I read some materials from them way before they had a web site, when I was preparing to give birth to my first son (who was not born by Cesarean, but I had boned up on my knowledge at the time because you never know how it's going to go once you are in labor, and because of my insatiable need to be informed about things).
Part of their mission is to provide support for cesarean recovery, so, even though it's not directly related to singing, they provide info about recovery afterward. They do have a slant that they try to prevent unneccesary Cesareans, and they are somewhat activist, but they are a useful source of information.
I hope it is helpful to you.
"It's never too late to be what you might have been."
this site is great, but it doesn't address singing
March 22 2007, 3:32 PM
and it is freaking me out because it talks about how the incision site can be sore/numb for months - would the deep breaths needed for singing and the exertion of standing up/staging be too much, then? Anyone have any experience?
I think you should be OK. I lost so much blood that I was severely anemic, and I was OK standing for a lesson a couple months afterwards. Hell, I started yelling and screaming in the hospital when the call buttons started going haywire and every damn time I'd be just about asleep I would hear them ask if they could help me even though I hadn't touched the button, and I didn't hurt myself. Yes, it will take hard work to get back in shape. Yes, you will likely be tender and/or numb in spots, and yes, it can be weird when the feeling starts returning, particularly if the nerves just a little deeper in your body regenerate faster than the nerves in your skin so the surface is numb but there's feeling underneath. They gave me one of those annoying breathing thingies where you have to inhale as hard as you can to make the moveable part go up as high as possible to help get my breathing back to normal. Got one after the appendectomy, too. And while it sucks that a c-section will be necessary, you can prepare for it, and that will make your recovery easier.
as you will have an incision, you will take longer to heal than you would from a vaginal delivery. However, the incision is actually fairly small. You will have to do some readjusting in your support as the muscles will be different after the procedure, but I don't think the changes to your voice or support will be significant, just noticible until you get all the kinks worked out again.
It sounds as though you're pretty panicked, but the three months in which it will really take to recover fully from the incision will be down time with your new baby anyway. I would be reluctant to take any gigs at three months after the delivery because you'll still be figuring out how to use your muscles again, but your mileage may vary depending upon your level of fitness and recovery rate. The fitter you are, the faster you'll recover and the less impact there will be on your support. Many, many singers have had c-sections (and abdominal hysts, which have a similar incision) and have been just fine.
I'm sorry to hear about your complications and am sending good thoughts that everything corrects itself on its own.
A little over three years ago I had an ovarian cyst removed that was too large to be taken out laproscopically -- same incision as a c section, they just didn't touch my uterus.
One year later to the day my son was born by emergency c section.
Both times I was back in lessons in about 2 months -- BUT -- I had no upcoming gigs to worry about, so I was able to slowly ease back into my voice with my teacher. I did find the singing sensations very different -- perhaps I was afraid of really engaging my abdominal muscles, perhaps it was some of the inevitable hormonal changes that come after childbirth. Maybe it's just because I was a post-partum basket case -- who knows?
I did nothing special to recover, so it's possible that if I had I'd have come back up to speed sooner. Remember, they don't actually cut your abdominal muscles in a c section, they just separate them to push them aside.
A gig 3-4 months after birth sounds really close to me. I agree that you'll probably prefer to have downtime with your baby. It may take longer than that for your hormones to re-regulate themselves (6 months post partum I was still having related hot flashes). Also, you need to consider if you'll be breastfeeding as that can bring on hoarseness.
I suggest you post the same question over a OperaMom if you haven't already.
I had a big fibroid removed abdominally, and went to Tanglewood 6 weeks later. I worked very slowly into singing...but knowing I had to do this, I had also worked very hard beforehand to strengthen my abs so they would bounce back quickly. I don't know how possible that is when pregnant
It's going to be okay! I had a C-section 8 years ago at 38 weeks (early water breaking, not enough dilation, beginning of fetal distress after 18 hours of labor). The scar is amazingly small. I was much more affected by sleep deprivation than by the C-section; resumed my choir gigs about 5 months postpartum (I had the summer off), when my son was nearly sleeping through the night. Take off as much time as you possibly can, for a baby upends your plans in so many unexpected (but wonderful) ways.
I have heard this from other C-section veterans as well --I can still "feel" the slight pull of the scar. I only feel it when I am concentrating on it, and I expect I will feel it all my life, but actually, it reminds me now of where my support should be! I have heard other singer/abdominal surgery veterans say the same thing, and they all sang as good as before -- many times even better -- after healing from the surgery. There are pros and cons to C-sections, but the peace of mind you'll have in knowing your child is safely delivered is priceless.
