Post-Partum Recovery

Depending on how your delivery went, you are going to need some time to recovery from pushing a whole human being out of your body.

The time for c-section recovery is longer than that of a vaginal delivery. Plus your movements are a lot more limited as you can’t twist at the waist and risk ripping your stitches.

I had a vaginal delivery. When you have a vaginal delivery, especially for the first time, you are likely to have some tearing. Tearing can go from 1st to 4th degree.

My tearing was 3rd degree, and as such will require a little more care and a little more time to recuperate. My groin area is a little sensitive, the first few days, almost a week I would say, I couldn’t scoot or move quickly. Sitting in the car was extremely painful, and when I walked around for too long, I would get the worst throbbing and aching.

I was out walking a bit right away. We went to Walmart to pick up the things you don’t realize you’ll need until you are leaving the hospital. We went to the doctors and did a few other errands when my daughter was only three and four days old. So I was getting some exercise in probably before I should have.

Sitz baths become your best friend if you have ANY stitches after giving birth. Going to the bathroom becomes this terrifying thing, or coughing, or farting. All the little things you used to do without even thinking about become this thing you build up to, afraid the movement will tear a stitch.

Other than my stitches, I had body aches. I wasn’t sure what the cause was, but across my shoulders and my arms were aching. My body felt like I had just run a marathon without preparing for it and all my muscles were slowly shutting down. That in combination with the lack of sleep, really made me feel like my body wasn’t my own.

There were a lot of things that made me question what was normal. Every body is different, every one handles things differently. There are women who are up and about a few days after giving birth, while there are some who feel like they need to spend the first week in bed recovering. There isn’t one way that is better than the other, it is just what is best for you.

Since we got home, I have spent a lot of my time on the couch. I have divided my time up between napping, breastfeeding, pumping, and changing my daughter. My whole world revolves around her and what she needs, and if I am being perfectly honest, doing it any other way right now wouldn’t make any sense for me.

Here in Toronto, things are cooling down. Had she been born a little bit earlier when the weather was nicer, we may have ventured out a little every day to go for a walk and explore the neighbourhood.

With my daughter still only ten days old, I don’t really want to risk taking her outside unless I REALLY have to. It’s chilly. Even sitting inside with the windows open I am constantly touching her little feet and taking her temperature to be sure she is okay. Taking her outside right now is really low on my list.

Not to mention my stitches are still a tad sore. I am taking Advil and Tylenol for them every day. Other than that I am also still wearing pads.

I haven’t worn pads since I was in high school, and I don’t miss them. Having my period is not really something I dread with all these new types of comfort tampons, plus I have always had a light flow so three or four days of tampons is really nothing.

At the hospital they put you in this giant life raft as soon as you deliver. It is so massive that your underwear can hardly contain it. It is like watching that toddler with that huge dump in the back of his diaper waddling around. It was huge! I was in that giant life raft pad for a few hours until I had to pee for the first time and then I switched over to the super pads I had brought along with me.

It’s important to note that as well as all the paperwork differences in the hospital, they no longer provide you with necessities for your stay. No diapers and wipes for the baby, no pads for mom. These are things you have to have brought with you, or you will be doing without. (At least here in Toronto.)

I went with the long, super overnights.

Time for over sharing! (Like I hadn’t been doing that already)

I bled a lot for the first 48 hours. I was changing my pads at least once every hour and a half to two hours or I was leaking through. The squirt bottle they give you to replace wiping was my best friend in that time as I was so swollen down there, I don’t know if I could have wiped even if I was pain free and could.

After the first 48 hours I was actually able to switch to regular pads. I was changing those every three hours or so (this really depending on when I would be napping).

Something I did notice was I went a few days in my loose fitting PJ shorts was the bleeding stopped almost completely aside from a strip where my stitches were, I could have probably switched down to a panty-liner at this time just to keep my stitches covered. I did wear fitted bicycle shorts yesterday and they were high waisted. They were tight and were constantly holding my tummy in.

That day, I started to cramp and bleed quite a bit.

This actually makes sense because I noticed whenever a nurse would come to check my bleeding they would press a hand on my abdomen and apply pressure. You are going to bleed until your uterus goes back to it’s original size, and applying pressure seems to force any blood that is in there out. Wearing the tighter shorts that were snug around my abdomen seemed to force some of the build up out.

In the weeks following your delivery, it’s important to have a support system so you can catch up on sleep. These past few night my daughter has been restless and wanting to eat every 30-45 minutes so I spend most of my night like a zombie, half aware as I fumble to give her my breasts in the dark.

This has been my personal experience. I could tell you having a baby will be exactly the same for you, but I would just be pretending to know what I am talking about. Every one is different and although my recovery has been somewhat easy, that isn’t to say someone else with the exact same type of delivery doesn’t encounter different issues.

I think in the time after you give birth, you are torn open in more ways than one. Having someone to talk to definitely makes things a lot easier on you.

Any new mommies who feel like they want to talk, please feel free to reach out to me!

 

24 Hour Hospital Stay

When you give birth, there is a specific amount of time you will have to spend in the hospital recovering afterward. The amount of time is based on a few things, your health after delivery, your babies health after delivery and they type of delivery you had.

Vaginal delivery with a healthy mom and baby with minimal complications means you will only have to stay in the hospital 24 hours after the baby is born before you can be discharged. As far as I could tell, it is so they can monitor your blood pressure, the baby’s blood pressure, heart rate, and overall health, and because 24 hours after they are born they get their jaundice test, their hearing test and a few other blood tests to be sure all is well and good before you take your brand new bundle of joy home with you.

