Postpartum Stories — My First Month Postpartum

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When I was pregnant, I decided that once I gave birth, I would record my first month postpartum. I had already recorded my last few weeks pregnant (41 Weeks and 5 Days), so I felt like it would be appropriate to record my postpartum experience.  My initial plan was to record every day, but after a little while it became hard to be consistent (I was having a hard time remembering to brush my teeth and drink enough water, let alone write in my journal). I have minimally edited this (I pretty much only fixed the misspelling from "week" to "weak"), so it is not the most cohesive journal you will read, especially considering the fact that it was mostly written at either 11pm or 2am during a nursing session. I still feel like it is a good glimpse into the postpartum period and I tried to be honest in what I was experiencing. 

Day 1

Birthed placenta and climbed out of pool. Body was shaking from hormone overdrive. Midwives check fundus of uterus. It hurts. Starts off cramping. I feed baby at least 10 times this whole day, each times starting off a painful wave of uterus contractions that. Honestly, make me dread nursing. Change her diaper three times. Change my diaper three times. I am starving. Eat 5 eggs omelette with tons of broccoli and bell peppers. Pee a bunch, it stings a little. Afterbirth cramps are hurting super bad. Use my rice pack and afterease tincture. My midwife gave me a yummy herbal Chinese medicine tea. Kiss Ethan a lot. Hugh is super helpful with bringing my water. Sleep for an hour after midwives leave. Baby sleeps for 3 solid hours and then is alert and social. Call family and text Family. Post on social media because we are too excited to hold off. Gram and Grandad take Hugh from 1:30-7. My mom comes at around 7:30 from Nevada. Forget how often we are supposed to change baby diapers. My belly feels a little weak, but not horrible. I feel much stronger this time around than I did with Hugh. I take my prenatal vitamins. Pee a bunch. Pass a few blood clots, but nothing big. Boobs (nipples) a little sore from tugging sensation with nursing but it gets easier by end of day. Hugh was a little excited from all of today so we got him ready for bed and had him watch some quiet church videos, which he really liked. He is so sweet. And big. I got to sleep on my stomach and it felt amaaaazing.

After baby was born, I took almost ten minutes before checking to see if baby was a girl or boy. Ethan asked a couple of times if I wanted to check, and all I wanted to do was stare at baby’s face. So grateful.

 

Day 2

Had oatmeal with raisins and coconut milk for breakfast. Ate two bowls because I was starving. Mostly stayed on our ikea chair all day, with my feet up. Vera had really bad gas all day. I took a shower which felt awesome and brushed my teeth. Every time I went pee, there was less and less blood in toilet and I had smaller clots that didn’t get bigger than a quarter. I used a iced pad today which felt really good. Mom took Hugh to children’s museum and he had a lot of fun doing that. We bought Cars 3 so Hugh loved it.  Drank a lot of prune juice and had bowel movement. It was super soft. That’s what I did with Hugh - just ate soft foods like soups and oatmeal and then ate several prunes/apricots every day and had really soft BM. Weighed myself and I lost 20 pounds. Been drinking 100+ ounces of water and still taking prenatal vitamins. Finished off my Cal-Mag pills. Someone from church brought over dinner. Took Tylenol before going to bed to help with cramps. During day using after ease tincture was fine but slept much better having Tylenol. Mom washed dishes and all the clothes.

 

Day 3

Prunes and had RRL tea. Toilet is increasingly becoming more clear from blood. Pelvic floor is hurting a little so I’m just laying down for most of day. Did have Hugh’s birthday party today so walked into car and out and was sore from that. Labia was more swollen today so did another ice pack. Super starving at dinner time. Cracked nipple is getting better. Took prenatal vitamins. Vera has been leaking out milk from her mouth and it was weird to me because it was such a vibrant yellow color. Tasted it and it was just like milk tasting so it must be colostrum - just didn’t realize it would be SO yellow. It is a really pretty yellow. Ate oatmeal for breakfast. So yummy. A salad for lunch. Probably that’s why was so hungry at dinner time. No nap and was really feeling it later on at night. Hoping we don’t get sick because Beck was totally sick today but we didn’t know until late tonight. Vera is so cute. Changed her diaper for the first time today.

 

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Day 4

Woke up at 1:30am with left boob hard and baby fussing to eat. Think my milk came in. Super satisfying to have her nurse. Forgot how satisfying it can be.

Hugh’s prayer this morning, “bless Vera to be smart”

Hugh, looking at picture of all of us together : “it’s a fam-il-y.” (From I’m a Big Brother book)

My milk definitely came in. Hugged Ethan and it felt so good to hug him without a huge belly.

