TMI alert — could you tell from the title? Get ready for body fluids and whatnot, followed by a small realization.
One of the many reasons I was fixated on having a vaginal birth is that I did not want to go through the hell that is recovery from a c-section. I saw my honey go through it and I didn’t want to go there. Some folks don’t have as hard a time as she did, but I tend not to believe their stories. You were up and about the next day? That’s nice. Did you also see some pigs flying around when you were walking around pain-free after major abdominal surgery? I thought you may have.
But here’s the thing… I didn’t know about recovering from a vaginal delivery. I’m sure it isn’t even 1/80th as difficult as a c-section, but it is not easy. You know how most family-medical leave-type things are for six weeks? That’s because it actually takes six weeks to recover. Even from a vaginal birth. Even one that only took four hours and twenty-two minutes of pushing. And they tell me that if I don’t take it easy now, it will take even longer to recover.
The first two weeks were the worst. Remember the shower scene from Psycho? The knife-wielding maniac one? Well, that’s how my first shower after delivery looked. Except I had a shower-head-wielding nurse instead of a maniac with a knife. There was that much blood and gore. And you know those periods you get to miss for nine/ten months? They all come at the same time. I usually have two or three days of heavy flow during my six-day cycle (I’m sure you woke up this morning wondering how many days of heavy-flow oneofhismoms has in a normal menstrual cycle. I’m glad I could help.) I’m now coming down off of my third week of heavy flow. It is finally a little lighter. But it won’t stop. Every time I think it is over, it isn’t. I’ll just leave it at that.
I had a minor tear. Minor. They called it first degree. But I did have stitches. What does this mean? It means ouch. I guess not so much a yyyyeeeeeooouch as maybe a second or third degree tear or an episiotomy, but it is still ouch. Taking care of the tear involved many witch hazel pads and some nifty inventions. In the hospital, they filled a newborn diaper with ice and padded the top with a layer of witch hazel pads and put it on the wound. That was great. Then my midwife told me how to make a “pericycle” at home. Sound gross? Let me tell you. I loved me some pericycles. You take one of the hugemongous grandma maxipads from the hospital, and soak it in witch hazel. Freeze. Put some witchhazel pads over the top, put it in you panties (sit on a towel or a chuck accidentally 😉 taken home from the hospital) and aaaaaahhhhh. You actually feel ok down there for about six and a half minutes. You also need to use a peribottle when you go to the bathroom. This is a bottle that basically squirts hot water on your whoo haa. Because when you go to the bathroom and you have a tear down there — let’s just say it gives you more empathy for the victim of the knife-wielding maniac in that shower scene.
Things have gotten a lot better since those first two weeks. I’m on week three now. They are not anywhere near normal, though. Here’s the problem: every time I walk more than, say, four blocks, I feel like my uterus is going to fall out. I know rationally that everything down there is much more loose than usual. I know I need to keep up my kegel workouts, and I have. My midwife told me to try to do 100 a day, so I’m shooting for 200. I’ve got nothing better to do while I’m nursing and watching my fifteenth episode of “What Not To Wear” of the day.
Does it stop me from walking? No. I’m a freak. I’m a little manic. Did I walk two neighborhoods away to the other side of the park yesterday? Yes. Why? I have no idea. It is very very hard for me to do nothing. I am also suffering from major cabin fever. At least all of my caretakers (mom, my honey) have gone back to work and I can get my blog on without feeling guilty for being anti-social with the real-live people in the room. That’s a good way to stay on one’s butt, no?
One more thing. Well, two more actually. The b00bs. Oh the b00bs they hurt! Not nearly as bad as they did a week ago, but they still hurt. They keep filling up and emptying out and filling up and getting bitten by my toothless baby. And don’t let the toothlessness fool you — baby gums are tough. They could probably chew through a tractor tire if given the opportunity.
I apologize for the whining. I need to whine to somebody. The baby’s asleep and I don’t think he’d really understand. I hope I’m not being insensitive to those of you who are trying to get pregnant. Or to those of you who are pregnant. I probably am. This leads me to my last point. It is actually a revelation about being a non-bio mom. There is an amazing advantage that I didn’t fully understand until now, after giving birth myself. If you are a mom who did not give birth to your newborn, you are able to be 100% present for your child. What I mean is, this giving birth business makes you very self-involved. It is so much about your body, it is hard to focus on anything else. Even your baby. I am focused on the baby. But I realize now that it is physically impossible for me to be so as much as I was when Cake was born. I’m too wrapped up in my trinity of ouch. So co-moms, you know who I’m talking about… the one who gets to count fingers and toes on the newborn while they wheel the birth mom who just had a c-section to the recovery area; the one who gets to sleep through the fifteen minutes of quiet breastfeeding at 3 am, even if you graciously wake up to help burp or change a diaper… you, who, like me the first time around may even be feeling a little left out of the baby action by not being able to breastfeed or push that baby out yourself? Enjoy being all about the baby. It is a gift I didn’t even notice being given to me.
Did that sound whiney, too? I did not mean it that way. I really want you to enjoy it.