ELCS recovery - how long did yours take?

(58 Posts)
Angelico Fri 12-Oct-12 22:44:06

Hi smile Had ELCS just over 2 weeks ago for first baby. Having had previous surgery (but not abdominal) I was shocked at how painful it was, especially the first week after. Wasn't helped by crap painkillers because of breastfeeding hmm

Much more manageable now - can cook, clean, look after baby (bathing her is hard so letting DH do that) but walking for more than a hundred metres is sore and wouldn't dare push buggy etc or walk with baby yet - probably another week or two for that.

Just wondered how long it took others to recover and before you felt 'normal' physically?

ilikesweetpeas Fri 12-Oct-12 22:49:14

I would say I was pretty much ok after a month, occasional pain after that if I tried to lift anything heavy. I found that keeping mobile helped and that I could walk but standing still hurt more. You sound like you're doing well, hope that continues and I'm sure you will feel better soon.

JollyJackOLantern Fri 12-Oct-12 22:50:08

Watching with interest smile


RoobyMurray Fri 12-Oct-12 22:52:23

every day is better smile

3 weeks was great. 4 was brilliant!

(but I can still feel it when I cough 4 months later)

Angelico Fri 12-Oct-12 22:53:21

sweetpeas - interesting, I've found standing in kitchen for too long does hurt - sort of sneaks up, feel like I'm okay doing stuff then suddenly realise I'm sore again.

Maybe I'm a freak, but I had an emcs, and was pushing my buggy about town at 7 days post delivery. However, I totally over did it, and my DMIL banished me to the couch to recover! It's easy to do if you feel ok.

Angelico Sat 13-Oct-12 10:44:11

Bunty think you are just more hardcore than me smile Thing is friends (theatre nurse and doc) warned me not to overdo it as they see a lot of ladies appearing a few years post-CS with hernias that need fixing because they lifted / pushed etc too soon. On the other hand I don't want to sit at home doing nothing confused Hard to get the balance right - just hoping my body will keep me right!

Bubblebell1 Sat 13-Oct-12 14:15:37

I had an emcs 2 weeks ago. 3 child but 2nd cs.
I am doing everything I was doing before.
I got up after 5 hrs and had a shower and came home the next day.
Had paracetamol and ibuprofen because I'm breast feeding and stopped those on day 5.
My wound didn't get infected this time and I took baby out for a walk to get my bowels moving on day 4 ( sorry for tmiblush)

Everyone is different. I had a pph this time but still have recovered much quicker.

I hope you feel better soon.

My tips would be
a maternity pad on scar to keep it dry.
Drink plenty, to avoid wind and constipation
Take it easy. If it gets too much just try again the next day grin

Enjoy your newborn snuggles x

Angelico Sat 13-Oct-12 21:51:01

Thanks Bubble smile Can't believe you were up after 5 hours - my legs were still numb at that stage! smile

Celestia Sun 14-Oct-12 07:56:42

I'm 9 days post elcs and feel I'm healing quicker than my emcs. On day 5 my dtd was taken back into hospital so was up there and yesterday ( day 8) we went into town. I was fine pushing the buggy but was shattered by the time we got home!

Smallgreenone Sun 14-Oct-12 18:19:04

I was walking about to the park etc by day 7. Week two hardly took a painkiller. Gets better week by week but am 7 weeks now and all is normal except as someone else said coughing, sneezing and
Laughing hurt. It is major surgery remember so it does take a long time to get completely back to normal and you may find your stomach is never the same again sad

Angelico Sun 14-Oct-12 19:19:36

You see weirdly I can now cough, sneeze and laugh without pain but it's walking about too much or standing for a long time that tends to make me tender. Today has been best day yet though - 2 days wiothout any painkillers - so hoping another week I'll be able to get out and about a lot more smile

diyqueen Wed 17-Oct-12 15:49:12

I think it was a few months before I felt 'normal' - the pain mostly went by about 5 weeks, but I felt the lack of core strength for a lot longer (I can remember trying to mow the lawn about a month after and getting so frustrated that I just physically couldn't do it all - think it was another couple of months before it was easy again).

