Monday, November 11, 2013

Postpartum...what they don't tell you...

For the past 13 weeks, I've told so many people, "oh man it's so much different than you think" with "it" being childbirth and the weeks following. Man I though Jon and I were super prepared before Ford was born...my experience babysitting and nannying, reading a million books, taking a breastfeeding class... and boom! We had Ford and chaos ensued. Changing diapers, swaddling, and all that good stuff was a piece of cake. Easy peasy. But today I wanted to share the nitty gritty of what people don't talk about postpartum. 

Gosh so many words and thoughts are racing through my mind I don't even know where to being. Let's start with childbirth being the most painful thing I've ever been through. Ford's birth was not at all what I ever imagined and it was incredibly traumatic. It took me a few weeks not to cry when I told people about it, not because I was disappointed at ALL but because it was so scary and painful. Childbirth isn't painful for everyone but for me, it was awful and I don't want to sugar coat it. I am so glad we induced and really hate those people who stand up on their soapbox saying how induction is the worst. Everyone has a story that the Lord has already written and ours included induction that ended in a C section. Pitocin kicked my ass and I wasn't able to have an epidural because of low blood platelets. I do not recommend Pitocin unless you are certain you can have an epidural (which I never ever would have imagined that I couldn't). And Stadol... stay away from that crazy drug! I don't want to get too deep into my birth story since today's post focuses on postpartum but I did want to preface with that. I am happy to answer any questions about Ford's birth, I know God gave us the story to share and I am happy to do so!

So the C section. Ouch! Looking back as painful as it was and hard the recovery was, I will definitely have more for future children but we'll leave that for another post. The main thing post delivery that rocked my socks off was the bleeding. I believe the technical term is "lochia" but it should be changed to "the grossest, stinkiest, raunchiest 2 months of your life." TMI? You guys asked for this post! I knew it was coming but I never knew it would be this intense. There were times in the first few weeks where I thought at the end of the day I wouldn't have any blood left. Take your heaviest, worst period and multiply that by 10. Oh and it starts immediately after birth. Luckily the hospital supplies you with pads that are larger than your newborns diapers and these awesome mesh undies that are so darn comfortable. Having a C section inhibited me from doing much those first few days and I remember thinking "why the heck would anyone choose this job" referring to my awesome nurse changing my diaper and squirting my girl parts with a water bottle. Oh the squirt bottle! I am sure it is much more useful if you deliver vaginally because of the mess that happens down there but I can't speak to that (major bonus of a C section!). Just simply wiping with TP isn't enough for the post partum red aunt. The hospital supplies you with this little squirt bottle that I wanted to use probably 20 times a day just to feel clean. Shout out to my nurses and my mom for helping me with that one! One thing I can't say I loved about my nurses was the fact that they came in twice a day to press down on my uterus to feel where it was. I think this is standard for vaginal and Cs but owieeeeee. Since I was put fully under for my C, I had to stay in bed for 24 hours and I had these things that squeezed my legs every minute to prevent blood clots. They felt kind of like a leg massage and I remember hating when they got taken off because the uterus pounding hurt that much worse. The leg squeezing helped take the edge off. 



I was in the hospital for 5 days total and I accepted the fact that I was bleeding pretty bad but never thought it would last so darn long! It wasn't until 9-10 weeks that I felt comfortable not wearing a panty liner daily (the last 2 weeks was on and off spotting). You better believe I stocked up on the diaper like pads and mesh panties before leaving the hospital and I assumed my stash would last me. Ha! Wrong-o. I went through that stash in a weekend and was totally unprepared at home. I thought I'd catch a break since I had a C section and didn't have to deal with tearing, stitches, etc. but you get no handicap ladies. Boo. If you're pregnant, go to the feminine product aisle and grab the largest diaper pads you can find, and buy triple what you think you need. I never actually used adult diapers but I know women who did and said they were awesome. I would also recommend making padsicles before you give birth with the likelihood you will give birth vaginally. Again, I can't speak on that but look them up on Pinterest, supposedly your lady parts will thank you. 

