While in general this blog’s focus is Mason I’ve decided to share a small update on my own recovery from the pregnancy and c-section. I’ve also got a mini-rant on c-sections in general so I’m starting there. I was talking with a mom friend at church Sunday about how many people today just don’t get that a c-section is not the ‘normal’ way to end a pregnancy. It happens so frequently in the United States that people have gotten casual over the fact that it is major surgery.
Yes, I know there are real, medical reasons to have a c-section (or I wouldn’t have had mine!) and I’m eternally grateful for medical interventions like a c-section when they are truly needed. But they are not the first or best choice to end a generally healthy pregnancy, or at least they shouldn’t be. In the U.S. 1/3 of all births end in a c-section. That is 33 out of every 100 births. It’s staggering. There is no way that 1 in every 3 deliveries have a medical problem that NEEDS resolved by a c-section. Going by that statistic I should have had a c-section long before my 7th child.
Once a woman has a cesarean in the U.S. fewer than 1 in 10 will ever deliver vaginally again. That is not because every subsequent pregnancy has a medical need for a c-section. Women are not informed that even after having a c-section you and your baby in future pregnancies face fewer risks in a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) than in another c-section. Many insurance companies, doctors, and hospitals do not encourage a VBAC because of the inconvenience and financial risk to themselves. They’re more concerned with covering their behinds than with the healthiest, lowest-risk delivery for the mother and child. It’s a sad statement. And I’m not even going to attempt to address the women who elect to have c-sections without a medically indicated need for one!! They’re just crazy.
Okay, moving on to my own recovery.
I have healed pretty well overall and feel back to normal. It took so much longer to feel that way than I’m used to though. After a vaginal birth I’m walking out of the hospital at 24 hours from delivery and I feel great. There are no narcotics for pain, or really any painkillers at all. With my c-section I really did need to take pain medication for the first 2.5 weeks, though I got off the heavy duty stuff as fast as I could.
My incision is doing well and I don’t notice it generally. If I press on it there are some spots that are numb still (nerves that were cut), and it feels weird. It’s also not centered on my lower abdomen but is more to one side. There is a reason for that, so I’m totally grateful for it. If you’ve read Mason’s blog you’ll remember he was breech and right up to delivery the doctor was not sure if he would have to do a vertical incision in my uterus to open me up enough to get Mason out without directly touching/pulling/pushing on his open spine. That would have been bad for me. But right before delivery Mason shifted sideways. He was still breech, with his head up and legs down, but he turned enough that he was facing my side, putting his open spine facing my left side. That meant by cutting my uterus off-centered Dr. M could reach in and pull Mason out without touching his spine and causing more damage to his nerves.
My weight – one of the most interesting parts of pregnancy for me has always been the weight gain and loss (or not) afterwards. My gains have been as high as over 50lbs for some of my pregnancies. With Mason I started out at a higher weight than I would have liked because Heavenly Father sent him along when my last baby Caleb was only 3 months old. I started at 195 lbs. The day Mason was born I weighed 216 lbs, a total gain of 21 lbs. A month after Mason’s birth I weighed 197 lbs, having done zero exercise and eaten anything I wanted (which included lots of chocolate).
I started using the principles from WeightWatchers at that point because I’ve had success in the past with their program. I like WW because you can literally eat any food you want to – you just have to stay within your allotted points for the day. If you really want that chocolate milkshake with french fries on the side go for it! However you’ll need to fill the rest of your day with low-point foods like fresh fruits and vegetables if you want to feel full all day. Want to know my secret? I eat chocolate every single day. I love chocolate chips and dark chocolate. I make room in my daily points to have that treat because I love it.
I’ve lost 4 lbs in the last two weeks and weighed 193 lbs this morning. And honestly there are some days when I go over my food points out of sheer laziness or a burning desire to join my family in one last treat before bed. I’m already wearing the clothing I was in when I got pregnant with Mason. Of course there is a lot of toning and weight loss yet to do to get my 5'5" self healthy.
Mason is 6 weeks old and I’ve officially been approved to get back to life as normal - lifting kids, doing the mom things that come with a houseful of children, and getting this body healthier (exercise!) before the next pregnancy comes along. Today I started my exercise with some cardio fun. I turned on Netflix and while I watched part of an episode of The Biggest Loser I walked, moved, did crunches, and generally worked up a sweat. I have not set specific exercise plans yet other than to exercise at least 5 days a week for 30 minutes this first month. I have some dvds I enjoy using (Walk Away the Pounds tops the list). I also have T-Tapp dvds and was just getting into them when I began Mason’s pregnancy. I can’t wait to start using those again as they’ll really help me focus in on strengthening my core muscles that have been stretched out like crazy from carrying another sweet baby.
My health goal is simple:
I want to be healthier today than I was yesterday.
I want to be choosing behaviors daily that will bring my body health, energy, and strength to be Mommy. My children have so much energy and I want to be able to keep up.
I want my body to be strong and ready to give life when Heavenly Father is ready to send another baby our way. Because children are blessings from God!