What no one ever told you about the post-partum period... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 63 Old 01-29-2010, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I remember a great thread on this a while back, but I think it's been archived. Helped me so much when DD was born!

What surprised you immediately after the baby's birth and for the six weeks thereafter?

For me, it was almost fainting when I got up to pee for the first time. I'd lost a fair amount of blood, apparently. There was only a tiny little nurse with me and I think both of us were afraid I would crush her if I fell on her! I made it to the toilet and was fine after resting a bit.

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#2 of 63 Old 01-29-2010, 10:05 PM
 
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That in case you do have a significant tear, you are pretty much laid up for at least a week or two.

Just had my son a week ago and it's taking longer to recover from the third degree tear than it did for my c-section!

Wife to dh and mommy to dd1 (3/07), ds (1/10), and dd2 (any day now)!

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#3 of 63 Old 01-29-2010, 10:33 PM
 
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I knew I'd still have a bit of a belly, but no one told me it'd be like a 6 mos pregnant belly. sigh.

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#4 of 63 Old 01-29-2010, 10:46 PM
 
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My experience was the opposite - nobody told me it's actually possible to lose ALL your baby belly at birth, and nobody I know ever did it, so I brought maternity clothes to the hospital to wear home and they practically fell off!!!

Sorry, I probably shouldn't admit that...

Other things nobody ever told me:
  • you'll really really want to DTD at 3 weeks. Do it then 'cause afterwards you won't have any interest for another six months!
  • you'll be thirsty all.the.time. Haul a bucket of water with you everywhere you go. Do not sit down to nurse, EVER, without a glass of water at your elbow.
  • corollary to above: you'll be hungry all.the.time. Buy stock in granola bars and frozen enchiladas, they'll save your butt for the first couple of weeks.
  • PP bleeding is a LOT of blood. A lot more than a period. And lasts much longer.

I'm traveling the world with my kids without ever leaving home and blogging about it -- watch, taste, and share our adventures at TheGlobalStayCation.com!
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#5 of 63 Old 01-30-2010, 12:22 AM
 
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I wish someone had told me that taking it easy for a bit after birth is actually medically necessary, even if you think you feel fine.

I was doing too much immediately after the birth, and I bled pretty heavily for 6 weeks (which I didn't know wasn't normal, so I guess I should add that to the list), and I wound up being rather sternly told at my PP visit to take it easy unless I wanted a transfusion.

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#6 of 63 Old 01-30-2010, 12:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Fujiko View Post
That in case you do have a significant tear, you are pretty much laid up for at least a week or two.

Just had my son a week ago and it's taking longer to recover from the third degree tear than it did for my c-section!
It took me well over 6 weeks to completely recover from my 3rd degree tear.

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#7 of 63 Old 01-30-2010, 12:44 AM
 
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that after each consecutive child the after pains get worse and worse! nursing your newborn baby #2..#3 makes your body go into labor all over again..wow. the after pains for me seemed far worse than giving birth..

that after your bean is born you feel this weird empty feeling like there is a big hollow space inside of you, which there is i guess. its a feeling that freaked me right out, even after the third.

 

 

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#8 of 63 Old 01-30-2010, 12:54 AM
 
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Do not look a your vagina! Seriously. I'm all about taking charge of one's own health, but taking a peek is a bad idea. If you think there's something wrong down there call your hcp.
That being said, if you do look and your vagina is slightly, um, inverted, don't panic. Everyone who's given birth has slight pelvic organ prolapse. Your organs will shift around a little. I really, really wish someone had told me that!
Don't do anything but breastfeed, sleep, eat and drink. No laundry, no cooking, no cleaning.

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#9 of 63 Old 01-30-2010, 01:04 AM
 
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I had a 3rd degree tear so my pp period may have been rougher than some, but I was totally unprepared for being unable to move without pain for weeks. I felt like I was in a fog. I should have asked for more of the "good" prescription painkillers but instead I was miserable.

Oh, that horrid, empty feeling in your middle. Next time I will definitely look into belly binding more 'cause I think it would be realllllly comforting to have something holding you together for the first little bit. I kind of felt like someone took all my insides out, gave 'em a good shake & then stuffed 'em back in in the wrong order - just. not. right.

For the first few weeks I was really haunted by my birth experience. I kept reliving it every time I was quiet or closed my eyes. It was rather disconcerting.

And like a pp said, the thirst was crazy. I kept a 4L jug beside the bed & would have to call dh to come fill it up. I've never been more thirsty in my entire life.

How completely & utterly you fall in love with this new little person.

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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#10 of 63 Old 01-30-2010, 01:08 AM
 
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That it can be great! I had so many people tell me how miserable it was going to be, I was sure I was going to get ppd, ect. Even recovering from an CS, it was the most wonderful time of my life.

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#11 of 63 Old 01-30-2010, 01:16 AM
 
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That the incredible flood of love you feel for this new person and your significant other might in fact come flooding out your eyeballs. I think I lost half my water weight through tears.
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#12 of 63 Old 01-30-2010, 01:25 AM
 
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I felt like I had a bowling ball sitting in my vagina for a few days after the birth...she came out in an odd way though, so that may have been part of it.

To take the offer for a stool softener after the birth. That first pp poop is a bear.

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#13 of 63 Old 01-30-2010, 02:00 AM
 
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I remember being overwhelmed by how much I missed my dh, even though he was right there! I could not get close enough to him and when he hugged me I would just sob. I was absolutely ecstatic about my new baby, but there were moments when I just looked at dh and thought, "what have we done!?". But those feelings were fleeting and were gone completely after a week or so.

Rachel. Devoted wife and joyful mama to Beatrice June(2/25/08) and Leona Agnes (8/10/10).
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#14 of 63 Old 01-30-2010, 02:13 AM
 
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I wish someone had told me that I would be starving!! Like crazy mad starving. After not really ever being hungry when pregnant and then not having room to eat much at the end, I couldn't stop eating and poor DH did nothing but make food and wash dishes that first week.

We'll be way more prepared for food this time!

Karen happily partnered mother of 3 beautiful girls (teen/toddler/newborn).
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#15 of 63 Old 01-30-2010, 02:24 AM
 
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Mosesface - I thought the same after each one - the "what have we done?!" I don't handle big changes very well, so despite each of my babies being planned and much anticipated, in the few weeks after each one I felt lost at sea waiting for life to feel 'normal' again till I'd adjust and couldnt imagine NOT having the new addition.

Also another one with the thirst - worst was if I sat down to feed without water and no-one was there to get me a glass, never felt so thirsty it was almost painful before!

Ooh and the afterbirth pains with DS2, sooo much stronger, always had to try and breathe through them like contractions - makes me a little worried about my third!

The best one though is that you'll feel like the most lucky person in the world, and the only one to ever have a new baby! It's like you're in this little bubble - I'm almost surprised when people would talk about other things in the first few weeks, like I'd forgotten that life went on as normal outside our bubble!
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#16 of 63 Old 01-30-2010, 01:17 PM
 
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I'm gonna have to say the after pains too. No one tells you about that. Just when you think you're done, there they are LOL

Monther of Riley (11), Andrew (4) and Victoria (7 months)
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#17 of 63 Old 01-30-2010, 04:25 PM
 
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The best advice I can give is to remember that the baby stage doesn't last forever. There is major improvement in things like sleep and crying by 2 months and it just keeps improving. I remember feeling like I was trapped by this needy little animal and that I would never ever be "free" again. While that is somewhat true, I have maintained some sense of who I am/was and continue to grow as a person every day. It was not the end!

Also, I would like to emphasize that the midwife's advice to rest, not lift anything heavier than your baby and to minimize use of stairs, this advice is for everyone! Not just for wimps. Don't start running around doing chores and running errands just because you feel good. All of your muscles are streched out and if you want things to go back into place properly, you should take it easy!

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#18 of 63 Old 01-30-2010, 04:56 PM
 
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-That if you do have a highly medicalized or traumatic birth, you may not feel overwhelming and instant love and attachment with your newborn. However, with time, and caring for your baby, you can get there...

-That the first time you get up, you may gush blood...it's not abnormal, though can be scary if no one tells you!

-That hemorrhoids don't necessarilygo away after birth like most books say. Our oldest is nearly 13, and I still occasionally battle the same roid's I got with him first.

-That you may actually miss the days of dependence, once they move to being more independent.

-That not all newborns like the car or will fall asleep in the car.

-That food will likely never taste as good as when you are breastfeeding in the first few months! Having something good to eat after giving birth is a MUST and will taste wonderful.

-Not all women lose tons of weight and have their jeans fall off while bf'ing! For me, I'm a storer, and losing the last 15-20 lbs just doesn't happen for a long time....

-That no matter the difficulties in the PP period, (and pregnancy/delivery) most women are willing to have another go at it...or 2, or 5, or 10.

Blessed Christian Wife and Homeschooling Mother to 8 with blessing #9 and #10 due to arrive April 2015



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#19 of 63 Old 01-30-2010, 11:55 PM
 
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I wish I had remembered to bring some healthy snacks (specifically prunes!) to the hospital for after the birth. I was only there for 24 hours, but there was hardly any vegetables/fiber in the hospital meals and of course I was starving so I scarfed down all the junky food. I didn't eat enough vegetables when I got home either, I guess, though I did take the stool softeners. Lo and behold, I was constipated for 4 days after giving birth because I didn't think about drinking/eating prunes until day 3. Gah, it was worse than labor!
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#20 of 63 Old 01-31-2010, 12:18 AM
 
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Save up toilet paper and paper towel rolls during your pregnancy. Even with only mild "skid marks," it made it a thousand times easier to pee when I peed into one. My midwife didn't suggest it until I was post-partum and I didn't have nearly as many as I needed. Reusing them is not really fun

Prune juice or stool softeners will make that first pp bowel movement so much easier.

Depends are a fantastic idea for post-partum flow, BUT mamas can get diaper rash, too, so line them with flannel or a cloth pad to protect yourself!

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#21 of 63 Old 01-31-2010, 01:15 AM
 
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This sounds like me almost to a "T"


Quote:
Originally Posted by Comtessa View Post
My experience was the opposite - nobody told me it's actually possible to lose ALL your baby belly at birth, and nobody I know ever did it, so I brought maternity clothes to the hospital to wear home and they practically fell off!!!

Sorry, I probably shouldn't admit that...

Other things nobody ever told me:
  • you'll really really want to DTD at 3 weeks. Do it then 'cause afterwards you won't have any interest for another six months!
  • you'll be thirsty all.the.time. Haul a bucket of water with you everywhere you go. Do not sit down to nurse, EVER, without a glass of water at your elbow.
  • corollary to above: you'll be hungry all.the.time. Buy stock in granola bars and frozen enchiladas, they'll save your butt for the first couple of weeks.
  • PP bleeding is a LOT of blood. A lot more than a period. And lasts much longer.

My name is Lindsay I am a full time wife to Nick 10-21-08 and full time mommy to Cadence, Irie and Isis

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#22 of 63 Old 01-31-2010, 02:23 AM
 
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That even if you have a wonderful, amazing, home waterbirth like you've dreamed of, it's ok to not have that OMG I LOVE MY BABY feeling right away. I said hello, passed baby to DH and went to have a shower. Spent 10 min in the shower in total shock about what I just did. That an actual baby just came out and I felt sorry for my body. Then I spent the next 6 weeks feeling so guilty that I didn't nurse immediately when I could have, didn't do extended skin to skin after birth, didn't feel that OMG feeling, ect. Then I talked to other moms with similiar experiences and I felt a lot better.

The after pains after baby #2. Whoa, didn't even know what afterpains were. I thought I was having some sort of life and death complication.

The tears of love, joy, fear, gratitude, everything.

I echo the feeling that a PP mentioned about the "bubble". Friends would call and talk about what they were up to, what so and so did/said and all I could think was, "shut up! I just pushed a baby out of my vagina!! Do you not understand?! Who cares that your boyfriend didn't text you back...I gave LIFE to another HUMAN!!"

Loving mama to M. 09/2007 and K. 10/2009. Married to my soul mate :
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#23 of 63 Old 01-31-2010, 03:23 PM
 
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  • you'll really really want to DTD at 3 weeks. Do it then 'cause afterwards you won't have any interest for another six months!
What is DTD?
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#24 of 63 Old 01-31-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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No one told me the GOOD stuff. Like, every time I would look at DH or DD my eyes would tear up and my knees get all wiggly...better than a highschool crush. I was on cloud nine for days.

No one told me DTD might NOT hurt. I waited 3 long weeks b/c of the horror stories and warnings. Now I wonder if we could have tried earlier.



Well, one thing in particular was not "good" perse. From watching youtube videos and reading birth stories, I saw this common theme in homebirths where the mama would push her kid out, smile for the camera and then get up, walk around, eat, take a shower, etc.

Um, yeah....ha! DH had to hold DD so I could "fall over" from my squatting position after I pushed her out. I couldn't even walk. All three of us climbed in bed and slept for almost 24hrs straight...

Mama to expecting Babe 2
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#25 of 63 Old 01-31-2010, 06:26 PM
 
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That some of it feels like menopause with night sweats, hiot/cold flashes.
That you have to pee a LOT in the first few days to get rid of all the extra fluids from pregnancy and all the water you have been drinking due to being so thirsty.
That much as you love your older kids, sometimes you just feel really irritated with them when they are whining for attention and taking away your time/attention from the newborn.
That afterpains are worse with each one.
That if the nurse/midwife/anyone offers ibuprofen for the afterpains, TAKE it, don't worry about how it affects baby (they are okay), it will help you function.
That sleep is a precious commodity you take when you can get it.

Jill stillheart.gif Chris (7/96), mommy to 3 sweet redheads: jumpers.gif Matthew autismribbon.gif (12/02), Michelle (8/05) and Marissa (1/10). Nursing since 2002.
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#26 of 63 Old 02-01-2010, 09:59 AM
 
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I was so hungry and thirsty, especially after baby #1 (long labor, lots of water weight falling off).

After #1, DTD wasn't remotely non-painful until at least 6 months postpartum. Those women that do it at 3 weeks? Total superwomen. Which I expected to be. But, it didn't happen. Number 2 was MUCH better, and at 8 weeks, it was comfortable. I'm not sure what was going on with #1, but it was rough.

The hormones!! I totally didn't expect to feel so crazy. So many ups and downs, mood swings, crying, feeling upset over nothing, feeling like I hated everyone, then upset cause they weren't visiting me. LOL. It was a nutty time. But, it's better to be prepared for it.
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#27 of 63 Old 02-01-2010, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Evie's Mama View Post
I felt like I had a bowling ball sitting in my vagina for a few days after the birth...she came out in an odd way though, so that may have been part of it.

To take the offer for a stool softener after the birth. That first pp poop is a bear.
I forgot about this! I took the softeners at the hospital but it was still several days before that first PP poop came along. It felt like going through labor all over again, because you're kind of pushing from the same spot. I remember hanging on to the toilet and yelling, "Whoa, whoa, WHOA!". I was fine, but it was just such an intense physical memory of the birth.

thalia loves Jesus and DH wordyeight and DD#1 : 8/2007 and DD#2 9/2010
and remembering: little turtle 5/23/2006 and poppyseed 7/15/2009
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#28 of 63 Old 02-01-2010, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Another thing I forgot: it may be hard to pee immediately afterwards, even though you may really want to.

Some advice I got here which worked:

Have peppermint essential oil with you at the birth. When you go to pee the first time, put a few drops of oil into the toilet water. Drink some orange juice, and then sit on the toilet and let the vapors from the oil help your muscles relax.

The first time I tried this it didn't work (that was the time I almost fainted), but I tried again a little later and it really helped.

thalia loves Jesus and DH wordyeight and DD#1 : 8/2007 and DD#2 9/2010
and remembering: little turtle 5/23/2006 and poppyseed 7/15/2009
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#29 of 63 Old 02-01-2010, 02:08 PM
 
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What is DTD?
"do the deed"

Happily married to my hero and SAHMama to 4 precious gifts from God
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#30 of 63 Old 02-01-2010, 02:43 PM
 
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Many of these suggestions ring true for me.

I really wish someone had told me about PP constipation, and suggested stool softener - I waited too long to start taking them, and that first PP poop was seriously traumatic. I'm just now feeling like I'm getting back to normal, 11 weeks PP.

I also wish I was more prepared for the immediate pain and discomfort in the weeks after birth. I had no idea it would be so rough, that it would be hard to get around for the first week, that sitting would hurt, that peeing would be so painful - thank goodness for the peri bottle! I came through an unmedicated birth pretty well, because I had an idea of what to expect - but I felt totally unprepared for the PP recovery.

And breastfeeding - I wish someone had told me that it can be really difficult at time, it may not be intuitive, and it can hurt! I was dedicated to breastfeeding, and I guess I thought it would develop naturally - and for me, that wasn't the case. It has gotten so much better, but I struggled at first, and I couldn't help but feel incompetent. The standard line from LCs and other professionals seems to be, "breastfeeding doesn't hurt, and if it does hurt, you're doing something wrong." Well, for me, it just hurt for a few weeks. I did seek help and we addressed some things, but for goodness sakes - you're using a sensitive part of your body in a completely new way, and you're not a failure if it hurts for a bit!

And the emotions - I guess I knew that was coming, but I was relatively stable throughout my pregnancy, and the feeling of crying uncontrollably at the smallest provocation was new to me. Just the overwhelming-ness (not a word, but whatever) of everything caught me off guard.
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