To add to the lovely mess you are dealing with down there, let's just talk about your new not so womanly scent. I swear I could just step out of the shower and instantly smell myself and it wasn't pretty. It took a couple of weeks for me not to be incredibly grossed out in my own body purely from my scent. I think it was the mix of 105 degree Texas heat in August and my new hormones flowing like crazy but my smell was just off. Oh and breast feeding... talk about sweaty mess. Never did I ever appreciate showers more than those precious showers in the first few weeks of Ford's life!

Since I mentioned breastfeeding above, I did want to touch on that just a bit. Ford and I have a really great breastfeeding relationship and I am so so happy it is working for us. It is such a sweet and special bond we have and I really enjoy knowing how my body can nourish my sons body. God's work is really incredible, huh? Jon and I took a breastfeeding class 2 months before Ford was born and I am SO glad we did. I highly recommend pregnant mommies to take them WITH their husbands because anyone who has breastfed knows that it is basically a 4 person job in the beginning. One thing that I did not like about the class (and realized it after I started breastfeeding) is the fact they told us that it would NOT hurt. Yeah that's a load of crock!! No breastfeeding doesn't hurt me now but those first few weeks... yeah I remember praying that my milk would dry up because the pain was so intense. Again, I don't want to scare any mamas because breastfeeding is so wonderful but I remember feeling sad and discouraged that I must be doing something wrong because it hurt. I mean think about it, your poor nipples are getting sucked on every other hour for an hour at a time, a heck of a lot more stimulation than those babies have ever seen. You are learning, your baby is learning, it is definitely not for the weak at heart. But you have to stick it out. I remember hearing that 3 weeks was that magic week that the pain would be gone... and it's true! You and your baby fall into a routine, learn each other's bodies, and it is UH-MAYZING when you wake up one day and it doesn't hurt! My advice for mamas to be preparing to breastfeed is be aware that it may be a little uncomfortable. Don't give up! Give it time. Lanolin, ice packs, heat pads, your husband. Get your tool box ready. And nipple shields! Lactation consultants will scowl at you at the mention of them but I think they need to be offered to new moms at the hospital. When Ford was 3 weeks old my right nipple was so irritated that I cried at every latch. I ran to Target and grabbed a Medela Nipple Shield and it changed my life. It gave my cracked nipple time to heal and gave me my confidence back. Contrary to what lactation consultants will say, Ford went right back to my breast when I stopped using it. 

I remember reading posts and hearing advice on what to bring to the hospital when you are packing your bags and people always recommended maternity clothes because you would look like you were about 6 months prego after. Okay  I was the size of a normal 9 month prego woman at 6 months so I definitely didn't look that big but your body is SO different. I wore dresses and maternity yoga pants those first few days to protect my incision and slowly added in maternity shorts when I needed to look presentable. My doctor told me to expect a belly until my uterus fully shrunk after 8 weeks but here I am 13 weeks postpartum and my uterus may be normal sized inside of me but the poochy belly is still there. I was able to start wearing some non maternity pants about 6 weeks postpartum and even though I am back at my pre pregnancy weight, my body is not the same... and I am okay with that. Stretch marks on my tummy remind me of my beautiful big (and late) baby and the extra skin around my midsection leave me in awe of the way my body was able to grow my son. God's work is pretty cool! I recently started working out and found out that my abs are literally spread apart still. Will be putting off those for a bit.

If you feel like I've already given TMI, you may not want to read any further because now we're gonna talk sex. I've never really talked about sex on my blog before but again... I wish I would have known what to expect postpartum in the intimacy department. To be honest, I was ready for lovin' within the first few days of giving birth. My hormones were surging and seeing Jon step so perfectly into fatherhood made me fall hard for my husband. My doctor told me I would most likely be cleared for sex 6 weeks after giving birth so we were counting down the days. I'm not going to give lots of details but again... wish I would have known that just because your doctor clears you for sex, doesn't mean your body is ready. I guess I assumed because I had a C section things would be easier but I didn't take into consideration that I had indeed gone through labor, dilated and my uterus was still shrinking. I remember being so so sad that things didn't pick up right where they left off, but your body needs time to heal. You are more than welcome to email me if you have further questions about postpartum sex. Never have I loved my husband more than after having a baby together. Knowing that God created sex to be fun and pleasurable for man and wife, but that a life is created! I know it will take time. 

