As you may know I have 3 babes – aged 5.5 years, 2.5 years, and 14 months, so to say that my body has been through a lot would be absolutely spot on. In this post I’ll cover a bit of my experience* with each c-section and then lastly why I chose to be sterilised and what the options are.
*I do want to stress that I’m going to keep this as positive as possible because I don’t want to cause anyone unnecessary fear, but I will reference pain, etc. because that’s just the truth. Also, this is my experience, so this is not the experience that everyone will have, all bodies are different.
I’ve shared my birth stories in a previous post although, I need to update it to include my third baby… haha!
My first c-section was pretty routine and straightforward. I was super nervous and scared at the prospect of surgery, but everyone made me feel super calm and at ease. The only parts of the surgery aspect that I didn’t enjoy, was 1. not being able to have my husband with me while I was getting the epidural and 2. the epidural… 😉 but overall, it wasn’t so bad. My daughter was a fairly large baby and she had not dropped at all, so the nurses and surgeons were all standing pretty much on the table applying pressure to my belly to try and get her down out of the incision… which was funny, because I couldn’t feel anything, but their weight was literally forcing the air from my lungs, so that was fairly entertaining.
Afterwards, I felt a bit loopy from the pain meds, but overall I was buzzing with the excitement and joy of becoming a mom! What a blessing! It makes me emotional just thinking back to that moment of hearing her cry for the first time… so good!
The part I dread the most with a c-section is the first time standing up out of the bed. It is a fairly painful experience, but it’s SO necessary. With Hannah, she was born late afternoon and I got up to the walk the next morning, so it was sufficient time, but not too much time. Everything else was pretty standard and my time in the hospital was ok.
Recovery. I will admit, my first one wasn’t so bad. The pain wasn’t great and I had to support myself getting up and down from the couch/bed etc. and getting up to feed at night was painful, but that only really lasted for a few days, 10 days max. From there, it got better and better and I felt stable by 4 weeks.
Sometimes I think knowing what to expect is worse, because you know EXACTLY what the pain is going to feel like etc. so I was quite nervous, once again, except this time, for the pain. Overall, the surgery was fine, but I was in for a lot longer once she was out – I go into detail about that in my birth stories post, but basically I had additional things that they needed to fix and I do remember it being a bit more painful initially when the medication wore off.
The dreaded next day getting up to stand and walk… With Eden she was born at 8am, so I opted to stay in bed the whole day and only get up and walk the following day – partly because once they remove the catheter you’re responsible to take yourself to the loo and I wasn’t keen to get up in the middle of the night, but I’m pretty sure I should’ve done it sooner, but then again I was grateful for a night of not struggling to get up to go to the loo. Anyway, it is what it is and this time getting up to stand was painful and uncomfortable, but it was bearable.
Recovery. So, you’ll think I’m mad, but with Eden, I came home to a RENOVATION. 10 days before she was born we started a reno of our downstairs living area and kitchen. CRAZY… but I’m so glad we did it that way. When I arrived home it was exciting to have a half new space, my mom was visiting and Hannah was super excited to be a big sister. Our church community generously provided meals for 20 days, knowing that we also had basically no kitchen. haha. I was grateful to have extra hands and my recovery was quite easy. The hardest part with postpartum is reminding yourself to slow down. Even if you feel ok, slow down… it’s hard to know what is going on internally and there were so many times (with all 3) that I’d think I felt so much better and try and do too much and end up completely drained and wiped out… so give yourself time to heal, even if you feel ok. One thing that helped me a lot with the second birth was my post-birth underwear, they really helped stabilize my abdomen and support me when standing up and sitting, which was great. I’ve linked them here. you can also check out my hospital bag checklist down below.
This birth again was pretty standard. He came out super quickly and he had to be incubated, so I don’t remember much after he came out, other than feeling really antsy to see him and make sure he was ok. Thankfully we were reunited and all was right in the world.
Ezra was also born early in the day and again I made the decision out of absolute fear to only stand and walk the next morning… You’re noticing a pattern, that is the worst part for me. This by far was the worst one and I’m not sure whether it was due to it being my third one or the added pain of the sterilization, but it was THE worst. Firstly, I honestly struggled to even shift to the edge of the bed, it was that painful… but when I did get up to stand and took 4 steps to the chair so that they could change my bedding, I just about blacked out. I was seconds from passing out from the pain and the nurse managed to hold me and get me feeling ok. I can barely remember it. It’s really hard to decipher what was 3 x c-section pain and what was sterilization.
I also had a drain along my incision which had to be removed after 2 days, I think and that was extremely uncomfortable and painful… but really, those were just moments, in between all the good, normal moments. Hospital is quite boring when you have a very sleepy newborn.
So, that brings me to the final step in our journey – the decision to be sterilized.
Firstly, my third babe, Ezra was a complete surprise and blessing, bonus baby. We never planned on having 3 kids and we were at the point of considering vasectomy or alternative options before we found out I was pregnant with him.
We knew I was going to have a c-section and so it made sense that while they were in there, to have the procedure. We chatted to our doctor about it and he gave us two options: tubal ligation – this is the well-known procedure of having your fallopian tube cut/tied and that stops the eggs from travelling any further. However, there is a chance that your tubes can rejoin and start working as normal, the odds are quite small, but we opted for the second option, which is fool-proof, I 100% cannot get pregnant again. I cannot remember the term, but there’s a part that they remove, so no eggs get swept down into the fallopian tubes, so it’s completely 100% effective. There is also a calculation that they use to make sure you’re eligible to be sterilized, they take your age and divide it by the number of children you have and it has to be within a certain range for you to be permitted. I guess it’s a precaution to stop women from making decisions they’ll regret.
As I mentioned, the recovery from this procedure I think definitely added to my experience. The pain was a lot worse, I felt completely mixed up inside, nothing felt comfortable. I was very uncomfortable and I needed the full 8 weeks to feel kind of ok. It really took me by surprise. I do also think that having 3 kids really wasn’t easy, either. It was a lot to deal with. I got a few questions about this on Instagram, so I better answer those before this post gets WAY too long.
Q: How do you feel after sterilization
I honestly feel fine now, it was just those first few weeks that were very painful. I do have a lot heavier period than I did before, but that may just be hormonal shift since going through all of this. It’s great to not have to worry about contraception and to know that our family is definitely complete.
Q:Have no idea about sterilisation – do you need to take hormone replacements?
No! Thankfully the ovaries are left untouched, which means your hormones continue as normal.
Q: Ab separation
I will have to write a whole blog post about this, but after each pregnancy I worked with specific exercises to help knit my core back together. The third time around was a bit more difficult and so I did go and see a women’s health physio, to make sure my abdominal muscles and pelvic floor were all good. She gave me the all-clear and so I simply focus on engaging my pelvic floor as much as possible and I do still have a slight separation, so I try and incorporate my ab exercises into my weekly routine. I’ll put that post together shortly.
I hope that this post is interesting to you and has helped in any way. I just want to reiterate that the pain I mention is there, but it doesn’t last forever and although being thrown into motherhood is messy and overwhelming, there’s nothing like meeting your baby for the first time and holding them close.