Warning, this post is full of tmi stuff. So if you’re squeamish or whatever, please feel free not to read.
So after my very swift labour, we had our little girl with us.
These 2 weeks have flown by since having my little girl and im able to pinpoint some good and bad things I’ve experienced in my postpartum recovery.
You always get told about how bad birth is and how difficult the postpartum recovery can be so you always expect the worst. I found these first two weeks not actually that bad. They were different and difficult but not as hard as some people say. But hey, we could just be lucky.
Conor ended up having 4 weeks off work as before she was born he booked the two weeks around her due date off. Then once his holiday had run out he went on paternity leave. This worked out nicely. He was also due to return to uni for his second year on the 25th, but luckily he emailed his tutor and they gave him two weeks paternity leave as well, and said that during this time looking after me and baby is more important. So we had a lovely 4 weeks together as a little family.
First of all, during labour, I got an internal 2nd-degree tear and a labial laceration. Ouch right. I can feel you cringing through the screen and yes, this hurt way more than childbirth itself.
Getting stitched up was hell. I had to use gas & air it was that painful. Even the injection to numb me up was killer. But once it was done the local anaesthetic clearly worked as I felt nothing other than being a little uncomfortable when I sat down. After what I had read about postpartum bleeding I was expecting a really heavy gushing type blood flow. This wasn’t the case. I understand every woman is different but for me, it was simply the amount id get on a heavy period month.
Once I was home and only allowed to take paracetamol and ibuprofen, it became a bit more difficult. I couldn’t really sit comfortably and nothing was really hitting the pain on the head anymore. I used the advice that every woman seems to get told about going for a pee. I got a jug, filled it with warm water and poured it down whilst going. The tiniest sting was still there but to be honest, it wasn’t as bad as I expected. My mum said she had to run a whole bath just to let a tiny bit of pee out when she tore with me. I think either her pain threshold is crap or she was exaggerating.
I was SO swollen down there, so I made some padsicles but I found them uncomfortable and didn’t really use any of them.
The postpartum bleeding for me wasn’t so bad. I don’t really get heavy periods anyway but I found this to be fairly normal.
By the end of week 1 I was down to just spotting, but since then I’ve had a couple of clots and on off spotting depending on the amount of activity, I do that day.
Now im at week 2 and bleeding has pretty much stopped apart from the odd day when im super active ill get spotting again but I think my body is nearly done with it. (Yay!)
My advice would be to buy the proper cheap maternity pads from Tesco, these were my go-to for pads. Although they were very cheap, they were so cushioned, absorbent and didn’t feel all plasticky like some pads do. Also, they come at an amazing price of £1.50 for 20, so a pack may last you 2/3 days depending on your level of bleeding, perfectly accommodating for a maternity pay budget. Also even though I am still only spotting on and off, I still wear these for the comfort.
The dreaded first pp poop
Okay, so that nightmare of thinking about pooping after birth. Everyone dreads it, so many horror stories about it and nobody enjoys it. I heard that it feels like birth all over again, that its worse than birth and that it feels like all your insides were falling out. So I wasn’t taking chances. I prepared as best as I could, by taking lactulose twice a day to help soften my poop. When the feeling finally came on day 3 I was so anxious, started sweating, feeling sick I didn’t want to do this but my body clearly had other ideas. Never in my life had I not wanted to poop so badly.
It was fine. I made sure I didn’t push and just sat down tried my best to relax and let nature do its thing. It worked as although it hurt a little (I think I had an anal fissure from birth and had a leftover pile from pregnancy) once again, it wasn’t half as bad as people said.
The only piece of advice is lactulose and relax.
Stomach cramps (uterus shrinking)
So let me tell you about birth afterpains. Basically, the cramps that nobody seems to mention about pp recovery.
As I’m breastfeeding apparently that can make them come on stronger. The first day every time I fed Primrose there was a few cramps but nothing compared to labour or period cramps.
I felt them for the first day or two, by day 3 it just felt like a dull ache.
Blood clot injections
Unfortunately, the midwife had prescribed me with anti blood clot injections to do at home for the next 10 days. I hate these. I had to have them when I was in the hospital with hyperemesis and they kill. I freaked out, started crying and nearly refused.
The midwives and Conor convinced me as if they’re meant to prevent me from getting a dangerous blood clot, I definitely don’t want one of them and let’s be honest, I had just given birth with next to no pain relief. I can boss these injections.
They taught Conor how to do them as I would not have done them on myself, no chance. He continued to stab me in the belly for the next 10 days pp.
We were really worried that all our time together would be spent with countless visitors and we wouldn’t actually get any time together before Conor went back to uni and work. So we decided to have everyone come during the first few days at home.
This was hard. I underestimated how much recovery I would need and having visitors was exhausting. Also, I had just had my tiny baby and now im having to pass her around family member for a cuddle when all I want to do is snuggle her in my arms. I felt a little selfish, but as I was breastfeeding it felt like all I was doing was feeding her and I hadn’t had a non-feeding cuddle yet.
Especially since the second night we had her home we ended up back up delivery suite due to her not being able to latch properly and she was diagnosed with tongue tie.
Saying this, on day 4 when we had had everyone round and there wasn’t really anyone left to visit it calmed down so much.
I think if I was to have another baby I would do this again, as over the whole two weeks, apart from that first couple of mad visitor days, we had our mums over maybe once a week and an odd friend here and there. It was so nice to have so much time as a family of three and it was worth all the stress.
I need to write a whole other post on breastfeeding. Trust me, there’s too much to say.
It’s not all doom and gloom
Yes, postpartum recovery is hard but the rewards outweigh all the discomfort and pain immensely.
The first night you spend at home just in awe of how beautiful your new baby is.
The time you and your partner sat in tears at 4 am looking down at your sleeping baby and just so amazed that you made that, and so proud of yourself for giving birth to such a beautiful tiny human.
The trip to get baby registered and the excitement you feel.
The crazy amount of proudness that fills you when people see your baby, compliment her and praise you for doing such a good job (even though you haven’t got a clue what you are doing).
Those moments when your baby looks at you in the eye, so helpless and precious making you feel like the most important and most loved person in the world.
The laughs you and your partner have about the little (and loud) noises that come from a sleeping baby.
So the first two weeks postpartum recovery has been hard. A lot harder than labour, I would rather give birth all over again than go through recovery.
Although saying that, it wasn’t as bad as people say. Which was nice (I guess). Don’t let this scare you, think we’ve all been here and countless women have done it multiple times or even plan to.