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
Temp sitting at 100.3 unless I take Tylenol
Witch hazel soaked frozen pads are my favorite thing
Realize skin is ultra sensitive which may be causing headaches
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
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
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.
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!
Peeing pants when laughing
Peeing while squatting
Still sore, trip to Target all by myself
Not sore when getting up and down anymore
Can sit on toilet fully
Had first bm without applying pressure on perineum
Only hurts to bounce on birth ball or sit on edge of things
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.