Other advantages of a C-section: no pushing, no groups of interns staring at your lamp-lit nether regions, and no episiotomy!
Suggested reading for you, T/B: "The Girlfriend's Guide To Pregnancy" by Vicki Iovine. A really funny pregnancy book, not scary at all, with good advice thrown in between the jokes. You will laugh so hard you will have to pee (but in your last trimester you will have to pee about every ten minutes, so you might as well have a laugh while you're at it).
EDITED to add, 3-4 months is probably enough physical recovery time for a healthy mom and healthy baby. But keep it open-ended if you can, so you don't spend the first few months of maternal bliss stressing out over the upcoming gig.
I wonder if the "pull" you're speaking of is internal scar tissue?
March 23 2007, 9:34 AM
After my first operation, I felt alot of pull around the scar. A different doctor did my 2nd operation (c section) and mentioned in the OR how much excess scar tissue I had inside. (I'm extremely fair skinned and scar really easily, I guess). She excised the excess tissue and changed the incision, I believe she called the new one a v-cut. Anyway, it healed alot faster than the first incision and I don't have that tugging sensation at the scar. (The scar is a bit bigger, though, but I've never been a bikini wearer -- and I think anyone looking down there would be put off by the stretch marks first, lol!)
Hi. I wanted to first wish you good luck with everything. I have several professional singer friends who have been through c-sections. One of them was singing a major role (dramatic) at a major house within 2 and a half months of her c-section. I'm sure it wasn't easy, but she made it seem easy - it sounded terrific. I think part of it depends on luck, but also on determination and motivation like everything else. I wouldn't cancel any gigs unless you see that it's really not possible...
I have a friend that sang an opera 6 weeks post C-section
March 23 2007, 1:32 PM
I wouldn't recommend this normally, but sometimes great things can be done! Women are amazing creatures! My friend sang the Countess in "Figaro" completely staged, 6 weeks after a c-section....and I heard it was lovely by many accounts. It was her 2nd baby and she felt great. Also, she CHOSE to have a C-section, it was not because of complications with pregnancy. She liked scheduling her "time" to have the baby.
I am not a Mom, so I can only tell what others have told me.
Good wishes for the rest of your pregnancy! Thinking good thoughts for you,
19 months ago, and will be having another in September!
I actually sang an audition 2 weeks to the day of mine, and my husband said it was the best he'd heard me sing. I wouldn't have been ready for a full performance, but that was due to ppd, rather than the surgery.
I did have a previous abdominal surgery (appendectomy) which is supposed to make the 2nd time around easier; the nurses said I was walking more quickly than the average patient. I haven't felt any problems with my singing, tho...in fact, being a former ballerina, I think it has helped me in that I'm more aware when I try to hold in my stomach muscles while singing. As the other poster said, never underestimate the effects of sleep deprivation. I think that was a huge factor in my developing ppd...learn to ask for and take any help offered you!
I promise a c-section is not the end of the world! No one was more surprised than I that I ended up having one, but I've not regretted it for a second. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me, and Good Luck with everything!
the sleep deprivation will kick your ass. Unless you're one of those lucky few whose baby sleeps through the night from the beginning...in which case I will have to hunt you down and beat you silly.
I had a pretty traumatic vag. birth and pushed myself to get back into lessons at a month because I had planned to do some auditions, etc. It certainly can be done, and I felt like this last week (at 7 weeks pp) I started to sound like myself again. HOWEVER, I am tired all the freaking time. I practice in 5-10 minute intervals, if I can practice at all. The only reason I can go to lessons is I have a wonderful friend who goes with me, does all the driving so I can rest, and watches after the baby while I sing.
They thought I would have a C as well, so I thought when I had my vag birth, whew, dodged that bullet! However, the truth is that recovery from a birth is longer and more intense than you can imagine until you go there. You also have no way of knowing how completely you will feel connected to your little baby. I'm still at the point where if Daddy takes him for an hour or two so I can run an errand I come home as soon as I can, ready to cry because I miss my little bub so much. Mommy hormones are weird, weird things!
Regarding your gig, you certainly can do it, but how much do you really want it? Is it a role you think will be useful or is it money you can use or a connection you'd like to make. If you don't have a compelling reason to take it, consider that you might rather just be home watching "baby tv"!
"There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand.ï¿½ Resolve, then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tiny blasts of tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us." - Walt Kelly
At this point, I definitely feel that I want to get back up on the horse and sing as soon as possible after the birth, but who knows, maybe that will change. It's good to know that most likely I will be physically able and it will be my own decision as to whether I feel emotionally ready. Staying in really good shape and health is definitely my priority during this pregnancy to make things easier after.