There's nothing wrong with being sensible and helping yourself recover - you will feel normal again (and I can remember thinking that I'd never feel normal again!) but it will take time.

WitchesTit Wed 17-Oct-12 15:55:47

I felt so great hmm that I thought I could do a cross country drive in a truck 2 weeks after my ELCS. Consequently I got an infected wound that re-opened (ugh) and put back my recovery by at least 6 more weeks. This time I'm going to lay on the sofa til I'm told to get up. It's not worth trying to be a superhero

Angelico Wed 17-Oct-12 18:24:24

Well, 3 weeks yesterday. Can do everything I need to round house, bar lugging laundry down to basement. Went for a long walk yesterday to supermarket and felt fine, then felt shite all evening confused Think I overdid it.

Getting frustrated with inability to a)push buggy (it's second hand and pulls to right) and b) drive (haven't tried but like you Witches don't want to have been careful this long then fuck it all up now! Hope you take it easy this time! smile) Diyqueen can see how the core strength takes a while to come back - and tbh mine wasn't great pre-CS!

Snowgirl83 Wed 17-Oct-12 19:51:22

Ahhhh this is all so helpful. Had little snowboy by elective on Monday and although was out 24 hours later think I need to kick back and realise that it takes a while to actually heal & therefore I should take to the settee and be fed grapes whilst snuggling snowboy! Witches- that's awful. You poor thing!

Does anything help the wound with the laughing / any type of straining? I have to say I was a bit shocked at how big the scar was- it's a good 7 inches. Healing well though but am just paranoid about it coming open.

Angelico Wed 17-Oct-12 21:01:52

Snowgirl congrats on your DS smile Now, really sit back and put your feet up as much as you can for the first week anyway! People say hold a pillow or towel against wound (or even press hand on) when coughing / laughing etc but tbh I was petrified of coughing for the first 9 days or so as it hurt. It's fine now but physio in hospital said it helps to bend over too to shorten the distance the muscles are stretched if that makes sense. I had forgotten until I coughed one night while bent over sink - and found it didn't hurt! smile

Your wound won't burst open - on day 7 when pain was easing a bit my mobile rang and completely forgetting myself I ran for it in flipflops - only to fall sideways when foot slipped. Pain was awful and I shrieked but wound was fine. Couldn't believe what an idiot I had been afterwards...

If you take it easy-ish you will heal fast. I was so sore the first week especially but by 2 weeks on things were manageable and now at 3 weeks I can do most of what I want to do. Friends (theatre nurse and doc) see women all the time with hernias because they DIDN'T REST after CS / abdominal surgery!!! So short term boredom for long term gain!

WitchesTit Thu 18-Oct-12 09:55:52

Aaah Snowgirl, congrats! I have to say the problems with my scar were entirely of my own making. I'll know better this time, even with a 2 yo and a newborn to wrangle, I'm not going to do anything thats not essential.

Snowgirl83 Thu 18-Oct-12 14:22:25

Thanks witches and angelico for the congrats and the advice smile

Will defo heed the advice- might have to invest in some box sets though - ooh or embrace sky + despite vowing to DH when he got it that i'd use it over my dead body as surely noone needed so much tv hmm

I think I'm already saturated with as many Come Dine With Me repeats as I can take and milk, but that's another story grin ..

bishboschone Thu 18-Oct-12 14:28:18

It took me about 6 months for it to stop pulling , aching , being numb etc . Now a year on the scar is invisible and I have all my feeling back . Take it easy. . The more you rest now the better it will heal .

Angelico Fri 19-Oct-12 21:22:41

Hmmm, finding that now pain has improved it is ironically much easier to overdo it - and of course you don't feel it at the time hmm Tend to get sore in the evening and think, "Shit, I did too much today!" but it's hard not to now it's just me and baby all day confused

Methe Fri 19-Oct-12 21:24:56

emcs and I felt fine on day 3 and stopped all pain relief, was driving on day 10 ( had a baby in nicu so no choice) i've never had any problems. I have friends who are still struggling 6mo after the event.

it's all normal.

Hope you feel better soon smile

Angelico Mon 22-Oct-12 16:43:33

Did any of you develop an infection a few weeks after CS? Have been feeling really tender the last couple of days, not on the scar but about an inch above and a band about an inch wide. Don't know if it is just nerves recovering after surgery? Incision looks okay, slightly puckered at one side.

bishboschone Mon 22-Oct-12 17:14:35

That's healing inside . Mine hurt above the scar too . No infection .

Meglet Mon 22-Oct-12 17:21:32

For a start you shouldn't be cooking or cleaning at all at this stage. A CS is a major operation. I don't believe in rushing recovery.

I was in my pj's for 2 weeks post ELCS (I learnt the hard way after an EMCS with DC1).

Give yourself at least a months downtime. IMHO if you have to take pain relief you're over doing it.

I was fully fit and back at the gym at 12 weeks. Personally a messy house and ready meals for a few weeks is a small price to pay for a safe, problem free recovery.

Angelico Tue 23-Oct-12 22:28:56

Had to go to GP today because of pain above wound on one side. Also had cramps and a great gush of blood - 4 weeks after CS! Bish think you are right about healing inside but it's a kind of pulling feeling (ouch), especially bad when I lift baby to shoulder to wind her. GP said she thinks it is cramps from BFing as uterus contracts but the contractions are hurting the bit of uterus that was cut open. Is annoying because it feels like I've gone backwards a bit sad It makes it hard to stand up tall IYSWIM - makes me want to hunch over a little. Have taken it as easy as possible last few days but had really been hoping to start walking more etc sad

Angelico Tue 23-Oct-12 22:30:31

And Meglet think your philosophy is exactly right but I do find it hard when I'm home alone with bean and she needs everything done. I'm also finding with visitors I am more inclined to try and tidy things than usual... confused

bishboschone Tue 23-Oct-12 22:43:50

Please just rest . You have been cut in half!! It took me ages to not be in pain and I was on max dose of co codomol and paracetamol/ ibuprofen . It bloody hurt!!! Have you got any meds?

Meglet Tue 23-Oct-12 23:47:10

FWIW I had a hysterectomy and was given a bit of a lecture by the nurse. She said that post CS recovery is dire and women should be resting, they are turfed out of bed too soon. And while a hysterectomy is a bigger operation I was told that internal healing takes at least 6 weeks.

You sound just like me after my first CS, I over did it and ended up in pain and miserable, I couldn't stand up straight for weeks, I remember whimpering in pain in the supermarket at 5 weeks as it hurt so much to bend down and put things in the basket under the buggy sad. Try and keep visitors away, you come first, the baby will be there in a months time when you feel better and then they can visit. Please don't prolong your recovery by putting on appearances and cracking on with everything. You will still be able to charge around, go the gym, carry heavy things in the not too distant future when you've healed up.

You don't have an older child to take care of so please make the most of it and hunker down for a few days and rest.

I get so uppity about this as I learnt the hard way and had very different recoveries with my EMCS (overdid it, painkillers for weeks, felt shit and miserable), planned CS (slobbed out for 2 weeks, took it easy for at least a month) and hysterectomy (bed rest for a week, barely did a thing for 8 weeks and didn't even need paracetamol after day 4 post op).

Angelico Thu 25-Oct-12 21:32:25

Still sore sad Helped a bit that parents were visiting and lifted the baby a lot / let me get some extra sleep but they are away now. Most maddening thing is the burning sensation above the incision, it's a band about 3inches wide now from above incision to level with tummy button. Feels like it's really just the skin and fat beneath skin that is irritated, like it's nerve pain. Did anyone else get this and how long did it last?