I feel like lots of people DO talk about postpartum emotions but honestly even after reading blogs, books, and articles about it, I could never prepare until I experienced it. Parenthood is so much harder than I could have ever imagined but it is so much better. So much more rewarding, precious, and fulfilling. Those first few days I cried, I would think 99% of women do. Cried because I couldn't stand up straight and bear the pain of my incision, cried because I had to cover my nipples in the shower because the water pouring over them hurt like hell, and crying because I was so in love with my baby. Hormones. Those things are absolutely nuts. You think your hormones are raging during your time of the month? Just wait until you have a baby! Hormones coupled with pure exhaustion is the perfect cocktail for a sensitive heart and lots of tears. And that is okay! I love that this community totally embraces postpartum emotions. I did not suffer from PPD but love that my friends who do can so openly speak about it, own it, and share it. Motherhood is such a crazy unknown. You constantly question whether you are doing it right and whether you are doing enough so it's easy to get down on yourself but know that you are not alone. 

I hope that this post didn't discourage any mamas to be because that is the opposite of what I wanted it to do. I wish someone would have told me that it's OK to cry in the shower and that it's normal for you to walk around topless those first few weeks because it's just easier than taking off your shirt to feed every hour. I want my blog to be a place where you can come to get the real deal. Like I said a few times, I want to be an open book so please don't hesitate to ask me questions about my postpartum experience. I am more than happy to share, that is what this community is about.

This boy is WORTH it!

41 comments:

Tennille said...

I absolutely LOVE your honesty. Thank you for this post!

Bridget said...

So glad you posted this and was so honest because I had no idea how it was for ladies who had a C-section. I honestly thought they got off easy in the 'down there' department. Glad to know it's pretty much the same, minus any tearing. I've had to come to terms that your body will really never be the same after baby...but the beautiful miracle is so worth it!!!

Lauren said...

THAT was very honest! And scary :) Good for you, I'm sure there are mamas out there who needed to hear this and will thank you for it

Carly said...

oh man, you have no idea what good timing this is.....I may need this info!!!

Carly
www.lipglossandcrayons.com

Katie McKenzie said...

Great post! Very accurate to my experience as well and I had a vaginal birth. My best friend was honest with me about most of these things weeks before Grace was born and I thank her for it soooo much, because since I knew more realistically what was going to happen it made it so much better to have my mind set and ready.
Your post hopefully with do that for a lot of new mamas!

emily said...

AMEN sister. I've said my entire pregnancy that is a secret society that everyone raves about but no one tells you the nitty gritty until you're actually pregnant. I delivered vaginally and had a lot of the same issues + experiences as you. It's so nice to read that someone else has gone through the same stuff as me and that I'm not totally crazy. We just started week 3 with my baby girl and I sure hope you're right about breastfeeding because it's still kicking my bootay! Love reading your adventures in mommyhood, you've really helped me! xo

Sarah @ Life, Love & Dinner said...

We need more posts like these! I have one in my drafts but I found that I kept adding things to it since I'm about 6 weeks post partum. Thanks for being so honest!

Meghan @ More from Meg said...

Love your post! Thanks for being so honest and open about your experience!

Stephanie Wilson said...

Great post and I wish I could have read something like this before I had our first child. I breastfeed all four and I was not expecting the pain the first time, but at least the second child on, I knew what to expect. I did not have as painful a labor as you, mine were fairly short and not too bad, but they still were not fun, they still hurt, and no one can prepare you for those intense contractions. They did hurt and I was suprised !! Like you, no ppd, but emotions do run high, you are so right !!

