HATE C Section Recovery!

How do pregnancy and the first year after birth impact a couples sexuality?
darkangel
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HATE C Section Recovery!

Postby darkangel » Sun May 24, 2015 8:32 am

I've had 4 babies in less than 4 years. The first 3 were vaginal deliveries which weren't perfect, but recovery was a cake walk. I didn't tear in the slightest. I was back at work within 3-14 days. I was having sex by 2 weeks postpartum (long before my doctor okayed it). My last delivery was a totally unexpected emergency c-section. Recovery has been miserable! I expected not being able to go back to work so soon. I expected needing more help taking care of 4 kids under 4. I expected being off my feet longer. What caught me completely off guard was how it affected sex! I've lost some feeling in my cervix, which never happened with vaginal deliveries. I hadn't even gone into labor this time, so it's not like I was pushing on my cervix for an extended period of time. (I've also lost feeling at the incision, lower abdomen, and upper pubic region). Orgasms take longer for me to achieve, but they cause my uterus to contract which hurts. My doctor says it gets better with time, and my sex drive doesn't have that kind of patience! How long did it take your body to get back to normal after a c-section? How long before the numbness went away?

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Re: HATE C Section Recovery!

Postby girliegirl511 » Mon May 25, 2015 1:01 pm

I haven't had a c section but my mom has had 3. All different places, and at each incision site there is numbness. Last c section was 10 yrs ago, to get the baby out muscles and nerves were severed that will never recover. Just like my back surgery incision, it will never regain feeling. But the area around the incision should. If it doesn't return without 3-6 months then I'd be worried. Remember to not lift because that can also put a strain on your abdominal muscles.
And if it was an emergency section they could've done the surgery differently than a normal. In a true emergency section, baby can be delivered in under 2 minutes! :shock: So recovery is going to be drastically different.

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Re: HATE C Section Recovery!

Postby darkangel » Mon May 25, 2015 1:27 pm

3-6 months? Ugh I did not sign up for this! We've always had an amazing sex life. No matter how difficult anything else may be, I could at least count on good sex as an escape! Good a reason as any to get my tubes tied. NEVER. Doing. This. Again. ::arg

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Re: HATE C Section Recovery!

Postby Nvr2Late » Tue May 26, 2015 8:53 am

darkangel, relax!! I have great news :D This is something you will just have to be patient about until you are fully healed.

I've had two major abdominal incisions (first to remove an advanced tubal pregnancy and second for total abdominal hysterectomy). Similar incisions. I still have little numb spots on my tummy. They don't affect my sex drive whatsoever. As for your cervix, well....I don't have one now, but also went through a good part of my adult like with most of mine removed due to cervical cancer at 26. Again...it never affected my drive or my enjoyment of sex.

Now for the real mind blower: I've also survived anal cancer with chemo-radiation to the pelvis. You'd think THAT would have been the end of my sex life, but NO. I have full enjoyment, because for all the burns and misery of that treatment, nothing permanently affected my clitoris OR my libido. That is *THE* female sex organ, remember! It took work to keep my vagina working properly, but once that hurdle was crossed, my sex life returned to normal.

Your body has been through a lot more this time. Pregnancy followed by major abdominal surgery. Please take the time to be patient and heal properly. I remember after both surgeries, there was a period of healing during which having an orgasm caused the muscles and tissues to hurt and ache, but it gets easier over time. This too shall pass!
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Re: HATE C Section Recovery!

Postby girliegirl511 » Tue May 26, 2015 8:43 pm

3-6 months is for complete recovery. You may be ready to go back to work 2-4 weeks after surgery. There will be tenderness around the incision area because they did cut through muscle! Some people think a section is an easy recovery. And while Drs perform many c sections, it still is major surgery. But the 3-6 months is when your body is fully healed inside and out. Just be patient and listen to anything your body tells you. Back surgery is a little different, but I did things when I thought I was healed and ended up in bed for a day. So patience is your word! Good luck, especially with a new baby, which by the way congrats!!! :) Accept any and all help if offered!

