I feel like I should preface this post with some kind of warning message in bright red like ‘DO NOT READ IF YOU SCARE EASILY.’
Honestly, I am not even sure if I would have wanted to read something like this myself while pregnant or before getting pregnant. My entire pregnancy I was just worried/anxious about labor. NOTHING prepared me and no one warned me about this.
Why don’t people talk about it more? With as many children that are born daily, why was I so far in the dark when it came to what happened AFTER delivery?
I don’t want you guys to be in the dark.
I do also want to let you know that every postpartum recovery is different. Never compare yours to others, because each and every tear you may receive is different and some women don’t tear at all. Your journey is going to be completely different than mine. But, at least now you will be prepared if any of these things happen to you. You won’t be alone.
After you finish reading this post, make sure to check out this one:
What to Expect Postpartum – Week 1
Since I am doing this backward (my birth story won’t be on the blog until next week), I am just going to start at the very end of delivery.
My doctor and the resident spent A LOT OF TIME down there after delivery. It freaked me out. Later my sister told me there was literally a bucket of blood. They apparently had a pretty hard time stitching me up.
Later the doctor told me I had two second degree tears that were stitched and then three first degree tears around my urethra that they didn’t want to stitch because I needed to be able to pee. If that doesn’t freak someone out I don’t know what will. Troy later told me that the look the dr had on her face was basically telling him she felt super sorry for me.
Apparently being able to pee after birth is a real worry among the doctors and nurses. They actually won’t discharge you until you have peed. Many women actually have to leave the hospital with a catheter. My doctor was very pleasantly surprised to learn I had peed.
In the hospital, you get pain meds basically every 2-4 hours so it isn’t as bad as it is when you get home. It is still hard though. When you get up and feel that first wave of pressure down there you are in shock. And then you think, um duh, I did just have a baby. Why didn’t I expect this? It literally feels like all of your insides are just about to fall out and you are just trying to hold them all in. Like a bowling ball is trying to force it’s way out of your privates.
You then have to walk to the restroom with your IV and try to pee. It burns at the time (but will later burn sooo much more!) They show you how to use your squirt bottle, pat your privates to dry, spray the dermaplast, and then apply your hemorrhoid cream.
If you had hemorrhoids during pregnancy they will be back with a vengeance. I am not exaggerating when I say they will be the size of grapes. If you didn’t have them during pregnancy you may still get them during labor. You are just pushing so hard down there. Honestly, the hemorrhoids haven’t bothered me at all and went wayyy down within the week.
They also talk to you about laying on your side to take the pressure off down there, but the beds are just so uncomfortable in general.
You will be exhausted and in pain and they will come in every hour to check on either you or to check on the baby. It is absolute torture.
We pushed hard for me to be out of there within 24 hours. We wanted to stop being interrupted every hour and I knew I could heal just a well at home. I am so glad we did. I am not sure we could have handled another night in there! If you feel like you are ready then make the push to leave within 24 hours. They will just make sure you and the baby are both ok before releasing you.
The recovery process is rough. Sitting down on anything besides a donut (and that hurts too) is hell. You just want to watch tv or hold your baby or pick up things around your house and you can’t. You just have to lay down.
You will bleed for a while down there and will need something for that. In the hospital, you will use the pads they give you but at home I 100% recommend depends. They are amazing! You change them every time you use the restroom. They are super comfy too! I like how they don’t crowd your lady parts (which helps avoid rubbing!) You want to keep some air between the pad down there if at all possible to help with healing! You don’t want anything rubbbing up against the area!
Peeing is by far the WORST part of my postpartum. It feels like knives are stabbing me down there and I scream out loud sometimes. BUT, I recently read some amazing tips (I want to kiss this woman on the mouth for these) and it has been much better since:
1.Sit as far back on the toilet as you can and lean forward so far that your elbows are on the ground in front of you. If you aren’t that flexible then put a stool or something there for support. Your butt should be lifted in the air a bit. This is a lifesaver. It helps all the pee to go straight down instead of dribble on your privates. As long as the pee doesn’t touch your privates you are golden and this works 90% of the time!!
2.Keep your pee as diluted as possible. FLUIDS FLUIDS FLUIDS. The more dehydrated you are the more your pee will sting and you will want to die. It took me way too long to realize this. Plus, the more fluids you have the heavier the stream of pee is and the more likely it will just stream straight down! If you only have a tiny bit of pee it is going to get everywhere and that is when it hurts like hell.
3.Spray the dermaplast before AND AFTER! If you spray before it will help numb the area before you pee.
