We were headed home!
I stayed in the hospital for about 36 hours and then we were discharged to go home. (I could have stayed longer if I wanted to.) That car ride home was a tad uncomfortable. I basically held my incision the whole way home because every bump was painful.
We had family staying with us for the first few weeks after she was born, which was really great. Especially because I was pretty immobile.
I was SO excited to be able to lie on my back comfortably after pregnancy, and then due to the surgery I couldn’t actually lie flat on my back for about the first 10 days postpartum.
I had to sleep in a reclined position in bed. The pillows, ohhh the pillows.
I couldn’t lie on my side for a good 2 weeks. Every time I had to get up in the night to nurse Steele I would have to try to reach my arms behind me and puuuush myself up to a seated position because I couldn’t roll over to get seated. I was grateful for strength training at these times!
And, then there were the night sweats. YIKES. I would wake up with drenched clothes and sheets multiple times a night, which lasted for a good month. It’s amazing what our bodies do!
It wasn’t all doom and gloom though, ha! Just challenges. Mindset, mindset, mindset.
But, let’s back up!
We got home and started to get into our new life.
Learning how parent a newborn, breastfeed, all while recovering from the C-section was definitely tough – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Plus, postpartum times can be just plain hard in general. There were also a lot of moments of joy, of course 😉
Here’s where things got even trickier:
On Day 8 postpartum, my incision was feeling worse than it had over the last few days. It was really red AROUND the scar, it was warm to the touch, and it just didn’t look quite right.
The next day, I texted a picture of my scar to the midwives and talked to them on the phone. They suggested I go into our local Urgent Care facility to get it looked at because it was looking like it could be infected. Oy.
So, off we went that afternoon.
Once I saw the doctor, she immediately said I needed to be hooked up to IV antibiotics. It was infected. They hooked me up for one dose and made me an appointment for the next morning to see an outpatient clinic at the hospital where I gave birth so they could do more treatment, if necessary.
When we got home that evening, I went to the bathroom, looked down at my scar and it was pouring out fluids.
I immediately showed it to Randy and we decided we should go to emerge at the hospital because whaaaat?!
When we got there the wait time was 5 hours to see a doctor. Luckily though, they have you see a triage nurse quite soon after arriving in case they can fix you up and send you home then and there.
The nurse was fantastic and reassuring. She told me that it was probably a good sign, actually! That the infection was getting out of my body. She re-dressed the incision and said we could head home if we wanted and just come back in the morning.
We went back to the hospital the next morning and they decided it was best to continue the IV antibiotics AND oral antibiotics.
The clinic (at Foothills hospital in Calgary, AB) was fantastic because they teach you how to CHANGE YOUR OWN IV BAG at home! I was so thankful that we didn’t have to stay at the hospital and could just go home.
They taught Randy how to change my IV bag and gave me this fanny pack type pouch to carry the bag around in. This was Friday morning, and I would be hooked up until at least Monday.
So, for the next 3 days I carried around this bag everywhere I went…because it was attached in my arm, ha! All while nursing, carrying, and mom-ing Steele.
But, it worked! The infection looked far better come Monday and they removed the IV.
Phew. I went on more oral antibiotics for another week to ensure things were completely cleared up. I was also on some suuuuper strong probiotics and we started probiotics for Steele to keep our guts as healthy as possible with these mega doses of antibiotics.
I have never been so thankful for modern medicine and our healthcare system in Canada throughout the C-section and when the infection hit. LUCKY.
Working through the mental + emotional
If you get my weekly emails, you know how I was feeling more than just physical stuff.
As I said, postpartum times are a lot of things.
Little sleep, hormones shifting and doing their job, learning to breastfeed/feed your infant, taking care of your infant, your life is changed entirely (and wonderfully) in an instant, recovering from pregnancy/labor/birth – it’s a lot.
All that stuff felt manageable though. I was prepared for it. Thank you mama’s!
One thing that felt heavy for me though, was dealing with the fact that I’d be telling an entirely different birth story that I expected to be telling.
And, although I believe with my entire being that a healthy and safe mom and baby is absolutely the number 1 goal of birth, I think it can somewhat take away from the mama’s emotional experience to not acknowledge that she may feel other things than just thankful.
I wasn’t scared at all during labor, the transition to the C-section, or during the C-section. I felt extremely calm and just trusted in the healthcare professionals.
And, then BAM! Once we got home, things changed.
Whenever I would close my eyes to try to sleep, it became scary. The time where Steele’sheart rate was dropping steadily and we were being rushed to the OR was on re-play in my mind.
It was just flooding my thoughts over and over and over. It was pretty painful to re-live for the first couple of weeks.
Big ‘Ol Life Lessons
The other piece of the puzzle was that I kept trying to figure out WHY it had all happened the way it did.
Why didn’t we have the birth we wanted?
Honestly, that’s the biggest lesson for me. I planned, I prepped, I had the education, I did the mental, the physical, had the TEAM, but it was meant to be a different experience.
For that very reason, to teach me that birth is beautiful and raw and powerful and NATURAL regardless of how it occurs.
I think I was getting a bit wrapped up into my body’s worth = being able to have a vaginal delivery because that’s what our bodies are “supposed to do”. As if somehow that was a “better birth” or that a C-section wasn’t giving Steele the “best start”.
No, no, no. None of this is true. I know and knew this logically, but there were some moments where it all felt like those truths were unravelling.
Interestingly, my view on birth feels very different now.
Our C-section birth WAS natural. It’s the most natural thing in the world to do whatever it takes to protect your child, even if you don’t know them yet. And, that’s what we did with the C-section. Chose the safest route to get her here.
So, here we are. Feeling really good physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I’ve been to physio, been doing my Core + Floor Restore, my scar massage, my walks, and now my strength training workouts. I’ve been eating lots of good for me and good tasting food, sleeping as much as possible, and hanging with this little love.
Thank you for reading Steele’s birth story – I hope it was also ‘worth the wait’ 😉
Ps. You’re invited to sign up for a completely FREE 4-Week Workout Program for Pregnancy and Post-Pregnancy!