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Re: HATE C Section Recovery!

Postby darkangel » Tue May 26, 2015 9:02 pm

That's the problem - TIME. Sex is my emotional crutch to get through the postpartum period. Without it, I've ended up with the worst PPD this time around. Having kids wasn't easy for us. We lost 7 babies in between the 4 that survived. We had the latest miscarriage last June, and we decided we were done with the anxiety and grief of trying. It shouldn't have been hard to keep from getting pregnant again with my messed up ovaries. Imagine the shock we had when I got pregnant in September despite charting, bcps, and condoms. I never felt more cheated. We were DONE. We'd decided to finally be finished. Then another 9 months of anxiety and fear that I had never wanted to be put through again. It figures the whole mess ended in a c-section. I'm glad the baby lived and I love him, but I'm not at a point where I can say going through all that was worth it. (I don't want to hear any opinions about that from anyone unless you've lost 7 children too). What got me through all the losses, births, and their subsequent postpartum hormone crashes was sex. It's always been the one thing I can count on to help my mood, and I've always had a high drive too. Now even that got taken away (like our choice to stop having kids got taken away, like my birth options got taken away, like my usually easy recovery got taken away). I have an appointment with my fertility specialist/obgyn tomorrow. I'm done with this. I don't care if it's the easy way out, I'm not leaving his office without a prescription for an anti-depressant. I don't have the luxury of the TIME that everyone keeps telling me will make my sex life better. I feel like I've been broken.

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Re: HATE C Section Recovery!

Postby poetess » Wed May 27, 2015 6:30 am

Dark angel, four children and seven miscarriages in four years is extremely hard on a body. If you breastfeed, that is extremely good for the baby, but hard on the body too. A C-section is major surgery--I haven't been through that, but I've been through a hysterectomy, which probably has a pretty similar recovery, if not a harder one; so I've experienced that part (without a baby to show for it).

Yes, this recovery is going to be difficult. This child is a gift from God, but getting him here is going to be one of the hardest things you ever do, and it's normal that your body feels a bit beaten up. Hopefully you can find some ways to feel intimacy with your husband in the meantime; since I wasn't yet married when I had my surgery, I can't speak to that part of it.
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Re: HATE C Section Recovery!

Postby beautyfromashes » Wed May 27, 2015 7:10 am

Have you done any grief counseling, or anything to work through your losses? 7 is a lot. I've had 4 healthy pregnancies, and 2 losses (the 2nd just last July). Dealing with the grief is definitely a process. Sex is a great mood-booster, but I think you need more than just that. It's very easy to bury grief and gloss it over with easy fixes, like sex, rather than actually healing from it. Maybe that's why PPD is hitting you so hard this time.
Deep intimacy always requires work, acceptance, and forgiveness. Lots of it. ~~ Linda Dillow

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Re: HATE C Section Recovery!

Postby girliegirl511 » Wed May 27, 2015 10:51 am

I can't even imagine the loss you feel! I'm very sorry! I would reccomend counseling individually and as a couple. A friend of mine, miscarried and what she and her hubby needed was time away. They escaped from 5 kids, family took over and all they did was talk, pray and cry. I'm sure it's hard to grieve when you have other children, husband and responsibilities. Speaking from just an intimacy view, sex is very emotionally fulfilling for me. I know I've used sex to cover up the real problem; depression, angry, or just day to day annoyances. DH is fine with that, as long as we talk afterwards. It's kind of like a security blanket. If DH can accept me at my most vulnerable state, then it's ok for me to open up to him. Sometimes it's right after or the next morning, but we always talk and usually cry(I do at least)

Praying for you!! I'm sure this time is difficult.

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Re: HATE C Section Recovery!

Postby Nvr2Late » Wed May 27, 2015 2:18 pm

I have an appointment with my fertility specialist/obgyn tomorrow. I'm done with this. I don't care if it's the easy way out, I'm not leaving his office without a prescription for an anti-depressant. I don't have the luxury of the TIME that everyone keeps telling me will make my sex life better. I feel like I've been broken.


