Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Postpartum Truth

I've been thinking about this post for awhile, and am finally getting around to it.  Here are my honest thoughts on the recovery process over the last almost 11 months.  Before Liam was born, I thought that I would be back in the gym at 6 weeks postpartum (maybe less).  I was cocky confident after staying active during my pregnancy and thought that I would bounce right back into a regular workout routine. I had sincerely hoped my body would quickly go back to exactly how it was before.  Well...I was wrong!




Healing
Fair warning, if you don't want to read about what it's like to heal from the birth of a baby (birth story here), turn back now.  To cut to the chase, I had 3rd degree tearing when Liam was born (which means separation through the vaginal muscle). Needless to day, this made the recovery process long & painful.  I had to sit on a doughnut for the first two weeks to have any sort of comfort.  After sitting for long periods of time, my body would be so stiff, and it was difficult to stand up or sit down without assistance.  I remember being so frustrated that I couldn't stand up while holding Liam, I always had to pass him off to someone else or set him down next to me while I stood up.  My doctor recommended I take a warm bath 3 times a day to help with the healing. Who has time for that with a newborn?! Not to mention how difficult it was to step into a bath tub early on! Slowly and steadily however, I began to heal.

About 2 weeks after Liam was born, I didn't feel like things were healing properly, and I could tell that a stitch had come loose.  Yes, I looked.  I shouldn't have, but I did.  I had to see what exactly was going on down there.  I went to see my doctor that week and told her what was going on.  She looked me right in the eye and said, "You should never look.  I promise you, you will heal, but just don't look."  That information would have been nice beforehand!  The loose stitch was no big deal, but she did inform me that I had some granulation tissue.  I won't go into the details of this... if you're curious, google it.  The condensed version is that my body was trying to heal itself and then some, so there was a tiny bit of very sensitive tissue that prevented the wound from fully healing .  To fix this little problem, they cauterize it with silver nitrate!  I couldn't believe what I was hearing, and shed a little tear at the thought of it.  Sometimes, once isn't enough...  For me, it took two appointments, and strong grip on Conor's hand, and a couple of tears.

After I had Liam, I seriously thought I would never be able to ride a bike again.  I just couldn't even fathom the thought of it.  However, the body in an incredible thing and I have healed.  I realized the other day that I have yet to actually get on a bike, but I'm not worried about it anymore.  ;-)  Apparently this week's to-do needs to include a bike ride just so I can say I've done it and all is well!

The Emotions
While I was fortunate enough to not suffer from PPD, I did experience those baby blues that hit you out of nowhere about 4 days after you deliver!  I remember being overwhelmed by emotions.  I cried when I looked at how my body was healing, I was terrified of SIDS, and just a little bit scared of this world that we brought Liam into.  I was up late nursing one of those first nights and read an article about an international child pornography ring that was recently busted.  Some of the victims were under a year old.  So terrifying for a new mother to read!  I found that the few moments that I had to relax, my mind would wander and those crazy emotions would just hit me straight on.  It was strange to feel so much love, fear, nervousness, and every other emotion all that the same time!  It only lasted for a few days, and then I was quickly back to my old self.

Exercise
Because of my slow recovery, I wasn't okay-ed to start exercising until about 7 weeks postpartum.  I took walks with Liam, but wasn't ready to start running or swimming again for another few weeks.  When Liam was 3 months old, I reactivated my gym membership, and Conor & I went to check out the day care facilities there.  Well, it was awful!  The girls working there could barely answer my simple questions and did not seem equipped to be handling a newborn.  I absolutely was not comfortable leaving Liam there.  I decided I would just go to the gym when Conor got home from work or on the weekends.  The first time I got back in the pool was awful!  I was so weak and felt like I barely even knew how to swim.  It was embarrassing to be honest! That month I rarely ended up going to the gym, because when Conor was home I wanted to soak up every minute that the three of us got to be together.  Working out was just not a priority anymore.

Speed ahead 11 months and things are about the same in this department.  Now that we live in Salt Lake City, I'm starting to look for a new gym, and the day care will definitely be an important factor.  I really want to start exercising again and to start training for a triathlon.  However, I'm still having a hard time with the idea of leaving Liam in the care of strangers.  I know I will get over this; I just need to start slow with some short workouts.  So hopefully I will decide on a gym soon so I can start toning up my body again!

My Body
There are some women out there that will hate me and curse me for this... Even though I haven't been working out, I've lost all the baby weight and then some.  On the day of delivery I was officially up 29 lbs. from my pre-pregnancy weight.  1 week postpartum, I had only 8 lbs left to lose.  By about 5 weeks postpartum I had lost it all.  Now, at 11 months postpartum I am about 12 lbs under my pre-pregnancy weight.  This is a little too skinny for me, so I'm working on trying to gain back about 5 lbs, but it's proving to be impossible while breastfeeding!  This is not the case for everyone who nurses, so I consider myself one of the lucky ones. Little man is just soaking up all those calories!  While the weight came off easily, I still had quite the "jelly belly" for a good month or two after delivery.  I remember noticing it during bumpy car rides and couldn't believe how jiggly it was.  It seemed I had absolutely no muscle even though I was so active throughout my entire pregnancy!  This was a little bit difficult for me to deal with it at first, as was trying on some of my old clothes.  My advice: stick to comfy clothes for the first month.  Just enjoy all the snuggle time with your newborn and stay in pajamas all day.  I stayed in pajamas for a least a couple months! :-)

One thing people don't tell you about... hair loss!  And it is no joke!  About 3 or 4 months after you have your baby, your hair will start to fall out in crazy amounts.  I happen to have a ton of thick hair, so it wasn't noticeable to anyone else.  But our shower drain and bathroom floor was always covered in my hair.  Around 6 months postpartum, the hair loss stopped and now I'm in the grow-back period.  Ugh, I have all sorts of short hairs poking out around my face right now!  Again, no one but me would notice, so it's not that big of deal.


In general, I feel great and am happy with how I have recovered!  I absolutely loved being pregnant and cannot wait to experience it for a second time.  It does change your body, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.  I am lucky to have no stretchmarks and to have quickly gotten my body back.  I attribute most of it to all the exercise I did while pregnant and my usually healthy eating habits.  Breastfeeding has definitely helped as well!  Although my body is not exactly how it was before Liam, I am pleased with how I look & feel!

1 comment :

  1. I suffer from the same "affliction" in that I lost my baby weight really quickly and am a bit on the skinny side postpartum and can't seem to gain any weight back while breastfeeding, glad there's someone else out there talking about it!
    You look great!

    ReplyDelete

I love reading all your comments!

Blog Design by Get Polished | Copyright 2016