 

Day 5

I’m more tired. I’m sleeping well at night, but want to sleep more. My uterus after birth cramping is almost all gone, but I am SO hungry and I think that’s why I’m tired? I’m almost all done with heavy bleeding, transitionedfrom adult diapers to regular underwear and heavy pads. My pelvic floor is really tired - just feels more swollen and I think I need to do more ice pads. Feeling more hormonal - cried because I love Hugh and Ethan so much. Want to cry because I miss cuddling with Hugh and I feel like I haven’t BEEN with him in a long time and that makes me sad. Luckily, was able to cuddle with him at night time and that helped. He’s so awesome.

 

Day 6

Vera has been nursing what feels like ALL DAY LONG. My nipples feel super sore, not from bad latch or cracked nipple or anything like that, just because they haven’t been used this much in 3 years. Started to cry about it and Ethan asked what was going on, I told him. He asked if there was anything he could do and I said “I don’t know”. He left and looked something up on the computer and told me to “come here and sit down” he found a video about how awesome women and moms are. I watched it, crying, grateful for the reminder about how what I am doing is valuable, while Ethan made me a sandwich and got me some water and vitamins. I love him.

He made a robot out of some boxes for Hugh to play in. It looked pretty cool and Hugh loved that surprise/treat.  He’s working from home right now, did a seven hour work day. It went really well- way better than I thought. I sat outside with Hugh for a half hour while he played with some cars. I was able to read a book to Hugh while he sat on my lap (so much more cozy without a huge belly). Neighbor brought us dinner. Ate three different dinners again. I am STARVING at dinner time. Went to bathroom and had some blood once or twice but other times it looked like normal pee. Pelvic floor tissues still feel swollen, used two ice pads today.

I put on a show for Hugh to watch while I napped and then after 30+ minutes, Ethan (without me asking) came and put Hugh down for nap. Seriously, Ethan is the best human ever.

Didn’t have time to shower, haven’t showered in a few days. Hair feels super gross. Because I was nursing pretty much all day, all I had time to do was brush my hair, but that did help. Think I should do a blog post about “Practical Self Care” suggestions. Like that. Sometimes all you read for suggestions is “go get a massage, go out to eat, etc” NOT ALWAYS POSSIBLE if you are a mom. Just saying.

 

Day 7

Woke up at 3:30am and realized all my pads were gone - I somehow forgot to stock up on those. Smart. Was frantically trying to figure out who to ask for help, should I even ask?? Then I remembered I could totally ask my sister-in-law that lives in same town. She said she could and brought them by - along with a ton of snacks for us! So incredibly grateful.

Vera wasn’t as ravenous today and napped a bunch. I put her in the ring sling and that was awesome!

The house is messy, we are on day 2 of Ethan working and I am going crazy. I want to clean the house so bad. I am having a really hard time laying down. This morning I showered and brushed my teeth (something I haven’t done in a few days) and was feeling super good. Cleaned up a little and went to play outside with Hugh. Was out for an hour or more, walking around. Came back inside to the bathroom and I noticed my pelvic floor was suuuper swollen. Realized that I should have taken it slower. Laid in bed for the rest of the day. Ethan went to go get dinner and I really wanted to clean while he was gone. Practicing a lot of self-restraint to not clean. I can still feel how swollen my pelvic floor is, even with laying down for several hours. I shouldn’t set it back and I know Ethan would rather have me lay down. He’s so good.

Amy came over and visited for 45 minutes. I told her how my body was so sore and she listened and it felt good to say to someone.

Cried because I missed having just Hugh.

 

Week 2

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Day 8

Put on a robe today to help me remember to be lazy. I think it worked. I watched Fantasia with Hugh, read him some books, and played, all without leaving my bed. I did ask Ethan’s parents to watch Hugh and they took him from lunch until evening (they went and visited Hugh’s cousins). It is hard not having Hugh and I feel bad for sending him away, but I want to rest now so I can take him to places myself sooner.

Nursing is feeling smoother. My pelvic floor doesn’t feel as swollen as it did yesterday, and I’m so glad for that.

Vera’s umbilical cord fell off. Cute little belly button. There’s been a few times today where I felt like she was REALLY smiling at me and my heart exploded. Her face is so cute.

 

Day 9

Spent almost all day in bed, keep trying to remember that the more I rest now, the better off I will be. It’s hard because I really want to go and clean the house or take Hugh to the park but I know if I rest now I can do that soon enough.

