the others I’ve heard left me thinking that I really need to make a list.

So, without further ado, here are The Top Ten Things to Never Tell a Pregnant Woman:

10. “You don’t look pregnant.”
Since I first felt the wonderful joys of ‘morning’ sickness, this comment has hurt. I realize it’s coming from good intentions, I do. Still, when you’re already aching in your lady parts and constantly feeling like tossing your Saltines, hearing that you don’t look pregnant is the worst.

9. “You look so cute.”
I don’t know why, but I’ve heard this one several times lately. No, I do not look cute. I look like a whale. I look like an elephant. I look like myself in a Sumo wrestler suit that I cannot take off for …a few years. Cute things are little and precious, and I am neither of those whilst pregnant.

8. Assurances of how long it took them to bounce back.
This is more of a stinging comment for older women who are pregnant. If it’s their first time in the ring, they might be more severely depressed post-partum when they can’t go jogging within a week. If it’s not their first time, they know better and don’t need the reminder -especially from someone who looks like she never carried anything heavier than a baby guppy.

7. Lists of risks for the foods the pregnant women is eating.
Another helpful one. If the person is really looking to be helpful, a kind reminder BEFORE any money or effort is spent would be nice. Or -as the best idea- show up with perfectly safe foods for the pregnant woman and her entire family.

6. “You’re eating for two.” Wink, wink
Lady, I know I’m pigging out. Maybe I’m just excited that the food’s staying down this time. Maybe I really do have cravings that seem to involve the wrong side of The Food Pyramid. Maybe I need to eat every hour because my stomach is being smashed in an upside-down direction.
Whatever option you pick, keep it to yourself. And, pass the ice cream.

5. “It’s only nine months.”
You know what? YOU try it.

4. Horrible delivery stories.
Again; as helpful as these are intended to be, maybe keep them to yourself. Especially if the pregnant woman has done IVF or prayed for ten years or whatnot, stories of botched or nearly-botched deliveries are terrible. Didn’t you know that stressing the mom out can cause premature labor? -Yeah, don’t tell her that, either.

3. Shameful comments about her birthing plan.
I addressed this somewhat in my article on planning a C-Section. If you know the person well enough to comment, maybe begin with a simple question: Are you choosing that plan because of past complications?
There’s always a nice way to say things and I know people can choose that way.

2. Horror stories of what the baby looked like, or how it changed sexes.
Like I mentioned in #4, just don’t. No one needs to worry that she’s going to pop out some alien with tentacles where they shouldn’t be.

1. Stories of babies dying.
I once expressed my anxieties about birth to a former neighbor, who responded that at least the child would be “teaching people in heaven.” That is not comforting; that is strange.
Getting a baby to attach, grow, not have complications, and pop out is HUGE. Please, please don’t tell an expectant mom about someone losing her child at birth. Save it for if that happens to her, when you give her a genuine hug and help her to cope.

—————

Here’s what went down this past week:
Sunday
, October 6: “No Kids Allowed: The Death of the Family,” an observation of society’s changing expectations.

Monday, October 7: “The Toilet Seat, a poem.”

Tuesday, October 8: Shared a quote by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Wednesday, October 9: Recommended mixing your own cleaners.

Thursday, October 10: “Eat a Balanced Diet?,” a snippet concerning dieting.

Friday, October 11: Thought about raised voices in “The Merits of Yelling in the House.”

Saturday, October 12: Shared Marcy G‘s tweet about kids and their feelings of ownership.

Sunday, October 13: That’s today!

 

Photo Credit:

©2019 Chelsea Owens

I Have No Advice

Today’s been a rough one. No, I haven’t rushed anyone to the hospital (yet). There haven’t been any fires (yet). Everyone’s limbs are still attached and the house is still here.

We’re all a little cranky from staying up late. That’s probably it.

Serves me right for organizing them all into an “at home campout” last night after our neighborhood one was cancelled. Serves me right for dragging mats, sleeping bags, furniture, and snacks into the family room. Serves me right for watching an action film (the only sort my husband says he can stand watching with the kids) until 11 p.m.

So, I have no advice like “be a fun parent.” Look where it got me.

If you’re going to get any advice out of me today, it’s that you ought to take naps. Frequent naps.

Maybe have the kids take a nap, too.

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Photo Credit:
Pim Chu

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

“We Don’t Point Guns at People”

Once while browsing through clothes at a consignment shop, I witnessed an interesting mother. She and her daughter were looking through dresses. A small boy zoomed past; I guessed him to be 3 or 4 years old. He waved a toy pistol he’d ‘borrowed’ from the toys for sale and made shooting sounds as he ran.

“Pew! Pew!”

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The woman stopped the pretend assault and relieved him of his weapon. “Now, Garrett**,” she admonished, “We don’t shoot guns.”

