Eight months postpartum, things I wish I know
Hello everyone, I knew nothing about what to expect postpartum. I like most was so overjoyed with pregnancy that during, I never talked about what happens after baby arrives. Or as in this case, what happens to YOU after. Below is an excerpt from a mom via reddit on her take postpartum. If you're expecting hope it sheds some light. PS, its not to scare you....Happy Reading!!
I am eight months out and wanted to add my little bit of wisdom to the giant pool of unsolicited advice you’re all drowning in right now. I experienced a few things that I had neither been prepared for nor had any clue how to deal with. So, here I am, lighting the beacon.
This isn’t a birth story or a recommendation list. This is the quick and dirty postpartum post I wish I’d had.
What the is an epidural really? I mean, I get it, it’s a needle that goes into a very specific and small area of your spine. But what is it really? It is a giant needle? Is it a like those small butterflies they use for blood work? How will I be able to sit comfortably afterward? I had no idea.
An epidural needle is kind of big, ok. But, the pain is a pinch with pressure. If you’re lucky they will get it on the first try and all will be dandy. My experience, because I allowed a medical student to do it (my advice: don’t), was that it took three tries to hit the area and it was still not quite right. I ended up with essentially a full epidural on one half and a mild numbing on the other.
But what they are leaving in you is a catheter. It was like a small string in my back and, once it was in, I didn’t notice it for the remaining duration of my labour. Removal was cake.
Yeahhh, Push it:
Ok, so, this obviously only applies to vaginal birth, but pushing is weird. I only pushed for about an hour and a half. The first forty-five minutes to an hour was me trying not to shit in front of the audience my vagina and its activities had earned me. Each time I had a contraction I was ready to discover the magical vaginal muscle I’d been keagle-ing with throughout all of those months. I mean, all of the books say that it’s similar.
My advice? Let that shit go.
Sorry, that was vulgar. But look, when you’re anxious about pooping, you start to inadvertently retain. Holding the baby in because you aren’t committing to the push. Once I committed, just pushed with all of the muscles I could use, that baby came out quickly. I could feel the difference immediately. Sure, I pooped, but in the end they handed me a baby and not the poop-- so guess what I remember? Yeah, not the poop.
Your new genitals:
Again, applicable to those of us who have vaginal deliveries, but please do not be alarmed when you stand up and wonder what on Earth is stuck to your labia. You’ll go: Hm, is there a pad stuck to me? You’ll put your hand down there and, to your horror, you will feel your brand new supersized lady lips. Hello, I mean these suckers were huge enough to make Angelina Jolie jealous. Does that reference work when you’re talking about labia? Whatever, point is, don’t be alarmed. They will return to normal size.
The dreaded first poop:
The most TMI things people mentioned to me about the postpartum period were that my vagina would be in a sad and leaky state and that I should take my stool softeners because that first poop is satan. They were right on both counts, of course.
It took me a week and a half, stool softeners be damned, to poop. I. Was. Terrified. Never in my life had I experienced poop anxiety until there were stitches holding me together.
Finally, out of fear that all of my insides would fall out of my perineum, I grabbed some toilet paper and applied counter pressure. Just a little bit of pressure to help both ease my fear and ease out the poop. This might be hard if you have a bad tear. Mine was second degree. This tip, its usefulness has transcended the postpartum period. Constipated? That pressure helps.
Is it gross? Sure. Does it work? Hell yeah it does.
In the end, the poop itself wasn't all that bad. It was so remarkably boring that I cried and went out to report my success to my SO. Breathe and relax, it's not usually as bad as you think it will be.
I had no issues getting my kid to latch right off the bat but the next few days were hard. So hard. The weeks and, no joke, months after were hard. I was in absolute agony for two months. Looking back at the pain of labour and the pain of breastfeeding, I would have rather had another baby.
THIS IS NOT NORMAL
If it hurts, tell someone. My LCs were not helpful. I was tired and easily blamed the pain on me not doing it right or her mouth being small. A little bit of pain is normal. Your nipples get sore and it takes time for you and your baby to learn how it goes. But if you are in toe curling pain, please, please, please, please tell someone.
This video really helped me. Will it help you? Who knows?
What do you do about chapped, sore, bleeding, or otherwise terribly sad nipples? Some people suggested lanolin ointment and I tried it but I didn’t enjoy it at all. It was greasy and impacted her latch. I had to wipe it off each time and it was a hassle. I tried three different brands to no avail.
The thing that SAVED ME while I was breastfeeding were the Medela Tender Care Hydrogel Pads. Like, seriously I would build a damn shrine to this stuff. I’m not affiliated with Medela in any way. This was just the brand provided to my through the hospital. Please get some. Use them as soon as your nipples start to hurt.
Don’t let my experience frighten you away from breastfeeding because, as I said, it is not normal. But my abnormal experiences gave me a small amount of insight as to ways to deal with, and hopefully prevent, this pain.
Baby Clothes-- The thing I wish I would have known:
If you’re anything like me, around 30 weeks you’ll have washed the baby clothes and started to sort them by age range. You’ll look at the cute little outfits and cry or whatever as you fold them away in drawers or storage containers.
Then you’ll have a baby and realise that baby clothing sizes make no sense.
Not only that, but they are all labeled differently.
Don’t look at the age, look at the weight. Most clothes list a weight range. I had all of my 0-3 sizes in use while my 3 and 3-6 were waiting around for a bigger baby. Guess what? Baby clothes size 3 months? That’s 0-3. Baby clothes size 6 months? That’s 3-6. And so on. I am still suffering from this mistake as I have to pull clothes out of storage as I move up sizes.
Your genitals-- The Sequel:
Last but not least, I come bearing this final little bit of advice. Learn to love your new vagina. It might go back to normal, it might not, but for at least a little while, it will be different. 8 months out and I still find it weird. It’s not like on my mind on a daily basis but when I look at it, I find myself feeling disheartened.
Love it as it looks. Love it by not forgetting that it’s a sexual part of your body.
No, I am not saying to go get laid. Take your sweet sweet time. But, don’t forget to orgasm. Masturbate, get your partner to help, whatever floats your boat. Masturbating when I was about 6 weeks out helped me feel way less terrified about my new vagina and gave me faith that it wasn’t going to spontaneously combust.
Excerpt from www.reddit.com/r/babybumps post:
Xo, Ruth -
Don't Forget You.