My Belly is like Pudding in a Ziplock Bag and Other Truths of Giving Birth
There are some common truths that get spread over and over again about pregnancy and birth. I'm sure you've heard at least one of them between flowing pregnancy hair (which I never got!) to sneezing when you pee. However, after having Silas, there were several things that happened to my body that I had NO idea about - and I knew a lot about pregnancy truths going in.
- My Belly was like Pudding in a Ziplock Bag: We all know that you don't have a baby and suddenly your baby bump just vanishes. What I personally didn't know was that your belly just sorta falls down to where it used to be and just hangs there. It literally reminded me of pudding in a ziplock bag and what was worse is the extreme nausea that I experienced every time I would stand up and feel all the organs in my belly flop down. What did help was a belly trimmer since it kept everything tight and secure. It's been three weeks since Silas's birth and I don't wear it that much anymore but it really did help that first week or so.
The belly at one day postpartum versus five days postpartum. Not a huge change but you can see it doesn't look as high and tight by day five.
- Speaking of Internal Organs...: I was shocked by how out of breath I was when I stood up. My midwife told me this could be attributed to the fact that my diaphragm, which had been pushed up during pregnancy, is now moving back into it's normal position. It got worse for me in the shower so I had The Hubs come and hang out in the bathroom just in case. It only lasted a couple days but it absolutely had me huffing and puffing every time I walked from one side of the room to the next.
- Moving is Important because...Clots: About three days after giving birth, I was standing in my bedroom when I suddenly felt something huge come out of my vagina. At first I thought "OMG, Jessica was right." because my friend Jessica joked my entire pregnancy that I was having twins and whatever came out me was big enough to be a baby. My next thought was "That's ridiculous, obviously some organ has just fallen out of you." I waddled to the bathroom while screaming for my mom to come help me. Luckily, it was neither an extra, unknown baby or any of my vital organs. Instead it was a GIANT blood clot. I'm talking the size of two giant oranges. I immediately called my midwife and she said it was probably because I hadn't had much movement that day and the excess blood that leaves the body after giving birth had clotted. She was't concerned because I hadn't been having other clots (just the normal amount of bleeding) but she did say to call her back if I passed any more, which thankfully, I did not. My mom said she also had a similar experience after one of her births and it was definitely from lack of movement and walking around. You're supposed to expel blood after birth but if you spend too much time laying down, the blood can't be expelled and will end up clotting. This was a moment where the Depends that my midwife suggested I wear until the bleeding slowed really shined. The Depends caught and held the clot like a champ and I shudder to think of the horror show it would have looked like had I been wearing just a pad. Yay for adult diapers!!!
- The Soreness got Worse before it got Better: After pushing a human being out of my vagina, I knew there'd be some soreness. While I was extremely sore the day I gave birth, I was actually feeling pretty good at about 3 days postpartum. I even felt well enough for a couple outings. However, a week after giving birth, the soreness came back full force. I was so concerned I texted my midwife to see if I should be concerned about an infection. She told me that she hears from a lot of moms at about a week in regards to soreness. She suggested that it's usually a case of doing too much too soon so I decided to take it easier. I spent several days in the house, lounging, and focusing on myself and Silas. Thankfully that did the job and I was able to pee without crying at about the 2 week mark.
- Recovery is a Long Process: I knew that I wouldn't physically recover in one day however, it's been 3 weeks since giving birth and I'm shocked by how sore I can get or how if I stretch wrong, the pain I feel in my lady bits. Bleeding is still occurring and that can last 6 weeks! That's 6 weeks of granny panties and visible panty lines. I still have to be careful about getting into the car or even the surface on which I sit since my tush is still partial to soft surfaces and I can get extremely sore if I sit on a hard one for too long. I know each person is different and there are some women out there who bounce back after 2 weeks but coming to terms with the fact that I am not one of them was a surprise.
- I Will Not Forget the Pain: I declared literally the day Silas was born that I wouldn't be pushing another human out my vagina. This sentiment has been met unanimously with the response of "You say that now but you'll forget the pain." Let me tell you...I will not. Maybe women who say this don't remember the pain because they had epidurals and there was no pain felt. Maybe their desire to have more children helps them forget the pain. Maybe they're just braver than I am. Either way, giving birth again is simply not for me. I'd go through birth a thousand times to have Silas but if we decide to have another child in the future, that child will not be coming Earthside via my vagina.
That face is sweet but pushing it out? Not so much. That delicious bowl of ramen will have to wait - Silas needs to eat first!
- I Would do Anything for Silas: This one seems pretty obvious but it's kinda insane to suddenly feel such a physical and emotional tether to another human being. My body responds to him - I can just think about him and my boobs start to leak. When he got circumcised, the sound of his cries were horrible - I felt like my heart was literally breaking and it took all my strength to not kill the incredibly kind and gentle Mohel (a Jew trained to perform a circumcision) who was making my son cry by doing what we asked him to do. I was crying then and just thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes - those cries will haunt me forever. I have put off meals, showers, and even peeing just for the sake of his comfort and well being. My needs pale in comparison to his and while this seems so obvious, it's just different. I've put off lots of things for the well being of other children but with Silas, it's so incredibly primal.
I know that throughout my adventure of motherhood, I will find out so many new truths. Some I'm sure won't be that great - I don't even want to think about the feeling of him going to school and NOT caring that I'm leaving him there for several hours each day. Other truths I know will be amazing - first words, a smile that isn't a reflex. Even now, the feeling that I get when I can calm Silas when no one else can literally makes me feel high. Good or bad, I'm looking forward to them all, mostly because I'll get to experience them with him.
Were there things that surprised you after you gave birth?