She might have gotten offended if she’d seen my expression, a mixture of hilarity and shock. For, in our house of 4.5 boys, we possess a full arsenal of Nerf guns, Nerf crossbows, plastic bows, Nerf swords, Minecraft swords, and many off-brand toy hand guns. When not shooting darts all over the basement; my kids and their friends hurl pillows, socks, and each other at each other.

The consignment shop mother’s comment reminded me of my own mother’s words, once upon a time. My oldest was two years old, and he had been fascinated with guns since he’d learned to speak. After aiming a squirt gun her way, my mother said, “No, Samuel**, we don’t point guns at people.”

All this talk of guns and swords and pro-gun rights for children might peg me as a weapons-happy, gun-lovin’, dyed-in-the-wool carrier who won’t have my right to bear arms ripped from anything but my cold, dead fingers.

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Although I am in favor of that amendment, my support of the boys and their pretend weapons stems from logic.

  1. My children turn most objects into weapons, and then use those weapons to attack each other. The toy guns with their sponge bullets give them a better outlet for that aggression.
  2. It’s impossible to play the sorts of war games mentioned in #1 without ever pointing a gun at a person.
  3. All of my rules have been created to channel the boys’ actions into somewhere productive instead of trying to make them stop feeling the way they do.

So, what’s a mom to do? Our official rules are:

*You can’t shoot anyone not playing The Gun Game and not holding a gun.
*You can’t shoot heads or sensitive parts.
*You can’t shoot at close range.
*Swords can only hit other swords.
*Only wrestle with Dad.

Actually, our #1 rule, the one I made years and years and years ago is:

*No heads, no necks.

My sister thinks it’s hilarious, but now she has children of her own….

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—————

Sunday, September 8: “Parents, Put the Phone Away!!!,” a post encouraging parents to put the phone away.

Monday, September 9: “The Boy Mom Poem

Tuesday, September 10: Shared a funny parenting meme.

Wednesday, September 11: Outlined the steps for framing a beautiful food picture.

Thursday, September 12: “Underpants and Floor Food,” a snippet about what children prefer.

Friday, September 13: Discussed teaching how income and credit cards work in, “Kids and Credit Cards (The Magic Money.

Saturday, September 14: Shared Anxiouscougar‘s tweet about funny things we tell our toddler.

Sunday, September 15: That’s today!

**Names changed

 

Photo Credits:
Image by ariesa66 from Pixabay
Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels
Photo by Alex Kalligas on Unsplash
Image by นัทธิ์กวี แก้วบุญ from Pixabay

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Kids Can Work!

My husband grew up without chores. I kid you not. His mother had some philosophy about her husband’s household (13 kids by the time they stopped) having far too many jobs, and somehow equated that with her children needing none.

My upbringing was more typical: keep your room clean, rotating dishes assignment, and more labor-intensive Saturday Jobs. Even with that; my mother did the floors, toilets, laundry, and decorating.

When I first birthed a child, I had no plans or outlines for his future chores. When he started being mobile and ‘helped’ anyway, I began formulating rough ideas.

My first assisted me with:

  1. Unloading the dishwasher
  2. Sorting and folding laundry
  3. Watering or weeding the yard outside
  4. Vacuuming
  5. Dusting
  6. Toy pick up

In practical application; that meant:

  1. Putting some plastic items away and being chased after for removing a glass dish and running
  2. Swimming through the clothes, usually without any on his person
  3. Playing with everything, especially mud, and needing a bath within five minutes
  4. Fighting over how to run a vacuum over carpet, since he did not want to follow any sort of grid
  5. Waaaay too much polish
  6. “I’m too tiiiii-iiiiired to pick up!”

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Not that I didn’t persist. After all, he always tailed me and wanted someone to do something with him all day.

What’s been interesting to me is that years and years of chore expectations and (sometimes sporadic) patterns of assigned jobs has led to them all (A) knowing chores are expected and (B) teaching the younger brothers by example.

Today, I can whip out a chore chart my FIVE YEAR OLD can do; jobs that include:

  1. Clean the bathroom (toilets, sink, counter, mirror, floor; refill soap and TP; empty garbage)
  2. Fold and put away your clothes (including hanging up dress clothes)
  3. Dust and polish the furniture (they still use enough polish to slide off the railings)
  4. Unload and load the dishwasher (a lot of spilled water, but they do it)
  5. Pick up and vacuum a room

The moral of the story? No matter how tiiii-iiiired the kids think they are, they actually are capable. No matter how reticent you feel to assign something as monumental as toilets, they can learn to do it.

Most importantly: no matter how much of a favor you think you’re doing your children by not assigning jobs, THEIR WIVES WILL WANT TO KILL YOU IF YOU DID NOT TEACH THEM.

 

Photo Credits:
Image by LaterJay Photography from Pixabay
Image by truthseeker08 from Pixabay

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens