My C-Section recovery, week 6… last post!

My C-Section Recovery, Week 6… last Post!

I just passed the six-week mark and I had my postpartum OB-GYN visit – so this will officially be my last blog of this series.

So, thankfully none of my organs fell out. That would have been a very failed experiment.

Getting back into activity soon after my c-section definitely worked in my case – but of course, each case is different. I was really careful to back up when I felt any weirdness or pulling, regardless of what I was doing.

The best news this week: I finally made it across the monkey bars again – which felt impossible last week. It’s nice to see that things are still moving forward even if at times they feel as if they’re not.

Day 1 – Had a much easier time at parkour today. Still avoiding the planks but feeling pretty much healed. I feel like my upper body strength and agility has come back a bit. A bit. Still a long uphill climb ahead but I’m a few yards up.
Day 2 – Did 12 x 100m on the track tonight pushing a double stroller. Ama loved the speed and I loved working a bit on my form and stride length (as much as possible pushing a small SUV).
Day 3 – Short walk today with my folks – and my daily chin-up and push-up routine of course.
Day 4 – St Patty’s 5k in 21:32. It was a bit hilly but since my parents were here to watch the kids, I got to run without the stroller. It felt so good (and so very not good) getting out there to push again. I certainly have a long way to go before I break 20 again… but at least all that stands in my way is a lot of hard miles.
Day 5 – Stair Climb for Clean Air today: a 48 flight race up the Sheraton Wall Centre. I did 6:21 last year but added a full minute to my time this year. Thankfully, it was still good enough for the win. I learned that my legs are much weaker by about floor 10… I had to haul myself up the next 38 flights using my arms and my heart. Still, I am nearly 20lbs heavier than last year – I would be curious to see how I would have managed with a backpack that heavy last year.
Day 6 – Did my bootcamp with the group today save for the sit-ups. It’ll be a while before those feel normal I think.
Day 7 – Ran with my run group and did a few steady miles with the fast pack. My calves need a little love… having thrown them into the fire, they sure are stinging. Finding time for stretching and myofascial release has not been easy – but tonight is a good reminder that it’s critical to staying sound.

And that’s it… not that six-weeks is some magical barrier of recovery – but at least I’m hitting the ground running… thanks to a forward thinking OB-GYN and a fairly active pregnancy.

Movement is Medicine.

My C-Section recovery, week 5

My C-Section Recovery, Week 5

Day 1: Went to my first session of Parkour today. Wow, it’s much harder than I thought it would be. Or, perhaps more to the point, I am more of a sissy in real life than I am in my head. One of my first exercises was to leap across a wide gap and grab onto the top of a wall – the floor being a substantial distance away. All I could think was about the potential ways it might really hurt. I can’t imagine getting from where I am today to where the advanced class is… but I figure signing up for six months ought to help. It scares me in a good way so I figure it’s worth doing.
Day 2: Arms day. Got to get these things working.
Day 3: Trail run day! It was gorgeous out and the mother-in-law had the kids so I popped into the car and headed across the bridge to the North Shore. I had forgotten how much fun it was to bomb down the trail. I turned around just as my back muscles started going into spasms and thankfully, they were debilitating at first but went away quick. Too much hunching and an old back injury is a bad combination.
Day 4: The babies first month celebration was tonight, which meant long hours in the kitchen. Just before the guests arrived though I managed to sneak off for a quick park workout on the monkey bars and some hill sprints in the rain. I took a soggy downhill too fast and ended up sliding down a muddy hill into a chain-link fence on a busy road. Several cars pulled over. I was fine outside of some yucky pants and a wedgie. My run went great… unfortunately the upper body not so much. I sure have lost a great deal of strength and agility – I could hardly hang on to the money bars. I committed to putting it all into my daily chin up and push up routine.
Day 5: Ran a 10k race today pushing both girls in a double stroller. Would have done the 5k but there was a bit of off-roading and I’m only comfortable on smooth paved path with Seren at this point. I started off near the back and was really encouraged by all the people I passed. All but a few of the men even were super supportive. I ended up finishing in just under 48 minutes… which was below my B goal of sub 50. My first goal of course, was to just get back out there and have fun working hard again. And I was happy to feel strong after yesterday’s painful realization that my upper body has gone to pot. Oh and remembered that 10k is actually pretty far.
Day 6: Took the day pretty easy and went down to the beach with the girls and dog. Probably got in a good 5k walking, some meandering with my three-year-old and some carrying both girls at a good clip (better get home in time for nap!) so I figure it balances out.
Day 7: Ran to toddler Parkour gym time with the girls but the gym was closed so we hopped a train to do some errands at the mall and then ran home from there.

My C-Section recovery week 4

My C-Section Recovery Week 4

Day 1: Day off. Just cleaned house and laid low.

Day 2: I ran stairs over my husband’s lunch. Although it wasn’t much of a run nearing the top. Interested to see how I fare in the upcoming stair climb race since these HURT. But I got 100 flights in over his lunch break despite being late – and my legs were pleasantly shaking when walking back to the car. It was also cute seeing my toddler chase me up every time I passed by. At least I’m motivating – if not pretty.

Day 3: I set up our sand bags and bucket carries… did some math and realized my bucket carry of 50kg was over 100lb. Whoops. It felt fine though.

Day 4: My first glorious jog with the double stroller home from coffee with the run group… just about 10k and it was much easier to be back out than anticipated. Definitely less taxing than pushing a single stroller pregnant.

Day 5: I had a morning of personal training clients and no workout of my own save for a 20 minute jog.

Day 6: First time out with my bootcamp! We ran to the track and lunge walked 400m which made my booty hurt in a fabulous way for days. Although I suspect one of them broke in and lowered my toilet seat on me.

Day 7: Today I ran 8k out to coffee with a friend and then 8k home -pushing the double stroller. What a good workout on the hills. Surprisingly I felt great outside of having stiff shoulders and an empty fuel tank by the time we got home (oops – did I forget to eat?) We also stopped at the Parkour gym on the way home for their toddler gym time. I couldn’t believe the struggle it took to get myself up and over the walls. Upper body strength has dwindled.

My C-Section recovery, week 3

My C-Section Recovery, Week 3

Week 3 and I’m feeling better and better. It’s hard to believe I was an absolute train wreck only a few weeks ago!

Day 1: I don’t manage to get out until the end of the day so when my husband gets home I have him watch the girls while I do a quick pre-dinner workout. I end up running at a decent clip to the train station. I planned for 10 sets like last week but 10 turned into 20, and 20 turned into 30. I considered 50 but managed to rip myself away while I was still sensible. I did 3 minutes of bar hangs and 30 pushups with my bum up in the air to round the workout off.

Day 2: It was a gorgeous day so we took advantage and walked the 6k to Science World with the stroller. I jogged a bit on the downhills and was feeling pretty darn good. As a bonus, Ama loves the double stroller bus. At least for now.

Day 3: I have a CPR class this morning. First time away from the baby. It does get easier with the second. I decide to run there… it’s only just over 4k. But the fact that it’s all uphill makes up for it a bit. I manage a 6 minute kilometre pace. Nothing to write home about – but that’s a decent easy run pace. Plus, I feel fine indeed.

Day 4: I head out for coffee with our running group. Both children are snatched from my arms and I have some nice social time with two hands. I plan to walk back with Ama in the rear pack and the baby in the front wrap but I don’t quite get the wrap right. I don’t make it very far before my husband picks me up after he gets off work.

Day 5: My husband spends the day skiing in the mountains and then comes back to get us for the evening. Baby’s first snowshoe! We don’t go very far before I remember that I haven’t fed her. We do only about an hour in total including the time our 3-year-old was walking – in the deepest snow possible, of course. But I enjoy the familiar lung burn of hill climbing. I also get in an arm workout before we head up and since my husband watches the baby and the older one is napping, I get to do 30 minutes of pull-ups, push-ups and weights uninterrupted! I am also surprised by how easily I can do band pull-ups and chin-ups. I guess last time I did them I had a huge belly to lug up.