Given this last post, I'm thinking an anti depressant is a good idea, but I'd like to echo what beautyfromashes said: I think you need some grief counseling or therapy to go along with the pills. I didn't know you had suffered such losses, and my heart goes out to you.

Keep in mind the antidepressants may make things worse in your marriage bed. I'd ask for Wellbutrin. Many of the other meds flatline the libido :(
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Re: HATE C Section Recovery!

Postby FaithSeeker48 » Wed May 27, 2015 5:56 pm

Hi darkangel,
I can kinda relate to how you feel, we just lost our Sarah last month at 21.5 weeks. She was our first child and my first pregnancy. I can't imagine the pain of losing 7. Losing 1 is enough. I second the counseling recommendation, I tend to stuff my feelings or gloss over them, I've also been guilty of using things like sex or other activities as a crutch to lean on.
Counseling has really helped me and my husband during this hard time for us. Please give it a shot.

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Re: HATE C Section Recovery!

Postby darkangel » Thu May 28, 2015 2:57 am

I have gone the counseling route, and I need more counseling to deal with the counseling. I'll be honest, my first pregnancy was at 19. I was going to John Macarthur's megachurch at the time (I do still like their theology, but can't stand the culture of that church now), and I went to their biblical counselors after I lost her at 18 weeks 1 day. All they could deal with was premarital sex, not the grief of losing the child that you'd made the right decision to keep (heh no one pro-life ever warns you can make the right choice and there's still a 1 in 4 chance of loss). I know there's other counseling options out there, but I got burned too much before. I've honestly gotten better help from online support groups and the local miscarriage and stillbirth community that meets at a hospital near us. My husband has been my biggest support through the subsequent 6 losses, 4 high risk pregnancies that survived, and fertility treatments over the past 6 years. I've taken a brief glance at counseling here and there over the years, but from what other couples going through recurrent miscarriage have said it's hard to find someone who knows how to deal with the situation. The odds of 1 miscarriage is about 25%, a second one 10%, 3 or more is 1%. At 7 losses, I'm less than 1%. No one has ever done an extensive study on the emotional impact of recurrent miscarriage. I'm in pretty much uncharted territory as far as professional counseling goes. At this point, I will live with emotional crutches, be it sex or pills until kingdom come. I'm so sorry for everyone who's responded and lost your child(ren) as well.

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Re: HATE C Section Recovery!

Postby darkangel » Thu May 28, 2015 3:14 am

Nvr2Late wrote:Keep in mind the antidepressants may make things worse in your marriage bed. I'd ask for Wellbutrin. Many of the other meds flatline the libido :(


My doctor recommended Lexapro or Zoloft. I can't start on either one yet (gggrrrr) because I went to my appointment today and discovered my chronic hypertension blew back up. I have to get that under control first, so have to hang on somehow another two weeks. I saw decreased libido was a side effect for both drugs, but I'm not too concerned. The first year we were married we had sex 360 times (I was charting my fertility so I went back and counted lol), most of the time I'm the one initiating it. My sex drive hasn't gone down at all over the years, except now there are 3 toddlers always knocking at the door at the wrong moment. I might be less frustrated with a little less libido. We did try having sex today. I didn't even want to have an orgasm because of the pain, I just wanted to feel close and have the emotional boost. Didn't work. I was so miserable. :(

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Re: HATE C Section Recovery!

Postby poetess » Thu May 28, 2015 5:03 am

Dark Angel, I think that the number of miscarriages a woman has is partially dependent on how quickly she comes to "this isn't worth it." In other words, we'd see those high numbers more often if our country didn't use any form of birth control or permanent closure to fertility. I personally am very close to three families that experienced five or more miscarriages, including one woman who had ten (and roughly half that number of live births) and one who had seven or eight (and one live birth) and one who had five or six (and no live births). All of these women wanted more children (or any children at all) desperately enough to keep getting pregnant in spite of the pain, but all of them experienced serious pain. And part of the pain (they tell me) is that our culture doesn't really recognize it as a legitimate loss, one to grieve. But it is. I've never been there (my own loss was having no pregnancies at all, since I wasn't married early enough in life for that), but I've wept with those who have gone through it.
Marriage--what a wonderful image of Christ's love for His bride!

