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A Cesarean & the #questformyabs

I figured these two topics go hand in hand now.  I mean 4 layers of your abs get cut open to remove your baby, so it’s making things a little harder.  I had started out last year in search of my abdominal muscles. We all know that we have abdominal muscles, but it’s getting rid of that pesky fat on top that’s the problem.  Women physically tend to hold more fat stores around their abdominals for childbirth and throw having PCOS on top of that and yea, it’s tough to find them.

So I had been doing cross training and running alternate days of the week.  I had been seeing a lot of progress before finding out I was pregnant.  I decided to keep up my running and cross training until 35 weeks into my pregnancy and I am so glad I did.  It not only helped me stay in shape during the pregnancy, but I feel it’s helping speed my recovery and make me more eager to get back out there.

Fast-forward to my appointment at 39 weeks 4 days and I found out my baby was in the breech position.  This was a surprise to  me since I had been told she was head down since 32 weeks.  They scheduled me for a c-section the following Monday morning since I was already at my due date.

Commence freak-out mode.

I know a lot of women have c-sections, but I wasn’t fond of the idea of getting my abdomen cut open.  It was time to try everything I could to get her to turn.  I messaged a pregnancy & pediatric chiropractor I was introduced to through running to see if she could fit me in and started all those crazy inversion techniques.  I only had 5 days to attempt at getting my baby to turn.  I saw the chiro the next day and my pelvis was quite misaligned.  She performed something called the Webster Technique and helped to manipulate the baby to turn.  Later that night my baby was on the move, but it seemed like she kept stopping at a certain point.

Monday morning came and she still hadn’t turned, so we left for the hospital at 5:30am.  Here I am before leaving for the hospital at 40 weeks and 2 days.

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We got there at 6am to get prepped for my operation at 7am. After all my blood work, prepping, and visits from the midwife,anesthetist, anesthetist nurse, and my doctor, it was time to meet our little girl.

I’ve had surgery before, but it was very minimal compared to what was about to happen.  It’s pretty crazy that you’re awake for the whole thing and feel everything they do.  While it doesn’t hurt, it sure feels weird.  Once our little girl was out and being examined, I heard them say her weight.  I had to do a double take and ask my husband again how much she weighed.  She was 8 pounds 7 ounces!!  Our first daughter was only 6 pounds 15 ounces.  I had gained the same amount of weight this pregnancy and was about the same size, so it’s no wonder she was having such a hard time turning head down.  They had to “manipulate”, as my home visit nurse said, a lot to get her out because of her size which caused me bruising around the incision.

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After spending some time in recovery, once I could move my legs I was wheeled down to  my maternity room.  It pretty  much sucks not being able to do anything for yourself and not even get out of bed.  It was a few hours after I was given my maternity room when I was able to get up with the help of a nurse to sit in a chair.  Then back to bed again.

The next day I was allowed to use the restroom on my own. Woohoo!! The little things that excite you.  And by that night I was walking the halls.  I’m not one for sitting around all day, so this was tough for me.  I have a high pain tolerance, so I was only taking a pain pill at night before sleeping, which everyone thought I was crazy for, but I’m not big into taking medications.

Three days later and I was on the way home!  I was so excited to be out of the hospital, but still a little down that I couldn’t do much.  You can’t even lift your other children, so for having a toddler at home, that was a major struggle.  While I was doing as much as I could and walking, it still felt like I was doing a whole lot of nothing.

Before going to the hospital, I did my research on what was involved and how my recovery to working out after would go.  I mean I knew that your abdomen was sliced open, but I didn’t realize in total there would be three layers of stitches inside and my skin would be stapled or stitched closed.  My doctor chose to staple my skin closed.

Knowing recovery would be much longer than with a typical birth, I was reading up on exercising and estimated timelines.  There is a ton of post partum work out information out there, but very little for someone who has had a c section.  I’m guessing because most women don’t really feel like getting up and exercising for a few months.  Obviously you have to take it easy to not cause tearing or hemorrhaging,  but seriously, most of the exercise info I found was at 6-8 weeks once you get your doctor’s permission you can start with belly breathing and simple exercises like that.  Um, ok.  I started the belly breathing as soon as I got to my room.

My personal opinion, while yes you can cause yourself more problems with exercising, I figured it would be worse if I just sat around on the couch.  Blood flow is good to help the healing process.  After my first surgery and this c-section, I was advised to walk as soon as I could.  I just kept it slow.  The hardest part was keeping a good posture.  That went out the window really quick!

Here I am 5 weeks post cesarean.  Supposedly about 70-80% of the swelling is gone and it will take a few more months for it to 100% be gone.  At least I can see the abdominal definition, so healthy eating will be the biggest help to my #questformyabs.  Since I’m exclusively breastfeeding, I still need to make sure I am getting enough calories and nutrients for my little one too.

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I had my checkup at 4 weeks, and the doctor said I had healed so well already that I got clearance to resume all activities.  He of course advised me to take things slowly as I would have discomfort.  That was music to my ears.  I was expecting the worst of not being able to do anything for 6-8 weeks.  I went for my first run and I had a lot of discomfort right under my belly button from the bruising.  My second run went much better, but dang, having a c-section definitely took it’s toll on my breathing and endurance.  Oh well, at least I can exercise now!

On Monday I’ll be 6 weeks post partum and will start a plank and squat challenge to get me back into strengthening my abdominals.  From all my research, planks were the best exercise to help with the pregnancy and holding the weight of the baby and uterus and are also the best exercise to help regain your abdominal conditioning.  I just have to not hold it for too long.

So as of Monday, I will be resuming what I have labeled as my #questformyabs as my goal for this year since I had to give up on it last year.  While I don’t need a six pack that you see on fitness models, I just want to see the toned abdominals under the fat.  Here’s to more healthy eating, which is 80% of it, and keeping up the exercise!

How was your post partum experience and recovery with a cesarean?  Did you have any goals?

Enjoy Your Adventure,
Samantha

2 Comments

  • Melissa Hawley
    Posted January 10, 2015 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Hats off to you mama! You look fantastic! I had to undergo an emergency c-section…no fun. My recovery stunk, but then again I wasn’t really into fitness beforehand. Keep up the awesome work!

  • Jennifer Brown
    Posted January 10, 2015 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Excellent article. You are so on point. Eating healthy and exercising is so very important. Especially after a C-section. I too, have had a C-section. It is a lot of recovery, but you will be back to your “old self” shortly.

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