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I heard many, many horror stories about the postpartum period. I am not saying that I have had a textbook postpartum period, but this is my experience! I’m now 15 days past the date of delivery so I feel like it’s the appropriate time to cover this stuff! I’m also including things you should buy for this stage as I wish I would have bought more in advance instead of having to rely on other people to run errands and get this stuff for me!
Stomach: Everything I read before having the baby said that I’d look about 6 months pregnant after he was out of me.
Well, I looked more than 6 months pregnant for sure because at 6 months, you could hardly even tell I was pregnant! I think all pregnant women want to know what the post-pregnant belly looks like! Well, you know me, I don’t care…so here are some pictures of the belly after the baby 🙂
This is 2 days after delivery:
Honestly, even though it may not look awesome, it FEELS awesome! I have a belly button again! I can bend over comfortably! I can see my privates! From night one after he was born I have LOVED sleeping on my back with one hand on my belly. It feels so wonderful to not have a baby in there anymore! I feel sexier too…the sexiest I’ve felt in 9 months that’s for sure! Putting my hands on my hips also feels great because I can actually GRAB my hips haha! Zach even commented on my “new” look. He said that I was beautiful pregnant but that it just feels so nice to look at me and see EMILY again! Ashley even said the same thing!
I am so glad I spent some time laying out before he was born because my stomach is ultra-tan. My pregnant belly looked pretty dark but now that it’s all getting smaller all the tan-ness looks even better 🙂
The downside of the belly? More stretch marks. I have them on each side and some under my belly button. Also the weight loss. I dropped 20 lbs the first night in the hospital, then gained back seven when we got home, lost four within the first week and now I’m the same as last week so I have 22 lbs to lose! Supposedly breastfeeding takes it off right? I’ll keep y’all posted on that but I plan to push him in the stroller at the fastest pace I can around the neighborhood for at least 30 min a day. And only eat when I’m hungry! We’ll see how it goes…Zach lost 10 lbs when the baby was born! And he didn’t gain ANY my whole pregnancy..so annoying!
*Buy: When you pick out maternity clothes, think ahead! Most of the stuff I bought showed off my tummy, well I don’t want to show it off now do I??? Also realize you’ll be bigger than you think. I bought a couple things to wear “before I lose the weight” and they are too small. Instead of a size small at Old Navy I’m a size extra large (I could cry) right now. Keep in mind…this is the BIGGEST you will be so the clothes that are slightly tight will only get looser (it keeps me sane remembering this).
Nails: They are soo much prettier! Longer and stronger! Strange b/c I thought they were supposed to be that way WHILE I was pregnant, not after
Skin: My face is discolored which is gross looking. I’ve been downing so much water though so I’m hoping it will clear up soon. I was super puffy from the dumb IV and it took a couple days to go down but when I look in the mirror now I see myself! A nice feeling 🙂
*Buy: I am so glad I bought face wipes to take to the hospital. I didn’t feel like bending over the sink to wash up and I just pulled out the wipes and felt instantly refreshed! A great purchase!
Stitches: I never once looked at my stitches (although I had a nurse look once and my mom looked twice). I’m pretty sure all the stitches were out by Sunday though and I had the max number of stitches possible. The healing down there was very sore and it hurt to sit down. I worried that I had a hemorrhoid because of the pain but I didn’t even though I did use cream anyway just as a prevention! I did not wash with ANY soap down there until today (day 15) as I didn’t want to risk messing anything up. I also left it unshaven (gross) until today as well just to make sure.
*Buy: Next time I plan to save money on my hospital bill and buy a bunch of the stuff that they “give” you there because they charge outrageous amounts for it. Buy the blue spray bottle of Dermoplast (it’s $7 at Walmart, I think they charged $15 at the hospital). Also I bought Walmart brand hemorrhoid cream that was awesome. Next time I’m buying my own witch hazel pads (if I can find them).
Lochia: I heard so many bad things about this and about how horrible it would be! I’m on day 15 and am no longer bleeding. Slight spotting when I pee but no blood in my panty liner. Yes, panty liner. Goodbye huge pads! I never bled through any clothing or even any panties. I only used the hospital panties (these stretchy things) for 2 days then I wore my own size Smalls (I didn’t even wear the mediums I bought for the occasion). I quit using the hospital pads on day 2 and just used some overnights with wings that I had bought.