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Re: HATE C Section Recovery!

Postby darkangel » Thu May 28, 2015 5:29 am

Anyways, this got off topic. My fault for bringing recurrent miscarriage up. Really don't need additional advice there. I live on plenty enough loss boards for support. What I need info on is sex after a c-section. I wasn't prepared for months of recovery and miserable sex (the absolute worst sex of my life!). Anyone have tips there (i.e. positions that worked better, any thoughts on the numb cervix, etc)?

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Re: HATE C Section Recovery!

Postby Nvr2Late » Thu May 28, 2015 7:32 am

I don't think you'll be happy with my answer...but I waited til it didn't hurt so much. Easing into it very slowly and taking care of myself manually when PIV was too painful is how I dealt with it. Orgasm just plain HURT for a while....maybe about 2-3 months. It's been a long time so I don't remember exactly.

That said, how about these?
http://www.newhealthguide.org/Sex-After-C-Section.html

http://www.babycenter.com/204_pain-during-sex-more-common-after-a-c-section_10401183.bc

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2921829/New-mothers-C-section-TWICE-likely-suffer-pain-sex-normal-delivery.html

http://www.pregnancy-info.net/forums/cesarean_section/painful_sex_after_c_section/
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Re: HATE C Section Recovery!

Postby girliegirl511 » Thu May 28, 2015 8:40 pm

If you haven't already, I'd ask your Dr. about the numbness in your cervix. I know it takes anesthesia a couple weeks to fully leave your body. But you should've gained some sensation back that's not directly around the incision. Epidurals are complicated, and I've had 3 epidural steroid injections in my back; and only 1 worked correctly. So definitely ask your Dr about the numbness!!
Orgasms also cause minor contractions and if you've had a c-section those stomach muscles have been cut! So it will hurt for a few months until those muscles heal.
I know you don't like the word "Time" but that's what it's going to take. I know it stinks! I was 13 when my mom had her last section and I became the "Momma" because she couldn't lift, difficult to bend, climb stairs, drive, ect. And then when I back surgery I couldn't leave the house for 2 weeks, I lived on the couch because anything else was too painful.

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Re: HATE C Section Recovery!

Postby darkangel » Fri May 29, 2015 10:23 am

I did ask him, and considering I'm still numb in my lower abdomen (the numb area has receded, but it's still a wide area), it's not strange my cervix is still numb. It was a very fast surgery - I walked into the waiting room for a routine dr appt at 4:15pm and baby was born 5:07pm - 52 minutes from waiting room, to waiting in an exam room, to ultrasound, to hospital admission, to pre-op, and to operation. They weren't going for finesse, they needed the baby out asap. He didn't even wait for the nicu team to get there before starting. I'm sure I got messed up more than a planned c-section. And he did give me the speech that nerves got cut, it'll take months to regrow, yada yada yada, and oh btw some may never regrow or may not be as sensitive as before. So who knows if I'll be better in a few months or ever. As I've mentioned I'm extremely high drive even without using sex as an emotional crutch. That's a huge part of me to lose (and no, "at least I should be happy I have a baby because of my history" doesn't make up for it). I can't even begin to explain how bitter I am right now.

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Re: HATE C Section Recovery!

Postby forever » Fri May 29, 2015 2:15 pm

I see decreased libido with both of those, and it is significant. I've seen high drive men totally lose their libido from SSRIs. Ask your doctor about welbutrin. Minimal side effects, and I think it works great for those suffering from traumatic events. 7 miscarriages is quite traumatic.

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Re: HATE C Section Recovery!

Postby forever » Fri May 29, 2015 2:18 pm

One more thing, hypertension is not a contraindication to antidepressant therapy. In fact, antidepressants will help, as you will feel better, exercise more, eat better, and...well, have better sex (with the right medicine)


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