03 Jun

Postpartum Recovery

Posted by Jenna, Under baby

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

Walking from birth tub to bed with cord dangling between my legs, feels so strange
Superficial tear on perineum that did not go through muscle
Tears on both labia
Passing gas is a bit painful and scary
Fever, shakes and chills, rotated between chattering teeth and sweaty forehead for a few days
Urinating burns my tears, urination would continue to burn my perineal tear for several weeks
Relief from hospital frozen pads or pads drenched in witch hazel and frozen, my friend gifted me these ice packs that you stuff in your undies that you get from the hospital. I cannot recommend with enough urgency how important it is that you get as many of these pads as possible. I also made my own ice pads by drenching menstrual pads in witch hazel and freezing them.
Blood everywhere, each time I urinate, totally normal.
The thought of a bowel movement is terrifying, I am so sore down there.
Taking stool softeners every few hours
Going to try fiber one brownies per Rebecca and flax seed smoothies, recipe for brownies found here. (My mom used metamucil instead of Fiber One and they were really good!)
Trying to drink water but dread the thought of having to urinate again
Completely incontinent, pee my diaper as I walk to the bathroom
So tired I can hardly sleep, even though I have plenty of help
Uncontrollable shivering
Temp sitting at 100.3 unless I take Tylenol
Witch hazel soaked frozen pads are my favorite thing

Day 4

Realize skin is ultra sensitive which may be causing headaches

Day 5

I am terrified of my first bowel movement but it’s not bad at all, yes it took 5 days after the birth!
I am up and moving around more
I get very tired and sore and want to sit down after standing for 5 mins or more

Day 6

I start sitting down on the toilet to pee, previously I had been squatting awkwardly.
All of my stool softerners catch up with me, you can imagine what this meant.
I smell awful down there
I am still wearing diapers
I clean up our room, get ready and go take bluebonnet pictures
I don’t groan as much when I get up
The pee still makes my tears burn, still doing bottle/Tucks/Calendula routine, as described by Mandy in her post.
Wish I had more frozen pads from the hospital
My feet are still swelling, tonight feel as bad as they did during pregnancy
Nipples are very sore from breastfeeding
Realizing I need more short sleeve post pregnancy figure flattering nursing appropriate tops in my wardrobe
Tummy is a big saggy depressing mess
Down to 205 lbs, I believe I was somewhere between 215-220 when I went into labor.
Can’t seem to wear enough deodorant
Sweating when sleeping or when I over exert myslef
Felt really great as I went to bed, minus the burning after peeing
Thinking I might be close to feeling 100% minus the nether region pain tomorrow

Day 7

200 lbs
Felt fantastic all day but still lots of pressure in nether regions if I stand for so long. Applying pressure with my hand when standing helps but I can’t really do that in public. Working on holding urine in when I have to pee to learn to use the muscles again. I think now that the pain and pressure down below was due to the UTI I had, as soon as I started treating my UTI on day 14 that pressure went away.

Day 8

196 lbs
Bowel movement while applying pressure to perineum, this is the day I discovered the importance of applying pressure to the perineum while having a BM. No longer felt like my tears were going to split open whenever I did that!

Day 9

Peeing pants when laughing
Peeing while squatting
Still sore, trip to Target all by myself

Day 10

Not sore when getting up and down anymore
Can sit on toilet fully

Day 11

Had first bm without applying pressure on perineum
Only hurts to bounce on birth ball or sit on edge of things

Day 12

Had to go pee but decided to try and hold it and pump instead – dam broke and I peed all over chair, carpet, myself. This last day I was sitting in my nursing chair, pumping, and I didn’t feel like disconnecting my udder suckers and going to the bathroom. 30 minutes later when I was done pumping I could feel that I was about to lose control of my bladder. I tried so hard to hold it in, but I failed and a gush of bloody urine ran out all over me, my beautiful chair, and the carpet. My sweet husband cleaned it all up but I felt awful about what I had done and did a better job of running to the bathroom whenever I felt the urge from then on.

