One thing that I’ve noticed is that people don’t really talk about the bad, ugly, and negatives about pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. From my experience, most of my friends and family members told me how they miss being pregnant and how wonderful it was. I did not enjoy being pregnant.
When it came to after the baby was born I was told either “enjoy it because it goes by fast” and/or “you’re not going to get a ton of sleep”.. but none of that got me prepared for what was going to come. Being at the hospital for three nights with BB kind of helped us because his first night (Monday night going into Tuesday) he was such an “easy baby.” He slept, barely cried, and was pretty mellow. Given the fact that I wasn’t at all mobile and pretty much confined to my hospital bed, he was either chillin in his bassinet or the nurse gave me him and he hung out with me in the bed. However, Tuesday and Wednesday night were a different story. He was more fussy. He wouldn’t stay still in the bassinet even though he was nicely swaddled. He would cry. It was just so hard to care for him especially not being able to get out of bed. So the thought about being able to care for him at home without the help of the nurses scared the shit out of me.
Since leaving the hospital and being at home, I’ve been living in my “mom uniform” which consists of incontinence underwear, a nursing bra or my hands-free pumping bra (if I even wear one), and a robe. It’s easy and comfortable. And with what I got going on “down there” due to childbirth and my hematoma surgery wearing pants is not my go to and simply put, being comfortable is more important to me. Also, I don’t want to deal with the hassle of putting on “normal clothes” just to struggle with having to nurse BB or trying to make it to the bathroom before pissing myself…
Which brings me to the fact that here I am 7 weeks after giving birth and I don’t have total control over my bladder. Things have gotten better than it was before. I am not wetting myself every single time I have to pee (and yes this was a thing for me), but it still happens – and I hear things are never the same after giving birth. I’ll tinkle every time I sneeze. Stand up? You bet I tinkle. At least once a day I’ll be in the kitchen washing bottles or taking meds or whatever and I think to myself “I need to pee” but decide to wait 5 minutes to finish up what I am doing and of course it’s too late. This is why I’ve been living in my Always Incontinence underwear. I’ll post my postpartum essentials down below. But yeah, these have been so clutch… and dare I say they’re comfortable? haha. I’ve learn to accept these as part of who I am for now and I love cracking jokes about them. I always tell BB “After I change your diaper, mommy needs to go change her diaper!”
One thing I was expecting was to be bleeding like crazy. I’ve been told that the postpartum bleeding is super intense. Like think of your heaviest period day and multiply that by like 10. Given the fact that I had 20 stitches from childbirth alone and surgery, I was expecting my postpartum bleeding to be insane. The first week and half was pretty heavy, but surprisingly it slowed down a lot by the 2nd week. Then right before 4 weeks postpartum I wasn’t bleeding anymore. My Always overnight maxi pads were great for the bleeding!
Here’s the items I loved:
- Always Incontinence Underwear
- Always Overnight Maxi Extra Heavy Pads – I even used these to make my own padsicles
- Frida Mom Perineal Cooling Pad Liners
- Honey Pot Herbal Postpartum Pads
- Frida Mom Peri Bottle
- Frida Mom Perineal Witch Hazel Healing Foam
- Frida Mom Instant Ice Maxi Pads
- Tucks Cooling Pads
- Dermoplast Pain Relief Spray
- Frida Mom Disposable Postpartum Underwear
Right out of the hospital I was using the Frida Mom Disposable Postpartum Underwear because they were soooo stretchy and lightweight (they felt like the ones from the hospital) along with the Frida mom Instant Ice Maxi Pads (just like the hospital’s). Then I would put a Frida Mom Perineal Cooling Pad Liner on top of the pad and add a few pumps of the healing foam on top. Before putting the underwear on, I’d spray down there with the dermoplast. This was my routine for my first day home until week 2. I switched to the Always Incontinence Underwear during week 2 and then moved to the maxi overnight pads. I used the instant ice pads 3 times a day for pain relief.
Pumping SUCKS. I hate it. I don’t understand how those who are pumping exclusively do it. It’s so time consuming and I don’t like being stuck in one place hooked up to my pump. I feel like I’ve done sooo much trying to increase my supply, but nothing seems to be helping me. I’ve tried a bunch of different lactation cookies, bars, chocolate bark, teas, and drinks. I’ve purchased different supplements (Motherly Love and Legendary Milk) and even bought the Greater Than coconut water drink. I tried power pumping to see if that would help. I even bought a manual pump because the Haakaa didn’t seem like it was doing much for me. Everything I’ve been doing hasn’t helped… in fact I feel like my supply went down. Thankfully I am not exclusively breastfeeding (EBF). I wanted to breastfeed, but I was willing to keep an open mind. I just wanted to make sure he was happy and fed. He wasn’t picky with either breastmilk or formula so that helped. In fact, he is not picky with his bottles or pacifiers!
Going through the struggles of getting my supply up made me understand more how those that are chestfeeding can get so drained mentally and emotionally. It’s very tiring! And sometimes you go down that path of “why can’t I provide for my baby?” and it really messes with you. After my pumping sessions and seeing how little I’m producing it really makes me sad that I can’t produce more and yes, I feel like a failure sometimes. However, I do remind myself that BB is healthy and he’s growing and he is fed thanks to feeding him formula. He’s a chonky happy boy and that is all that matters.
Yes, I am sleep deprived. Not terribly – I am averaging about 4-6 hours a day, but I know that’s not enough, but I at least get 4 consecutive hours so I feel somewhat “rested.” I basically sleep when my parents have BB. Taylor and I stay up at night to watch him together for the most part. There are some nights where him or I are tired so we’ll take turns, but usually we do it together. Lately, we’ve switched things around where he will get BB at night first, and then I’ll get him towards the last half of the late night/early morning. We are very fortunate to have my parents here to help us. Not sure what we would do without their help to be honest. I do feel like if we can get BB to sleep in his crib/bassinet, and if he can sleep throughout the night, it would help T and I tremendously that we wouldn’t need to be staying up with him. That is my goal for the month of June.
I am tired. I am bruised. I am swollen. I am bleeding. I am still not “healed.” When I look at myself in the mirror, my body is not the same. It’s different. I am not (yet) comfortable in this “new” body and I know it’s never going to be what it used to be. There are times where I do want to break down in tears from frustration and fatigue. Sometimes I think to myself “what the fuck did we get ourselves into?” But then I see BB’s little face and I know it was all worth it. I love my son so much. Now that he’s here I can’t imagine my life without him.