1. Being open about my panic attacks while waiting for surgery.
I wish I had thought to talk about this with my OB before surgery. I found out only after I finished that one of my pain-reliever drugs post-hospital discharged was actually approved to take to "lessen the fear prior to surgery." I've always been reluctant to take drugs during pregnancy for fear of hurting my baby, but this seemed like an easy compromise. One drug a mere two hours early could have helped me in the past avoid an emotionally painful panic attack.
Because there was a chance my husband wouldn't attend my c-section, I had to mentally prepare to confide my anxiety condition to my pre-op nurse. I found just the act of being willing to talk about it, made my panic attacks disappear.
2. Treating the Anesthesiologist Like My Personal Caddy
In past surgeries, I've always focused on the doctor who is sewing up my womb. This time, I figured out that the Anesthesiologist is the only one in the room who is completely focused on me during the entire surgery. I made sure to tell him every time I started to get nauseous, instead of valiantly fighting these feelings on my own. Turns out vomiting is directly tied to low blood pressure. He gave me meds every time I felt sick. I ended up getting through the entire surgery without vomiting. As an extra plus, I did not start out my motherhood experience with Baby Abigail feeling like I just survived a week of the stomach flu. What a gift!
3. I tried to be "giving" during my surgery.
I don't think this would have worked if I tried to "fake it". However, I found that honestly caring about my team and praying for them, helped me come out of my shell during surgery. I didn't feel so scared waiting in the OR for my husband to appear. It also made the time pass faster as I waited for my little daughter to come out.
4. I asked for drugs during Post-Op Recovery
The two to three hour recovery from surgery is usually pretty rough on me. This time I wasn't shy about asking for Benedryll to control my 'itching" allergy symptoms from the anesthesia. Usually, I'm so in the "no meds" thing from pregnancy, that I also turn down Benedryll in the recovery room. This time I took it. It made life so much more bearable.
5. I gave myself a break from doing breastfeeding "perfectly" in the recovery room.
Thanks to Tessy's NICU stay, I'm now so much more relaxed about breastfeeding. I used to get myself so anxious because a c-section usually means you miss that "one hour perfect window" when an alert newborn is most easily taught how to breastfeed. This time breastfeeding at first was miserable. Baby Abigail couldn't get the concept of how to latch on. I had no mobility in my waist or legs. I also had to lay flat because of my low blood pressure. I literally couldn't get my body into a position for her to comfortably nurse for the first three hours. We flopped though our first breastfeeding dance awkwardly. I just kept telling myself that things are going to be okay. I knew she wouldn't starve. I knew that we'd have plenty of chances in the next 24 hours to get things moving along better. I'm so happy that I finally took this 'performance pressure" off of myself.
6. Follow Directions
I've grown in the understanding of the virtue of obedience this hospital stay. I was impatient to walk when I first got to my hospital room. However, the nurse said I was confined to a 12 hour bed rest. I followed the nurses directions carefully. Surprise, surprise! My recovery was even faster than before.