The current state of my stretch marks, taken while lying down. No, I don’t believe they could have been prevented, as I don’t think the lotions and creams prevent stretch marks. Good thing I don’t wear bikinis, eh?

That’s the end of my notes, but by that point I was feeling great so I didn’t really have anything to track. I started exercising around day 15-16, going on walks with my sister, but I’ll talk more about my exercise past, present, and future in another post.
I’m debating showing you a shot of my body at 38 weeks and another shot of my body now, 8 weeks after birth. It’s not a pretty sight though and I’m frustrated by the slow progress I’m making. I’m grateful for my easy birth and quick recovery though!

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.

70 Comments


  1. Ugh, yes, postpartum weight loss sucks. But remember one thing: it took 9 months to get that way, it’ll take at least as long to get back. I myself experienced this and have heard it from other women as well- around the 9-10 mo. mark, the weight just comes off a lot easier. It’s weird, but I can testify to it. Some women say they lost everything they had to lose over that time, but, while I lost some, I didn’t lose everything. But then, I’ve recently discovered that I’ve been dealing with an underactive thyroid, so that may have something to do with it. Basically, what I’m trying to say is, don’t push yourself too hard yet- you’re still recovering.
    I hear you too when it comes to not bfing- particularly when other mommies say how much weight they lost doing it. *tears*
    And the mommy guilt- particularly hard for us first-time moms. I know some guilt can’t be helped, but please be assured, T1 will be fine. Just use your own instinct and common sense and you’ll do just fine. Let strangers’ advice go in one ear and out the other.

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  2. To all the notes at the end – a big fat DITTO. My first was an entirely different experience (for obvious reasons), but when K came along I was kicked in the trash by all that I could not do, the realities of what happens when nursing is NOT working, etc. It was a hard adjustment, but it’s getting better. Whatever mommy guilt you have now, you’ll learn to let some of it go with the second. You have to!

    Oh, and what is UP with people and their comments? I pray that I’m not that annoying someday, especially as an old woman. They are the worst. Grant has always had a bad sounding cough (even when he’s perfectly fine) – I’ve gotten some glaring looks and loud comments aimed in my direction (especially when he was younger) – people telling me he had croup and that I should get him home. Nope, sorry lady! Unless you know exactly what’s going on or I ask your opinion – keep it to yourself! People seem to say stuff a little less as your baby ages though, if that’s any comfort.

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  3. I think you’re doing a great job so far! Other people just dont know when to keep thier comments to themselves. Your recovery postings are just amazing to me. People serioulsy never tell you about the “other” parts of child birth. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Sorry for the mommy guilt you’ve been getting from others – and strangers, no less! I see brand new babies out and about all the time in our neighborhood. As you said, babies are incredibly resillient! I think you’re doing a great job of incorporating another human into your daily life! P is lucky to have you as a mom :)

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  5. Thanks for the honesty! Truly. But…hoo boy, I knew it wasn’t a party to go through labor, especially after seeing “The Business of Being Born”, but wow. The physical after-effects scare me just a tad. You are right, though. We *are* resilient and that face. I’m sure he was/is worth it all.

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  6. Yeah, what is UP with the postpartum intense BO and sweating? I had that too, it’s so weird. Also had the peeing-myself incidents, and the weight loss is nowhere near as easy as I’d hoped, even with breastfeeding. I had my baby right after Thanksgiving and right before Christmas, so the holiday eating sabotaged me really badly. I’m six months PP now and am trying to be ruthless about taking maternity clothes out of my closet. The biggest issue is pants/skirts, and so I’m just making several pair of elastic or drawstring waist skirts and gauchos that can (hopefully) shrink with me.

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    Kat Speyer Reply:

    It’s the hormone mix in your body changing. I get a change in BO/sweat just by going on my “off” week of birth control- noticeably more odor. Stinkin hormones are insane things! (Guys don’t understand them, but really it’s just like being on drugs. If you’re having a “bad trip,” there’s nothing they can do to make it “better,” they just have to help you ride it out!)