Jenn came by and brought us dinner. It was seriously such a relief to not have to worry about dinner tonight. My cracked nipple is all healed, so grateful. My bleeding is almost all brown, and seems to be still slowing down.

 

Day 10

Today went well, Ethan did a bunch of laundry and even washed our bedsheets, which feels amazing to have clean. Midwife came by today and it felt so nice to see her. Vera gained a bunch of weight! Last appointment she went down to 8.5 and is now 9 even. Not surprised! She feels chunkier and definitely been eating enough.

Was able to play hide and seek with Hugh outside today and that felt so nice!

 

Day 12

Made dinner for the first time in 2 weeks! Used the Ergo and made potato and garbanzo with veggies in skillet. Cady sent us package with a bunch of snacks. Drank mother’s milk tea - so yummy with milk and sugar.

I seriously love watching Ethan love Vera. He’s a really good dad. That reminds me, I need to re-read about birth control.

 

11/26

Hugh is having a harder time right now. I am too. I feel tired and frustrated because the house hasn’t been CLEAN in two weeks. Not where the whole thing is clean, all at once. (Which has been more what we have been able to do most days). Snapped at Ethan today and ran to bathroom (because I had to go but Vera was crying and Hugh couldn’t find his underwear, but I really had to go to the bathroom… anyway. Found Hugh’s underwear and helped him put it on while I peed and Hugh said “mom, don’t yell at dad” and I felt horrible. Vera has been nursing all day and my boobs are tired but she’s been crying all day and so far the only thing that’s been helping has been me nursing her. I had to set Vera down today to do something with lunch and I said, “I think I remember setting Hugh down as much as Vera” and Ethan said, “no, I don’t think so”, made me feel inadequate because I don’t know if I will ever be able to provide Hugh and Vera everything I want to.

12/1

Family came into town for baby blessing. Felt seriously amazing to be able to introduce everyone to Vera. Got some cute pictures. Walked to my in-laws house, and it felt awesome to be able to stretch my legs out. Ate a chimichanga and was still hungry afterwards.

12/4

After a half a week of absolutely no bleeding, I randomly soaked my underwear. Of course it was the day I decided to graduated to a panty liner. Awesome. Being able to play with Hugh while Vera naps on my lap is seriously one of the best things ever. I woke up before 7am so I could hang out with Ethan before he had to work. That was fun! We brought Vera into the shower with us and she was seriously so cute and had the biggest and happiest eyes. Vera is getting so chunky! I was able to write a little bit and read a little bit and that made me feel like a human even though I forgot to brush my teeth this morning. In a few days Vera will be a month old. Time is crazy.

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Postscripts:

1. I failed to truly record my anxiety levels. I am not sure why, maybe writing them down felt too intimidating. There were several occasions where I did too much too soon because my anxiety felt so overwhelming. At less than two weeks postpartum I went and drove an hour and spent an entire day with my sister-in-law for her baby blessing. I was definitely suggested to stay home but I kept having repetitive thoughts and images of Hugh and Ethan going without me and dying in a car crash.The thought of staying home all by myself for 6 hours was also very overwhelming. I felt like the most logical solution was to  go with them. I wish I had just stayed home though, it would have been a lot easier and more comfortable (especially the convenience of peeing in your own toilet!). I did this again a week later but walked around a little tourist town. I did mostly sit down and I didn't feel too tired, but it is hard to admit that my overwhelming anxious images had such control over me that I couldn't just stay home. I also felt like my friends and family felt and acted like I should be more recovered than I was because I was, honestly, acting like it. 

2. I was not expecting to feel so much resentment towards Vera for making me feel like I couldn't have one on one time with Hugh. I cried so much because I missed him. I am now 7 months postpartum (as of this writing) and it has definitely gotten easier! Every week we were able to a little more into our own new rhythm and it is so much fun to see them falling into best friends. 

3. Nursing while having another child was a lot harder! With Hugh I was able to mostly just lie around and recover and nurse and read a book or watch a movie (at least for the first few months) but with Vera I felt very frustrated to have to be sitting down so much. As with bonding with Vera, it became a lot easier with time. 

4. I had planned on having my placenta cut up into smoothies and to take those every day for the first few weeks, this is what I did with my first postpartum experience and I felt like it had helped out. This time around I only had it two times. Both on days where I felt extremely anxious; and it was amazing how much it helped me. I did not crave the boost it gave would give (actually the thought of it made me feel a little nauseous, so I did not partake). 

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