Day 6: I spend the day in the passport office and taking the train to and from (and to and from again since I forgot my older daughter’s birth certificate). It’s a good walk but I still feel like I have some energy to burn. I do a quick 20-minute stair session after dropping the girls off and before teaching my bootcamp. I only get half the snow cleared from the walkway… but in this case is the optimist’s view that it’s half empty?

Day 7: We go for a hike around Burnaby Lake today. At just over 10k, I can run it in about 40 minutes. It takes us two-and-a-half hours. It has been snowing an unusual amount in Vancouver (so that’s what happens to all that rain when it’s below zero!) and it has covered the trail in half-a-foot of slush. Plus, I am carrying a ten-pound baby in the front and a 30-pound toddler in the back. Still, it’s great to get out and everyone is still in a fine mood when we get back to the car. Just a little hungry… lunch tastes so much better that way.

My C-Section recovery, week 2

My C-Section Recovery, Week 2

Research shows that almost six times the women get post partum depression following a c-section over a vaginal or forceps birth. One theory is that the hormones responsible for preventing post partum depression are suppressed in the surgical process.

To me, it seems crazy to think that someone who comes out with a healthy baby and body would experience such debilitating depression. But depression isn’t rational. And you can’t think your way through it.

I feel the more challenging and isolating recovery process from a c-section is neglected in this explanation. Often these ladies spend a couple months house bound, with little to no activity. Exercise has been demonstrated as more powerful in fighting depression than many anti-depression medications. And to make matters worse, deconditioned post c-section mommies probably have a much harder time resuming activity and find less enjoyment in it. That, and they are way more likely to be lonely, bored and socially isolated.

Just speaks to the importance of taking a walk each day in the fresh air with a friend if you can.

Onwards. Here’s my recap for the second week.

Day 1: My first walk! My daughter decides we should go to the closer park (4k) instead of the more exciting park (8k). I’m glad she did. Pretty pooped by the time I get home and a big hill with a heavy stroller to finish. It was good to get the wrap out and remember how to use it. I feel more free now.

Day 2: Passport photos for the little ones, baby’s first doctor appointment and visit to my husband’s work to show off the cutie. I asked the doctor about increased bleeding with exercise – as all the forums seem to suggest that any increase in bright red lochia means you’ve over done it. He disagreed. He described it as channels being left open that were super active prenatally – and that vigourus activity shakes some blood loose. He said the golden rule of soaking through more than one pad an hour is still the most important thing to note. I’m nowhere near this critical point so I feel better.

Day 3: Baby is starting to sleep bigger stretches in the night and I am correspondingly feeling more human. I clean the house… which feels great! Ah… the simple pleasure of a clean house. I spend rest of the day digging, pushing and pulling… trying to recover all of my regular clothes and putting all my maternity stuff in boxes. Lifting feels fine to a certain size rather than weight. If it’s too big and off my axis I can feel my core engage. Ama and John go skiing in the mountains – and of course, the baby sleeping more at night means more awake time during the day. I end up singing to her the entire time from a fort of boxes.

Day 4: Repeat day 3. I have way too many clothes. But despite being a lot snugger, I can fit into them… which makes me happy. Never complaining about this little piglet breast feeding like a champ again.

Day 5: Today’s the day. The weather is gorgeous, the kids are at home and on the way to the store I run 10 sets of stairs. I am rewarded with a little lung burn (oh how I’ve missed you). I am looking to defend my title in this year’s stair race up the wall centre tower not even 6 weeks postpartum. I also find the stairs are a gentle way to functionally get my heart rate up, since the stairs come up to meet your feet. I focus on staying relaxed and supporting with my transverse abdominus. I also throw in 30 raised push-ups and squats for good measure… which feel surprisingly OK… although my butt is up in the air. To top the day off, some of my favourite friends come visit me in the evening. They bring me organic nuts, soup, vegan chill, organic fruit, homemade muffins, and salad.

