Postpartum Realness

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(don’t mind my hair in these pics I did a real shit job blow drying it haha)

When it came to labor/delivery I didn’t really want to know too many details from people who had been through it before. But ready or not, they came my way. I don’t know what it is about seeing a pregnant person that people have the DIRE need to share their 57 hour birth story that resulted in 200 stitches and a colick-y baby, but “don’t worry you forget everything as soon as they put the baby on your chest.” Well A. Bullshit. You clearly didn’t forget because you just shared every intimate detail with me and B. I really tried to just nod and smile and block a lot of it out of my head. I figured there was no avoiding what I was about to go through so why go into it scared for my life?

Quick note, you DO NOT forget everything as soon as they put the baby on your chest. NOPE. You remember every single thing. I guess what people mean when they say that is, as time passes, it becomes more normal.

But like it or not, I’ve had a lot of people ask about what to expect and since not everyone believes in the same “ignorance is bliss” (haha) philosophy I do, here goes! I won’t get into too many labor/delivery details, but here’s what you can expect for after - hopefully that works!

Tearing

I’ll start with first things first! I did have some tearing that resulted in me getting 2 stitches. I ended up getting 2 more after I hemorrhaged. I didn’t feel anything that was happening thanks to the epidural - have I mentioned that EPIDURALS ARE LIFE lately!? They dissolve on their own so I won’t have to go through the process of having them removed which is nice. I was aware that they were there the first day (minor discomfort) but after that pretty much forgot about them.

Bleeding

Okay, so it’s bad. But not THAT bad honestly. The first day is THE WORST. After delivery the nurse walks you to the bathroom and helps you.. well, go to the bathroom. This includes them helping you use the peri bottle but at this point your nurse is your BFF for life so I mean, there are no more secrets. While on this very special bathroom journey, they will give you these huge mesh underwear, the biggest pad you’ll ever see in your life, an ice pack and hemorrhoid cream and help you put it all together. The ice packs are life (take as MANY as you can home from the hospital). It feels kind of funny to sit in an ice pack and you can definitely feel the liquid in the ice pack when you sit and stand but it’s so worth it.

The first day you’ll bleed a ton. There is no sugar coating it. The second day you’ll still bleed a lot, but a little less than the first day. By the time you’re heading home it’s more like a period and every few days you’ll notice less and less. I wore the ice packs 24/7 for the first week I was home and then once those ran out I gradually started using lighter and lighter pads. I bled for about 3 1/2 weeks and then was able to stop wearing pads. Some people do bleed for the full 6 weeks so don’t be alarmed.

I did pee out (what I would consider to be) some legit decent sized blood clots, but no one seemed concerned haha. I guess they aren’t concerned unless they are a golf size ball or bigger (but check with your doctor OBVI). As far as I know, blood clots in the first few days is normal, but if you randomly see one a few weeks later it may be a sign you’re overdoing it on your body. Check with your doctor, I don’t have my MD (in case you though I did -haha, I just have Google and lots of nurse friends who probably hate me by now).

Night Sweats

I mean at this point, I’d consider all my mom friends to not be real friends because NO ONE warned me about the night sweats. Guys, they are pretty next level. There have been nights I’ve had to change my pajamas. I’m not 4 1/2 weeks postpartum and I still have them. I’m trying to do what I can to keep my hair dry during the night, otherwise I just have to wear it in a messy bun the following day because it’s nuts if I don’t re-wash it. Nothing seems to help, I’ve tried fans, AC, light pajamas, no covers (blankets), drinking extra water, etc.

Weight

So by the time it was said and done I had gained 27 lbs. At one point I had gained 31 lbs, but then I got sick again towards the end a lost a few lbs before delivery. I very quickly lost 15 (Elisabetta weighed almost 9 lbs. so that helped). I’d say since then I’ve only lost 1 or 2 and it’s been pretty slow coming off. I’m not in a rush to lose anything and I’m not yet at the 6 week point where I’m cleared to get back to the gym. With breastfeeding you have to eat a lot of extra calories (500 extra per day) and to be honest I’m not always hands free so whatever is easiest is what I eat. That doesn’t always mean I’m making the healthiest choices and I”m okay with that for now!

Dark Line

I still have the dark line down the middle of my stomach. Also, my belly button is like legit very dark brown. NO IDEA on this one. I’m not sure if it’s because of the dark line or if this is something else. Who knows!

Swelling

Another thing that was a huge surprise to me! I was more swollen AFTER I had the baby than I ever was before. Honestly my feet got to the point that if you pressed on them there would be an indent for a few minutes. It was AWFUL! It felt like I had water beds on my feet when I walked, I could actually feel the liquid moving, haha. I tried to take some epsom bath salts, which felt great, but didn’t seem to do much for my feet. I kept drinking water and I’d say after about 10 days the swelling FINALLY went away.

Boobs

I’ve always had a pretty decent sized chest but my oh my they are huge now. This is a tough one for me to manage because I am genuinely uncomfortable showing my boobs/cleavage and try to make every effort to not. Unfortunately this has sometimes been unavoidable because they just can’t be tamed. This had lead to a few tears while trying to get ready because I just don’t want them to be out there and I’m uncomfortable. More on breastfeeding friendly clothes below -

Breastfeeding Friendly Apparel

I assumed once I had the baby I could wear whatever I wanted. WRONG! I actually felt so gross and ugly in the first few days after having Elisabetta than I ever did pregnant. I was so swollen, it looked like I had a sack of potatoes for a stomach, I was exhausted, etc. and getting dressed was a nightmare because nothing fit still and I had nothing that worked for breastfeeding. I had a few good cries about this. I’ve slowly been buying things that are BF friendly and as the swelling has gone done and my uterus is moving back into place more of my clothes fit which is nice.

Hormones

I feel very blessed that I seem to be feeling very much like myself postpartum (emotionally). I had touches of baby blues here and there - moments of crying for no reason even though I felt the happiest I’ve ever been. It’s tough to really put into words why I was crying, but I was. It seemed to be mostly the first week which I think is also increased because you’re just so freaking tired. Physically your body is SHOT and add no sleep to that and who wouldn’t cry? All I can say is let it out. Luke has been the most incredible partner, especially in those first few weeks when I was pretty much confined to the house. He was so supportive, I don’t think I could have done it without him. After the first week passed I started to feel so much more like myself. I was able to put clothes on, put some makeup on, do my hair - the little things that help me feel like me. That’s my normal and I want to feel like me.

I think that’s pretty much it! Overall I feel like my postpartum recovery has been going great. 4 1/2 weeks later and I really do feel like myself. When people ask how I’m doing, I’m able to confidently (and truthfully) say “great!” I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful daughter and husband to share this life with!