Before and During surgery: Depending upon your situation - ask if you can have your catheter put in after you get your spinal - catheters suck, and this way, you'll only have to deal with them taking it out. After you get your spinal and they're asking you if you can feel "this" or feel "that" if you feel it, TELL THEM. Otherwise you'll likely feel some of the cutting. Also - tell the OR nurses if you're feeling nauseous or anything else. You can only turn your head if you have to throw up and this can be challenging, the nurses can help you - they're there to help you.
Once you get to recovery, don't lie and tell them you can feel things you can't - they're asking so they know how the meds are affecting you and can judge when it's safe to take you to your room and let you have/hold the baby. You could be a danger to yourself and your baby if you lie about it. Check with your hospital/OB but some hospitals will not allow you to keep the baby the first night by yourself if you've had a section and don't have anyone staying the night with you. You'll need to prepare for this possibility if no one plans on staying the night with you (no one stayed the night with me and I was so terrified of letting my daughter go to the nursery I didn't get but an hour of sleep - the hour that they made me let them take her to the nursery).
Ask for a postpartum belt. I didn't have to ask for mine, but I'm SO glad that the nurse brought me one. It helps negate the squishy guts feeling and helps to keep you from feeling like your insides are going to fall out when you do finally get up out of bed.
Don't try to be a hero with out pain meds - you just had major surgery and WILL be in pain. Use the meds, ask for a stool softener and don't be afraid to speak up and tell someone if your meds are not working! Take a stool softener while on pain meds - they can cause constipation and this is no fun. Have someone buy you some activia or some other yogurt that helps to regulate you - your bowels are probably going To be messed up. STAY HYDRATED - this is key to preventing constipation and swelling. You'll still have some swelling, and there isn't much you can do about it, but if you are proactive about it and stay hydrated your swelling can be kept to a minimum. You will experience gas - probably lots of it. Get some Gas-X - it will definitely help with the gas. It will be painful for the first day or so - DON'T try to hold it in.
The nurses are going to make you wear compression stockings - this is to prevent blood clots. When they come in telling you it's time to get up and walk around some - do it. It's the last thing you're going to want to do - and it will hurt like the dickens, but do it. Do a little walking every day - listen to your body and don't over do it - but you have to get up and move around, it speeds up recovery.
If you have stairs in your home go up and down them backwards - it looks silly, but puts less strain on your abdominal muscles. If you have a bed you have to climb into - take it off the frame or get it lowered some how so you can just sit to get in bed - at least for the first week or two. I had a rough birthing experience and needed a lot of help the first week - but woke up a couple times thirsting to death and didn't want to wake anyone to bring me water so I had to get out of bed and it was horrible. Keep a bottle of water or two by the bed so you dont have to get up or wake anyone up. Keep a pillow with you all the time (when possible) to hold against your incision when you laugh, cough or sneeze. Don't get lazy when you get home either - keep moving. Even if all you're doing is walking around the house once or twice, do it!!!