I have so much to tell you guys about my experience, I have decided to break it up into a series. This is Part 1-Recovery after birth.
If anything this post is very graphic, so if too much information is not your thing, look away now! On the other hand, read on and be enlightened. See pics below!
Here I was post birth feeling exhausted and dazed. My eyes were puffy and swollen due to pressure of pushing during birth. I did tear during birth, and received four stitches,everything down there was so swollen and very unrecognisable. I looked down where my round, firm belly was and saw a loose, saggy dark skin. My nether region was so big and swollen, I was scared to even touch down there. When I finally allowed myself to use the restroom a huge blood clot fell out into the toilet. Straight after birth, a coagulant tablet is inserted in your vagina to stop you from bleeding. You will have a fear of passing stool and urinating for a few weeks after giving birth, this much is a given, you constantly feel like your stitches are going to open up, and man does it hurt!
I was given painkillers and a voltaren suppository, but I decided not to take it, I later learned that was rather dumb as the pills help reduce the inflammation as well. I was in considerable pain when baby breastfed in those early days, due to the uterus moving back to its original place. I was able to handle the contraction pain in labour, but by this point I was so tired and not in the head space to fight pain mentally. It felt like I was in labour again, every time I nursed baby. There is nothing that can be done to relieve your pain in hospital,you are told to soak in salt water but I didn’t really pay attention to that, my main concern was the baby.Big mistake! Not doing the salt soak that is, not the baby!
By the 3rd day we were discharged from hospital, and I was still bleeding heavily. I bled for 4 weeks after birth and it was horrible. For the first few days I wore these huge maternity pads, you know the ones that reach from your rear to your navel, I kid you not! They would rub against my stitches making it so painful. All you can do is take painkillers, and soak in salt water. The tricky thing is you need to keep the stitches dry, now you can imagine this is no easy feat when you have stitches near your urethra and your perineum. I had a small spray bottle of salt water that I would spray whilst urinating and after to rinse off, wiping is a no-no! Thereafter I would, ahem well my husband and mother would need to use the hairdryer to dry the places I could not reach and see. There is absolutely no shame in birth, and recovery. Your mother gave birth to you so she understands, and well your husband just saw a baby come out of you so believe me he understands too. This lovely routine went on for about 2 weeks or so. It took a total of 5 weeks for my stitches to completely heal, and 4 weeks for the postpartum bleeding to stop.
The fatigue and exhaustion
Coupled with having to care for a newborn, and breastfeed 24/7 you do feel extremely exhausted for the first month or so. Your memory is shit, you can barely recall when last you ate. You are also so emotional, I would cry every time the baby cried.You just want to take a peaceful bath, but that is absolute disaster in the early days. It’s like the baby can sense every time you open the faucet. When and if you do get the chance to sleep, just take it and sleep away. Even 15 minutes for me was a big help, power naps they call it hey!
You will also feel incredibly sore, as if you have been beaten up everywhere, but that’s just because you have used every muscle in your body to push out a baby.I have decided to write about my breastfeeding journey in a separate post, so keep a look out for that. But what I will say in this post is breastfeeding in the first few weeks is gnarly, but it does get better I promise.
Well your body will look pretty beat up for a while. I wear my new-found flab and stretch marks as a badge of honour. I really do. You will never hear me complain of my body, because I am so proud of what it was able to do! Growing a little human, and then pushing her without any medical intervention is pretty rad. I love my body now more than ever. I would love to fit into those cute tops and jeans I once wore, but it is a small price to pay when you think of the miracles you give birth to.
Thank you for reading! Feel free to share your experience in the comments. Look out for Part 2 of the series!