On the 5th of July 2017, I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl. My labour and delivery were good, but man oh man, I was not prepared for the recovery process after vaginal 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.
Yep, you lose a lot of blood, the look of that hospital bed and bathroom floor is pretty scary, straight out of a horror movie kinda scene. However to curb excessive blood loss thereafter a coagulant tablet is inserted in your vagina to stop you from bleeding. But the blood does not stop when you leave the hospital. I bled for 4 weeks after birth and it was horrible. For the first few days, I wore these huge maternity pads, and then I moved to average-sized pads. A whole month of bleeding!
2. Contractions after birth
The contractions don’t stop after labour. They continue during recovery to allow the uterus to shrink back to its pre-pregnancy size and shape. These after-birth contractions hurt even more when you breastfeed the baby because your body releases oxytocin, which in turn causes contractions.
3. Swollen and puffy eyes
My eyes were puffy and swollen for weeks due to the pressure of pushing during birth. You use an unimaginable level of strength to push that baby out. It’s beyond exhausting and energy-sapping work. Your face looks like someone punched you.
4. How unrecognizable your body looks
Everything from the neck down is swollen and sore. Your belly is now just deflated, and saggy looking. It is literally loose, dark skin with lots of stretch marks. Your breasts are engorged with milk, and super uncomfortable. As for your nether region, that’s just a big swollen mess. It went to war, and its gonna take a while to look normal again! Leading to my next point.
5. How painful those vaginal stitches really are
I did tear during birth, and received four vaginal stitches. I had 2 internal and 2 external stitches. They were so painful and uncomfortable. Coupled with a naughty mommy like me, they were horrendous. I neglected them for the first 3 days after birth. I didn’t do the salt water soak at the hospital and I didn’t take the prescribed anti-inflammatories. By the time I came home from the hospital my stitches were so painful I was crying in agony. Thankfully my mom stepped in with the traditional Indian postpartum care, and I took the prescribed painkillers. I became diligent about doing the salt soak after that.
6. The amount of care that goes into caring for your stitches.
Let’s face it, those stitches are not in a dry area, and keeping them dry requires commitment. As you can imagine this is no easy feat when you have stitches near your urethra and your perineum. The saltwater spray bottle will become your best friend. It helps keep that area clean and disinfected. It was hard to navigate down there so my husband and mother would need to use the hairdryer to keep the stitches dry. Your dignity goes out the door when you give birth and come home to recover, the nurses, doctor, your mother, and husband are going to see everything! You learn to not care when you are in so much pain. For me, 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.
7. That first poop (and every poop after that for a while)
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! It’s like an episode of fear factor every damn time! Enough said on this topic.
8. 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 an absolute disaster in the early days. It’s like the baby can sense every time you open the faucet. You are a ball of emotions, and you just.want.to.sleep!
When all this said and done, its a process worth going through, to have your child. Stay strong mama, it gets better. I promise!
Thank you for reading! Feel free to share your experience in the comments.
Love and Light,