Saturday, October 20, 2007

How not to overdue it after a c-section

Once you return home, you simply cannot take up your life in its usual format. You must let others help you out so that the incision, and the underlying tissue, has an opportunity to heal properly.

It's the simple things, not the obvious things, that one forgets about though. Most of us know well enough that vacuuming, carrying full laundry baskets up and down steps, or lifting toddlers are a no-no.

But when it comes to reaching for a cup on a higher shelf in the cupboard, that is something one does automatically without analyzing ahead of time whether it would be counterproductive to the incision healing.

Or bending down to put a pot away on a lower shelf. The simple act of bending down, pot in one hand, and balancing your somewhat unsteady body with the other, is quite an acrobatic feat given what you've just been through.

So suggest to someone else that you're more than happy to put the cuttery away, since that requires little bending and stretching, and leave those other items for someone else to deal with.

Keeping toddlers from climbing on you or kicking you is a matter of anticipation. Rules must be enforced, with clear consequences outlined in toddler lingo.

For example, if you allow your toddler to visit you in bed, he must understand that jumping, kicking, roughousing, or any other similar activity is 'verboten'. Give one warning, state what the consequent is, and then follow through.

Benjamin, if you want to stay on mommy's bed, you can't kick your feet like that. You lie still. If you do it again, you can go back to Benjamin's bed.

Then, if he does do it again, and being a toddler, chances are he will, you get up and go with him back to his own bed.

This method has worked for us during pregnancy, and will continue working for us post-partum. Because it has to.

Not that it's necessarily smooth sailing. Sometimes there's crying or carrying on. Sometimes not. Either way, you have to persevere.

This doesn't have to be about punishment. It's simply a rule that has to be observed, whether he understand the full implications or not.

Get rest. Even if people tell you to rest when the baby is resting, and you feel annoyed by the sheer stupidity of that comment, you have to find a moment when you can do exactly that.

For me, that leaves out mornings. It does not matter how little I slept throughout the night. I am a morning person, and mornings are not for resting. My body isn't used to it. So instead, I have to find creative ways to rest in the afternoon.

There are several options available here, but many depend on things like who is here to watch the toddler, is the toddler still napping, how does quiet time work if he doesn't nap, and can the baby be placed someplace safe in the toddler's quiet time area while mommy rests on the toddler bed.

THAT, I think, will be the biggest challenge starting next week.

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