I'm not really sure what I want to write about regarding the postpartum period. I was just talking to a new-mommy friend about how wonderful of an experience we both had. And it wasn't horrible like we had heard other people speak of it. I feel that I had a wonderful pregnancy, birth and postpartum experience and I want to share it with others. For the most part, I feel that a lot of information out there (or lack there of) can make women fear the whole process. I want others to know that it can be a wonderful and positive experience. As I spoke with a friend who is expecting her first, we talked about how fear has a lot to do with it. When my husband and I took our Bradley Method classes, we learned about fear and how it creates a repetitive cycle within us. My friend, Kami, has a great post about it here. And how our fear of the unknown can make it more of a painful experience. Because of that, I feel it is so important to prepare ourselves with as much knowledge as we can. I've said it once and I'll say it again, Knowledge is Power!!!
Here are some things that came to mind as I thought about my own experience. (I understand that everyone has a different experience and what I went through isn't what will happen for everyone)
*After after Eli came out, our student midwife asked how I felt down there. I looked up, with a smile on my face and said, "good!" An 8lb 4.7oz baby with a head measuring 14.25cm-that, by the way was crowning for a good 10 minutes-creating the much talked about "ring of fire" and I said I felt "good" down there? One wouldn't think that would be the word of choice, but it was. AND it was TRUE! Within a week or two I felt like I could do it all again right then and there.
*My midwife told me to pee, pee, pee. She wasn't going to leave that day I had Eli until I peed. The water bottle thingy helped, I can not think of what it's called! I tore a teensy bit on the 'ol labia, so it stung when I went to the bathroom for a few days. But it wasn't bad at all.
*She told me not to be afraid to go numero dos. The thought of pushing something out from those regions within a day or two may not be appealing, but it must be done. I was told to use a disposable cloth and apply pressure up on my perineum as I pushed down. That helped as I had a bowel movement the day after I had Eli. I felt like I deserved a gold star for going number 2.
*For a week or week and a half I was a little sore down there. My memory is fading, but I vividly remember explaining that it felt like I was recovering from being kicked in the crotch.
*With my birth kit came a bottle of Arnica Montana, used for muscle soreness and bruising. I took a few every hour. (My midwife told me that Sprouts sells this)
*STAY DOWN! My midwife told me to stay in bed for one week. Stay on the couch for another week or two. only getting up to use the restroom, shower, etc. Resting speeds up the recovery process. She told me I would bleed less than 6 weeks if I took her advise. Silly me, I didn't listen so well! I am antsy pants, so it was hard, but I stayed put as much as I could. I think I started exercising too soon though. I think Eli was 5 weeks old when I went for my first run. I felt all sorts of crampy. What happens inside is the uterus is trying to get back to it's normal size, so as it is shrinking, there's a scab inside the uterus where the placenta was attached, and as it shrinks it is peeling the scab off- resulting in postpartum bleeding. So as one moves a lot and uses their stomach muscles more than necessary, it's causing the scab to break away more times than if one were not moving so much. So the less one moves, the faster the scab will heal, and ultimately the sooner the bleeding will stop. There may be gobs of blood that come out at a time. My jaw dropped when one the size of a golf ball came out. Luckily I was already on the throne.
*Speaking of PPB, my heck! I don't like pads for a reason, but you've got to do what you've got to do! I didn't buy enough before he was born, so I had to make a trip or two for more. Panty liners were helpful after 4 or 5 weeks-when the bleeding was very, very light.
*I know I shouldn't talk about food next, but oh well! I prepared a lot of freezer meals. I pre made waffles and french toast, froze them and then bagged them up so they could easily be popped into the toaster. It was very helpful to have them easily accessible.
*I posted here about placenta encapsulation. The woman who did mine came over a couple of hours after Eli was born to take my placenta to her house for the encapsulation process. She returned it to me in pill form the next night. She got a total of 166 pills made, which I took as instructed by her. ( I believe it was 2 pills twice a day with a meal for 2 weeks. Then take as needed if feeling fatigued.) I still have some leftover which I keep in the fridge. I can't so for sure if they helped because I don't have another postpartum experience to compare it to, but I wouldn't risk not having this done in the future. I experienced all of the benefits, so I think it did it's job.
*Old Faithful. That's what one breast reminded me of while Eli was nursing on the other side. It's gotten better since, but I still need to apply pressure (to the side he's not on) when the let-down occurs. That's one thing that either everyone assumes everyone knows or they just don't want to talk about it...?
*We were fortunate that we didn't deal with any breastfeeding issues. Nothing cracked or bled and he had excellent latching ability from the start. However, a few days after he was born and for maybe 2 or 3? weeks after, when he first latched on it felt like i was a human pin cushion. It was a very tingly sensation but lasted less than 10 or so seconds. I am glad that I went to all 4 of the LLL classes offered, I learned things I didn't know and I felt like I knew the ladies well enough that if we had a problem I would feel comfortable calling them.
I hope this helps someone! The whole pregnancy, birth and postpartum experience is such a beautiful gift we, as women, have been given. It doesn't have to be this horrible thing that is feared. It can be a spiritual building, empowering experience if we let it. Let knowledge be our key to escaping the fear we might have- in all aspects of our lives!
other great postpartum reads:
*I want to add my tips:
1) My midwife gave me golden seal root capsules & told me to sprinkle some of the contents on Eli's umbilical cord to speed up the drying & falling off process. I did it each time I changed him and it fell off first thing Wednesday morning- on his 5th day.
2) He has really dry skin- those extra 13 day in utero really pruned him up good, causing lots of peeling. I had leftover castor oil- NO, I did not drink it, it was used on my perineum during L&D- i massaged the castor oil on Eli to help his dry skin.
and one about placenta encapsulation here