I had a Cesarean section when my daughter was born 9+ months ago. As I mentioned briefly in Eden Lily’s Birth Story, the incision later got infected and I had extreme pain for about a month and lots of trouble simply walking and moving around.
At the hospital, where I stayed two days after the birth, I was on two different pain medicines, so I stayed pretty numb to any pain for that short period of time. They prescribed me some medicine to pick up at a pharmacy once I got home, but it was late before we finally got to leave the hospital so we didn’t stop to pick any up.
The incision stayed numb for a while, but I remember it being slightly painful to get dressed that next morning, and by Friday it was very hard to get into the car to go for Eden’s pediatrician appointment. There was a very sharp pain at the top of my right leg, like someone was stabbing me with a knife, and I just assumed it was a normal part of the healing process since the nurses and doctor had told me pain was perfectly normal for the first several weeks after a Cesarean section. I started taking ibuprofen regularly on Friday to help control the pain.
I kept hoping and praying it wasn’t an internal incision and that it wouldn’t get any worse or that I would wind up having to get an antibiotic. I’m not completely against antibiotics, because I do believe they can be necessary at times, but I prefer to only put good things in my body, and killing not only the bad bacteria but also the good is not really my cup of tea. I hadn’t had an antibiotic in over 15 years, and had to have one for the C-section, so I was going to do everything I could possibly do in order to avoid having two in one month, especially since I was now breastfeeding my baby.
I got a late start on fighting my infection because it took me so long to figure out what it actually was that was causing my pain. I had been told that pain even up to two months after a Cesarean was perfectly normal, and so for about three weeks or so I was just taking ibuprofen and resting a lot (which were not bad things to do). I removed the tape from my incision after ten days, and it was a good while after that that I realized it was looking infected, but I wasn’t 100% sure. But by about the third week I was fed up with the pain and knew it was definitely infected, and I asked my midwife and herbalist and mom what I should do about it, and that’s when I started taking lots and lots of herbs.
I should NOT have waited as long as I did to do something about it, but I’d never had surgery before and wasn’t exactly sure what was all right and what wasn’t when it came to a major incision. The outside looked fine for so long, and then eventually began to ooze a little bit, and that’s when we figured it was an internal infection. (Not. Good.) Looking back, I should have seen the signs much earlier on and done something about it quicker, and it probably wouldn’t have gotten so bad.
I started taking LOTS of garlic powder (two capsules, never on an empty stomach, every couple hours during the day), bentonite clay plastered directly to the sore (rinsed off and reapplied every few hours), and several drops of tea tree essential oil applied directly to the infected area. I also avoided breads and sugars (for the most part) because those only feed infections, and I took a probiotic, vitamin C, echinacea, BP-X, Plexus Bio-Cleanse, Young Living Thieves essential oil applied externally, and my mom’s homemade good-for-everything salve. When I would start feeling more pain than I could handle and had already taken my dose of ibuprofen for the time being, especially if I was about to go to bed, I would also rub Young Living Valor essential oil directly to the painful spot, and that helped a lot.
(All these things may have helped in many ways, but I do believe that the garlic— which is good for absolutely everything!– bentonite clay— which draws out poison, and evidently pain as well, for a time!– and the tea tree oil— which kills infection– are what really did the trick.)
Nearly another week passed after I began taking my herbs and watching what I ate more closely, and I did begin having better days, but the pain was still nearly unbearable most of the time. I had been completely adamant up to this point about not getting an antibiotic, but the pain had gotten to be so bad that I started to be afraid the infection was too much by now for the herbs to be able to do anything to help, and so I reluctantly told my husband I wasn’t sure anymore that the herbs were even working and that maybe I needed to get an antibiotic to get rid of the pain once and for all. And frankly, I felt I’d done enough crying that month to last me a lifetime. I was ready to walk again like I used to, without any pain, and take care of my family like I wanted.
So, I called my doctor’s office and spoke to the receptionist. I told her I had an infection and she said I should just go to the ER. But the ER was NOT a place I wanted to take my three week-old daughter in the middle of flu season. My sweet husband took off work early one day and we went to see a doctor at an urgent care clinic instead, and some sweet friends of ours came over to watch Eden while we were gone. The pain seemed to have suddenly gotten much less intense by that afternoon when we got in to see the doctor, which was obviously a relief, but I worried that she may not see my problem. I told her what I had been feeling, what it looked like, and that I knew it was an infection and hoped she would give me an antibiotic. She took a very quick look at my incision and said, “Oh, that looks much better than you made it sound. It’s just fine.” And then she proceeded to be so surprised at my stretch marks and even asked to see them a second time, because apparently I have “a lot more than most people” and she went on and on about how she could barely believe her eyes. (Really?! Why would anyone say that to a new mom?)
Anyway, so since I was “just fine” and only very stretch-marked, I was not given an antibiotic and was sent home to heal myself because up to two months of pain is completely normal. I understood that reasoning, but the pain I’d been feeling for three weeks was not at all normal.
Let me just say that I went home a bit discouraged but more determined than ever to get rid of this stinkin’ infection once and for all– without an antibiotic, since I was apparently “just fine.”
So I continued the same remedies I’d been doing before, and after about five days of taking loooooots of garlic and doing lots more bentonite clay applications and lots of drops of tea tree oil, I was back on my feet, walking upright, and feeling human again!
Only once since then have I felt a bit of a twinge in the spot the pain had been, but only a little twinge, and after taking more garlic it completely went away and I’ve been fine ever since. Let me tell you– I am a very firm believer in GARLIC (and of course bentonite clay, tea tree oil, plus looooots of patience and prayer for strength. I could not have gotten through those tough days if it weren’t for praying for God to give me strength.)!
If you ever have an infection like this, please talk to your doctor or midwife as soon as possible. The sooner you treat the problem, the sooner you’ll get rid of it. Yes, maybe an antibiotic would have worked better and faster for me, and maybe I should have taken one as soon as I noticed there was an infection, but I am very grateful I was able to cure the infection completely naturally, without having to worry about any side effects from the antibiotic. And now I know it CAN be done and I have even more faith in natural remedies than before.
I know many people have been through much harder things or experience worse pain on a daily basis, but that month I spent gritting my teeth every time I got up from the couch, or gasped in pain when I moved the wrong muscle when turning over in bed, or having to have help from my husband to get dressed or even walk me to the bathroom– that taught me to never ever take for granted the things that used to seem so simple and be easy for me before. I’m now very grateful that I’m able to take a full step without help, bend over to pick something up, and hold my baby without wincing in pain. The things that seemed so little before don’t seem that way anymore.
“Morning by morning, new mercies I see;
All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!”
Have a blessed day!