I am glad you can share these things with other moms to be, in the eighties we did not have the internet to connect with other moms so the only things you heard were from people you knew in person and sometimes there is no one you know who recently had a baby and our moms experiences were way differant than ours. I had home births for the first three and because of placenta previa with the fourth, and even though it moved and we could have had him at home, I deilvered him in the hospital with a doctor just in case, but all was fine and it was actually my worse delivery, home births and hospital births are very differant !! Knowing what I know now, I would have had all of them at home, when you are young, you can be more emotional and make decisions based on emotion rather than what is safer or best. I got lucky. I had a responsible lay midwife, but that is not the same as a doctor in a hospital.
I hope your post can help expectant mommies to know more what to expect and to help them to understand that what they are experiencing is normal!!
It is all worth the pain , there is no job more wonderful than being a parent and as my midwife put it, in labor we earn those babies !! Our children, though grown, are still our greatest job and now we have grandkids to enjoy. It is a wonderful journey and well worth all the work it takes.
Many moms are going to be grateful for your honesty !!
Even if they are through it, just knowing that someone else went through the same things as they did, will really help a lot of new moms, you sometimes think you are the only one who struggles and knowing it is a shared experience, makes it much better !!

Curly Girl Confessions said...

Thank you for posting this! Being that I am going to give birth in 6 weeks, I love hearing the truth rather than the sugar coating. I do know that everyone is different, but love all perspectives!

P!nky said...

This is one of the most honest new mama posts I've ever read, so THANK YOU! While children are a few years off, it's nice to know the good the bad and the ugly. Thank you for touching on everything.

Your son is so cute btw.

Caitlyn {Home Sweet Ruby} said...

I love that you shared this.. I feel like this information is never talked about for future mommas to hear! You are so strong and brave, Ford is lucky to have a momma like you!

Libby @ Health, Love & Fire said...

Ruthie I love your realness and honesty! I think as a new mom or as someone thinking about starting that amazing journey, it's important to be honest about the ups and the downs, the struggles and the amazing parts. I know that when my husband and I start that journey, it will help to know what we are in for. Knowing that what you're experiencing is normal and is okay is comforting in an emotional and overwhelming time. Thank you for being so open and for sharing your experience with the rest of us!

Theresa said...

This was so refreshing to read! Honest, straightforward, and so inviting of questions. I love, love, that you are standing up and telling it like it was for you. I think so often we "only" hear about those "perfect" births. Everyone's experience is different, and you're showing that's ok! As one C-section mama to another - thank you for speaking so openly about everything - again, so often you don't hear about our births, or they're looked down upon...but we did what was right for us and our children. Thank you thank you thank you!

Nikki said...

Great post and thank you for sharing. As someone who is thinking of children in the near future, it is great to hear what to expect.

Candice Williams said...

Lots of my childless friends are scared to have a kid and go through child birth. I went into it knowing nothing and had no fears. Now that I've had a baby, im honestly terrified to do it again. The pain I experienced was crazy bad, the aftermath was even worse. I didn't get cleared for 12 weeks to do anything and I had a natural birth. It list took so so so long to feel like myself again. The sleepless nights, the engorged boobs, wearing dog size pee pads because I was bleeding so bad... I just can't do it again anytime soon. Was it worth it? YES! I would do it all over again in a heartbeat for my son. I love him more than anything. But I'm honestly very scared and hesitant to do it again. I'm sure at some point I will but not for years and years. James is two and finally at the stage where I sleep 10 hours a night, and my body is totally back to normal.. All that.. I need to enjoy this stage longer haha

Heather Leigh @ Adifferent kind of woman said...

Seriously! This post brings back so many memories of when I just had E. I didn't have a c section but I can relate my experience so easily.. I couldn't help but laugh though when I was reading your posts. It's definitely 100 percent not a fun/funny experience. But because I wish people would have told me these things as well before I had Evelynne. Especially with the odors and lovely smells that come along with child birth. And I 100% agree with you with the long showers.. My husband didn't get maternity leave due to the fact he was still in the police academy so the second he walked in the door I handed him E and slowly wobbled as fast as I could to the shower!

Carolyn said...

OH MY GOODNESS! All of this. SO TRUE. The smell was definitely one of the worst parts for me! HAHA And the breastfeeding. But just like you said - magically it goes away one day! I think so many people try to sugarcoat pregnancy, child birth and early stages of motherhood... and it's so important to be honest!!!

Kristin said...

I love your honesty SO SO SO much! Everyone has a different birth & a different recovery but one thing is absolutely for sure NO one can say it's pretty. It's definitely hard and crazy and gross! Thank you so much for sharing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Whitney M. @ The Married Me said...

I think this is perhaps the most honest account I've read yet!

Katie said...

Thank you for this post. Xoxo.

Megan Coomer said...

Love love love this post. Thank You for being so open-I will take these tips into consideration someday soon! Your family is beautiful!

ashleigh said...

no baby is in the near future, but i absolutely loved the honesty. you are amazing.

Traci Moening said...

Great post Ruthie! I can also say that all that is so true, even after 9 years I still remember some of those gory details! Sitz baths and the squirt bottle were my best friend due to the wicked tearing i had with Connor. Baby Ford is beautiful, I hope to meet him soon.

Julie @ Sugarfoot Eats said...

Great post! I have no children, but still loved reader the "insider's view". I had no idea of these things & think it's so great that you put it out there. Kudos!

Laura @ The Everyday Joys said...

I was nodding along with so much of this post! It makes me sad that you had a not great c-section experience. I liked mine so much the first time, I opted for it the second time, with the choice of a VBAC or a surgery. Most people thought I was crazy, but I was terrified of a vaginal birth!

I remember a lot of bleeding both times, but I don't remember it being *that* much. And yeah, the squirt bottle...oh my word. I, too, felt like I was stinking ALL. THE. TIME.

Those first few weeks of breastfeeding are so difficult and trying. With Ethan, I simply couldn't handle it. I was too emotional and would just cry and cry. I was sad at night time for the first 2-3 weeks. With Gabe, I had a whole new mindset, was ready to fight to breastfeed that baby, and thankfully, I didn't have to because he was a pro from the first shot! Doesn't mean it was easy, though. :)

Way to go, mama! You are fitting into this role so, so well! I love seeing and hearing about your little family!

Chandelle Foote said...

LOVE all this!!!! SO true!!! Funny too how different lactation consultants can be. I had never heard of nipple shields and I just mentioned that Christian was having a hard time latching on one side and BOOM they brought me a nipple shield! Loved that thing! And we never had troubles with nipple confusion either. One of the things that was also stressed in my breastfeeding class was how painful it will be at first and I was told over and over again by a nurse to not give up for at least I think 6 weeks because it will get better and you're right...it does! And sex...ugh. Breastfeeding doesn't exactly help in that department either... Thanks for your honesty!! Definitely agree about the pitocin!!! I can't imagine NOT being able to get an epidural!!! Labor is WAY more painful than just strong menstrual cramps!

Bobbie said...

Gosh, it seems that you were on the very extreme end of the spectrum with your difficult birth & postpartum experience. It's great that you have shared the "truth," but I hope that your readers (and you!) realize that it can actually go a lot easier than that. I know that I was on the absolute opposite end of the spectrum with my son's birth, and that I was so very lucky, but easy, fast vaginal births do actually occur. And the recovery can be so much easier and faster than after a c-section. Also some mothers and babies have absolutely no trouble with breastfeeding.

I just don't want mothers-to-be to be completely freaked out after reading your post.

I am really amazed at your positive attitude after going though such a traumatic experience, and I truly hope if you have another child, you will have a much different, easier and more positive experience.

Wifessionals said...

I'm glad you put this out there! While I will say that the biggest thing people need to realize is everyone is different, you hit a lot of good topics.

Next time around you may want to look into the red raspberry leaf tea. It supposedly really help with the post birth bleeding. I only bled for 1-2 weeks and it never soaked a pad. It was like a VERY light period. It might just have been me, but it might be worth a shot!!

Unfortunately I'm almost at 8 weeks and breastfeeding still hurts ): I think it's because she eats so frequently, but I hope it lets up soon!

And I am glad you hit on sex - I haven't said anything on my blog, but I agree with what you said. It is different and it wasn't until I went through it and googled a lot that I found out no one really warns you about it (:

Emily.Duncan said...

