I’ve been meaning to do a postpartum for awhile now, but if you read my last two posts (here and here), you know life has been quite crazy! I also wanted it to be a video update, but I’m finding that videos are much harder to do with a two-year-old who wants your constant attention and I pretty much pass out right along with her at night so free time while she sleeps is pretty much a no-go.
At any rate, I’m now 4 months postpartum. If you read Arlo’s birth story (here), you remember I had my second c-section (you can read about my first here). I was also on bed rest for two months leading up to his birth due to pre-term labor. A cause for this was never found and seems to be a fluke (fingers crossed it doesn’t happen again in the future).
My initial experience with the c-section itself was much better this time around, despite my anxiety going into it. There’s just something about knowing you’re walking into a hospital to get sliced open…sorry for the graphic description, but seriously! I was also feeling a bit discouraged because I was really hoping for a VBAC, but it just didn’t work out. I won’t get into the details again, they’re in the birth story, but the surgery was much calmer than the first time. I was terrified, but the hospital staff and my wonderful OB made it more comfortable.
My initial recovery was much better also. I was able to hold Arlo immediately while still on the operating table and also right after being wheeled to recovery. With Lark, I had a high fever and after 16 hours of labor, an epidural, and even more anesthesia at the point I need surgery, I was exhausted and shaky from coming down off the drugs and could barely hold Lark.
In recovery with Arlo, I felt great. I was shaky, but not as bad as with Lark. I had zero pain as I still had anesthesia in my system. I think it took me longer to be able to move my legs this time with the spinal, but I wasn’t in recovery very
long at all. After being wheeled back to our room, I felt anxious about recovery again. Scared of the pain, which was slowly creeping in, and I still couldn’t move very well and was really swollen in my legs, something else I didn’t quite remember with Lark’s c-section. I didn’t have a fever this time, but was having awful hot flashes the entire time I was in the hospital, which they think was from hormones and anesthesia. I was sweating like a pig! It was awful!
I always hate the hospital part because any and all modesty you have goes out the window! You have all sorts of strangers coming and looking AHEM…under your gown…and because it took me a bit to gain movement back, I had to literally be rolled over and ‘cleaned up’ several times a day. I had staples this time, which really freaked me out! But I couldn’t feel them at all. I can’t remember exactly when I finally got up, but I think it was on the second day. With Lark, they forced me out of bed within hours! This time they let me decide. Once I finally got up, I was super dizzy, obviously. I hadn’t moved in nearly 24 hours. They also let me eat right away, which was nice, because I was starving! I had really excruciating contractions at one point, which was actually from a full bladder. The catheter was not draining properly and the full bladder caused pressure and cramping. The contractions were actually worse than any I had prior to having Arlo or while in labor with Lark. But once I was up and moving, they were able to remove the catheter. I felt like it was easier to move around this time, maybe because I knew what to expect. I was still walking around like the hunchback of Notre Dame, but I was much more confident about moving and getting up. I needed help to get up, of course, but it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated.
Before getting discharged, I had to have the staples removed. That was interesting. I had to shower first, which scared me both times I had a c-section. Something about running water over an open wound…makes me shudder! But I did it and it was no big deal! The bonus was that I didn’t have as much numbness and tingling at the incision site as last time, so touching it wasn’t painful or irritating. And to my surprise, the horrific and giant staples I thought I had that mangled my stomach, turned out to be teeny tiny and didn’t even leave any marks. I’m always prepared for the worst case scenario! They pulled them out with tiny clippers and it didn’t hurt until the last few and even that was just a minor sting.
I was discharged feeling sore, but still felt pretty good. I had been getting headaches, pretty significant ones. I’d compare them to a migraine. I think likely from the anesthesia, and they last about a week or two, but were lessened with the
pain meds and motrin.
My pain felt more manageable this time and I was able to space out doses of meds after just a week. I took the pain meds the entire two weeks following the surgery, and continued with Motrin after that, mainly to stay on top of it because if I didn’t, I was laid up and I now had two kids to take care of! I was sore, yes, but I was mobile and not bed ridden! I slept on the couch a couple of nights, just because I could sit partially up, which was more comfortable. For me. And I continued to have painful contractions from breastfeeding, which felt more intense than the first time around also, but I was told that happens in second, third, etc pregnancies. So I guess I’ll go TMI on all of you and tell you that my postpartum bleeding lasted about 6 weeks, same as after my first pregnancy, and was pretty significant. But you gotta love those hospital mesh underwear and pads! 😉
At four months, I’m still pretty sore at times, especially if I let my bladder get too full. My stomach muscles are tender to the touch and it’s still hard to lay on my stomach. I was pretty good about doing ab exercises at first, but have since quit and need to get back on it! I feel like my recovery is lasting a bit longer than last time, in that I’m having a lot of back issues this time around. I was sore last time for over a year, and then I was pregnant again so there’s always been tenderness. But this time my back is having a hard time coming around. I also suffered from SPD (symphysis pubic dysfunction) in both pregnancies which affects the ligaments in your pubic bone and cause misalignment. Last time it went away when Lark was born, this time it’s lingering and I suspect my entire pelvis is out of alignment and causing all of the issues. I had a severe back injury as a child and my pelvis hasn’t been the same since. My OB thinks that may have something to do with the pre-term labor. She’s not confident I’d even be able to deliver vaginally, even though I’d like to. I need to see a chiropractor, which I used to do regularly, I just don’t have the extra money right now to do so!
So aside from the back pain, I’d say I’m in pretty good shape, and my scar is even healing much better this time too. My periods have returned, with a vengeance, since I quit breastfeeding earlier than intended, but they’re completely out of whack and absolute misery…sorry for the TMI again, but it’s part of the process! My numbness and tingling is still less, maybe it’s because some of that surface feeling was already gone from last time. I did end up with a couple of new stretch marks near my incision, but I’m almost thinking they’re from surgery and the stretching at the surgery site, because they didn’t appear prior to the c-section and they’re very minor.As far as postpartum depression and anxiety, I feel like I fared better than last time. I’ve been really lucky. I’ve only been slightly weepy at times, but last time, with Lark, it hit me hard when I went back to work. I felt alone in the world and wasn’t prepared for how much it would affect my work life and relationships with others. I suddenly couldn’t relate to people without kids, and they weren’t enjoying my constant talk about my baby. This time, I was more prepared and I was able to separate it and recognize it so I didn’t isolate myself as much. It’s definitely tough maneuvering into motherhood, whether it’s the first time or the tenth time. I wish more people were sensitive to that and didn’t expect so much out of new moms. Just my opinion…
My skin allergies are behaving strangely, mainly because they’re less severe during pregnancy and the hormonal imbalance after the fact affects my skin. I’m just getting rashes and itching much easier than normal. I don’t expect it to go away completely, but I think it will calm down after awhile. I’m also losing hair at an alarming rate, which happened after Lark too, and while it’s depressing at times, I know it’s temporary.
Some days I’m still longing for maternity pants and hating denim waistbands, my belly is still loose and poochy and my back hurts probably at 85% of the time, but I’m doing really well and I’m pleased with my progress at just 4 months out! Plus, a cute baby makes all of it completely worth every bit of agony 😉
Updates on Arlo and Lark will be coming soon =)