I kind of enjoyed my 4 days in the hospital after the kid was born. Aside from the major abdominal surgery/recovery, the constant temperature/blood pressure taking, and learning to walk all over again, it was kind of like a little mini-vacation.
It got a wee bit harder once we got home.
I'm not good at sitting still. I'm not good at being idle. This wasn't so much a problem in the hospital as the epidural was wearing off and I could only walk for little bits to start with. You never really appreciate just how important your tummy muscles are for mobility until you can't use them. So when people tell you to be mindful of and to strengthen your core, DO IT.
I'm also not good at being in pain. I don't like it. (Who does?) I get whiny. I've led a charmed, healthy life that has been 99% injury/serious illness free (I broke my wrist when I was 4 or 5).
Finally, I'm a problem-solver. If something is wrong, or if something hurts, then there is a reason and I need to find that reason, address it, and fix it. "Time" is not an acceptable solution to pain for me, not naturally.
Having never delivered a baby the "natural" way I can't really speak to that kind of recovery. I'm 100% sure it can be very difficult and very frustrating and painful to boot. I'm also pretty sure that I would still have the use of my abdominal muscles and that I could wear normal (if slightly larger-sized) pants by now. I could probably go for walks on the treadmill that last longer than 5 minutes (and at a speed greater than 2 mph). I could get up and out of bed every 15-30 minutes at night when the infant calls and not feel like I did an ab circuit with weights the next morning.
What I'd give to have actually done an ab workout.
The major surgery alone has been a lot for this new momma to deal with, not even taking into consideration the Tiny Human and all of his needs/demands. It's been a physical battle.
It's also been an emotional/mental battle. Even though I fully supported the decision to have a c-section when it came down to it, I never had the opportunity to wrap my mind around all that it meant. There is a voice in my head that told me I had made a bad decision (to get induced) and that it began an avalanche of events that probably wouldn't have happened if I had just shut up and dealt with the misery of 40+ weeks. Chances are, my body would have taken care of everything itself. Chances are, Tiny Human would have moved and dropped if given the time. This voice tells me that I messed up big time. This voice tells me that I can't be trusted to make good decisions for my baby. This voice tells me that I can't do this.
My doctor tells me he was stuck. Says he could have moved, but it's also just as likely that he would not have budged at all. Even if I had started labor naturally it could have ended up exactly the same (just a week or two later).
I so desperately wanted to make the best decision for me, my baby, and my family. It felt inexplicably, soul-crushingly awful to think that I had failed.
Or, maybe it was just fine.
There is another voice, a quieter but steady voice, that reminds me that the surgery - or rather, the delivery - was a success. My recovery, while slower than I would like, is probably textbook. The kid was born healthy, and big, and strong, and totally ready for life on the outside. This voice, while hard to hear at times and even harder to believe, is always right.
Caring for a newborn is hard enough without having major surgery to recover from on top of it all. But that's where we landed, for better or for worse. Sometimes it's both.
Truth be told, I would have a c-section again in a heartbeat if it meant another safe & healthy delivery of a happy, healthy kid. But if life takes me there again at least I'll know what to expect! I've heard from many wise women that that helps.