This is the fourth part of the Diastasis Recti Surgery Series. Be sure to check out the Introduction, Pre-Operation, and Surgery Day posts as well.
The Recovery Room
I awoke in the recovery room. It was two hours later. There was a sweet-looking, older nurse there with me. I remember some pretty intense pain, and again I became fearful.
I guess I was probably pretty out of it, but I wanted some comfort and grabbed my nurse’s hand. She seemed startled, and placed my hand on my side and went back to what she was doing. Rejected! 🙂 Ah, well.
Like I said, I was in some pain. The details are fuzzy, but somehow I was quickly given pain meds. On a stomach that had been empty since eight o’clock the night before. Ew. I became nauseous and dizzy. Got some red jello. Double ew!
Anyway, I’m not sure how long I was in that room, but it wasn’t too long before I was wheeled into more of a recovery patient room which I shared with another girl. It became clear my new nurse wanted me to get headed home! She was pushing me to try to get up, but I became too dizzy and had to lie back down. I was very easily annoyed in this state. I just wanted her to leave me alone!
Baby’s on Her Way!
Well, my husband’s and my efforts to transition my six-month-old to a bottle for the time we would be separated fell short. It was about eleven in the morning and she hadn’t eaten since three-thirty! My hubby was making it through the city as quickly as he could so I could feed her.
They told me I had to pump again before I could feed her, to get any residual medicine from my milk. That annoyed me too. Wasn’t this stuff supposed to be safe for babies, even newborns? Oh well. I pumped about an ounce from each side and that was all I was going to do. My memory of this time is still pretty hazy. I don’t remember having my wits about me.
Enter Hubby and Baby Girl. A very upset Baby Girl. If you’re a mama, you know how a distraught, very hungry baby tugs your heartstrings. I couldn’t believe she hadn’t eaten in so long, she nurses quite frequently normally. We propped her on my side with pillows, and using the “clutch hold”, she nursed and was immediately pacified. Aww!!! My milk seemed to take a while coming in. Not cool. But she did get fed.
After a few more unsuccessful attempts at sitting up, finally I felt okay enough to be wheeled out of the hospital. I think it was about noon now. My mother-in-law took our other three sons and our recently-fed daughter back to the house, and my husband was going to take me home. We stopped on the way and picked up my prescriptions, one for pain, and one for pain and inflammation. Eventually, we made it home and I took up residence in our bed.
The rest of the week
I never really stopped to consider what a shock to your system surgery is. Seems like a no-brainer, but I’d never really had a surgery like this. The biggest thing I noticed was my milk supply. It almost went to nil. For about the first thirty-six hours, my daughter had to nurse at least five to ten minutes before anything would come, and it was very little when it did come. I had pumped up a lot of milk and frozen it, but she refused every bit of it. Thankfully, she did eat some mashed banana and other baby food in between. I’m not sure how we handled those first few days. I’m just grateful that they’re over.
My milk eventually did come back, in full force. What a relief. I spent most of my time on the bed, groggy from pain medication, and would only really be interrupted when the baby needed to be fed every few hours or so.
Before the surgery, I had prepared and frozen some homemade bone broth. Here’s a tutorial if you’re interested, it’s really pretty simple. That was the best thing to eat after the surgery. Full of gelatin, amino acids, calcium, magnesium, and many other nutrients – it was the most healing food I could have eaten.
I had one drain, a hand-sized bulb that would fill partly with fluid and blood. I had to empty it a few times a day, but it was probably never more than half a tablespoonful after the first day.
The nights were the longest. It was unbearably painful to lie in any position other than reclined with pillows all around me, even on the meds. So I just stayed upright. Nursing continued, using the clutch hold, and I literally couldn’t have done it if my husband weren’t there to help me get her situated before, during, and after. However, all that time spent reclined in bed resulted in my back muscles going into spasm. Great! Pain from the front and the back. I not sure which was worse.
But something did excite me: even from the first night home, after my eight p.m. dosing, I didn’t need any more medicine until the morning. That was a relief too, not having to mess with taking them with food, etc. Believe me, during those first days, I would never turn down my meds. I wanted nothing to do with the pain or trying to be a hero. So it was nice, though strange, to not need the meds at night. But around 7-8a.m., I needed that medicine quickly.
Forty-eight hours after the surgery, I was permitted to take off my bandages and shower. I have pictures of my stomach before and after taking off the bandages here. Please be aware, they are graphic. Only look if you really want to.
My first shower went great, having just taken pain medication, haha. My husband washed me while I hunched over, holding my drain. I teased him, “For better or for worse, right?” He just smiled and said he didn’t mind.
