Yeah, what you will read below is pretty awful. He was worth it.
Before OMGMom published her post Bodily Functions After Baby I had no idea how much work it was to do something as normal as using the restroom. Before I gave birth I decided that I wanted to keep a log of my recover for the first few weeks, to give all of you a better idea what recovering from a vaginal birth is like. The italicized text below is being added in now, 7 weeks later, for clarification in certain areas. Otherwise what you are writing is copied directly from my iphone, where I took noted in between feedings and bathroom breaks (or sometimes during bathroom breaks, as relieving my bowels was terrifying and I was often in there a long time trying to convince myself I could do it!)
First Few Days After Birth
A Few Misc Thoughts
Expect more disagreements with your spouse. You are both going to be sleep deprived. It’s difficult for the one staying home with the child to feel like they are appreciated for all they do. Remember that you as the stay at home parent get to experience the good AND the bad while your spouse is gone, but those good times are oh so sweet.
You won’t be able to get as much done as you were before. It’s impossible to understand what new parents mean when they say this, because how much time can a baby really take up, right? Being able to shower is something to celebrate. Often I don’t eat until 2:00 in the afternoon. Either I have to get out and walk with him in the carrier, or I have to use up some of his precious naptime to try to play DDR or use a workout DVD. Sometimes he will start crying in the middle of my efforts and I have to sit down for 20 minutes and feed him. I personally find it very difficult to get up and start exercising again after my body has cooled down completely.
Weight loss sucks like no other. Finding time to exercise is difficult, walking just doesn’t seem to be enough but without a jogging stroller I can’t do anything much more intense than that. I feel frustrated daily that I’m not breastfeeding, as I hear women talking about how they lost a 1/2 pound per week without really doing anything while breastfeeding. I’ve been exercising 5-6 days per week for a month now and have little progress on the scale to show for it. Let’s not even get into how difficult it is to find the time to put meals together. The temptation to buy prepackaged microwaveable meals is high.
The bleeding that continues after birth, called lochia, is impressive. Enormous clots. I bought a huge pack of Depends style pads, which I needed both for the incontinence and the bleeding.
You can function on 6-8 hour night shifts where you are waking up every two hours, staying awake for 20-30 minutes at a time for a feeding. Functioning on so little sleep before baby seemed impossible, but somehow I’ve survived.
Mommy guilt is very very real. I let him scream for a little while so I can finish loading the dishwasher or move the laundry and feel the guilt. I feel bad about not breastfeeding. Someone suggested I shouldn’t be taking him out in his stroller yet. I have to remind myself I’m doing the best I can. Also, the movie Babies did wonders for me. If that sweet African baby can chew on old bones of dead animals and drink out of dirty streams and survive, I’m sure P will be just fine.
Sex will feel completely different. I don’t talk publicly about our sex life so I won’t be giving you any details, but… it’s not only a bit scary at first, it feels distinctly different.
I still get a weird tightness down there when I sit on the toilet. I think it’s because I still am not relaxing my muscles correctly? I should be doing kegels again but I keep forgetting. I should also start using the Epi-No to develop some muscle tone, but I’m still afraid.
A neat house helps me feel in control of my life. I can’t control when he will be sleeping or when he wants to eat or when he will have to be changed or when he will just scream for no reason at all. I can prioritize my time (read: blogging takes a backseat) to make sure that the moments I do have to myself are devoted to ordering the space around me.
I still don’t fit into any of my old clothes. Spanx are my new best friend. See “weight loss sucks like no other” above.
Ask your husband to take pictures of you with your baby. It’s been 7 weeks, I’ve got a $3000 camera in my closet, and I now have like 5 photos with my son. I need to be more vocal about asking That Husband to pick up the camera and snap some pictures of the two of us together.
People will judge you for it (seriously, I don’t know why), but it’s okay to carry your baby around in your arms when you are out grocery shopping or at the post office. Speak up when they tell you crap like “Support his head!”, I know I wish I would start doing so. I don’t need any extra mommy guilt coming from outside sources.
Babies are incredibly resilient. And cute. I’m amazed how much pride I feel when I think about him or receive compliments from others regarding how cute he is. He’s the best thing I’ve ever made.