Monday, October 7, 2013

The Aftermath

During pregnancy, I was fascinated by birth stories.  Over the course of 10 months, I probably read hundreds of birth stories, and re-read ones that I liked the most.  I was mostly interested in tales of unmedicated births, but read plenty of epidural and c-section birth stories as well.  Labor and birth were the big looming unknowns.  It would be how my pregnancy ended, but it was the most mysterious part of the whole process.  I felt the more stories I read, the more scenarios I could come across, somehow, that would give me strength and knowledge to get through the unknown. 
Being on the other side of things now, I can say that I spent a lot of time focusing on an event that was going to play out however it needed to play out, regardless of anything I read.  I wish more people had spent time writing about the day after birth, in addition to their birth stories. 
The day after birth is something that no matter how your birth story went, every woman has to endure.  Whatever pain medication was administered for labor, or after labor for stitches, has worn off.  The oxytocin rush and hormone rush has worn off, and the gravity of what your body has just completed weighs in.  I got plenty of sleep that first night since baby was so tired, and I had been up all night.  I woke up the morning after baby was born and felt like I had been run over by a truck.
I stood up to make my way to the bathroom, and oh, wow.  I could barely walk.  I sat down on the toilet, and that brought back bad memories of laboring and pushing while on the toilet at the birth center.  Luckily, your body just does what it has to do when it needs to do it, so with the aide of a squirt bottle I was able to pee without too much pain.  It dawned on me that at some point, I was going to need to do more than pee, and that thought scared me to death. 
After what seemed like a lifetime in the bathroom adjusting to my new pain, and trying to keep everything clean, I made my way to the couch and realized sitting down was next to impossible.  I found a new use for the boppy pillow.  My husband was amazing during this time.  He did everything for me.  He made sure I was fed, waited on me hand and foot, drew baths for me...changed every single diaper.  I had no idea how hard it would be to try and heal myself and adjust to stranger in my home that needed me so much.  No one ever talks about the after part.  I would go through my labor and birth 100 times again if I never had to deal with the 3 days after.  By day 4, I was feeling immensely better, but I would say it wasn't until day 10 that I really felt like me again. 
Now, 13 days later, nature has pretty much erased all memories of any pain I had, but I wanted to continue to document my story.  One time is enough for me!  Also, for those reading birth stories now, enjoy them for what they are, but don't be afraid of any pain during birth. Birth is a flash in the pan compared to having a newborn in your arms, day after day.  Focus more on how you are going to heal yourself once you are home with a new baby that needs you as much as your body needs you to rest, recover, etc.