4.Make sure your squirt bottle is loaded before you pee. Your husband can help do this while you are peeing because lord knows the pee is impossible to keep in at the beginning. You WILL pee on yourself trying to get to the toilet at the beginning. That’s why all the books tell you to practice your kegels during pregnancy. So many people suggested spraying the squirt bottle while you pee, but the method in #1 works much better. When you feel like your stream of pee is coming to an end then you can squirt away!
There are definitely mixed messages about this. My best friend said the first poop hurt her more than labor itself. I have been dreaded it my entire pregnancy. It is all I could think about after delivery. The truth is, the poop just kind of fell out for me on day 4-5 and didn’t hurt one bit. Hasn’t hurt one bit since and I poop every other day.
I think the trick is starting a stool softener EARLY ON. I have been on Colace since month five and continued to use it throughout the hospital visit. They will also prescribe you a couple of other things to help loosen the stool. I also started taking miralax as soon as I got home and ate an apple a day.
If you can be proactive you can have a positive experience too!
Oh, and get a squatty potty right now if you don’t have one! That will help A LOT too!
Oh, and I guess I should warn you about the gas. For the first four days you won’t be able to hold your gas in. Just be prepared for that. Your husband will hear you let it out a few times. This might be another reason you should keep friends from coming over until at least a week after you are home. Your gas will subside by the and you will be able to hold it in better!
It was soooo embarrassing at first but now we laugh about it!
I am not here to tell you whether or not to breastfeed. That is your own decision and some women don’t even have the choice. FED is best, so just keep that baby FED!
It took me around 6 days for my milk to fully come in. It was frustrating and I felt so helpless. The pediatrician told us to give her 1.5-2oz after every meal and that worked like a charm until my milk came in.
Now that it is in, my boobs are super painful after a couple of hours! They wake me up in the middle of the night!
Breastfeeding is soooo hard guys and during that first week you are going to be so exhausted. You just have to hang in there, pump to bring your milk in, and give your baby what you can! It will all work out in the end!
Use a My Breast Friend to breastfeed. Helps hold the baby up for you! Your back will thank you!
I am sure I will write another post on breastfeeding after a month of doing it because honestly, every day is different with Miller. We have had to change the plan so many times!
Your boobs will also start leaking everywhere. You will need nursing pads to put in your bras and a Haakaa pump to catch all of the reserves! See below for the links. BREAST MILK STAINS so I would start using them both right away!
Lastly, your nipples will be dry and sore. To prevent chapping, make sure to have something to put on them right away (I started using something for them in the hospital!)
I felt pretty good around day 5 and decided I could conquer the world. Big mistake. I was up on my feet all day cleaning and washing and working and so on. Since then I have basically been on bed rest because of the pain.
Don’t go at it too hard. I actually heard someone say the first week home should be spent in bed, the second week around the bed, and the third week around the house. I wish I had known this.
When it comes to the pain it feels like one of my stitches is stabbing raw skin down there. Every movement is painful. This has lasted a couple of days now and I finally just called my dr to see if I could take a stronger medicine. I have an appt at 10 am on Friday morning to get evaluated.
If you feel like your pain isn’t normal, CALL YOUR DR. They will check on you and let you know and hopefully give you some advice on how to manage it.
You will also have crazy hormones. Those, combined with exhaustion will lead to many many tears! I cry nearly every night just when I hug my husband before bed! Get ready to cry A LOT those first two weeks!
Hormones also lead to bad night sweats. I wake up every two hours in a pool of sweat :/. Not sure there is anything I can do about that unless I have my dr prescribe me something to level me out.
These two things come MOST RECOMMENDED by you guys, but have not really worked for me :/.
Sitz Baths- Sit in a warm bath with epsom salt and lavender oil 2-3 times a day and soak your lady parts. Only fill up the water to what you need to cover them. Spend 10-15 minutes in there (I usually read a chapter of a book each time). I recommend having a space heater in your bathroom since the rest of your body will be outside the water and you will be cold. DEFINITELY DO NOT PEE IN THERE. If you feel like you are going to then jump out and use the toilet. Nothing hurts worse than peeing in your sitz bath, trust me!! Burn baby burn.
Padsicles- Soak a pad with a couple tablespoons of witch hazel and put some cooling aloe vera gel on the top and put the pads in the freezer. Using ice pads will help the swelling go down. While I am not opposed to ice pads, the aloe burned like hell for me. I just tried doing the witch hazel only tonight and it felt pretty good!
WHAT YOU NEED
These are items you need AT HOME. I will do my hospital bag post soon and share what you will need for the hospital. Click on the actual item in the photo to shop, or use the corresponding number below the image!
Hope this helps you guys! Please share your own story for what to expect postpartum in a comment below for others!! I know all of our recoveries are/were SOOO different! Also feel free to add a link to a product that really helped you that I missed above!
PS- Don’t forget to check out this post next: