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My C-section recovery plan

After three C sections, I've learnt a thing or two...

I recently gave birth to my third child, my third son. With two other children (both preschoolers) to look after at home I needed my recovery in all senses, to be as quick as possible. Unfortunately, my first two births were emergency c-sections, and due to an apparently incompetent pelvis (!), I wasn't able to try for a natural birth a third time. So, a scheduled caesarean section was in order. With that kind of surgery, you're already you're on the back foot because as well as getting used to a new baby, you've physically been cut open (across the same scar line) and the healing from that alone is intensive. However, having laboured with my second child the difference in a scheduled operation where you turn up to the hospital as casually as you would check into a hotel was a much more relaxing experience. With each birth my recovery plan has become better and better, so by the time I got to this one I had things in place that I had done before, and a few new things that I wanted to try.

My immediate recovery for my baby and myself included;

Seeding – when babies are born via c section they obviously do not go through the birth canal and therefore do not get all the beneficial gut flora which is thought to set up the baby's microbiome. Also they are exposed to antibiotics as part of surgery safety requires you to have intravenous antibiotics. A relatively new thing in the surgical theatre is to perform seeding on the baby, where they take swabs from the mothers' birth canal and wipe this on the baby once they're born. This is still relatively new in terms of scientific research; however from what I have read there is enough evidence to suggest this alters the microbiome of the baby to that similar of one born vaginally and in theory boosts their immune system. Worth a shot I thought. And very quick to do. One of the nurses was stoked to see it performed because he'd read a lot about it as well and was really interested in it. I got the impression my obstetrician thought it was a load of shit. I didn't care.

Probiotics – once I was in the recovery ward I wanted to start working on getting my gut going again. I started drinking coconut kefir water, a fermented drink rich in probiotics. Once I had finished that I started on Natren life start probiotics.

Homeopathic remedies – I had done these before. As soon as I was in the ward post recovery and since there had been no signs of haemorrhaging, I started taking Arnica for bruising, Hypericum for the nerves and pain and Staphysagria to help speed up the healing of the wound. Most of the nurses thought it was weird. But having used them before I knew how powerful they can be. I was able to stop taking all conventional medicine after five days, including paracetamol. Not to be a martyr or anything, if I needed it I would've taken it, I just didn't need it. I got my remedies from my homeopath, but these three as well as some other remedies are part of traumeel. I definitely recommend this for any kind of surgery.

Raw organic food – I cannot stand hospital food. The standard is absolutely terrible. Plastic cheese sandwich on the worst quality bread anyone? Some of the menu I wouldn't even feed to my dog! (I must admit though it is miles better than it was during my first c section almost 5 years ago). So I thought ahead and ordered I a 5 day raw meal plan from little bird organics www.littlebirdorganics.co.nz. At a time when my baby and I are at our absolute most vulnerable, I felt it was essential to be putting the best possible nutrition into my body – after all, I'm sustaining the life of this beautiful baby! Quality in – quality out. If you have ever had any food from little bird you'll know how good it is. Raw, organic, plant based goodness. Getting ones digestive system going ahead post c section, or any major surgery can be.....shall we say...challenging. In my previous births I had left the hospital and moved to birth care when I was able. Where the food is a zillion times better and you receive a much higher level of care. Only because the hospital have a lot of high need patients and if you're coping okay you're left to your own devices more or less. Since this was my third though, I spent two nights in hospital care and then went home.

Anyway, I had read lots about how a raw and vegetarian based diet after surgery was beneficial to getting the gut moving again. Putting anything too stodgy in, or animal products in adds an extra stress when your body has enough to deal with. With previous births I had needed medicinal assistance to be able to poo. Which didn't happen for several days after the surgery by which point I had about 10 meals in my guts and felt horrific! I had eaten well, but the food including meat and rice and other quite heavy things to digest.

As well as being gentle on my system, ordering this meal plan took the hassle out of having to think about what to eat. I ordered extras like smoothies and no cheese cheesecakes because well, I love that food and I knew I'd be hungry. I cannot stress how amazing this was. I chose to do this over going to birthcare because unlike the provinces, you have to pay to stay at birthcare if you don't birth your baby there, unless you want to share a room. Anyway, nourishing myself with this incredible food was a fantastic decision. And like my Dad said after thinking about it for awhile – it just makes sense to want to have the best possible nourishment for the best possible recovery.

Placenta Encapsulation – After reading far and wide about this, I decided to have my placenta encapsulated to help with my recovery, and for rebalancing hormones etc. Most mammals in the animal kingdom consume their placentas after birth. I remember as a kid growing up on a dairy farm watching calves be born and sure enough, after every birth the cow would begin to eat its placenta. I had also read a lot about leaving the cord attached to the baby for as long as possible, however, with all our children we have done cord banking, and to do this, they need to cut the cord rather quickly after birth. If you haven't heard of cord banking before, it's worth researching. It's where you keep the stem cells from the cord and bank them, funnily enough, and hopefully never have to use them! However in case of serious illness you may use them for certain things, and the advancements in modern medicine are incredible, fast forward twenty years and who knows what will be possible.

Anyway, so I organised to get my placenta encapsulated. Wendy from theplacentratree.co.nz came and pick up my placenta within a couple hours of the surgery. I hardly remember her stopping by. I was pretty high as a kite on morphine and practically dozing in and out of consciousness. Nothing she hadn't seen before. She took the placenta, steamed it, dehydrated it and then put it into capsules. She also made a tincture which I'm planning on getting made into a homeopathic remedy. She brought me the capsules the next day, so within a day of giving birth I was already taking the pills. My milk came in incredibly quickly, so much so that my son was back to birth weight within about 5 days. It certainly without a doubt came in faster than with my other two children. I was nowhere near as tired with this recovery as I was with my previous sons, and I was able to go for a walk around the neighbourhood park with the pram on the fourth day, slowly, but still able. I didn't feel this was possible with my other births.

From the research I read, I was fascinated by how this could possibly help with balancing hormones, increasing milk supply, combat fatigue, increase energy, prevent signs of aging, recovery after birth, replenish what was lost during birth, bring the body back into balance, prevent and treat the baby blues, shorten postnatal bleeding time, increase postnatal iron levels. I can tell you that from my experience, it has done all of these things (except probably signs of aging, I feel like I look a good twenty years older than I actually am! Time for another pill!). If I was to have another child, which is unlikely, I would absolutely do this again. I probably only had one day where I was teary with the baby blues.

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In fact, I would do all of the above recovery plan again because when you've got other kids to look after too, the faster your recovery, the easier things are on yourself. Who doesn't want to bounce back after having a child and be able to cope well? My son is incredibly calm, a very cruisy child. Call it personality, call it third baby, call it a possibly more relaxed Mum who is more comfortable with how to care for a baby, or whatever you like but I believe the placenta pills should take some responsibility for him being so content.

So there you have it. My caesarean section recovery plan. I don't believe there is one silver bullet which made my recovery by far my fastest yet, but all of these played a part and worked together harmoniously. I would certainly do every single one of these again.

Yours in health,

The HH x



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Raw Organic Plant Powered Meal Plan


 

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