Having my hopes for birth sidetracked has made me flounder, looking for that solid ground to stand on. I know I can’t be the only mama who’s faced this floating in limbo feeling! So because of that I want to use this post to talk about some of the things that I am slowly putting together in a practical effort to prepare for the c-section and following chaos.
I know there is very little that I can do to physically/practically prepare for a c-section. While I don’t have any qualms with knowing I’m going to have a scheduled major surgery, I do feel the need to keep my hands busy. I am nervous about being separated from my little bear immediately upon delivery and not getting to be with him for who knows how long when he is taken to the NICU. But, that’s a post for another time!
I’m going to break this post down into two different sections; practical and physical.
The practical is possibly the easiest to talk about. Included in this is packing a hospital/NICU bag, planning freezer meals, researching what one will need specifically for a c-section recovery, finding out about the hospital’s protocols for c-section mamas, and so on.
Let’s talk about packing that hospital bag first! I am planning on having my bag packed by 34ish weeks. Even though I will have an actual date for my c-section, knowing my body AND that we’ll be in the middle of Colorado winter (lots of rising pressure, which increases my braxton hicks, and I had started dilating a good bit by the time I was 36 weeks with Little Monkey), I want my bag packed as early as I can get it done. As labor is not an option for me anymore, I want to be able to just go if anything happens before the scheduled date.
A hospital bag list is something that Pinterest is an amazing resource for. I have found several specific pins for c-section recovery hospital bags and from those pins this is the list that I’ve put together. (it is subject to change as I start packing and decide what I really want to have with me or could do without)
C-Section/NICU stay Hospital Bag
- pineapple juice
- coconut water
- GF muffins/snacks
- GasX strips
- Cough medicine
- cough/throat drops
- Vitamins – probiotics, cal/mag, prenatal
- ice packs
- kotex maxi pads
- low rise underwear
- regular pillow
- body pillow
- Nursing pillow
- comfy blanket
- 3 night gowns
- 3-5 nursing bras (pack different kinds)
- Nursing tank tops – all of them
- 2 tops to wear over tanks
- Navel and Blanqi Postpartum leggings
- yoga pants
- fuzzy socks
- Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, styling products, bar soap, puff, shaving cream, razor, loofah, face wipes, coconut oil, toothbrush/paste…)
- Makeup bag
- portable keyboard for taking notes on kindle
- Charging block
- Chargers for Iphone
- Extension cord
- insurance cards
- hospital paperwork (both insurance and paperwork need their own folder)
Now my list above combines some of the things I will also need for the NICU stay as well. I will list my NICU Survival List down below as well. Some of these items, like ice packs, Motrin, and the toiletries are the things that are the eh maybe I won’t need them, I’ll decide last minute items. But, they are things I do want to make sure I have, whether the hospital provides them or not. As I’ve had the benefit (I suppose) of having gone through one birth already, I do remember what worked and didn’t work last time. Even though this time will be different, it helps that I am not starting from scratch.
Alright, so here are a few of the pins I pulled ideas from for the hospital bag list.
One of the things that I have found helpful is to take advantage of the knowledge from mamas I know who have had c-sections. If you have resources like that, use them!! They’re going to be the ones who can tell you specifically what helped them or didn’t help with c-section recovery. The same goes for if you will be needing to stay with baby while they’re in the NICU. Use your resources!
Now with my NICU Survival List, I have mostly relied on Pinterest for this list. I do know a few mamas who have had babies in the NICU, so I will be running this list by them as we get close to DD (Delivery Day) to make sure I’m not missing anything.
NICU Survival Kit
- Chapstick – LOTS of chapstick
- Cough/throat drops
- hand lotion
- hand sanitizer
- Easy to carry notebook
- pens – at least 6
- Kind bars
- kettle chips
- nursing pillow
- breast pump
- freemie attachment
- labels and markers for making bottles
- nursing pads
- water bottle
- baby lotion (find organic lotion…maybe california baby?)