I'm 4 weeks 2 days post-CS and really thought I'd be a bit better than this - can't imagine how I'll be able to drive / lift things in another week and a half confused sad

bishboschone Thu 25-Oct-12 21:41:04

Yes. I had alot of pain above my scar for a long time . ( sorry) no infection but the pain went on for months . My ds was prem and breech , I have a theory he was high up and therefore they had to stretch the hole alot to get to him . It will get better i promise . Just try and be patient . smile

Angelico Thu 25-Oct-12 22:16:07

Thanks Bishbosch. Read back and you said it took 6 months to get better - can't imagine going that long with all this sad Did it ease off sooner than that and just kind of niggle or did it stay pretty sore / burny for the full 6 months?

Angelico Thu 25-Oct-12 22:16:54

And also did you start driving etc at the 6 weeks? And walking / exercising etc?

bishboschone Thu 25-Oct-12 22:25:48

It eased off , definitely getting better day by day but slowly and surely . I have a flat stomach again now and the scar is almost invisible and pain free 16 months on . I had a huge tummy for ages too !!

bishboschone Thu 25-Oct-12 22:30:41

I drove at 3 weeks as ds was in scbu . It was a mistake . It put me back a week or so . When I was in scbu a girl next to me had no pain 2 weeks after her cs . She couldn't understand why I couldn't get up from the chair holding ds. Have you for co codomol ? I couldn't have managed without it . If it wore off I was I'm so much pain. If like to think I'm not a wimp either .

bishboschone Thu 25-Oct-12 22:31:52

Exercising was more like 6 months but from 7 days I was walking ( albeit very slowly ) to get dd from school . It's a long walk .

Angelico Thu 25-Oct-12 22:33:11

Thanks smile I think I overdid things last week when feeling better, then set myself back and have kind of stopped even going for little walks - think I need to start again as sitting (esp at computer ironically blush) seems to make pain worse. Think I also need to admit defeat and take some painkillers again sad Might try another session of acupuncture as it helped a couple of weeks ago.

Really appreciate you posting Bish - Dr Google seems to throw up either superhumans who leapt tall buildings after 3 days OR people who have been permanently maimed confused Good to know there is something 'normal' in between! smile

Angelico Thu 25-Oct-12 22:35:24

Thanks also meglet and others! And Bish I have exactly 7 co-codamol which is all the bastards would give me because of BFing and was terrified of taking it, even though friend was given armfuls after her CS. MWs made me feel like some junkie for considering taking it when BFing - they are still in the drawer...

IfYouCanMoveItItsNotBroken Thu 25-Oct-12 22:39:50

Hi, thought I would post as I'm in your position, 5 weeks post section now. Felt amazing after section, only had paracetamol as pain relief but stopped it after 4 days when I started doing the school run driving 5 miles to school with baby and 16 month old in tow. Did my supermarket shop with all kids after a week or so when my partner returned to work. Now I'm paying the price! I have an infection behind my wound which is quite localised to one part of my scar but only showed itself at week 4. It's painful but luckily we have school holidays this week. I am able to do less now than I could on leaving the hospital. When school starts next week I will need help doing school run so I feel really silly for overdoing it, if only I had taken it easier at the start, just the first 2 weeks, I believe I would have been perfectly fine by now. I'm no longer smug and feeling like superwoman. If your wound starts weeping pus and blood maybe ask them to swab it for infection but be warned - it stings like a bitch. I started gushing blood also so they did an ultrasound to check for internal infection but as I had no other signs of infection they reckon its a period. My post has been really self pitying but no one in real life has given me any pity, only "I told you so"s. Feel better soon.

Meglet Thu 25-Oct-12 23:38:35

I did start driving at 6 weeks both times. But the first drive was a short drive around the block without the baby in the car, just in case!

Gym at 12 weeks both times, but TBH the grannies were working harder than me. I was just glad of the peace and pottered about doing easy things for the first few visits. As I was able to lift a baby then lifting a few easy weights wasn't a problem.

I do remember that I was 'training' for Race for Life 5 months after my EMCS (ie; 15 min jog around the park) and the scar hurt like hell for the first run so I took it very easy again for a bit. I'm sure I wouldn't have had pain for such a long time after my EMCS if I had stayed on the sofa for a fortnight after the op.