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  7. If it makes you feel better some people (babycenter.com http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-4-month-old-week-1_1139.bc?intcmp=timeline) say that you shouldn’t start working out until 4 months (Which I did not obey, but I sucked at it, had NO energy) after birth. And some say you wont get back to your pre-baby body for one year (ugh, sounds awful, but unfortunately pretty true) I lost all my baby weight in about 10 days( but I credit that all to a nutritional supplement that is a miracle that I have taken for almost 3 years, it definitely was not me), but my body looks different and it has taken me a year to get back to my old jean size, and my stretch marks, I am still convinced look worse than yours. I don’t wear bikinis either.

    You do what is best for you as a momma. Everyone else can take a long walk off a short pier. I dislike unsolicited advice when out in public but I am too nice to say anything. “Um, excuse me is this a call in show? I didn’t remember calling.” Momma guilt, Parent Guilt is very, very real and I am sure it will never go away. I’m always feeling guilty about how much time I spend away from her, or how I treat her or losing my patience….. *sigh* I will go now.

    You are doing great, thank you for being so honest! And T1 is adorable, I love looking at the pictures!

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    mary fran Reply:

    i’m so curious, what nutritional supplement?

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    Anna Murphey Reply:

    It’s called Reliv. We used to sell it, but I really stink at selling stuff, I would rather just give it away… if I could afford it because I love it so much. :)

    It has everything the body needs. There are a ton of testimonials about the product, a ton in my whole family :) . But I had such a wonderful pregnancy and easier labor and recovery because of it. I felt totally better (down there) and physically healthy (back to normal) better in a week after giving birth and lost all my 35 pregnancy pound in about 10-13 days (I can’t remember specifically) All I know is that I credit it all to Reliv. :)

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  8. Between you and OMG Mom, I’m totally freaked out! I know it is all 100 percent worth it though! You are a BEAUTIFUL mother of a precious little man – don’t be too hard on yourself!

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    Katy Reply:

    The crazy thing about postpartum recovery is that you’ll feel awful for awhile and you start believing you’ll ALWAYS feel like that…then you wake up one day and it’s largely gone! I thought I could never get into a car or up steps without tearing myself to China, but then one day that pain just went away.

    Some little things take longer to go away, but by and large, the real crappy part of recovery shouldn’t be more than a few weeks at most. That’s comforting…kind of? ;)

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    Gwen Reply:

    Kind of :) I think I have a few years to think about it some more! After my first marathon, I said if child birth hurts this much, I’m not interested. HA!

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  9. You know I know a ton of people with babies and they have only hinted at some of this. Thanks for your honesty and willingness to put it out there because for people like me it’s the first time I am hearing it.

    The sex thing my friends with babies do talk about … and it took my friends about 6 months after to get things working in that department again.

    I am still so impressed how quickly you recovered!

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  10. Great post!

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  11. Cynthia says:

    I found your website from an email you sent to some people in the ward, and I’ve loved it! I was completely unprepared when I had my first daughter, I’d been teaching school up until the day before she was born and had put preparation on the back burner. I’m hoping to be more prepared for our next and I’ve loved reading all your thoughts, as well as the comments from others. I’m totally with you on the stretch mark thing. I was small my entire pregnancy, I even had strangers coming up to me and telling me I was what every pregnant lady wished they could look like. And yet I got a MILLION stretch marks. Thanks to heredity. I’m just glad I don’t have to worry about having a bikini body. The only person who sees them is my husband, and whoever happens to be around when Kaitlyn tries to find my belly button. :) I wasn’t able to breastfeed my daughter either, for a number of reasons. I tried to continue pumping and taking vitamins to help, but my milk just never came in. I felt bad about Kaitlyn being a formula baby, but she has done great!! It sounds like you’re doing a great job dealing with all the things a first-time-mom has to deal with. Do you have any suggestions on where to look for advice for second-time-moms? I have no idea how people cope with a newborn and a toddler!! :)

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    Katy Reply:

    I’ve got both (but my ‘newborn’ is now turning one this month) and I STILL don’t know how to get it all done! I understand, it’s a WHOLE new world when there’s two.

