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Postpartum Recovery

It’s been six weeks since I gave birth to my beautiful son. This so called “fourth trimester” is the most challenging so far. I not only have to take care of myself and recover from the trauma of giving birth, but I have to care of a tiny little person who is totally dependant on me as well. As hard as it’s been, it’s been so rewarding. Jack has honestly made me a better person in these 6 short weeks.

As far as my recovery, some  pregnancy symptoms vanished. Some lessened, And some new ones have appeared. So let’s start from the beginning…

After Delivery:
Giving birth to an 8 lbs 9.6 oz baby will make anyone feel a million times better. My acid reflux vanished. My stomach settled and I was actually hungry for the first time in weeks. I also just felt a tremendous relief, all my internal organs were no longer squished! And thanks to the epidural, I felt no pain down there for the next two hours.

Selfie about an hours after giving birth, I
looked pretty good for being exhausted!

However, I was beyond exhausted. I rested a little bit after Michael with Jack to the nursery but nurses kept coming in the to check me so it wasn’t that peaceful.  My right nipple really hurt, Jack badly bruised it on his first attempt at nurse. How is a girl supposed to relax with a throbbing nipple? My left knee was still numb too, making it hard move into a comfy position. I needed the nurse to pretty much hold me up when they wanted to move me to my postpartum room. The epidural also left me freezing cold. The nurse gave me a ton of warmed blankets, but it took forever for me to warm up.

Hospital Stay:
Shortly after I got to my room,  Michael came in with Jack. Jack wanted to nurse again so I tried the the other breast, and he bruised that one quickly too. Now both my boobs hurt like hell, but I still didn’t mind because I knew it was best for him.

The nurse then helped me go to the bathroom. I was so sore, it hurt to stand. Plus, my knee was still numb so I really had to lean on her for support to walk. She sat me on the toilet and explained everything. I could not wipe myself for at least a week, or as long as I felt my stitches. So I had spray everything clean with a peri bottle This is when she pulled out the lovely mesh underwear and the huge pad. (look more like a puppy training pad than feminine hygiene product). Then, I was even more horrified to discovered I already had a pair of the mesh underwear on with a giant pad on! They must have put them on after they finished stitching me up and I didn’t notice because I was mesmerized with Jack. Once I saw how much blood was on the pad, it all made sense though.

As the day went on, the bleeding was less and less. And the pain and soreness lessen too (with the help of some Motrin). And about 2 hours later the feeling came back to my knee. Once my IV was finished I got to take a shower. Let me tell you, that was the best shower of my life!!!! It felt good to just have a moment of peace to relax. And it felt soooo good to wash off all the sweat and blood. I brought some of my favorite products so I didn’t have to use generic hospital stuff.

About 12 hours after giving birth, not too bad.

I examined my belly in the mirror once I got out of the shower. I looked about 5 months pregnant still, except my belly was all squish this time. Overall, the damage wasn’t too bad. And right then I didn’t care, I was just happy that squishy belly made my beautiful son.

Then there was the thing pregnant women are warned about and dread…going poop for the first time after delivery. I read some pretty dramatic accounts on other blogs. I will spare you the details and say it really wasn’t that bad. Take the stool softeners they give you, drinks plenty of water, and take it easy. Don’t stress over it.

I was happy to be discharged. I was sick of the nurses coming in every 2 hours to check Jack and I—especially at night. We would have just gotten him to sleep and someone would wake him up to check him. Then we had to start the whole feeding, changing, calming process again. Then another nurse would come in and we had to start all over again. How do they expect new mothers to recover properly if you wont leave them alone!?!?

Weeks 1-2:
I was very tired and very sore when we got home. I was still bleeding and my whole lower body hurt if I stood for too long. For the first week it was pretty much a cycle of feed Jack, change his diaper, put him back to sleep, nap, and wake up to fed him again. Jack only slept 1-3 hours at a time so it was hard to get good rest. My parents were here so my mom was cooking and cleaning for us. I really recommend for at least the first week having someone do this for you so you can rest.

I weighed myself for the first time since giving birth 4 days after. I had already lost 15 lbs! My belly was going down but still all squishy.

2 weeks postpartum, not that pretty.

At week 2 my stitches dissolved. My bleeding slowed down a lot, more like a light period. It would get worse again if I was too active though, which would cause the soreness to come back. I quickly learned I still needed to take it easy. My hormones ran totally wild during this week too. I cried about everything and snapped at people for no reason. My advice is to just not have visitors the first two weeks if you can help it. It’s just too stressful, I really wish I would have know that beforehand. Next baby no one until week 3.

Weeks 3-4:
This is when I started to feel a lot better. My bleeding all but stopped by week 3. I was a lot less sore and actually wanted to start doing things. However, Jack had other plans. He had major growth spurt and wanted to cluster feed all the time. This resulted in major engorgement. I pretty much couldn’t leave the house because I would start leaking. And the scabs on my bruised nipples turned into cracks. So you can imagine how much fun his constant feedings were…

The next week was a lot better. Jack started sleeping almost threw the night and stopped cluster feeding. I got to sleep and regain to sanity. And, my bleeding totally stopped and I was not sore at all. And I was happy to see I lose another 5 lbs, making me only 7 lbs away from my pregnancy weight!

4 weeks postpartum, everything going back into place.

These two weeks were the peak of night sweats. I’ve had them since about 25 weeks pregnant, but it these two weeks was like I was sleeping in the flames of hell week 3 and 4 postpartum. I would wake up drenched in sweat. It was awful.

Weeks 5-6:  No pain, no soreness, and no bleeding at all.But I felt kind of weak still. So I started going for walks with Jack 4-5 times a week too to get my strength back.

I lost another 2 lbs as well, but my stomach is still all stretched out. My non-maternity jeans do fit, but they are not comfortable around my waist. I am not that upset by it, I know I will get back in them in time. I mean really, even having them almost fit less than 2 months after giving birth it pretty freaking amazing!

6 weeks postpartum, I looked deflated.

My nipples are healed and it no longer hurts to nurse. I am still having some leaking issues, but I wear breast pads most of the time so it’s not an issue when I go out anymore.

My hemorrhoids are still there, but getting better. To be honest, I slacked on caring for them because I was busy with Jack the first few weeks. If I stayed on top of them all along, I bet they would be gone by now.

So worth it, look at his big eyes!

Overall, I am very happy with my postpartum recovery. I probably should have focused a little bit more on myself at times (like getting more sleep and not trying to do too much), but when your baby is crying you drop everything to make them happy. But now that Jack and I have a routine established, I am able to do more stuff for me. It’s surprising how just brushing your hair and putting clean yoga pants on makes you feel pretty again.

I love my boys so much.

Speaking of feeling pretty, something that really helped me emotionally recover from all the changes to my body was my husband. As much as appreciated him doing anything I asked him to do with Jack, what helped the most was him just telling me I was the little things he said. Like after I was done nursing Jack and I wanted to cry from the pain, he would kiss my forehead and say thank you for feeding him. Or when I showed him how my stomach is stretched out more on one side because that’s were Jack attached, he put his arms around me and said I was beautiful. He was without a doubt the best thing to help me through these past 6 weeks.

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