Meglet Thu 25-Oct-12 23:40:53

angelico you need to go back to your GP and insist they give you some better pain relief advice. The more pain you are in the more you will tense up which makes you feel even worse.

bishboschone Fri 26-Oct-12 07:35:40

Yes I agree, I had pre eclampsia and was given co codomol while pregnant so it can't be that bad . The first few nights I literally couldn't sleep for the pain and they have me morphine on the post natal ward. Again the girl next to me refused when the drugs lady came round . We are all different . Go back to docs and ask for something you can have if you are worried . My gp prescribed me boxes of co codomol , literally boxes !

RosannaBanana Fri 26-Oct-12 08:39:23

Hi, just wanted to say that I felt like I had a pretty slow recovery too, but 9 weeks on am feeling so much better- I really felt like I turned a corner at about 6 weeks. In my case I had an undiagnosed infection - even though my incision didn't really look dodgy at all. Might be worth going to get checked out- and do ask for more Painkillers if you need.
Oh, I also bled on and off for 7 weeks. I felt like I would never feel better but I have pretty much no pain at all there now- just a little bit of itching.

Angelico Fri 26-Oct-12 11:33:54

Thanks ladies. Can you buy co-codamol over the counter? I feel fine in the mornings if I've had enough time lying down overnight but it's usually by evening I am getting sore after a day of lifting baby.

Rosanna thanks for that, it's reassuring. How did you know you had an infection? What were the symptoms? Everyone keeps admiring my incision which is apparently beautifully cut and healed and GP didn't swab me the other day internally as everything looked so good on the outside and she was able to press my tummy without pain - apparently no blood trapped beneath surface and temperature was normal. I don't think I have an infection, just think the internal stitches are taking longer to heal and nerves are growing back - alas I seem to get the burning sensation rather than numbness! smile

Floralnomad Fri 26-Oct-12 11:42:54

Hi I think I must be a freak as well , I had an elective section and was driving after a couple of weeks ( as soon as allowed ) , waddled in the mums race at my DS sports day at about 2 weeks and was completely back to doing what I would normally do . I had one dose of paracetamol post op and no more pain killers after that . Having said all that I do have a high pain threshold and I also think a lot of it is how you approach it . I approached it as I've had a baby ( which is a normal thing to do ) rather than approaching it from the I've had major surgery points of view. But everyone is different and obviously some people have complications. I had lots of problems with my scar / incision but I just don't let health things worry me . Good luck with your baby .

Angelico Fri 26-Oct-12 13:02:49

You're lucky Floral! I've had lots of surgery before and seemed to have a high pain threshold (recovered from apparently painful ops v quickly and pain relief free, thought I was some kind of medical freak grin) which is why this one has taken me by surprise confused

At least the bleeding and cramping has stopped again...

RosannaBanana Sat 27-Oct-12 10:38:19

Hi, the symptoms of my infection were some soreness and lack of healing in one area. Also had a stitch that didn't dissolve there. The MW and HV kept saying it didn't look infected but the doc said it smelt dodgy- yuck! Then she swabbed it and it came back with a mega infection.
Hope this isn't the case for you.

blonderthanred Sat 27-Oct-12 12:08:25

Hello, this is interesting to read as I had a CS yesterday after failed induction (hello Angelico). Surprised to hear I will be going home tomorrow. Was given oral morphine yesterday which was good and today co-dydramol which has made me very sleepy.

My friend was an up-and-about in town a week later type and now has a hernia. So I am going to be taking it easy. Lucky to have lots of support from DH.

Angelico Sun 28-Oct-12 20:43:55

Thanks Rosanna. And hello to Blonder congrats on your baby and glad they are giving you proper painkillers post-CS! Hope the GD has gone too? Come over to the Oct PN thread smile thanks

elizaregina Tue 30-Oct-12 20:49:53

Hi Angelico, i have had my section now and have been really taken aback by extraordinary pain in one side.

I was fine until later on in the evening after the op - a MW came along and said I should be turning from side to side and that they got ladies on thier feet six hours after op now.

