This blog post is unlike any other one I’ve written. It’s not upbeat and cheerful, and there’s no fun DIY attached to it. But it was heavily requested for me to share my postpartum recovery experience. I love being an open book and sharing my life which sometimes means sharing the ugly side of things too.
No one prepared me for how tough the postpartum recovery would be. Everyone talks about labor and how tough and painful it is to deliver a baby, but not many people talk about what comes after, the recovery. I know that every one is different so both the labor and recovery process is different for every person. But for me, labor was painless. I had an epidural early-on so the most I felt was cramping and even then, it wasn’t much. You can read Kennedy’s full birth story here if you’d like. She was vacuumed out and I tore both internally and externally pretty far back. They stitched me up while I had my sweet baby on my chest. I was so distracted and completely numb so I wouldn’t have even known it was happening.
It was when the epidural began to wear off that night that all of the pain began to come on. Very suddenly and quickly. Such an immense pressure down there that it felt like my insides were going to fall out. I felt like I was being torn open again, I had heavy cramping, and felt like I had a giant bruise on my most sensitive area… all at the same time.
I couldn’t adjust my position in the hospital bed because any movement brought too much pain. Cody had to help me stand and walk to the bathroom which brought upon tears the second my feet hit the floor. And I couldn’t sit upright because of the pressure, laying down at an incline was the best I could do for comfort. This wasn’t just the night after delivery. This was the next 4 days.
I had seen all of those real life pictures of moms walking around the recovery room with their mesh underwear and giant pads. I knew that “ugly” part of recovery was real. That my body would still look pregnant and that I would be in diapers for weeks but I didn’t realize the physical pain that could come with this not-so-pretty recovery process.
Cody was my lifesaver through all of this and really it made me fall in love with him even more. He had to hand Kennedy to me to nurse. He changed ALL of the diapers. He washed the nipple shields. Helped me on and off the toilet. Handed me pads and dermoplast. All with loving and understanding eyes. I couldn’t help but wonder what a single mom would do if her recovery was anything like mine?
The thing is that everyone is different. Some people tear, some don’t. Some recover quickly, some don’t. Some find the postpartum recovery painful, and some don’t. With all of my mom friends that I had spoken to, no one mentioned the incredibly painful postpartum recovery process. So perhaps it’s not as common to experience what I experienced, but it was something I was completely NOT prepared for. And why I am quickly sharing it now. In case it helps other moms not be completely blindsided by what recovery might be like.
Like they say, everything heals with time. The first 4 days were rough and they slowly got better. I could get in and out of bed by myself. I could stand for longer than a quick shower. And by day 5 I was walking around the house (when needed.) I would say it was about 2.5 weeks until I wasn’t in pain. And about 3.5 weeks until I could completely move around like myself again. Time heals all things but having my sweet baby here also makes every bit of pain all worth it. I’d do everything over again and again to be her mom.