    Actually, though a few things have helped:
    #1: lowering my standards by a factor of 10 in the house cleaning department, gourmet cooking department (grilled cheese and lentil soup is a favorite dinner around here…easy and yummy), and commitment to other’s department. Don’t volunteer for anything out of guilt or whatever – - especially when it comes to church. Take on what you know you can accomplish in a reasonable time frame and don’t take on anything else.

    #2: Schedule a once a month ‘get out of the house’ alone time. Shop, go to the temple, whatever (I scrapbook/craft with friends). I love those little crazy children that much more when I’ve had a little break. Even just getting away to go workout is nice alone time (your husband should be on board for that…a little alone time plus endorphins from exercising make for a happier mom and wife, something a smart man will appreicate)

    #3: This last idea may cost a little money, but so completely worth it. Find some cute, sweet girl in your ward to come over for a few hours once/twice a week – – a mother’s helper. You can hire her to help you with some light cleaning or she can entertain the kids so you can get something done around the house (even just being able to take a shower!) I’ve L-O-V-E-D having our little mother’s helper. You need an extra pair of hands sometimes and just having another person there to help will make you feel like superwoman. Seriously think about it! I wish I had started this a long time ago.

    When I read your ‘how do I cope’ question, I felt for you because I’m right there too! Good luck!

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  12. Kimberly says:

    another one here who hasn’t experienced this yet, but really appreciates the honesty and details! even if it’s scary I like to know what I’m in for. sounds like you are doing a great job all around.

    (side note: how on earth did people do this (or continue to do it in some parts of the world) with no access to all the amenities we can now buy at Target?? I know the answer is you just do it, but scary.)

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  13. i love this post as scary as it is. its refreshing to hear everything about recovering from birth in a straightforward and honest way.

    i’ll definitely be revisiting this post once we decide to start a family.

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  14. I love love love your honesty and openness Jenna. It took me a long time to read this because I kept having to take deep breaths and remind myself, “dude, you’re not even pregnant yet!” especially at the parts about the blood and the bathroom (I am a huge huge wuss). But I appreciate a straightforward description of what it’s like.

    You rock.

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  15. I think you are doing a great job! Especially considering all the C_R_A_P you had to go through yourself physically after the birth (not to mention during). I too strongly dislike unsolicited advice (who doesn’t?). I’ve told my husband I just don’t understand old people. Not that it’s just old people or that ALL old people speak out of turn, but I have a lot of old people around me and they get stuck on the weirdest things! It’s their problem, not yours. I hope I’m more like the old ladies who are so humble and near perfect, instead of grouchy and judgmental; I mean, being so near the end, wouldn’t they want to shape up a little?? Sorry, I guess this has been on my mind. :)

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  16. It’s amazing to me how little people talk about this aspect of birth, and then I think of how many women going through it then freak out wondering “is this normal? do I need to go to the doctor? am I healthy/ok/healing correctly?” If more people talked about it it would still be painful and hard to go through, but it would be *expected*. I read on some blog a woman talking about how she wished people wouldn’t share such detailed birth stories, because it scared her from ever wanting kids. I can appreciate that it is a little scary, but I love being informed! Plus, this isn’t a scary “you’ll see, this is EXACTLY how it will be for you” kind of post, it’s a “hey, this is what I went through, your mileage may vary, but in general here’s what you might expect”. I really appreciate it, even though I may never have babies/am many years away from having them if I do :)

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  17. OH, and we saw Babies over the weekend and I loved it! It really made those San Fran parents seem kind of dorky, haha, when the Mongolian baby is kickin’ it in a field alone with a bunch of cattle, or the African baby is putting his hand in dog’s mouths :)

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    Katy Reply:

    Yeah, I’m not a major germaphobe (to an appropriate level of course, but not over the top like some of my friends) – kids are way more resilient than we give them credit for. We don’t need to worry about every.single.tiny.germ they will ever come in contact with. I try to keep clean and what not, but I don’t freak out if the baby eats a Cheerio of our kitchen floor. And you know what, my kids are rarely sick. And when they are sick it’s no big deal. My friend’s kids get sick all the time…maybe there’s a connection (maybe not…).

