Dear Seekers of Truth Regarding the First Year of Motherhood

Lynne Ticknor Photography

Lynne Ticknor Photography

DELIVERY - THAT REALLY HURT, OR IT’S ABOUT TO HURT

You just had a baby. Way to go! Crowd roaring and many high fives to you. Now here is what happens next...
I had an emergency caesarean section* so it didn't actually hurt at the time because of the crazy spinal shot that was injected into my lower back. I think because of all the nerves and adrenaline the spinal didn't really hurt, it was more of a pinch. But, once the medication wore off-- damn. The worst part of a c-section is that your insides have been cut up, so everything that is connected to your core hurts. It hurts to stand, walk, cough, sneeze, and laugh. Keeping a pillow with me for the first two weeks and gently pushing it into my incision helped when I needed to move. The pillow helped brace my core so everything that had been cut did not feel like it is ripping open again.                                                                             The most important piece of advice I can give to another mom is to take the medicine, don't be a hero. If you had a so-so anesthesiologist you may even get sick, which happened to me the first time around and that pain was unbelievable. But, like all pain, it subsides and the scar does heal. Don’t be surprised if the scar tissue around your incision is hard to the touch or hurts at times. If I am laying flat and feel the urge to sneeze, I have to brace myself otherwise I get a sharp pain that lasts a few seconds. As I write this my son is two and a half years old and I still feel pain occasionally.

*Cesarean section or C-section is a surgical operation for delivering a child by cutting through the wall of the mother’s abdomen.

 

Kitty, mom of two
I didn't expect these reactions to my c-section: uncontrollable chills and itching. I was SO shaky after my son’s surgery I thought there was something seriously wrong, but it was completely normal. I was also itchy so they gave me Benedryl, which of course made me drowsy and loopy, like I wasn't enough already!

 

Talia, mom of one
I remember standing up, with help, and finding myself bent in half after my c-section. Make sure to take it easy during your first few showers and use the seat! Relax and let the water come to you. 

After delivery my intestines seemed to slow down, which was uncomfortable, but completely normal. My advice is to keep your body moving, it helps keep everything moving!

 

Ashley, mom of three
Recovering from a vaginal birth can be so painful. I had an episiotomy* with my first-born and peeing afterwards burned. I was terrified to poop because I thought I'd rip my stitches. I will always be grateful to the nurse who introduced me to the ice pack/pad "hoagie.” It is a big ass ice pack with witch hazel pads laid on like a bologna sandwich, stuffed into the hospital gauze granny panties. I went through a shit load of dermoplast* and hoagies those first few months.  
Even worse than the episiotomy though, was giving birth to my breech twin who left me with tiny rips up near my urethra. No matter what I tried the pain was excruciating and it got to the point I was mentally not letting myself go to the bathroom. My doctor had to call me in some pain killers, I iced my vagina for 15 minutes, and hopped in a warm shower, which finally helped me to go and it still hurt like hell. Thankfully it was only three weeks of that!

The way my vagina felt after birth was EXACTLY the way it looked, like something out of a sci-fi movie. HORRENDOUS! Don't look!!! But if you do, know that your lady parts won't always look like this.

*Episitomy is a surgical cut made at the opening of the vagina during childbirth, to aid a difficult delivery and prevent rupture of tissues.

*Dermoplast is a pain relieving spray.

 

Emily, mom of two
Take advantage and take home all of the stuff from the hospital. Netted underwear, pads, diapers, wipes, etc. DO NOT eat McDonald’s as your last meal before going into the hospital. It will result in a bedside potty chair with explosive diarrhea shortly after giving birth. I was so relieved it didn’t happen while pushing!

 

Barb, mom of one
I didn't realize that you could tear upwards toward your urethra as well as backwards with a natural delivery. I also didn't realize that you could get internal hemorrhoids.

 

Michelle, mom of two
Everyone tells you about kegel's and how important they are to do. I admittedly didn't do them as much as my doctor told me to. Two years later I still can't do any high impact workout with jumping or running without peeing a little.

 

Now, no matter how you gave birth, the next two weeks are the same. Every part of your body will feel swollen and your uterus will need time to shrink back to normal. You are bleeding like crazy and have to wear the diaper size pads to stop the discharge from leaking all over your bad underwear and yoga pants. Peeing will sting and the first bowel movement will feel like you are giving birth again. Eat your fiber and take those stool softeners! You WILL feel better soon. Make sure to check out this list of MUST HAVES and MUST DO before the baby comes.  If your baby surprises you and comes early, hand this off to the first person that says, “how can I help?”

 

Shopping List:
1. Big granny panties (they need to be big and high on the waist to hold the super size pads you will be wearing for the next month)
2. Breast pads (I recommend the Lasinoh disposable brand - purple box)
3. FIBER and STOOL SOFTENER!!!
4. New pair of yoga pants (you will be living in these, you need more)
5. Comfortable sports bras (not super tight) your boobs will expand and contract daily
6. Guilty pleasure foods (because you will deserve them)
7. Magazines or books (you will find time for these while pumping or breastfeeding)
8. Meals prepped and in the freezer
9. Quick eats ready to go (muffins, bagels, etc - anything you don’t need to prep or wait on.  When you are hungry - eat!)
10. Water bottle/container (this will help you remember to drink.  You will need it)
11.  Smart phone (I’m not sure how people raised kids without one. It's a camera, baby resource, entertainment, contact with the outside world!)