- 1-2 special outfits for little bear – specifically with snaps
- laundry bag
- bottles (figure out what bottle would be best)
- coconut oil
- 2-3 changes of clothes
- baby nail clippers
- inexpensive camera for nurses to take pictures with?
Like I said, multiple things overlap with each list, so I will most likely combine them into two bags when I head to the hospital. I’m not sure how long I’ll be in my room before I’m discharged and I move over to the NICU rooms. That’ll depend on c-section recovery and such. Here are a few of the pins I pulled NICU list tips from.
Feel free to take a look around my Mama Advice and Prepping for Little Bear boards. I have a bunch of other pins that I have found helpful on there!
As packing a hospital/NICU bag is a very practical thing to do, that’s a huge thing I’m focusing on right now even though I feel like I’m in limbo still. However, a hospital bag is only part of the practical things I can do to keep my hands busy. Another suggestion is planning out freezer meals! I did a few before Little Monkey was born, but those meals kind of flopped and we never ended up using them. Because I know what DIDN’T work for us last time, I am being quite particular planning freezer meals this time around. A few big changes for us since last time is my diet is gluten free and there are a few other foods I can’t eat because of my IBS as well as my fibromyalgia. Thankfully, I have found several phenomenal lists [on Pinterest] for GF freezer meals! I will be combining several recipes from these lists and hope to start prepping those come January.
Even though that last pin are not specifically GF meals, the techniques and recipes are simple enough to adapt for a GF version.
When I have my delivery planning meeting (yes, apparently this is a thing at our Children’s), I will be bringing a list of questions about the c-section itself, a procedure I will be having done during the c-section, and then what their protocols are for mamas after the surgery is done. That meeting is where I’ll also find out about the things available to me while I am in the hospital as well as getting to tour the facilities (recovery rooms and the NICU). After that meeting I will go back over my hospital bag list and add or take away anything I know I won’t need.
Planning and preparing physically for a c-section is a little bit more involved and yet is almost nothing compared to planning practically! This is the area I have had the hardest time “coping” with. With a planned c-section you literally just show up and get prepped then go back for the surgery. A little bit more complicated than that, but that’s basically it! I don’t get increasingly nervous when I have knowledge of something like that happening beforehand. The idea and prospect of going in for the c-section is not what is making me feel overwhelmed or shaky. It’s the whole chaos of what’s going to happen after that makes me tear up, have nightmares about, and I already know I’m going to be a wreck when they take little bear to the NICU while I’m still on the table getting put back together.
However, I have put together a short list of the things I can do now to prep physically for the c-section. I am worried about my gut health/immune system AFTER the c-section, so I going to keep up with my kombucha tea, and in January, I will most likely start taking a probiotic as well to help keep my gut health strong. My body doesn’t usually have that much of an issue with antibiotics, but I don’t want to take chances, especially with what my body has been recovering from over the past year (unknown gluten intolerance discovered only a year ago, removal of gallbladder…).
I already have strong core muscles thanks to yoga and that being something I have been able to keep up with consistently. I am not really worried about how my abdominal muscles will recover post surgery, but I have added several core specific poses to my yoga routine. *it is important to note that core exercises while pregnant are not a good idea if you have diastasis recti (a separation in your ab muscles as your belly grows)* The core poses I have added are very gentle and are still yoga poses which means they’re done slowly, with care, and with attention to breathing. The article below is only one of two I found about preparing for a c-section.
After talking with a dear friend who’s had two c-sections this morning, I now have a game plan for the week before the c-section. But I’ll share that as we get closer to that date!
There really aren’t many things I can do to physically prepare besides the things I’ve listed above. The other things you/I can do between now and the c-section is just keep taking care of my body. I have to do yoga at least 1-3 times a week just to manage my fibromyalgia, but it is important to me to keep doing that as it is calming and gives me a way to manage stress and anxiety.