Yes that is a quote from Oprah. Anyways…this is the post I wish I had known about before birth…not that I could do anything about it…but still. It would have been nice to know what I was getting into, so I am writing it down while it is fresh in my memory for all you mommy hopefuls down the road. Recovery in the first 24 hours after birth was hell. Add on top the pure adrenaline I had been running on in which I didn’t sleep for the previous 24 hours (note I have NEVER pulled an all nighter until my child’s birth…I was a college disgrace). Also I felt like the actual birthing part was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. Everyone is different of course but I can say I had a very pleasant experience in that department. It could also be that I had mentally prepared myself for worse outcomes.
After I was wheeled to my new post partum room, I wanted to EAT. For you newbies out there, they don’t let you eat food when you are in labor. So at 8:00 the night before, when your husband gulps down Taco Bell, you are left eating lime popsicles with bad jokes on the sticks. The nurse said they could make me some frozen meals or I could have fruit and muffins from the breakroom. I opted for the fruit and muffin and juice. YUM! At some point after that, Kevin and I got a little sleep…all before the epidural completely. When I woke up, I slowly realized the following things:
- I felt like I was sitting on a bowling ball
- My back was all f-ed up
- My nipples were getting sore
- I had no concept of when I needed to pee(my bladder was still realigning in my body and I couldn’t tell when it was full)
- My husband is a saint.
First off, as I mentioned in the birth story, I was VERY bruised. The only pain killer I had was motrin at this point. When I got up to go to the bathroom the first time, I just felt horrible. Trying to scoot to the edge of the bed was terrible. I then waddled like an 90 year old woman to the bathroom to witness the carnage. Suffice to say, I was bleeding a lot. Not a shocker there…but man! Then the bathroom routine began. Also add in the complete lack of ab muscles to help you pull yourself up and down from the toilet. I felt like a rag doll slowly learning to use her muscles again.
Then there was my back. A lot of it was the pain from the epidural…part of it being that I was numb for hours and had HORRIBLE posture in that labor bed. Then it felt like I could never get comfortable in the bed, chair, what have you in the room. I also was trying to get in a good position to nurse and not always sitting right. By day 2, I could get up and move around and that helped. I also did some modified yoga moves on the backs of chairs and such to help stretch. Kevin also would rub my back to help as well. To note, it did get better, and I was 300% better by the time we left…but I am highlighting the first 24 hours.
O and the sore nipples. Now I plan to post about my success(at least I feel it as such) at breastfeeding but I will note the first nursing moments here as well. Of course I didn’t know what it would feel like. I worked with the nurse/lactation consultant on my first “real” feed. I remember saying “is it supposed to hurt like this at first?” This is a loaded question. People always say “if it hurts, he isn’t on right”. Now I will have to say, right at first, you don’t know what “hurt” is. You have never had something tugging on you like that. So I would say it is uncomfortable at first…but shouldn’t make your toes curl(which mine were). By the time we got a handle on how to feed him correctly, he had already given me a little trauma. I later found out that I have short nipples, so he was getting the very end and gnawing on me with his gums. Once we figured that out, and I knew what to watch for, we were on the road to recovery. I got some gels to wear between feedings and they started to heal. Now I have a little eating champ…so hooray for Wake Med nurses and their patience with me.
Next up, I pissed myself…multiple times. It would usually happen when I would get up to go and start to fill the squirt bottle with warm water. Since I had blown out all my controlling muscles, I couldn’t hold it. I would have to align myself over the toilet and strategically remove the ensemble on my hooo hah to catch it. I even peed on my flip flops…which I had to leave on the floor since I couldn’t bend down to get anything. It was embarrassing…but so was a lot of things.
Now through all of this, I have to say that Kevin is the greatest man alive. I mean he just saw my lady parts destroyed, multiple people be arm deep inside me to check me, and a whole person pass through me. But talk about rolling with the punches. He was there to get me anything and everything I needed. He did all of Landon’s diapers that first day or 2 because it was just so time consuming and painful for me to get up from the bed to help. I tried once and my back was on fire trying to stand over the bassinet for that long. He also had to clean up after me. Like the peeing incident or when I would bleed on the floor. I was a mess…and he was awesome. Some people say a new baby puts new stresses on a marriage….well I think it just makes ours better. He is very caring and wanting to help all the time. He is always worried about me and Landon. Always making sure I am ok physically and mentally. He is awesome…and he is all mine…HA.
So there…that is the carnage of the first hours after birth. Now as I mentioned, it got much better. At one point on that first night, I broke down into tears because I was tired, in pain, and didn’t know if I was getting enough milk in him. It was tough but I also reminded myself that it hadn’t even been 1 day yet. There is something magical about a woman’s body to heal so quickly after that kind of trauma. It really got vastly better day to day…and now, a little over a week out, I am doing great. I have hardly any more pain and very little bleeding. I can shave my legs, control my pee, and even crawl around on the floor if need be. So no worries…it ain’t that bad…