Thursday, October 12, 2017

Surviving The First Six Weeks Postpartum

When I became pregnant I started reading on what to expect during the 40 weeks. I read articles online, blogs, books, and even talked to my friends that have had kids. When it came to labor, I knew what to expect since I've attended many deliveries for my job. Sure my birth story was not what I initially wanted but in the end I received a beautiful baby girl. What people didn't warn me about (and what I failed to research) was what would happen after birth. Yeah, nobody likes talking about it because it isn't pleasant. They want you to be all happy with your baby and not be tainted by what your body goes through afterwards. 

So yeah, postpartum completely took me by surprise. Somehow I just assumed that once the baby came out, my body would go back to normal. I mean seriously what was I thinking? I knew I would be lacking sleep but the rest of the stuff that came along was a little bit of a shock to me. 

*This blog entry may contain a bit of TMI so if you don't care to read about what the female body goes through after having a baby then I suggest you check my blog later. *

Oh recovery! Yeah, I am now six weeks postpartum and am finally starting to feel "normal." I had many complications during my labor so it made my recovery a bit tough. During my long labor, I had to receive many fluids and wasn't able to move around. Well those fluids kind of just stayed around. I literally weighed more after giving birth because I was retaining so much fluid. My ankles were non-existent. The swelling subsided I want to say around the beginning of week two. Luckily since I had gained minimal weight during my pregnancy, once the swelling was gone I was pretty much back to my pre-pregnancy weight.

Immediately after giving birth the process of learning how to breast feed began. Right away my little one latched on and went to town. Unfortunately she wasn't latching correctly so my nipples cracked within the first 24 hours. My milk came within three days but the damage had been done and every time she latched it felt like someone was stabbing my breast with a sharp knife. This happened for about two weeks. I would cry every time she ate due to the immense pain and on top of that I was having to deal with engorgement issues. Now I know why women give up on breastfeeding early on. I had to keep reminding myself that this was all for her. With the help of a lactation consultant and my very good friend from college, I was able to receive great advice on breastfeeding and managed to push through the pain. 

Now, the bleeding...yeah I just assumed I would only bleed for a few days like a period. Once again, what the hell was I thinking? I bleed for four weeks. I am not kidding when I say that big blood clots kept coming out of me almost daily the first week. At this point it seriously felt as if some type of fluid was leaking out of my body from every orifice. I remember being so happy when I transitioned to a panty liner instead of wearing those huge pads. It felt like I was wearing a diaper. I practically lived in pajamas or very loose workout clothes for those four weeks. Wearing tights/leggings was just not an option for the first few weeks.

Okay, probably the most unpleasant things after birth (for me) were the healing of my stitches and the hemorrhoids. Both were incredibly unpleasant and unwanted. Sitting down was painful. I was this close to asking my husband to run to the store and get me one of those donuts to sit on. The stitches took longer to heal because of where they were. Whenever I used the restroom, it felt like they were tearing and opening up. But I have to say the worst of it was dealing with the hemorrhoids. Actually my constipation led to the hemorrhoids but they kind of go hand in hand. I guess it's completely normal to develop hemorrhoids after pregnancy...something I probably would have liked to know prior. Running used to help me keep regular but since I wasn't cleared for that yet I had to try other things. I tried everything to fix my constipation: drink more water, increase fiber intake, eat prunes, even taking both a pill and powdered stool softeners. I would cringe every time I had to use the restroom. There were many times I would just cry in the toilet from the pain of using the restroom. 

Oh and to top it all off, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression very early on. Something I never thought would happen to me but it did. My husband noticed it right away which made me be proactive and seek help immediately. Luckily I was seen right away with a therapist and a specialized OBGYN that deals with mothers with postpartum depression. I even joined a support group that has helped me out a lot. Of all the things that were happening to my body, this one was probably the scariest. I literally have no control over how I am feeling. The hormones are causing my emotions to be all over the place. Early on, I would cry for no reason and I lost pleasure in doing things that I used to like. It was as if I was having an out of body experience. Unfortunately, I am still dealing with this and will be for awhile. It honestly feels like I've lost myself and am now on a journey to finding myself back. Not sure how long it will take but I'm trying. 

When you combine all these things and add on to the fact that you aren't able to run/workout, it makes for a very miserable first few weeks after having a baby. Walks helped but it was never enough. I never realized how much I needed running in my life. I've always said that running is my therapy and it couldn't be more true now more than ever. Luckily this week I got cleared and am now able to lace up my running shoes and log in some miles! I have a new running partner with me which is making running 10x more enjoyable than before. 😀





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I am linking up with Amanda from Running with Spoons

2 comments:

  1. THanks for keeping it real!!! I was also terrified to use the bathroom and had lots of stitches...no fun! I also had PPd/A but not til like 4mobths

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    1. Thank you for reading Andrea. Postpartum recovery is tough!

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