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    Sophia Reply:

    I think you’re right. There were some studies done correlating a mother’s use of bleach cleaning products with lower immune defense in the children. They didn’t get to “practice” with germs :)

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  18. Thanks again for another great post (speaking of which, you you are absolutely not slacking in the blog department — your posts lately have been fantastic). I am also really impressed that you are walking and exercising. Your baby is still brand new; I hope you can cut yourself some slack on the weight loss.

    Have you experienced any baby blues or PPD?

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  19. I totally agree with some of your misc. thoughts. I was taken a bit by surprise how powerful mommy guilt is. And I am the same way about (at least attempting) to keep the house clean. I can control that, and it stresses me out a bit when it gets messy.

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  20. Thank you for sharing your journal during those first days!

    You are a great inspiration to me whenever I become a mother!

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  21. This was an excellent post that I’ve already forwarded to friends. I experience so much guilt as it is – nearly all self generated, and it makes me nervous for the mommy/parent guilt. I’m trying to get my guilt (and time mangagment!) under control now so that when a baby is here in 12-18 months, I’m in a better place.
    It makes me sad how mothers don’t support each other. (I’m assuming unsolicited advice is most frequently coming from women, not men). I need to be careful as I sometimes catch myself judging parenting (e.g., OMGMom NEEDS to leave her kid – it would be good for both mom and baby). Who am I to decide what OMGMom, or any other mom, needs?!

    I’d love to hear more about babyblues vs PPD, time mgmt, and mommy guilt – most of which you touched on, but I look forward to hearing more.

    You are doing a fabulous job parenting (and blogging) and should be very proud of yourself!
    xoxo

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    Sophia Reply:

    I admit that 60% of the reason I’m terrified to have kids is my guilt complex! I feel guilty about the smallest things, and am very hard on myself about accomplishing “enough”, and of course enough is never enough. I was just telling my partner the other day that I felt useless, lame, I’ve wasted my time, and he’s like “whoa crazy, you have accomplished a lot, and you’re only 27!”. And I’m like “yeah, whatever, I suck”, haha.

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  22. I find this knowledge and education so fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing all this information with us!

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  23. Jessica says:

    Love all of the descriptive moments, they are true :) I was lucky and had a bowel movement the day after delivering so I didn’t really even know about the pain that could come and really didn’t feel any at all, but the nerves are definitely there! Your stomach is beautiful! Embrace your baby badges, keep up the hard work on losing the baby weight, it took me about 14 months, but it is possible! Your stretch marks will fade and the tummy will tighten.

    I am not a believer in creams to prevent stretch marks… but I have found that StriVectin- SD has helped reduce the very few that I got on my thighs. It’s spendy but I love it, if nothing else it keeps me hydrated and smelling like peppermint! :)

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  24. As always I love your frankness and detail. Oddly, I find having a better idea of what reality after birth is like, even as scary as it can be, far more comforting than vague platitudes. Thanks.

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  25. Thankyou for another REAL post–just like Mandy’s…but i must say, OMG that sounds SCARY!!!!

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  26. This could’ve been my very own log. Oh, how those memories come back!!! Baby is now 7 months old. My stomach still looks like that picture. I, too, will be wearing tankinis forever and ever amen. I had no idea how difficult the recovery would be. For me, it was so much worse than the pregnancy and labor (combined!).

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  27. Wow! That’s all I can muster up to say at this point. Wow! As someone who is TTC this makes me nervous. I’m glad for your honesty, but maybe this is why nobody shares the gory details with women who don’t have children yet. :) I hope I can handle it all…

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  28. Jenna,

    This post was awesome. But I’m not going to lie. You have officially scared the CRAP out of me. You know I’m already on the No Baby Train, but this added another tally to that column. Thank you for being so honest and forthcoming and showing how it REALLY is because people like me really need to see this stuff.

    And the bowel movements and peeing on yourself <– makes me want to give you a big hug.

    And I'm not even pregnant and I struggle with my weight ALL THE TIME. I can only imagine how hard it is for you. Also, I know you know this, but don't ever let someone give you mommy guilt. People have an opinion about EVERYTHING and you have to do what it right for you.

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  29. Great post, i forgot some many of these things already and my son is only 7 months old. I had to laugh when i read “bowel movement while applying pressure to perineum” i did this for weeks LOL!

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  30. “how much time can a baby really take up, right?”

    It is unbelievable how much time they take. I’m spending this week helping my sister with her ten-week-old daughter, and if there weren’t three adults rotating in to do different baby stuff, I have no clue how we’d manage to do things like eat dinner or bathe or walk the dog. I had no idea.

    But then if you try to tell someone what you did all afternoon, it’s “fed the baby, changed her diaper, tried to get her to sleep. Repeated.” So it doesn’t sound like that much… I’m now appreciating how hard it is to convey to those of us who don’t have kids.

    You’re doing awesomely, by the way. And he’s just adorable.

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  31. Yes to all this! The issues may be a bit different for everyone (I’ve never had the incontinence, thank heavens, but still suffer nerve pain from certain tears 14 months after the birth), but there’s no question everyone suffers SOMETHING. I researched and read a lot prior to childbirth but felt completely unprepared for how hard the first few weeks of physical recovery would be. No one seems to talk about it!

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  32. Again I want to thank you for your honesty and willingness to share your experience with others. I know how much it helps other women to know they’re not the only one who feels this or that.

    Your stretchmarks will fade dramatically and you might not even be able to see them very well after a while, at least not like they are now. But I know how hard it can be to feel like your body is so strangely different now.

    Mommy guilt drives me crazy. It’s my mission as a doula (or just as another woman) to try to minimize that as much as possible. Advice that is solicited is one thing, but why we have to be so hard on one another is beyond me.

    Chin up! You are doing great.

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  33. Thank you so much for your amazing honesty. You are an inspiration.

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  34. First of all – you rock for posting this and being honest about not so pretty details!

    Second of all – walking with cord between your legs?? It stays there?! ’til when!? (obviously – im not a mom) :)

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    Jenna Reply:

    Until you birth the placenta. Most women birth in a hospital bed and don’t get up in between so it isn’t an issue!

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    *Michelle Reply:

    Ahhh – gotcha! Thanks!

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  35. I really like it when people are honest about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum recovery. I really like it when people are honest about periods and menopause and women’s health in general. I think too many women feel like these are things they shouldn’t talk about publicly. So not true! There is totally a time and a place for these conversations and good for you for having one here.

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  36. Wow – truer words have never been spoken. Thanks for all of your honesty in this post… it’s everything I wish I could say to some people who ask the generic “how is it being a mom?!” questions. It’s cool to be going through parenthood with bloggers such as yourself who can put pen to paper (so to speak) and write down these stories.

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  37. It’s been a while since I have have my children but it sounds like you were fighting off some infections post partum plus having some very unfun digestive issues. Yes, that first bm is a scary one but it sounds like you had other complications. I hope they got resolved and your midwife or m.d. helped you right away. that seemed to go on longer than necessary. how stressful for you! I didnt experrience incontinence and was not aware that was a post partum issue. I hope things are calmer now. Its a lot to deal with. best wishes

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  38. So…I have to ask- how is all of that awfulness compared to having a c-section? I know it’s major surgery and has traditionally longer recovery time….but…then there would be none of the pelvic issues/incontinence/sexual changes/etc…?? (just a scar?) I think I’ll need to do a lot more research about post-partum recovery experiences…because i’m officially very nervous. I still think I’d prefer to deliver naturally, as you did…but, I just don’t know. Anyway, sorry if this comment sounds ignorant..

