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Old 06-08-2012, 01:47 PM   #1
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Postpartum care concerns

I wanted to see what other lady's experiences were in terms of healing from a VBAC versus a repeat c-section. Honestly, I kind of expected the VBAC recovery to be a piece of cake, all roses and all that, and I was surprised at some of the things I didn't expect:

*I had heavier bleeding this time, and it lasted longer (with the c-section it lasted maybe two weeks and was like a super light period, after the VBAC it was several weeks)

*I swear the lochia had a stronger smell

*My pregnancy hemorrhoids were aggravated by the VBAC and I needed a steroid foam to end the cycle.

*Intimacy is better this time around. For the year that I nursed my daughter after my c/s, I was incredibly dry and tight with no libido. I wouldn't say I'm back to normal after the VBAC, but things are definitely better (EBF this time again too).

*It took about 5 weeks for my 2nd degree tear to feel completely healed, the light bleeding to stop, and for me to feel back to "normal," though I was much, much more mobile in the days following birth compared to my c-section. I just wasn't expecting the bleeding to last longer.

There aren't too many people who have had both types of birth experiences, so I thought maybe we could help women doing a TOLAC know a little bit more what to expect, both the good, the bad, and the "Oh, really?" stuff. So what differences in your postpartum healing did you notice?

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Old 06-08-2012, 02:30 PM   #2
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I had heavier bleeding with my VBAC. I believe the reason for this is that with a c/s, the OB is really able to get in there and "clean" you out. I bled just as long with my c-section though, so no difference in the length for me.

I, too, think the lochia has a stronger smell after VBAC. I am 5 weeks PP with my VBAC and I still can smell me...my lochia is currently in the tan/clear stage of spotting. Ick.

The sensitivity of my lady bits threw me for a loop after my VBAC. My clit was especially sensitive and it took a few weeks for that to subside. There was also this crazy feeling of pressure down there that would last for a few min every time when changing positions (laying to sitting, sitting to standing, ect).

I was amazed at how fantastic I felt just an hour after a vaginal delivery...and how I even got to shower right away! Recovery from my c/s was rough the first few days for me (nausea, pain, horrible swelling from excessive fluids and surgery) but my incision had healed by my 1 week incision check. Definitely much more mobile after my VBAC vs c/s.

No idea about how intimacy feels yet...I still have my three stitches since they never dissolved. Have to wait until my 6 week PP check to get them out. But I do have the desire to DTD already and definitely didn't feel like it for months after my c/s.

My milk took 4 days to transition out of only colostrum stage with my c/s vs day 2 with my VBAC. However, my DD from my c/s took a few days to latch, so that was probably a factor as well.

Overall, my VBAC was an incredible experience. I am deathly afraid of ever having another c/s now that I know how good I can have it with a vaginal birth.

ETA: Hemorrhoids are a new and not fun experience after my VBAC.
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Old 06-08-2012, 07:51 PM   #3
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Re: Postpartum care concerns

Oh, I forgot to mention that I don't feel the urge to pee as strongly, which is quite convenient on long car trips. I haven't had any leaking issues or anything like that.
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:45 AM   #4
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Re: Postpartum care concerns

I'll be honest, the first few days after my VBAC I questioned whether it was all really worth it because I was in so much more pain.

The recovery for my c-sec was longer but milder. I had it done at night so I went to "bed" right after, but first thing in the morning I was up and out of bed and moving around as much as I could. My milk took almost 5 days to come in and we had troubles BFing. I wasn't too scared about DTD once I had my 6 week check-up, and I had a really easy recovery.

