- You may have a plan for just after the birth, but if something during the birth goes differently, your plan will have to change. I wanted to have skin to skin in the pool and breastfeed immediately after the birth. I wanted Cody to do the breast crawl and have Daniel, me and Cody in a peaceful little after birth bubble. The reality ended up being that I tore and bled, so I needed to immediately get out of the pool holding Cody, who was still attached to me, and lay on the wood floor so that the midwives could evaluate my tear and make sure everything was okay. I felt faint and exhausted. The floor quickly became uncomfortable, and it took over an hour to get the placenta out, the cord cut, the stitches evaluated, and the baby breastfed. By the time I left that spot on the floor, my bottom was sore and numb at the same time. Not exactly picture perfect.
- Even with a home birth, if you have stitches, there will be a good chunk of time when you’re not with your baby. I remember getting to the end of the day and feeling like I had hardly seen my son. Between showering, eating, getting stitched up, and resting, I had very small glimpses of Cody, mostly to try to breastfeed, which was confusing and not at all what I thought it would be (as you know if you’ve been reading my blog long).
- If you lose a lot of blood, you will feel more faint than you’ve ever felt in your life. This is not just a slight fainting feeling. This is an “Oh my gosh, the world around me is feeling very unstable, I can’t stand up, and I know I’m going to black out any second and hope I have time and energy to tell someone.” I had to be dragged from the bed to the bath on a blow up mattress. Thank the good Lord for my husband and midwife for all they did to take care of me that day.
- Breastfeeding is hard work. ‘Nuff said.
- You won’t be exercising a week after you have the baby (yes, I thought this would be possible since I was going all natural).
- If you have tearing, it will take FOREVER to heal. I’m now 10 weeks post partum and still feel tugging and discomfort on a daily basis.
- The weight will not just melt off, even if you’re breastfeeding. Granted, I gained probably 60 lbs or more, but I cannot seem to get the last 40 off. Terrible.
- Placenta capsules are a God-send. I truly believe God doesn’t waste anything, and the placenta is a wonderful tool He has given us for recovering from birth. On the days where I felt the most emotional, I could pop these and felt SO much better. Made a world of difference.
- Speaking of emotions, you will cry. You will cry more than ever before and about the most ridiculous things you could ever think of. The first few days, I cried because Cody is so beautiful and I was so happy (a pretty good reason to shed tears of joy, but these were a lot of tears, not just a glistening). When I had to supplement with formula, I cried because Cody “didn’t smell like my baby” (formula smells very different to breastmilk. He hasn’t smelled quite the same since). Every joke Hubby made, I cried. These are just a few examples. I’m surprised I didn’t dehydrate from all the tears I shed.
- Your body won’t be the same. Okay, I knew this one, but seriously…I still look at least 3 months pregnant and have stretch marks, can’t lose the weight, have mondo boobs (not a bad thing, but I’m not used to having to worry about cleavage so much), and don’t feel normal down yonder because of my stitches. I have only just recently been able to get rid of these massive chapped areas I had on the corners of my mouth that I finally found out were caused by a vitamin c deficiency. I know to allow myself a lot of time to get back to normal, but I will be so excited to fit in my jeans and button them up again…*sigh* one day.
All this to say, postpartum has been the hardest part of pregnancy/birth, and I truly didn’t expect the curveballs I’ve been thrown. Like I said above, I’m now 10 weeks post partum, and I’m only just starting to feel normal in my day to day life.
What were you surprised about with your post partum recovery? What would you add to this list?