Recovering from Another Postpartum Surgery

by - Monday, October 30, 2023

At the end of August, I wrote a blog post about what I was doing to rebuild my fitness after my C-section. Back then, I was pretty happy with the progress I was making. The scar massage was really helping with mobility around my incision, and I was starting to build back my strength and endurance by lengthening my walks. I was hopeful I'd be able to start easing back into running.

But my body wasn't healing properly after the C-section. At my 6-week follow up appointment with my OB, my doctor told me to monitor a few of the symptoms I was still having and if they hadn't resolved by 8-10 weeks, I'd need to come back in for an ultrasound. 

Unfortunately for me, those symptoms didn't resolve on their own. So in early September, they got me in for an ultrasound, which showed something abnormal near the internal incision from the C-section. In order to get better imaging and give my doctor a better sense of what was going on, I had to go for an MRI. 

After waiting for a week to get the results of the MRI, I had another appointment with my OB to talk through the options. Going into the appointment, I knew I'd need another surgery, and the MRI would dictate how major of a surgery it would be. Because the theme of this pregnancy and postpartum period was that I have the worst possible luck, I of course found out I needed the version of the surgery that amounted to another C-section, aided by a camera inserted through my belly button. It was both a laparotomy and laparoscopy.  

To say I was devastated would be a huge understatement. 


I couldn't believe I was going to have to go through another major abdominal surgery and start the healing and recovery process all over again. 

But that's what happened. I had the second surgery at the end of September. It was outpatient this time so I got to sleep in my own bed instead of a hospital bed this time around. The doctor was able to make the abdominal incision on top of my existing C-section scar, and the belly button incision is not noticeable at all. The anesthesia made me puke multiple times again -- once in the car on the drive home. And there's really nothing like the pain of puking after your abs have been sliced open.

Recovery has been long and hard both mentally and physically the second time around. My kiddo is bigger, and I wasn't allowed to lift him for about three weeks post-op. I was incredibly sore for the first week and had to do the same rotation of ibuprofen and Tylenol every three hours like back in July. We luckily had lots of help from my parents, Ben's aunt and Ben's mom. But there is nothing more heartbreaking than hearing my little guy cry and not be able to pick him up to comfort him.

When I had a follow up appointment with my doctor two weeks ago, he was happy with my healing process this time around, which is good, but I'm still not cleared to do any real exercise yet beyond walking. 

So here I am, starting my recovery all over again. I'm doing the scar message and core engagement work, but I'll be honest, I'm not as good about remembering to do it as I was the first time around. It was just really demoralizing to take such a huge step back in the program that I was following, and some days my heart just really isn't into it. 

I am slowly rebuilding my walking endurance. Walking at least gets me out of the house for fresh air. I'm up to three miles of walking now which is great, but not really close to the five miles I was walking pre-surgery. 

And at this point postpartum, I thought I'd be back to running and all my regular activities again. My mom and I had even picked out a race we were planning to do together in December. But now, I have two more weeks of waiting to even get cleared to begin regular exercise again, and that's tough. 

My little guy is almost four months old, but my body is only healed as if I were five weeks postpartum. This has all just been really hard. I know some day it will all be just a blip of a memory, but it has been really frustrating having all my progress wiped out and starting from zero again.

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