I'm 19 and no baby in the near future but I LOVED your honesty!!! xoxo

Sandra said...

This is a very interesting post! Had never heard about most of this stuff. Did I miss your post about going off the pill? I thought you mentioned that a while back but I don't remember reading it. Thanks!

Elizabeth and Adam said...

Love the honesty! Especially helpful for mommas to be! However i think its also important for other future mommas to realize not every experience is that tramatic. I've had two c-sections and healed fairly quickly with minimal bleeding. I also never experienced any pain with breastfeeding (except a case of nasty mastitis). Good luck with all Ford's "firsts"....so fun! What a cutie :)

Marsha Walter said...

You know your honesty is awesome. I have had both, my first was a vaginal, second was an emergency c. And yes the bleeding is the same and not to fresh. I didn't hear about the pad circles, wish I had I did stock up on the cold packs that the hospital had and loved them they felt awesome. I did have to be cut. As for the breast feeding, I am one of those who tried but was not sucessful. With my second I even pumped for a month, he was a premie but I never filled a little bottle.

Sarah Stempien said...

Oh my, I'm just getting to this and I loved it. We have to feel for your uterus because we need it to be hard, if it's boggy or soft it means your bleeding isn't controlled. No one likes it but yes it is part of our job! The squirt bottle is AMAZING, I know how clean it makes patient's feel and the pads as big as diapers? I always tell my patients you can never have too much coverage! Wish I could show some of what you say to my patients, being a 25 year old single lady with no kids I feel like they don't believe me all the time!

Megan C said...

So glad you wrote a post like this. I am 7 weeks post partum and I have gone through pretty much everything you experienced. I too had a c-section after being induced and it was such a traumatic experience. Maybe not as bad as yours (I read your birth story when it was posted) but still it was unexpected and stressful. But back to the experience after the birth, I wish someone would have told me more about all the details. I did know a little but I don't think it prepared me at all. Recovering from a c-section was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I was so emotional and in quite a bit of pain. But it was all worth for me little guy! He is the greatest thing that happened to me!

Lindsay said...

Thank you for this post! I'm not pregnant right now but hope to be soon and I would much rather be prepared for the worst than to expect a perfect pregnancy, labor and recovery and then get blindsided. Thanks for your honesty!

Heather @ Finding Beauty in the Ordinary said...

This is SO good Ruthie!!!!!!

Rebekah @ Living && Learning said...

This honesty is amazing! I'm 4 weeks PP and going in I knew about some of this but boy was it an eye opener! I will vouch for adult diapers being amazing (especially when your bladder control is shot in those first few days after a vaginal delivery!)! And I'm so glad to know that you can get a nipple shield at Target! We're having latch issues and our LC gave me one at the hospital but I need another, I've been terrified of what will happen when I lose it or it tears etc because my daughter only latches about 30% of the time without it (but getting much better as I'm engorged less!). I just can't say enough how much I appreciate this post! People should be more honest about this period in their lives!!

Megan R. said...

I'm late to the party, but I had a c-section with my son and didn't bleed at all after. Just a little spotting. The Dr. told me they were able to clean me out pretty well, so I was pretty lucky. Granted, he was born 13 weeks early so that may have had something to do with it. Who knows. My sister had her first baby vagionally, and she said she barely bled. With my first child, I delivered vagionally also, and bled for 4-5 weeks. It was heavy and horrible, like you described. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I'm done having babies, but I loved reading it!

Stasi said...

I love the honesty of this post and you're positive perspective on the negative aspects of having a kiddo!

I will add that using a nipple shield for an extended period of time was the downfall of my nursing relationship with my baby girl. I, to this day, wish that my lactation nurse would have never brought it to me in the first place.

Nipple shields can prevent the stimulation you get from baby's lips and "trick" your body into not producing milk. This is because nipple shields do not do a good job of emptying the breast like a baby does...

I will agree there is a time and place for them...like with cracked nipples - ouch!

Anyway, just another perspective on it!

peter andersen said...

You've really got a great blog. Nice and very '2014'. I've seen a website which fits to your blog as well; http://tepelbedekkers.nl. You might want to ask them some samples?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...