Recovering from a C-section with a toddler
Yes, you read that right. It is my story and I know there are many mamas out there who can relate.
I got pregnant within 6 months of my first baby's birth, and was expecting my second baby with an infant to take care of. The pregnancy was not easy, and I have already put up a post about it. You can read it here- https://www.pregnancyvoyage.com/post/surviving-a-pregnancy-that-is-right-after-the-first
While I was barely managing to take care of myself and my baby in my second pregnancy, the biggest thing that terrified me was how would my first baby sleep during my hospital stay. I was about to have an elective c-section with my second and I knew the stay would be for at least 3 to 4 days and post discharge also I would not be able to pick up my toddler.
So around the 8th month, my parents had come to accompany me till postpartum and my son was quite comfortable with them expect the fact that he slept only with me and got up several times at night and I had to hug and pat him to sleep again. Thankfully, he had grown out of the being rocked to sleep habit when I was 7 months pregnant. I read on some mom forums that people usually sleep train two weeks before going for a c-section. But I knew in my heart that I won't be able to apply the crying it out technique. I spoke to my mom about this and she said she will manage for sure when I would be gone to the hospital.
So when the day came near, I just started stacking my fridge and kitchen cabinet with appropriate snacks for my toddler.
The day of c-section
I had to leave early and my son had got up from sleep. I felt less anxiety seeing that he was so comfortable with my parents and did not even want to come with his own parents. So I had my c-section that day around noon and was blessed with a baby girl. She had to be observed for 2 days for breathing issues, so she was in the NICU and I was in my ward with my husband and brother as attendants. As compared to my hospital stay when I gave birth to my first baby, I was healing faster this time around as I got more rest. My baby was formula fed for the first few days, so I just had to rest and went to meet her once in a day.
I have shared both my delivery experiences in detail here -https://www.pregnancyvoyage.com/post/elective-c-section-versus-emergency-section
The stay for extended for 5 days as my daughter had to undergo some more screening tests before they discharged us both. She was moved to my ward on the 4th day and I started breast-feeding her. My incision pain was quite less but I still had to stay on pain killers. We went home the next day and I was relieved to see my parents and my toddler intermingled perfectly. However I felt bad for him whenever he got up crying at night and I could not comfort him even if I wanted to. But, I was still thankful that I was healing faster than I had expected due to my first c-section experience. I could take a bath myself and was able to take care of my little daughter all by myself. And I stayed ahead of the pain, by taking my pain-killers on time. The first few days went on fast as my focus was on my daughter largely.
I remember one incident that I would like to share. It was 10 days past my c-section, and my toddler was really uncomfortable. He really needed his afternoon nap but he only slept with my mom at night when he was too tired and helpless. Something in my heart told me that I could do it now. So I told my mom to just lay him beside me and I would keep a small cushion between him and me. She did as I said and he hugged me like before. I patted and rubbed his back, and he fell asleep within minutes. I was overwhelmed and happy that I could comfort him and he wanted my comfort but could not express it. Somewhere in my heart, I was fearing that he would grow distant from me because I could not pick him up or sleep beside him. But after this incident, all my fears were gone.
After that day, he stayed with my mom all day but for nap time and bed time at night I took him in. Two more weeks passed and during this time we also got a new TV installed and as a temporary arrangement we let him watch TV, till I was able to give my 100 percent for him. After a month, I really felt fine and was taking my post- natal vitamins regularly. My parents had to go back to their home, and they were waiting till I feel confident enough to look after them both while my husband left for work everyday. I felt fine so I told them that they could go whenever they feel like.
When my parents left, I was not freaked out a bit because I already had started setting a schedule with both the kids. My toddler wanted attention and his meals every 3 hours but my little one is a more accommodating baby since the start. She used to lie in her bouncer seat and liked to look at the hanging rattles. She expressed discomfort whenever she was hungry or sleepy and I would just feed her or rock her to sleep in her arms. I used to get my dose of afternoon nap with both of them and caffeine helped me as well. My toddler has been a bad sleeper since the beginning so even the slightest cry of my little one woke him up at night and I used to take them to the TV room if things got too out of control. I used to give him a midnight snack or milk and tend to my little one as per her requirement (feed/comfort/diaper change) I knew this thing was not the ideal one, like giving screen time to my toddler at the middle of the night but I knew in my heart that this was temporary and things would be better.
I am happy, that from around 3 months post her birth and to this day ( 7 months after her birth) my toddler has zero screen time now. Even if I have to use my phone, like I am doing now while writing this article, I do it after they both sleep.
Things are still difficult. My daughter is a 7 month old, separation anxiety is kicking in and she wants to be held most of the time. She rolls over, so I can not keep her in a bouncer and I really am on my toes, for most of the day. My toddler throws tantrums and has had a hard time accepting the new member, however he loves her and it shows. Just gotta be cautious when he is angry or hyper around her. Haha!
At bedtime, my toddler sleeps on my arm and sometimes I have to lay down with my body twisted so that I have my arm for my toddler and I can feed my infant at the same time. Gosh! I KNOW the value of sleep now. Can not even imagine, how would handling two toddlers be! But since I am not pregnant any more and I consider myself a strong mama now, I am quite ready for it. Here is a picture!
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