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  39. Jennifer says:

    I have a tip for nursing wear. Get yourself some of those A-Line men’s t-shirts. You know, “wife beaters?” I didn’t make up the nickname. Anywho, the arm holes are fairly long, so you can wear those under any of your shirts. Pull the arm hole over your boob, lift up shirt and you’re golden. Your tummy isn’t exposed and it’s quite comfortable.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  40. Don’t take this the wrong way, but this is a wonderful post! So very true and wish I’d known all of this when I had my little guy. I can totally relate to so many of the things you’ve gone through. Plus I also had really bad post-partum and an all-over rash after I gave birth that made me itch so bad! Things do get beter and much easier!

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  41. Thanks for such a REAL post! Hubs and I are TTC and I love that you’re sharing all this information so I can have a heads-up if/when we do get pregnant. Sounds like hell, but yes, baby P was worth it. And my child will be worth it, too. But yeah, not gonna lie- CRAZY. You ROCK!

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  42. If it’s any comfort, recovery the first time around is the worst. Mine was awful. I had a horrible episiotomy so I can relate to the peeing and pooping issues. I swore no one would ever touch me there again. But… I just had my third baby and recovery has been a breeze. I wore a diaper for one day; no peeing my pants; wiping after one day; pooped on day 2 without stool softeners; used one ice pack on about the 4th day. So, just know that it gets better! And when is comes to nursing, don’t beat yourself up about not doing it. It’s not a weight loss miracle for me. In fact, I don’t lose my weight until I’m done nursing. It’s amazing that you’re already exercising as much as you are.

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  43. Great post Jenna. I’m sorry everything was difficult for you. I think Sarah would scold you if she knew you were already doing so much work & exercising?? I wish you would give yourself some time to rest. All of that said by a girl that really wants to do the same thing though… I’m holding off though so I’m sure to recover faster & then I can start working again.

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  44. Really appreciate this post, Jenna. So real.

    I was devastated that no one had taken a photo of me with Talia until she was a week old, and even then I had to nag Nate to do it. Then my sister found one she had taken when I first put Talia to the breast, and all was right with the world. Those photos do mean a lot.

    Did you get the night sweats? I hated that. Woke up soaked in sweat for weeks after the birth. Damn hormones!

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    Jenna Reply:

    I was only sweating for the first few days. My hormones have actually done a really good job of regulating. Maybe because I’m not breastfeeding?

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  45. Your courage and honesty is a marvel. One of the things I treasure most about the world of blogging is insight into topics and conversations that were previously veiled. Having my own collection of pregnancy/labor fears, I have combed over all your posts like I was given a little peep hole into reality. Thank you for sharing. Of course, I recognize you have personal limits to sharing, and that’s respected.

    And remember, opinions are like a$$ holes, everyone’s got one. :)

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  46. Jenna, this is the most amazing blog post I have ever read. My husband wants children within the next few years, and it scares me to know end. Your intimate description was not only very real, but strangely comforting to be able to see your progress and know that you got through it. Thank you so much for writing this and sharing it with all of us! :O)

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  47. I love your honesty! As much as it frightens me.

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  48. Okay, I don’t have children so maybe I’m missing something…? but what is wrong with holding your baby in the store? Is something wrong with holding your baby when you go out? I think it’s weird that people carry a seat and not the baby. Am I weird?!

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    Jenna Reply:

    People are obsessive about “Support the neck!” comments. I think they think I shouldn’t be carrying him around in varying positions when he is this young.

    I think it’s weird that so many people drag their car seats around too! So heavy and cumbersome. Plus, to be honest, I don’t hold him that much when we are at home because I’m trying to get stuff done. I want to hold him whenever I can otherwise!

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  49. Thanks so much for posting this.

    Jogging stroller wouldn’t help you right now anyway–you can’t actually use it to jog until like 8 months. :(

    Go easy on yourself, it may not seem like it, but you’re accomplishing a ton!

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  50. Oh my. I’m currently 26 weeks pregnant with our first and I alternated between laughing and wanting to cry while reading your list. Frightening, but at least I won’t think I’m dying when this is happening to me!

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  1. my thoughts a year later… where do you stand? | Blue-Eyed Bride 03 06 10
  2. Postpartum Recovery « Connecticut Postpartum Doula 04 06 10

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      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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