The first weeks of motherhood are a whirlwind! It’s equal parts magical and exhausting, and is something I don't think you can ever fully prepare for. That being said, here are some things I wish I knew ahead of time:
My legs and feet didn’t get swollen during pregnancy but the week after delivery they tripled in size. Your body takes time to get rid of all the fluid from pregnancy, and it’s common for it to pool in your legs. Compression socks are a must.
Pain in the (g)ass
Gas pains are no joke, and not just in your abdomen. I had severe pain in my right shoulder (apparently this is common with many abdominal surgeries). It hurt so much that I had to sleep (the few hours I did) sitting up in the hospital room chair because it was too uncomfortable to much to get in the bed. Luckily, this subsided after a few days. GasX (simethicone) was a lifesaver. Almost all babies get gas too. Having baby gasx and gripe water on hand can work like magic.
Do not engage
Engaging your abdominal muscles even with small things like laughing , coughing, or sneezing will hurt. A lot. Not much you can do here but just being aware can help.
Yeast infections are common afterwards
The drop in estrogen your body goes through post-pregnancy combined with antibiotics from the c-section can disrupt the pH down there, making it more basic, which can lead to a yeast infection. Try to get in probiotic foods and supplements to prevent this, and talk to your doctor about prescribing you fluconazole.
Make your life easy
Whether you're dealing with the stress of breast feeding, cleaning and sterilizing bottles, or just doing the baby's laundry, you're not going to have time or be up for any other household chores or tasks. Plan ahead of time to make your life as easy as possible for the first two weeks - buy (compostable) paper plates and utensils so you don't have to do dishes, prep and freeze meals so you don't have to cook, etc. Try not to stress over things that aren't absolutely necessary. Everything else can wait!
Take care of yourself
I don’t think you can fully appreciate how much work babies are until you have one. You will have 0 time to take care of yourself - I’m not talking meditation and bubble baths, I mean you will literally forget to eat for 8 hours because you’re running on a mix of caffeine and adrenaline. Do what you can ahead of time, and ask family and friends for help! Taking care of a little one is no easy feat, and you need someone to take care of you too.