Today our little girl is two weeks old.
My previous post was all about her: how she was after the birth, her treatment and how she is settling in at home. I thought I would also write a post about how I am feeling and what I have been through, both physically and mentally in the last 2 weeks.
Be warned, I will not be holding anything back. Read no further if you are squeamish or would just rather not know!
Straight after Fenn was born, I was given an injection to help me give birth to the placenta. In my birth plan, I wanted a natural third stage (placental birth) but due to it becoming a high risk birth, that went out the window along with almost everything else on my birth plan. To be honest, I didn’t even notice the injection or the placenta being born due to the epidural. It must have been out within minutes though as I was being stitched up almost immediately. During the stitching, I asked to see the placenta. I couldn’t see that closely as I was on my back in stirrups, but the midwife wheeled it over and lifted it up to show me. It was really amazing. She said it was small, but it had worked perfectly.
The mum tum…
Once we were back in the room and I had given Fenn some skin to skin time and breastfed her, I could have a poke at my deflated belly. It felt like pizzza dough inside someone else’s dry skin! However, I didn’t seem to mind because I had my girl. Luckily my uterus has been shrinking back down quickly, and my skin seems to have escaped without much damage! No stretch marks, and only a little bit of a baby belly at this point.
Everyone bleeds after birth, but some for longer than others. For me it was like a heavy period flow, and I have nearly stopped bleeding now at 14 days PP. You also pass a few blood clots in the first day or two. My most impressive one was about the size of a golf ball! I had to hand it over to the midwife to check… Lucky her!
Because I am breastfeeding, the hormones produced whilst lactating trigger the uterus to contract back down. This is great for getting your pre-pregnancy belly back, but it really makes you bleed and I occasionally get afterpains, which feel like mild contractions. These apparently get worse after a second baby.
For those who don’t know, an episiotomy is a cut made through the skin and muscle of the perineum to enlarge the opening for the baby to come out. Apart from a C section, it was my absolute worst nightmare. However, Fenn needed to come out quickly as she was in distress, and at the time I didn’t care how that needed to happen. She was the most important thing.
Before the doctor started stitching, I could have sworn I heard someone say “We had to cut you three times.” WHAAAAT! Three times!! Luckily it was just me hearing things, and it was just the once. Once is enough.
The first day after birth was OK pain wise. I felt like I had been kicked in the foof, but not too bad. On day two though, the pain started. Oh my. Having had your perineum cut with a pair of scissors is about as painful as it sounds, and it is a real challenge to keep the wound dry when you are bleeding heavily from the birth. I have been having a bath and a shower every day. I mix 5 drops of lavender oil into some milk and add that to my bath water, and once or twice a day I sploosh the wound with some slightly salty water, either whilst on the loo or in the shower.
After a few days, I gathered enough courage to have a feel downstairs. Sob…I mourn the loss of my pre baby lady bits!
Once or twice over the last 2 weeks I felt a tight pulling sensation and had a bit of fresh blood. I wasn’t even doing anything exciting, just shuffling about! I could feel that the stitches had come open slightly at the surface, so I got the midwife to look at them at my check up on day 12. Yep, the skin stitches have ruptured but the muscle stitches are still in place. The skin should start to mesh back on its own, but I might need to have some further ‘work’ done. Great.
It took until day 13 for me to start forgetting I had a massacred lady garden every time I stood, sat or moved. Garden peas and pain killers are a life saver… Make sure you have plenty of each if you are about to give birth!
The first poo…
I had read that the first poo after giving birth can often be as traumatic as the labour itself. I prepared myself with a big bag of prunes in my hospital bag. I started munching them as soon as possible after labour, and they were brilliant! Nothing solid and traumatic for 4 days!
The baby blues…
These are very real! Two days after Fenn was born, I was a mess. A well meaning but blunt midwife told me I had to start feeding the baby more. I wanted to shout “I AM TRYING! I AM DOING MY VERY BEST AND YOU MAKING ME FEEL LIKE SHIT RIGHT NOW ISN’T HELPING!” But instead I just sat on my bed and bawled my eyes out. I cried a few more times that day, mostly from feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.
It is around day 2-3 when all of your happy pregnancy hormones start to vanish, and the endorphins from birth are leaving your system. They leave you an emotional wreck.
I knew that I might feel weepy and overwhelmed; I was ready for that. What I wasn’t prepared for was the anxiety. On day three, as the day progressed I could feel my heart starting to race. It felt like it was in my throat. I then started to think about Fenn dying of SIDS, and combined with a leaflet my OH passed me about meningitis, I went into panic mode. I was sat wringing my hands with worry and I planned not to sleep that night. I was going to sit and watch her, just in case she started suffocating. It was completely irrational and I knew it, but it completely took over me for about two days. I would sob in the shower for ages, worried that I would always feel like that. I was OK during the day, but as night approached, I could feel my heart rising up my throat again.
The most important thing I did was tell my OH how I was feeling. It really helped to know that he knew. He understands irrational anxiety, so he helped me get through it with reassurance and a lot of oxytocin building hugs and contact. It lasted 2 days, but it was awful; I never want to feel like that again.
Over the last nine months, we have taken a picture of my baby bump every week. I wanted to record how my body changed over time, and I have been able to compile the following photo:
I love that I will be able to show Fenn how she looked in the womb when she is older.
Post pregnancy body…
Weight at 37 weeks pregnant: 10stones 1lb
Weight 2 days after birth: 9stones 1lb
Fenn’s birth weight: 6lbs
Weight 2 weeks Post Partum: 8stones 12lbs
Waist measurement at 37 weeks: 36.5″
Waist measurement at 2 weeks PP: 29″
So there you go, a full run down of the fun that comes after delivering a baby via ventouse. Add to those delights the broken sleep and it is no wonder people struggle in the first few weeks. However, every ache and pain is absolutely worth it because we have Fenn. I just won’t be in a rush to do it again just yet!