Day 6: Due to yesterday’s delicious bounty, we eat like kings today. We wait until the hail stops, and then go for a walk in the heat of the sun. You just never know with the weather here. My husband is sick so I teach my bootcamp. Surprisingly, demoing squat tuck jumps and lunge switches doesn’t hurt. Although I only attempt one or two and land quietly so as to not push my luck.

Day 7: Rain, rain go away. I decide to give the rebounder a try and go back to running as gently as possible. I also throw in some exercises to strengthen my hips in all planes, my calves and my core.

And that’s week 2. Looking forward to getting back into health and fitness. Starting my journey back to my race weight is my big goal for week 3.

C-Section recovery week one

C-Section Recovery Week One

It’s funny… I can’t believe that I had a c-section before, let alone a baby. It feels like I somehow forgot everything despite it only being a 3 year gap between the last time that I experienced both.

I wanted to share my experience in recovering this week for all those mamas who are going in for a planned caesarian and want to know what it was like for me.

One caveat: my OB-GYN gave me advice I have never heard before: do whatever the heck you want. Lift anything regardless of how heavy, vacuum, go running, and climb stairs as soon as you get home. He assured me that I could not bear the pain involved in ripping the stitches and that I would stop long before anything happened. He basically warned against me going home and sitting on my duff for six weeks, which to that point is the only advice I heard.

I guess the instance of “wound dishescence” is fairly uncommon and only occurs in like 0.37% of cases. It also seems to happen mostly from infection and the body needing to release fluid back out of the opening. In fact, some of the major factors include obesity and diabetes.

I can also see how I wouldn’t be able to bear the pain of tearing them. Even as an pain loving endurance athlete, the pain is unembraceable and I back off immediately.

Any who… I appreciate the advice every time I sneeze and the panic sets in that I have just launched my organs through a baby-sized hole in my stomach. Although if I do blow my stitches, I am sure I have some, “I told you so”s coming my way.

Here’s how my week went:

Day 1: Can’t even move my toes. Have a catheter and IV in. The biggest change was being able to wiggle my feet by night time.

Day 2: They remove the catheter, IV and let me have a shower and walk around my room. I feel terrible. Maybe my entire body being frozen wasn’t such a bad thing. I’m not sleeping at night but I don’t care, this baby’s so cute I could stay up forever.

Day 3: They release me back into the world. This is maybe the worst day pain wise as I have went from an epidural and morphine to advil and tylenol and I’m moving lots more. I worry I might never recover. I am glad that my boobs aren’t engorged this time around. That pain stuck in my soul.

Day 4: My boobs are so engorged. So engorged that the baby can no longer eat. I long like I never have before for small saggy boobs. They must have grown the gamut of cup sizes overnight. I can’t believe I ever found pregnancy uncomfortable. I lift various things the nurses told me not to: like the baby in the car seat, some suitcases up a flight of stairs, etc. I feel fine but I do lift with my back. I hope to goodness no one ever sees my lifting form right now. But at least I don’t feel like I’m using my abs at all.

Day 5: Why won’t the baby just sleep? In trying to get ready, I run up and down the stairs numerous times and it feels just fine. I feel a bit silly for setting everything up on our main level so I wouldn’t have to climb the stairs to get anything. Except everything I know want but forget when I am upstairs.

Day 6: Family outing to IKEA. I push the cart and carry my newborn. I lift my toddler once. That feels gross so I don’t pick her up again. I finish the breakfast I could hardly finish last week when I was pregnant and want more. So much for the vision of a pregnant woman bringing a buffet to it’s knees. Breast feeding, however, makes me insatiably hungry! I also lift a box of books to organize and decide it’s too much to carry back. I make my husband move it.

Day 7: My husband takes my daughter to school and I watch Dexter while the baby sleeps. Hey, she’s tired from waking me up all night and Dexter’s insanity soothes me at the moment. It’s also my first day off meds and I feel pretty OK. I do feel like I should get out for some walks starting tomorrow. But it is nice to have a lazy day with a snuggly baby.