I’m technically seven weeks postpartum on Friday–but hey, whose counting? This is usually the part where I would say “not me”, but I most definitely am counting. I can’t describe it to those who haven’t been through it, but what I can say is birth left a permanent mark on me. A major life event happened (obviously) and I truly feel the imprint it left on me physically, emotionally and mentally. They say you will never forget the day you give birth, however many times you do, but that statement is so much deeper than just “you won’t forget”. Not only was Lorenzo born that day, but in a way it feels like I was born again too…because, well I was. What I’m trying to say is, I didn’t expect this feeling. This feeling of going through something huge and still carrying it with me. Not in a negative way, but in such a positive, shout it from the rooftops type of way. The adrenaline rush is still very much here, it’s still running through me and I’m still replaying the day January 22nd, 2021 at least once a day. It was magical, exhilarating, challenging and life changing all in one. But hey, the fun doesn’t stop there! It’s only just beginning.
I’ve had so much interest in my postpartum journey from you all, which I really wasn’t expecting. I kind of figured everyone would be interested in all things baby (which everyone still is ha) and not really care too much about the aftermath of birth–AKA postpartum. Wrong! I have gotten every question under the sun and that’s all everyone wants to talk about. Bring it on, I can talk about it all day! With that being said, I decided I would do these check-in blog posts with commonly asked questions and just kind of summarize each stage of my postpartum journey for those interested.
***Please keep in mind that everyone’s postpartum journey is unique. This is just mine and my experience!
My biggest and only complaint about this journey so far, is the loss of sleep. I’m someone that requires a full 9 hours and let me tell ya…I haven’t gotten that much sleep since January 20th–no joke. In my opinion, there really is nothing that can prepare you for the sleep deprivation that you experience with a newborn. There is also nothing you can do to avoid it. Losing sleep (whether you require a lot of it or not) takes a huge toll on your mental health and also your body. Of course, this isn’t the only thing that’s happening. Loss of sleep is just one of the things happening in the midst of the chaos! But my biggest challenge so far I would have to say is this. I was telling Tim the other day that I was laughing because I thought getting up in the middle of the night to pee once or twice while pregnant was preparing me to have a newborn. Ha! If only.
The side affects of loss of sleep didn’t really hit for me until about 3 to 4 weeks in. In the very beginning, I was running off adrenaline. The hormones. Falling in love with my brand new baby, my husband all over again, seeing all my friends and family meet him for the first time, and being surrounded by loved ones everyday. It really was a dream, so mentally I was in such a good space. It was all I could ask for and more! I of course had a few moments of tears, like when I was frustrated with breastfeeding, or getting mad at myself for something small and silly. But overall, the hormone rush and adrenaline really carried me gracefully through those first few weeks. And of course, all the help from friends and family.
Part of what makes me, me, is my organized and do it all personality. Sign me up for all the things, I don’t want to miss out on anything! Also, nothing is going to go wrong because I’m on top of it and everything will be perfect. That was me, and then motherhood happened. Lol! My mental health started to take a turn when I realized I was still trying to keep up with that mentality at the same pace I was before Lorenzo came into the world. Once I realized that, that’s when needing to put work in came in. I am very grateful that I am self-aware, and since I am I was/am able to notice signs of PPD.
I say “am”, because these signs started to surface recently actually–during his first developmental leap. Which if you know what the leaps are (check out the wonder weeks app if ya don’t) then you know they’re rough. This was only about a week ago at this point, so I’m still navigating the feelings I was in the beginning. Even though I’m on top of it and I go to therapy weekly, I’m having to put in the work everyday to consistently work through my symptoms and feelings. I know it will all be worth it in the end, and everything will be ok, but that doesn’t mean its easy.
The simple answer to summarize my physical aspect of postpartum so far is this: my pelvic floor is a mess. I knew pretty much a few hours after birth, after regaining feeling down there, that I was going to have a lot of work to do. Some people say the first poop after you give birth is awful, but mine actually wasn’t that bad. It was peeing that was the nightmare–and I didn’t even get a catheter! It took hours for me to connect with my muscles again, be able to push and let out pee. It was so weak (and still is) that it was a rough go in the beginning. Luckily, I’ve had no problems urinating since the day I gave birth (minus my UTI). But man…walking around the house, getting up and out of bed, sitting up and down, going to the restroom, walking to the mailbox–just those simple, everyday tasks are daunting and actually difficult. I found out this week though, that our health insurance covers pelvic floor therapy (insert happy dance here) and I’ll be going to my first consultation in a few weeks and then hopefully going weekly until I can regain strength.
Minus my pelvic floor, physically my recovery from birth was actually beautiful. I had no pain (believe it or not) sitting down those first few days on beds or chairs. My stitches dissolved on their own and everything is back to normal! What I mean by normal is my uterus has returned back where it belongs, and everything has “settled”. I’ll never forget being two or three days postpartum and texting my sister-in-law (L&D nurse) that I felt like my insides were going to fall out. I was laying down to go to bed on my side, and I just felt…loose. Which that feeling, really is your organs and all your insides settling back into position after being all over the place for nine months. I ended up having to sleep with my pregnancy pillow for an extra two weeks to help feel secure when I was going to bed, and you know. Not like my intestines were going to roll out. Lol!
Six weeks in and the journey has only just begun. These past few weeks have felt like the longest days of my life, but also the shortest weeks. The saying, “the days are long but the years are short”, could not ring more true to me now that I have entered motherhood. The constant tug of wanting to freeze time but also make it go faster. I’ve learned a lot in this first month and a half, but I look forward to processing it all over the next few weeks and really stepping into this new role, and identity.