Monday, August 30, 2010

Postpartum Recovery

To sum it up, it's not pretty. I know it has been nearly five months since my darling baby was born, but in a way I am still dealing with postpartum recovery. It takes a long time. Here's a break down of my personal experience.

Immediately following the birth
  • Exhaustion - Having a baby is hard work people.
  • Bleeding - I was totally unprepared for how much of this there would be. I knew there would be a lot, but it still took my by surprise. We're talking six weeks here people.
  • Swelling - I had severe swelling in my ankles and feet the last few weeks of my pregnancy and I expected it to go down once I had Sarah. Wrong it stayed around for about a week. 
  • Linea Nigra - That attractive brown line did not disappear with Sarah's birth
  • Stitches - Oh the wonderful peri bottle. That's all I have to say there.
  • Soreness - A general body ache along with discomfort from the birth. Pushing makes your entire body sore because you use so many muscles in your body and you are so tense. 
  • Engorgement - Not fun and it can make breastfeeding difficult
  • Weight Loss - I left the hospital 30 lbs lighter than when I went in. (I gained 49 lbs while pregnant)
  • Emotions- All over the place! I was elated, sad, happy, confused, overwhelmed, content and  calm all at the same time. Or one right after the other. It was a crazy ride those first few weeks.

A Month After Birth
  • Exhaustion - This time from the crazy sleep schedule of a newborn
  • Bleeding - Still present but much lighter.
  • Swelling - Gone my feet were back to normal. 
  • Linea Nigra - Lighter but still there
  • Stitches - Dissolved at this point and thank goodness. I did not like having to have that peri bottle with me at all times.
  • Engorgement - Not an issue since we had a regular pumping schedule at this point.
  • Weight Loss - I was dropping weight quickly because I was nursing. It really is the best weight less mechanism out there!
  • Body Image - Not good. Stretch marks were still an angry purple, my hips were (and are) wider than before baby, and a flabby tummy. But doing my hair and getting out of pj's helps the self esteem.
  • Emotions - I still struggled with some baby blues and loneliness. It was hard adjusting to being a stay at home mom and having very little adult interaction.
Almost Five Months Postpartum
  • Exhaustion- I have learned to deal with just a few hours of sleep. And yes I still nap while Sarah naps most days. I'm a stay at home mom with one baby so I still have the luxury of sleeping when the baby sleeps.
  • Hair Loss - This is something I had not heard of. Starting at about 4 months postpartum I began losing handfuls of hair. It's most noticeable in the shower while shampooing. Running your hands through your hair and having them come back in loose strands is not pleasant. Luckily it seems to be tapering off but for a while I was convinced I would be bald! It has something to do with hormone depletion or something like that. 
  • Linea Nigra - It's still here but barely. I hardly notice it now. I'll let you know when it's gone.
  • Weight Loss - I have between 5 and 8 lbs left to lose depending on the day. I am not big on exercise although with a baby I can get busy enough to forget to eat sometimes. I think I have done fairly well with losing the weight so far, but that may be my genetics and metabolism that I have to thank. I should start jogging or working out soon though.
  • Body Image - I have good days and bad. The stretch marks are now pink, my hips are still wider, and my tummy is still slightly flabby. I have come to terms with the fact that I will most likely never have my pre-baby body back, but sometimes I wish I could. It's been a struggle to find pants and even bras. And when nothing in your closet fits it can make you feel frumpy and blah. But luckily I seem to be feeling better about myself lately.
  • Emotions- No baby blues for me anymore. I am feeling much more comfortable in my role as mommy. Taking care of Sarah is much more natural to me and I only have occasional bouts of feeling overwhelmed. It usually happens when Sarah has had a very fussy day or not napped well. 
That's a crazy list of stuff and I am sure I am forgetting some things but it's the gist of it. Recovery can take a long time and there are lots of different stages. Everyone has their own pace.

In other news, MOPS kick - off night is tonight! I am so excited to meet some new mamas! This is an answer to prayers. I will definitely be posting about that when it's over!

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