Here I am going in an opposite direction from my last post. In “My Journey Part 1” I talked about the part of pregnancy where my body was strong and how great it was that my body would allow me to continue with my workouts. There are also times when we find out we need to back off and how important it is to once again listen to our bodies.
Here is that part of my journey:
“ I am going to have a beautiful, natural childbirth with no drugs and it’s going to be so wonderful. Then after baby I will recover so quick I will be back to myself in no time.” These are the words I spoke to myself while I was pregnant with my first daughter.
My dreams of that beautiful, natural childbirth were quickly squashed at one of my doctor’s appointments about halfway through my pregnancy when they were performing a routine ultrasound and found that I had a condition that would prevent me from ever birthing a child naturally. It devastated me. I wanted so bad to have the “perfect birth” that all the mamas dream about and I had heard one too many stories about how c-sections ruin your body and that your stomach will never be the same. That I would never be able to use my abs the way I had used them before, but those thoughts quickly diminished when I thought of the safety of my unborn child.
About 3 more months went by and the day had come. At 8:30pm on June 14,2000 Kayla came into our lives. She was beautiful.
As I started to come to and have feeling from the chest down again, I realized how sore I was going to be. It hurt to sit up, it hurt to walk, it hurt to laugh, to cough, really anything that made me move. Back then they closed the incision with staples, so I when I looked down I believe I saw what resembled Frankenstien. Not to mention the pain from the rocks someone stuffed in my breasts! I knew then the road to recovery from this would not be exactly easy.
The first week was hard. Those were the days I just laid in bed and was barely able to roll over to nurse my child or I would ask for hubby to fetch anything and everything I needed. The only time I got up was to use the bathroom or if I just need to move my legs for a few minutes. But during that week and the next several weeks I enjoyed my time recovering by cuddling, relaxing and soaking up every minute I had bonding with my sweet little baby.
By weeks 2 and 3 I was walking a little; around the block one time with baby in the stroller. That one lap made me tired and sore. By week 4 I was walking a couple times around the block and was regaining some energy. Then by week 6 I got the go ahead to start working out again but to take it easy. I gradually started to add back in my strength training, but I had no idea how much I had lost. Pushups were hard due to my weak core. Anything overhead, forget it, back to the empty bar; again my core couldn’t take it. It was a struggle, but everyday I told myself to just get in there and do what I could. Planks hurt, but they seemed to be the one thing I could do (and I did a lot of them)!
It took several months to feel like myself again and every day I would get just a little bit stronger. It took a whole lot of humbling myself and accepting myself right where I was. That was the hardest part; accepting where I was. I had to remember that wherever I was, it was good enough and if I wanted to get strong again I needed to have confidence in the process.
I have since had three more beautiful daughters via c-sections and have recovered well. No, my stomach isn’t damaged for life. No my body isn’t ruined. It is still a strong vessel that has recovered from 4 major surgeries and I have become a stronger person because of it. Each one I recovered slightly different from. The last one was definitely the hardest, but it wasn’t my first rodeo and I had learned patience and knew what I needed to do to restore my body again.
With all this said, I hope that my story will bring you peace if you are faced with the decision of having to have a c-section. It won’t be easy, but it isn’t impossible to be just the way you were before the pregnancy, if not even better! As far as the scar goes, well it’s there, but I look it as a badge of honor. It’s a mark of 4 of the most beautiful days of my life.
We are all different and we all have to treat our bodies accordingly. You need to trust the process and take those weeks that your body is healing to bond with your new bundle of joy. Believe me, those sweet newborn moments are gone so fast that the last thing you need to be doing in those moments is worrying about where you used to be! You will get there. Just be consistent and trust the process. Above all else, enjoy the fact that your body grew a human life no matter how they were brought into this world.