A part of me feels a little bad for asking moms an intrusive question like, "What were the most disgusting things about C-section recovery?" I mean, I know C-sections scare a lot of moms-to-be, or women who think that perhaps, one day, they'd like to have children. I know that the vast majority of C-sections and recoveries, while not completely painless, are uncomplicated. I also know that recovery can be difficult, and painful, and asking someone to share the intimate details of that experience can be, well, off-putting. But damnit, sometimes things can get straight-up nasty and maybe I need to talk about accidentally looking down one day and immediately thinking that my incision site looked like the mouth of the man-eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors. Solidarity, people! It's necessary! I need it!
So if you're squeamish, look away. If you are pregnant and C-sections already make you nervous, turn your head. If you experienced birth trauma after a C-section, know that the following may be triggering. But if you're a C-section mom (I consider us Scalpel Sisters) who had something totally disgusting happen postpartum, read on, for you shall see that you are in very good company. If you are pregnant and want to consider the various things that could possibly go wrong (but probably won't), take a gander. And if you are the partner of a new mom, and that new mom is telling you to read this so that you can understand what she went through, you soldier through and read it because you owe her this for all her body went through for your child.
So, without further ado, here are some of the grossest things that can happen after a C-section. Remember, you've been warned.
"No one warned me that I’d have two nurses in the bathroom with me the first time! And the clots! I’m not sure why I thought it wouldn’t be as bad because I had C-section, but it was shocking."
"The most disgusting part of my C-section was when I ripped open my staples and had to insert a piece of collagen into the tear basically as glue and butterfly tape it, every day, until it closed. I got sick every time! I legit had a hole! Just thinking about it again makes me queasy. I had to see a wound specialist for it and the whole nine."
"My mom having to give me a suppository after over a week with no bowel movement."
"Infection ... my OB basically knelt on my abdomen to force all of the fluid pocket out so my incision would heal."
"I had delayed bleeding. The nurses kept coming in saying, 'Hmm... Still no blood...' then [they] would massage the crap out of my stomach. Then out of nowhere so. much. blood. and. clots. Ugh, it was gross."
"I developed a bedsore that needed treatment because I was in bed so long (40 hours prior to emergency C-section)."
"The vaginal bleeding. Heavy. Constant. EVERYWHERE."
"They took my catheter out and I couldn’t pee but felt like I really had to. After a couple of hours they said, 'We have to put the catheter back in.' At that point my bladder was going to explode and I was in pain. Well the nurse f*cked up and couldn’t get it in right so they had to redo it... f*cking disgusting and painful all at the same time."
"The most disgusting part for me was when my incision opened up with my last. You never expect it to happen to you."
"The golf ball sized blood clots that fall out of you while you’re in the shower. The gross part is that they obviously won’t just go down the drain..."
"I had two C-sections. They really weren’t that bad for me. I also had 14 surgeries prior to these, one being spinal cord surgery. So, in comparison, a C-section is a walk in the park. I did, however, have my scar open up on me four months postpartum with my first. That was gross. When I called my OB-GYN's office the nurse told me that it was impossible for that to happen. I kept saying, 'Well, it happened.' My doctor got in the phone and told me to come straight to the office. She had to stitch me."
"The oozing from healing was nasty. No one tells you about the possibility of the fluid pockets. I had to have a drain tube placed and carry it around, pinned in my pants."
"The Frankenstein staple smile I have above my hoo-ha. That was disgusting. Every time I looked at it it was smiling, but I was dying inside from the pain. Getting that massive, taped-down-with-13-rolls-of-tape gauze pad off of my Frankenstein smile was awful. They had taped it on to parts of the 'smile,' so that was anything but fun. My husband said it was disgusting, having to try to take off the tape to then see what was underneath. Nothing could have prepared him for that, he said."
"So my first C-section came after six hours off pushing... so after a weekend home I developed an abscess in my butt crack the size of a golf ball. And it opened up and oozed for days. So trying to breastfeed with the incision in front and the abscess in the back was fun. Also, my incision got infected with that one. Woo!"
"My scar got infected because the assholes left the staples in too long and the lips of my scar started peeling away from each other like a freaking banana. The ooze that came out of that..."
"Not disgusting, per se, but I was surprised by how numb the whole region — aka the FUPA — was for months after the surgery. I didn't like the sensation of being touched on my lower abdomen for months after I'd healed. Those cut nerves take a while to get sensation back (at least, they did for me, although I've been told by some women that the numbness is permanent)."
"Not disgusting, per se, but just so weird. On day three I woke up (when I slept for five minutes) with horrible pain in my arm/shoulder. The nurse said it was gas that traveled because of the surgery. I just couldn't stop picturing a gas bubble floating through my body and wishing I could just burp it out. It was so close to my mouth! The human body is nuts."
[Writer's note: I had absolutely no idea this was a thing and it turned into a whole conversation with me having my mind blown by a whole bunch of other women who have also experienced this. Wow.]
"The feeling of not pooping for seven days."
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