Once the repair work is completed, you will be taken to the recovery room. You will stay there until the staff feels that you are stable, usually about 1 to 2 hours. During this time, a nurse will check your blood pressure, temperature, pulse, respiration, and vaginal and incisional bleeding. If your uterus becomes soft, she may massage it to prevent bleeding. If you feel any discomfort, use your breathing and relaxation techniques. You can also request pain medication. If you had an epidural, the pain medication can continue to be administered via the epidural catheter. You will thus be able to bond with your baby and initiate breastfeeding with minimal discomfort.
The nurse may ask you to breathe deeply and cough. This is to help prevent pneumonia. Splint your incision by holding a pillow firmly against your abdomen and “huff’ if coughing seems difficult at first. (For instructions for huffing, see “First Day”)
If you had a regional anesthetic, you will notice the feeling returning first to your toes and feet, and then progressively up toward your abdomen. Medication given continuously through the epidural catheter, if you have one, will give you good pain relief while you regain movement in your extremities. In some hospitals, prior to leaving the operating room, a single injection of morphine is given through the epidural catheter, and then the catheter is removed. This also provides good pain relief for the next 24 hours. If you had general anesthesia, you may be groggy or nauseated upon awakening and feel the need for pain medication.
Many hospitals will allow your partner to stay with you if you recover in the maternity recovery room. Your pediatrician may permit you some bonding time, providing the baby’s condition is good. Bonding is just as important for cesarean parents as it is for couples who experience a vaginal birth.