With each day I improved. It wasn’t as bad as I was led to believe. I envisioned unbearable pain nonstop for six weeks, but no. Even after several days I played around with skipping doses of pain meds. That brought up a little bit of a dilemma: try to become less dependent on the medicine, at the cost of being able to be more active during the day. It was a tough one. The days I skipped doses I was met with pain and discomfort and retreated to the bed to continue hibernation. When I took my meds, I was able to physically do more and therefore felt much better. If you’re about to go through with surgery, my position would be in favor of keeping up the pain meds and therefore being more active. Never push yourself during your healing, though. You do need rest so you can heal quicker.
On day six I received a shock I was in no way prepared for: I started spotting and it looked as if I was going to start my period. My period hadn’t come back yet, due to the exclusive breastfeeding of my daughter, and I had been looking forward to many, many more months period-free. I was not happy about that, but what can you do. My milk supply dipped really low during the first day or two. I should have seen it coming, but was simply blindsided.
It was never more than a spotting, and so I remain hopeful in the possibility that maybe that is all it will be, but well, I will be on the lookout in four weeks. And I’ll let you know in my fourth-week post-op post.
Anyhow, by the end of the first week I was able to be up and around more, feeling much more optimistic about the rest of my journey toward healing.
Read on to Week Two.
10 thoughts on “Diastasis Recti Surgery Series – Week One Post-Op”
i recently had d.r repair and hernia repair–not a full tt. I too have an bf baby and the first 24 hrs were tough for him. He only ate cereal with his dad and refused all methods of eating. So sad. I had happened to read this blog series b4 going in and asked the hospital to provide me a pump. I pumped and dumped 70oz in 12 hrs so my supply wouldnt drop. Thanks for sharing your story. Glad u dumped skme.of.the milk as mine was tinted blue bc all the meds.
Thanks so much Jacque for your kind words. I hope your recovery is going well. I know exactly what you mean – it is so sad to be separated from your little one when they are hungry! But I am so glad to hear the hospital supplied you with a pump…WOW 70 oz is a lot! Amazing! I can’t believe it was blue…yikes. I bet mine was too then.
Best wishes for a quick and easy recovery. If you get a chance, stop back by and let me know how it goes for you!
Hi there! Thank you for sharing your story as I just came upon your blog and was overjoyed since I’m about to have this same surgery and had so many questions. I have one umbilical hernia and severe diastasis recti. I have to say I was most shocked about your recovery (before your infection showed up, since I know that was rare), as my surgeon told me the recovery would be similar to a c-section (which I had 3 of those and recovered remarkably well). My main question for you is whether you had any fat or skin removed as they do in a tummy tuck procedure. I understand that is severely painful. I’m not having any of that done, so I was wondering if I can accurately compare your recovery with what I should expect. I just loved reading all of your posts and hope you are doing very well. How are you doing now? Do you feel like you’re back to normal and doing full activities? Thank you for any details you can share with me about your actual procedure. God bless!
Hi Jennifer! Thanks for your comment! I was just thinking the other day how I needed to do an update. Well, I believe since the surgeon placed the mesh underneath my stomach muscles, that might have been what made the recovery period longer and more painful. I’m not sure. I definitely was sore though. It was a full six weeks before I could try normal stuff, which was depressing to say the least. I did not have any fat removed 🙁 but she did gather up my skin and remove extra, to give me a cleaner look. Still, though, my stomach skin is a little loose.
I’m so glad the series helped you; that is exactly why I wanted to go ahead and write it. I am doing very well these days. It’s been eight months. . . I can do most activities normally. The only area I have any problems in is in over-stretching my stomach. Like, for instance, I don’t think I could do a backbend. There is a pulling sensation from the mesh that has grown into my tissue.
However, I am pretty pleased that I can now stand up straight again and do other normal things that need the use of your stomach muscles.
Thanks for stopping by. Stop back by again after your surgery and let me know how it went!
Hi. I have ulcerative colitis, and therefore; have had three previous surgeries in abdomen area. Hence, have an incenscional hernia. Now have dang diastasis rectic. Having surgery to repair in two weeks.
Hi Faith, I’m so sorry to hear about your DR. I pray your surgery gives you the relief you are looking for. <3
I am so happy to come across your blog. I have severe dr and umbilical hernia and go in a few weeks to discuss my options. I was so nervous about being able to keep up with breastfeeding. I am glad I am not alone in this journey.
Hi Lindsay, I know how you feel!!! I hope this little series can help you a bit. I was very scared and nervous, especially about the breastfeeding. It was a little challenging right after the surgery, but I just let her nurse as long as she wanted and also pumped for a minute beforehand to help my milk drop.
You’re not alone – let me know if you have any more questions. <3