I did keep the area VERY clean and I think that helped with both the bleeding and the stitches. I used the TWO squirt bottles I got from the hospital each time I went to the bathroom. I also sprayed the Dermoplast spray they gave me each time and often put a little witch hazel pad near my butt area to help when I sat down. The actual stitches themselves weren’t that annoying but the whole process of going to the bathroom and how long it took to clean everything after was the annoying part. Kye would be crying, ready to eat, but I’d have to take 15-20 minutes just to go pee before feeding him. I’m so glad that’s over!
I passed one blood clot and that was pretty nasty. I had Mom come look at that too just in case it was something bad! I heard you’d have after birth pains in your stomach. I’ve had like maybe 8 light contractions total. I actually wish I’d have more because that means my uterus would be going back to normal size and hopefully my belly too!!!
*Buy: If you can find a blow up ring somewhere to sit on, buy it. It’s so cheap looking and the hospital charged us $25 for it! We also ended up buying a ring to sit on while at the computer (which I’m still using haha). It’s nice to relieve the pressure from “down there.”
Poop: The hospital stool softener didn’t work, the walmart brand when I got home didn’t work, and the “real” brand didn’t work either. Nothing softened up my stools for me! I have stayed pretty regular (as I’ve ALWAYS been) but that doesn’t mean it’s been easy. The first few days were tough and were not comfy.
I did have a hard time going the first couple days and ended up soaking in a couple Epsom Salt baths. It really did the trick and I highly recommend that! I would pour it in the bath with warm water and sit on the blow up ring the hospital gave me and kinda rock back and forth on it to make sure the whole area got plenty wet! A couple hours later and BAM I’d poop 🙂
*Buy: Epsom salt is a must. I bought a small thing of it before (I just happened to see it at Walmart and grabbed it because I’d read about it somewhere!) but I ended up having to have someone get me a HUGE thing of it. Also next time I’m taking my own stool softerner to the hospital. Since none of it worked anyway I might as well save the money. The “best” stuff is supposed to be Dulcolax.
Sweat: I bought (or got as gifts) adorable long sleeved pj sets to wear around the house after having the baby. Yeah. Right. Instead, I’ve LIVED in the same over sized t-shirts and grunge pj pants I wore while pregnant (although now I can wear a sz small mens shirt instead of only an extra large!). I am so so so hot.
I was burning up in the delivery room, in the hospital room, and now at home as well. We’ve kept the thermostat on 70 (for the baby) and it never fails, every night I wake up caked in sweat. I end up sleeping with my hair in a scrunchy (yes, an 80’s scrunchy…I like them!). While this sucks, it’s also a good thing because 1) it forces me to shower EVERY day! (something I heard new moms never get to do) 2) it makes me wash my pjs more often and the sheets as well (I have a feeling I would have walked around in the same thing for the first three days if they weren’t covered in sweat).
*Buy: short-sleeved nursing pj’s and around the house pjs! Also stock up on some deodorant..you’ll thank me for it!
Mouth: Something I didn’t expect were the mouth sores. I didn’t read about this anywhere and I think it’s from a lack of sleep but I got little sores on both sides of my tongue. Not fun! Mom ran out and bought me some medicated mouthwash and it was a lifesaver for me those first couple of nights!!! I still actually have a sore in my mouth. So annoying!!!
*Buy: medicated mouthwash. Also I recommend a new toothbrush waiting for you when you get home! I opened a new one and it was heaven 🙂
Arms: If you push like I did your legs will feel FINE and your arms will KILL you. I mean think about it..your legs really don’t do any work. Every time they had me push they had me use my arms to PULL my legs up. I had done so much work on my legs too and then didn’t even need them! I have no cure for the arm issue. They hurt so badly and were so weak that I hardly held my baby for the first several days. In the hospital I was too scared to hold him because I thought I might drop him. That’s how weak they were!
I also got very dry patches on each of my arms. I don’t know why that happened but it did! Of course, I recommend Cocoa Butter! I love that junk!
*Buy: Really there isn’t anything to buy…but I’d get some light hand weights and throughout pregnancy while watching tv or something I’d do lots of reps to get your arms strong. That’s why I plan to do next time for sure!
