I’ve taken a two week break from writing and being present on social media, not because I needed to limit my intake of the massive amount of messaging that I’m constantly inundated with, but because I was tending to my mental, emotional and physical health – for real!
As we approach my baby girls’ 2nd birthday I am reminded of my birth story and postpartum changes I went through that I’m still affected by; so I thought I’d share some the details of my journey, particularly about the changes with my body.
Having a baby we all know will forever change a woman’s physical stature but more recently there has been a lot of media coverage around the mental changes as well, such as postpartum depression. All of these alterations have significant impact on life – I personally still feel like Im suffering from postpartum related issues.
THE BIRTH DAY
My husband and I both were larger than the average 6-7 pound baby so by genetics alone we knew our little one was going to be a chunkers. My baby was born at 41 weeks and 4 days; I was a few days shy of being induced. I had gained 30 pounds during pregnancy but I wasn’t laser focused on my gains, instead I did lots of walking, prenatal yoga to help ensure my body was strong and healthy enough for the natural birth I desired. Despite my efforts to be as active and kind to my body while carrying I was unable to deliver Bellamy vaginally due to a number of factors. My water had been broken for over 24 hours, I would not dilate beyond 5 centimeters and Bellamy wasn’t responding to the number of “interferences” my midwife was introducing. She had inserted her hand in to touch her head, pressed all over my Belly during contractions to see if she would kick, move or anything – Bella wasn’t budging.
At 7:30am on July 12th, 2016 (6 hours post arrival to Labor and Delivery) Sean and I made the decision to have a cesarean. Talk about ear screeching crying – I had a meltdown, I threw the oxygen mask on the floor and proceeded to get off the bed as if I wasn’t hooked up to serval monitors. When my feet hit the floor I was swiftly humbled by the puppy pad that was laid out because during contractions I could not control my urine. I turned to my husband and quickly pulled it together as time was of the essence. After coming to terms with my fate I put my South Philly mug on and said, “I want to see my baby now!” 27 minutes later I was lying on the surgical table having battles of shivers and chills from the anesthesia listening to the staff shout “NOW that’s a big baby!” And I hear more and more voices chiming in and finally was able to find the strength to belt out “HOW BIG IS SHE?” “Someone tell me something, please!” Keep in mind, I’m still being sewn back to together, Bellas umbilical cord was also still attached as we requested a delayed cord cutting. I also hear the pediatric nurse that was assisting Sean with the cutting say, “I think this is the biggest umbilical cord I've ever seen!” They finally shouted to me that Bellamy was 10 pounds 7.2 ounces – DAAMMMNNNN. Literally she was the biggest baby I've ever known personally… and she came from my body, this was a major pause moment for me.
So what happens to your body after major abdominal surgery? After carrying a baby the size of mine? Fast-forward to my first appointment with my midwife, I was 1 week postpartum. It was at this visit that I found out one of my dissolvable staples had come out (likely from me doing the most and not staying off my feet as instructed). And yep my gangster and very much old school Midwife sutured me back in that very moment, no warning! Scaring memory #1.
NOTE: Your doctor or midwife will set up a 4-6 week birth appointment to check on your physical recovery from pregnancy and delivery, see how you're doing emotionally, and address your needs going forward. However C-section moms, for example, will have an appointment a week or two after delivery to have your incision site checked to ensure its healing properly.
I also learned at this appointment that my abdominal muscles were separated permanently. This condition is known as Diastasis Recti a.k.a the mommy pouch. I was immediately referred to a physical therapist that I was recommended to see once per week. I tried to keep up with the visits but traveling 20 minutes with a new born in the dead of summer, coupled with some horrific diaper/carseat blow ups and on demand breastfeeding sessions, I was OVER it. I took what I learned from the PT and tried to do my exercises at home. I also researched some helpful mommy blogs to get through, here’s one that I used: DA Helpful Exercises
In more recent times, my heartburn saga continues. This symptom was introduced to me during pregnancy but never left and has gotten more intense. My insides were so compressed that the band at the top of my stomach loosened allowing stomach acid to escape – this is probably the most painful lasting side effect of pregnancy. I am still dealing with residual effects of it. I think I will forever be on a Rolaid and Tums regimen, sadly. The most disappointing thing is I will never have a jalapeno margarita again L
Despite my hardships on this journey and physical transformation nothing will ever take away the pure joy my baby brings me and this blinding and powerful feeling is the very thing that allows us moms to do the pregnancy thing again.
Signing off and thanking GOD for the amnesia.