I’m a total planner.
I like to have things organized. I like to have goals to work towards. And I like it when things go according to (my) plan.
So when this baby decided she was going to come via C-Section, my whole world become one big unknown in the span of 24 hours.
I had no idea what to expect from the procedure itself. And I had little to no idea of what the recovery process would be like. I tried to read a few articles here and there, but most of them just talked about taking pain medication, walking as soon as you could, and waiting for the doctor to clear you for “activity” of all kinds. Until then, it was a whole lot of gray.
Now that I’m 3+ weeks into the recovery process, there are (more than) a few things that surprised me.
The swelling. Oh, the swelling.
The last 4-6 weeks of my pregnancy were filled with swelling. I totally had Shrek feet. Clothing became super tight in the legs (goodbye skinny jeans, hello leggings and yoga pants). I stopped being able to wear my wedding bands. And three fingers on my right hand went numb.
To say that I was excited to have this baby so the swelling would go away is an understatement.
Sadly, the exact opposite happen. The swelling got WAY worse before it started to get better. Meaning, my entire body (and face) ballooned up and I was super uncomfortable. It’s finally gone down to the point where my feet aren’t swollen and I can actually get my weddings bands back on.
I’m not sure what I thought happened immediately after giving birth, but it didn’t really include having a pregnant looking belly still.
I know, I know. Rationally, it makes sense that the belly doesn’t just immediately disappear. But, seriously. It really doesn’t go away that quickly. Thankfully, I packed my favorite yoga pants and maternity leggings so I was comfortable in the hospital and on the way home.
At 3 weeks postpartum, I look about 3-4 months pregnant and am still in my maternity clothing.
I am seriously happy at how the bump has started to go down and am actually beginning to recognize my body again.
The one things I did read about with regard to a C-Section was how helpful abdominal bands like the Belly Bandit* are when it comes to recovery.
I can confidently say that this was a godsend. Not only did it help with the whole compression of the incision thing, it also helped to keep all my parts together when laughing, coughing, or sneezing. I’m not sure I could have been quick enough on the draw to grab a pillow like they recommend.
Thankfully the hospital provided a band for me when I asked, so didn’t have to go out and buy one. But I totally would have gone out and bought one otherwise.
The joys of breastfeeding.
It seems like all of my deepest fears about pregnancy and parenthood revolved around breastfeeding. I have no idea why this was the target of it all, but it was. Add surgery into the mix, and holy crap did this get even more intensified for me.
It took a lot of trial and error to figure out what was most comfortable.
Suffice it to say the football hold made a huge difference. As did lots of pillows—instead of the Boppy*—in the very beginning because of the incision and the way my belly was still big, and using the My Brest Friend* nursing pillow when we got home.
It also took a lot of work to let go of the huge amount of guilt I felt around taking pain medication while breastfeeding.
Oh, and whoever tells you that breastfeeding doesn’t hurt in the beginning is LYING. That first 10-20 seconds are torture. It does get better over time, but the first few days to week(s) are intense. Like eyes-rolling-in-the-back-of-your-head intense. I took to singing ridiculous songs like Row, Row, Row Your Boat just to distract myself.
Holy hormones, batman.
It’s one thing to know about the Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression. It is another thing entirely to experience it.
I had a major hormone crash while in the hospital (that kind of sent me into a tailspin), and a few others once I got home. So weird to be crying hysterically, knowing that there is nothing wrong but not being able to stop it.
Naps and breastfeeding seemed to really help balance me out. As did the pain medication.
The ravenous hunger (and thirst).
I thought I knew what hunger was. Then I became pregnant. And really thought I knew what hunger was.
Yeah…nothing compares the hunger I am feeling while breastfeeding. I wake up ravenous. I go to bed ravenous. I feel ravenous immediately after eating a big meal.
And thirsty. So thirsty, in fact, that I’ve taken to keeping not one but two water bottles on my night stand (along with a handful of snacks), because inevitably, one isn’t enough.
Living life in 2-3 hour chunks.
This has probably been the biggest adjustment for me. I am so not used to having to plan my life in 2-3 hour chunks. And am finding that my brain is having a really hard time with this one.
Pre-baby, I would just wake up (after 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep), shower, have breakfast, and then go sit in my office and work for 6-8 hours with a small break for lunch, before stopping to make dinner.
I have to decide whether I want to shower or eat or nap before feeding the baby again. And then IF I’m lucky, get a 20 minute stretch at the computer (if she’ll nap in her crip and not on me). The rest of my time is spent feeding the baby, huffing her head, and cuddling with her.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m loving every second I have with the baby. I’m just adjusting to our new normal.
I’ll admit that I thought it was a weird suggestion in all of the “What to Pack for the Hospital” lists to have cotton underwear that was a bit…higher waisted.
Now that I’m on the other side, I totally get it.
Having a bikini line incision, and then trying to wear bikini cut panties is like a special kind of hell. I had to dig deep in the underwear drawer to find some suitable options that weren’t going to irritate my incision.
My recommendation, don’t be vain. Get the damn granny panties and be comfortable. You’re not exactly going to feel like having sexy time (nor will you be cleared for it) for a while.
And there you have it. The first three weeks of life with a new baby.
I’m learning a little something new—about motherhood, myself, The Hubster—everyday.
Also feeling like my heart is going to explode with sheer happiness every time I look down at the beautiful baby in my arms.
Life. is. good.
PS—Didn’t have a chance to read about how Anna came into this world? You can find it here.
PPS—The * indicates where there is an affiliate link on Amazon.
PPPS—Many thanks to My Mama, Janet Towbin, for the gorgeous photos.
Posted by Emily Levenson | 0 comments