I then made a really really clumsy turn and have suffered flare up burning pain ever since, i am furious with her - since then I was on ward and all ladies round me had been left alone - and not moved much until the catheta came out. They all had really nasty emergency sections and were all walking better than me!

Angelico Sun 04-Nov-12 14:01:08

How are you doing Eliza? Hope you're home and feeling a bit better, MW sounds like an idiot making you turn from side to side as there is a definite knack to it post-CS hmm

Nearly 6 weeks now and things definitely turned the corner last week thankfully. Still being careful with lifting but am comfortable most of the time with just the odd couple of hours where I twinge / burn etc. Hoping the worst is over... Fingers crossed!

This thread is making md panic, had stitches with both dc sore but up doing half hour school run walk the next day. I have no partner to help and no help other than if I send other dc yo childminders everyday fur s few weeks (v expensive whilst in mat leave) or is thus something I should be considering doing ?

Frightened if a section thus time (due to s medical condition grr) didn't even blink really at it last time but reading this starting to freak out somewhat!!

Angelico Sun 04-Nov-12 23:18:40

Carrie don't freak out - you can see that people have had a real variety of experiences, some heal very quickly. I also think that people who already have kids probably have to just get on with it more - but do accept whatever help you can get. If you read what meglet wrote up above you'll see she made a point of allowing herself to heal. I'm hoping that although I've been sore I'll heal well for the longterm (ie no hernias etc).

Angelico Thu 22-Nov-12 20:51:56

Bumping this as want to update but need to feed DD! smile

RarelyUnreasonable Fri 23-Nov-12 21:56:00

I had one today so this thread is v useful! Just waiting for the meds to be brought around and could not contemplate getting out of bed!

elizaregina Sat 24-Nov-12 12:15:34

whatever any of you do due after a section - take it very very carefully when turning and moving, i didnt get the leaflet on how to turn until three weeks after surgery !!! if i hadnt made a stupid big turn - which was probably a really forceful twist i wouldnt have had any pain or problems AT ALL.

the bed was really really soft and i fell into the middle of it - and had to struggle to move in it - hence the dramatic big turn!

also read your notes and make sure they are correct - the mw - didnt write down the turn - and that it took me ages to inch back to my back! I did though.

you can MOVE after op - wiggle toes - rotate ankles - lift torso up and down just dont twist.

newby2 Tue 27-Nov-12 17:18:08

Gosh ladies, there are some cautionary tales out there. I had a emerge c sec 2 years ago and don't remember any out of the ordinary pain. I honestly had no problems at all. I think the pre-eclampsia took over and I was so focussed on keeping my baby alive (and me) I completely forgot about myself.

Due elec section in 2 weeks, have read through this thread so don't get lulled into false sense of security with the first one. Will take it easy!!

Angelico Tue 27-Nov-12 20:54:45

Well, back to update - meant to do it a few days ago. I had started feeling a good bit better between weeks 2 and 3, then got sore again week 4. Long story short - I had a blood clot in my womb which was causing low level infection. Didn't realise this at all (GP didn't pick up on it at visit at 4 weeks for big gush of blood although in fairness she knew I would be going for PN check up). Perked up week 5 when I had some blocked ducts and because of low level sweats / fever / nausea OOH doc thought I had borderline mastitis and gave me ABs. Had a second course of ABs the following week (week 6)and felt great, out and about, lifting things, driving etc.

As it turned out the infection wasn't in boobs at all but in uterus. Had PN check last Thurs (at 8 weeks post CS), had a scan as never stopped bleeding and large clot was just sitting in womb. Had to have a D&C to remove it and think they also scraped uterus out. Apparently this is less common after a CS than it is after a VB but there were 3 of us in having it done that day at a small local hospital so fairly common.

Anyway moral of story: if you start feeling better then go backwards you might just have overdone it (as I thought I had) BUT you might have infection. My incision is perfect - the infection was inside and thus invisible and if you are BFing and getting boob issues that can confuse things as GPs etc tend to immediately blame the boobs and assume it's mastitis.

Wishing everyone speedy recoveries from CS thanks

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