My delivery would be classified as low risk. Although my daughter’s heart rate was a bit sporadic, and needed to be monitored and I had a vacuum assisted birth, it would still be classified as a normal, healthy vaginal delivery. This meant I only had to spend 24 hours in the hospital after my baby girl arrived.

Now, in terms of time alone, my delivery felt both long and short. It felt long in some ways before I had arrived at the hospital at about noon on the 20th of September to be induced. This was not a quick drop-by visit. I had to be hooked up to the doppler and monitored for several hours before they even started the induction. Then I had to be monitored after. The whole thing took almost four hours, which in hospital time, isn’t really that long.

However, my back contractions started at 5:30pm that night, which gave me only about an hour and a half of peace that day, and I rode those contractions out the best I could until my husband threw in the towel and we went to the hospital at 9:00pm.

So all in all, I hadn’t had any decent sleep since the night of the 19th. The 19th, I had also spent a good amount of time in the hospital because of decreased fetal movement. I had to be monitored for a good amount of time, and then sent for a last minute ultrasound.

What am I trying to say?

I was exhausted.

I had limited sleep since the night of the 19th, and now I had to spend 24 hours after giving birth in the hospital. It would have been a good time to rest.

Well…

I went with the semi-private room. Why? Because when my husband asked me the kind of room I wanted while the doctor was in the birthing suite setting me up for my epidural, I really didn’t care. And I had heard him as if I wanted the private room, which we may have to wait for, I told him to just get whatever.

When we got into the room, there was already a woman in there who was set up on the bed closer to the window and further away from the door.

In all honesty, if you are only there for the 24 hours and your insurance doesn’t cover the private room, I would say to just go with the semi-private room. My only reason why I would maybe say go private, is if you plan on having a lot of visitors while you are there because the shared rooms are small and there isn’t much room for visiting.

My husband and I (mostly myself) had decided we didn’t want any visitors while we were in the hospital. I know myself, and I knew that after giving birth to a baby (all 7lbs, 9oz of her) I would be too exhausted to want to have people there with me. I like to be by myself in times of discomfort and recovery. I would rather have them come to our home when we are settled, when I have had more sleep, and I thought having just the two of us at the hospital with our new baby would give us lots of time to bond.

It was definitely the right choice for us, but other people love to share in their celebrations. To each their own.

Earlier on in my blogging, I had mentioned our fur baby, Toblerone. Now through all of this he was home by himself, so as soon as I was settled into our room, my husband went home to walk and feed him and give him some exercise before coming back to the hospital.

I thought I would use the time he was gone to sleep.

There are a few things about hospitals that make it very difficult for me to settle and sleep.

One, is the lighting. I always find it a little too bright. With a shared room, the general lights are on and there are lights in your little area you can turn on to brighten your space, but just the general lights were plenty bright. It made it really hard, even as exhausted as I was, to get any sleep.

Two, having a shared room means a little extra noise. I am a light sleeper so every little coo from our neighbours baby made me feel like I had to check my daughter.

Three, if you share a room, they may have people coming and going. Now with the curtains closed around your bed, this may not bother you too much, but my daughter’s bassinet was set closer to the door, so I just felt a little bit paranoid. It made me not want to put her in the bassinet with people coming in and out and me slipping in and out of sleep.

Four, my stitches from my third degree tear limited my mobility, so it was difficult for me to get comfortable without being about to scoot lower in the bed or adjust. Every little inch of movement required me to move my whole body.

Needless to say, the hours passed slowly, and all I wanted was to get home where I could fully relax.

A nurse would come by every three to four hours to double-check my blood pressure, both our temperatures and monitor the baby’s heart rate. I was also put on stool softeners so I wouldn’t rip my stitches when I finally had a bowel movement, and they would ask about bleeding.

After my daughter was born I had to get a vaccination for Ruebella because they told me when I was pregnant I was not immune and would have to get it afterwards. I also had to get an antibiotics shot because of the degree of my tear. It should have been given to me through the IV but they removed it before they gave it to me so I had to get it in my butt. It hurt like hell!

What else?

I think that is basically everything for the 24 hour stay.

Right before they discharge you, they run a bunch of blood tests on your baby and they do a hearing test before you can leave. They do a car seat check to be sure it is a car seat that is not expired and that you have baby strapped in correctly. Then (if you are here in Ontario at least) you sign your baby up for an OHIP card and that is the last thing you have to do before you get to take baby home.

A couple things to note that are different than when I was being born in a hospital. They no longer issue your birth certificate in hospital. You no longer register the birth in the hospital. I still have the little photo frame that had my first picture on the weighing scale in a pink blanket, the name of my parents, my name, my birthdate and time, and my weight in a photo album. All five of my siblings had this done when we were born and we were all born at different hospitals through the 90s. They don’t do this anymore. Instead they give you a pamphlet with a government website on it where you register the birth, sign up for your baby’s birth certificate (which isn’t free. This surprised me because it needs to be issued and you would think the first birth certificate would be free.) Your baby’s SIN card, and two other things I can’t recall right now.

I thought a lot more happened at the hospital as far as paperwork for your baby. Back in the 90s, they did almost everything right at the hospital so when you left, you left with a little citizen with little to do out there on your own.

It just made me wonder what would happen if you went home and just for whatever reason, decided not to register the birth of your baby or do any of the other things required of you after the baby was born.

Does that happen?

I don’t know.

Anyway, it’s late. My darling daughter is going through a growth spurt and not sleeping longer than 45 minutes at a time and is currently making what my husband and I refer to as pterodactyl noises at me, so I am going to finish this post here.

Time for me to scoop her up and pretend I know what I am doing, and that I am not slowly losing my mind from exhaustion.