Exhaustion: After three nights at home I felt rested! I stopped sleeping at all during the day 6 days after he was born. I think that’s pretty awesome but I think it could have been sooner if I would have rested more in the beginning. Like I mentioned before I had him Wednesday night, slept for maybe a full hour that night, then went home the next night and got maybe two hours. That is NOT enough. By Saturday I was totally out of it and HAD to get sleep. We ended up hanging blankets over the windows in our room and Zach and Mom let me sleep until Kye needed food then they’d wake me up, I’d nurse, then go back to bed. This is what I should have done from Day One and I bet by Day Three I would have been able to stay up all day!
I do think the Lord prepares us for a baby in the house by making our bladder so tiny during pregnancy. I’d wake up 3-4 times a night to pee then and now it’s the same thing but instead of peeing I’m feeling a baby (sure it is like a 45 min long “pee” but still concept is the same). Since I was already so used to waking up at night I easily jump right out of bed with no problems! Zach and I both talk gibberish though when we wake up during those night feedings!
To prepare for all the help you will need I highly recommend making lots of lists. I wrote out instructions on how to run our washer and dryer (even though I still ended up doing the laundry! Mom did it while she was here but Zach has taken over cooking instead of washing clothes). I also tried to keep our home as clean as possible. Not that I was scrubbing toilets or anything but everything has had a place where it belongs. We needed some pillows to sleep on the couch so I got some out but made sure there was an empty storage basket in the living room where they could go when not in use. Even though it feels like your house is turned upside down, the most “normal” you can keep things looking, the better you will feel! A clean house equals a less stressed ME!!!
Mood: This is the funniest part about postpartum. Just like I was shocked that I was so upbeat during delivery, I’m even MORE surprised how I acted when we left the hospital. I am usually a very very private person. I know I seem super open here, and I am open in that sense, but I don’t like random people stopping by my house. Ever. If anyone needs to give us something they will beep their horn and we will go out to the driveway to meet them. No joke! We had a housewarming party back in the summer and those who showed up got to see the house. Those that didn’t show? Well most of them still haven’t seen it. A lot of my “privacy” has to do with the dogs. Most of the Parker’s don’t like dogs in the house and it’s awkward when they come over here and Levi barks like crazy and Sadie jumps all over them to kiss them. I hate hearing how we “shouldn’t” allow the dogs to do this or that so a lot of people haven’t been invited over simply because it’s awkward!
Zach and I have also worked pretty hard over the last four years to make boundaries with his family since they are all super tight and he’s the only son so, naturally, it has been hard for his mom to let go. It’s all gotten to be so great and she’s been doing so much better not being as noisy! His family knows to call before coming over and that we are very planned people so we may not be available for every last minute get-together. Well in just a few short days all that hard work was practically thrown out the window and it was my fault. Instead of the “baby blues” I had the “baby overly nices.”
It started in the hospital. I let EVERYONE come visit who wanted. Then it continued at home. I gave sooo many people an “open door policy.” My original plan? Was to give only open door policies to Ashley and Katie. Instead? I gave them out like candy. In the first 24 hours home (with no sleep, with a dying dog, with tons of breastfeeding issues that I’ll discuss later) I had so so so many visitors. Mrs. Charlotte was at our house almost as much as we were! Granted, everyone was super nice and it was good to have help. It also made me WAY too tired. Next time, my door will stay closed and I will get my rest. Even though people bringing food, cleaning up, and coming to visit seems like it would be super helpful it can also be a pain. Because each person that comes has a million opinions on what to do or overly worries about the baby (Zach and I are surprisingly pretty easy going with him). All these type things just cause stress and I was allowing it all to happen!
I realized I was out of this phase when I was on the phone to Mrs. Charlotte and I mentioned something about my cracked nipple (more later I PROMISE) and she said, “oh yeah is it your right one b/c I know how badly that one was cracked?” Um, when your mother in law knows which nipple is cracked the worst..that’s a sign that you’ve opened the door WAY too wide!!!!!
I know when I talked to Crissy about postpartum she said she was MEGA anti-social. Well she’s usually super sweet and super open to anyone visiting anytime. Maybe everyone acts the opposite of themselves after they have a baby? I’m just glad to be back to having my quiet house and even if that means I have to be a little more pushy at least I have MY life back to just Zach and I (and now Kye) and that’s how I like it!!!
When reading up on postpartum everything sounded horrible but it would all say that none of the bad stuff (like lochia) would bother you because you’d be so happy to have your baby. Well I’m happy to have my baby but the arm pain and the annoyance of how long it took to pee were two things that DID bother me. At least I know everything is the roughest with the first baby and each baby after will only get easier!!!