For my VBAC it was shorter recovery but the pain was much more intense, especially in the first week. I had an episiotomy and a LOT of tearing, and I tore a few stitches, so needless to say sitting upright for that first week was agony. As for intimacy I was too terrified to DTD after all the stitches and swelling and pain until 10 weeks PP. My milk came in in about half the time. The nurses ushered me into the shower about an hour after I delivered and we only had to spend 1 night at the hospital. The afterpains when I nursed were so much worse, partly because they get worse with each kid, but also because I wasn't on any good pain meds like I was with my c-sec.
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Old 06-09-2012, 02:02 PM   #5
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Re: Postpartum care concerns

Quote:
Originally Posted by shan1212 View Post
I wanted to see what other lady's experiences were in terms of healing from a VBAC versus a repeat c-section. Honestly, I kind of expected the VBAC recovery to be a piece of cake, all roses and all that, and I was surprised at some of the things I didn't expect:

*I had heavier bleeding this time, and it lasted longer (with the c-section it lasted maybe two weeks and was like a super light period, after the VBAC it was several weeks)

*I swear the lochia had a stronger smell

*My pregnancy hemorrhoids were aggravated by the VBAC and I needed a steroid foam to end the cycle.

*Intimacy is better this time around. For the year that I nursed my daughter after my c/s, I was incredibly dry and tight with no libido. I wouldn't say I'm back to normal after the VBAC, but things are definitely better (EBF this time again too).

*It took about 5 weeks for my 2nd degree tear to feel completely healed, the light bleeding to stop, and for me to feel back to "normal," though I was much, much more mobile in the days following birth compared to my c-section. I just wasn't expecting the bleeding to last longer.

There aren't too many people who have had both types of birth experiences, so I thought maybe we could help women doing a TOLAC know a little bit more what to expect, both the good, the bad, and the "Oh, really?" stuff. So what differences in your postpartum healing did you notice?
You are recovering like a woman who has had her first vaginal birth. That's really normal- so far as you were healing from a second degree laceration and you were exhausted, physically, from pushing, etc. The bleeding shouldn't be that much different unless they had dome some "cleaning out" of your uterus during your c-section. Your lochia also shouldn't smell any different. If it smells foul, I would go to your doctor/midwife and get it checked because that's abnormal. (Nevermind, I see that it's already stopped. Anyway, it shouldn't have smelled differently unless you had an infection.)

I will tell you that the recovery from my 1st VBAC was way worse than my recovery from my 2nd VBAC. With my 1st VBAC, I had a second degree and pushed for 3 hours (without an epidural). With my 2nd VBAC, I pushed for 20 minutes tops (with an epidural) and had an intact perineum. If birth was as easy as my 2nd VBAC, I swear I could do it once a week.

If you go on to have a second VBAC, I bet your recovery will be easier. Only you can decide if it was worth it or not to you. If you decide that it wasn't, there's nothing wrong with having a repeat c with your next baby either.

ETA: I had hemorrhoids too. They were horrible. I actually had them before pushing just from the pregnancy, but the pushing made it worse. Oh well. Hemorrhoids were actually worse for the 2nd VBAC than the 1st.
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Old 06-09-2012, 06:50 PM   #6
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Re: Postpartum care concerns

After my VBAC I felt much better because I didn't have the excruciating headache and hives and itching from the various anesthesia/meds. My baby was much more alert and nursed way better after the VBAC. I had big problems with my little csection guy.

Also, I asked ahead of time and the doctor did tell me they clean you out as much as possible during the surgery so the PP bleeding is not the same.

I got a hemorrhoid with my second pregnancy but it was there before I delivered, it wasn't caused by the delivery, it was from the pregnancy.

I'm going to have my second VBAC in the next few hours/days/weeks. I'll report back after.
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Old 06-09-2012, 07:51 PM   #7
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Re: Postpartum care concerns

Tina, best wishes for a speedy delivery and easy recovery!

Ambie, yes, the afterpains during nursing seemed more painful this time, but I thought maybe I just didn't remember . . . your explanation makes total sense.

Holly, the lochia didn't have a foul smell . . . it was very earthy and minerally. I swear it smelled like iron.

But you know what, my sense of smell has been crazy strong recently, so that may have played a part too. A small bit of brie got down the garbage disposal last week and it's been driving me crazy. I finally had to treat the sink like I was defunking diapers! But no one else could smell anything. It sounds anecdotally like a lot of women who have had both types of delivery notice the lochia more with a vaginal delivery, which does make sense. Certainly the flow and duration are more objectively measured, and they were both stronger with the VBAC, so I don't see why the odor couldn't be too.
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