Friday, August 3, 2012

Post-partum Recovery

My little Guinevere is now 5 weeks old!  I can’t believe it’s already been 5 weeks! (I have a feeling that it will feel like time speeds up more and more as she continues to grow!)  My post-partum check up is this afternoon, so today’s post will be about my recovery in the past 5 weeks.

Every pregnant woman hears horror stories about post-partum recovery: how sore everything is “down there,” the subsequent “longest period ever,” and of course, trying to lose the baby weight.  I will admit that I have been pleasantly surprised by my body and my own recovery since giving birth.  I was terrified that once the epidural wore off, I would wake up with unimaginable pain . . . especially considering that I was stuck in the hospital in labor for 3 days before Guinevere was born.  But the hospital kept me on a steady intake of Motrin, and I really didn’t feel much pain at all while there.  I guess an indication that my recovery would be easier than others was that I was really disappointed when the midwife told me I was only allowed to stand/walk for 15 minutes at a time for the first 2 weeks.  I felt ready to go for long walks right away.  (After talking to my other mommy friends, I now know that a lot of other women really don’t want to/aren’t up to walking more than 15 minutes at a time, so that advice is not a big deal to them).  Once we came home from the hospital, every now and then I would try to do some housework or stand for too long or otherwise over do it and realize, “oh yeah, I’m still recovering too.”  I’ve only been back to the gym once since Guinevere was born (and it felt great!), but I have gone on longer and longer walks.  I’ve been taking it easy until I get the official “all-clear” from the doctor today.

This section might be TMI for some people, but the “longest period ever” was one of those horror stories I had heard about before even getting pregnant.  For those who don’t know, after going through 9 months of no period, all that blood and fluid that has built up to nourish the baby has to come out.  At the hospital, they give you the biggest pads I have ever seen!  Seriously, they are like adult diapers!  They even have special mesh disposable underwear to hold the ginormous Depends style diaper pads.  I took as many pads home from the hospital as I could so that I wouldn’t have to go out and buy more . . . but of course, they ran out pretty quickly.  Fortunately my mom was up visiting when I ran out, so I was able to send her to the store for a discreet “woman only” shopping trip.  Eventually, though, it petered out to normal period style bleeding and I was able to use regular pads (though still more bulky than my normal preference).  Oh, and tampons are a “no-no” during this time, for obvious reasons – you don’t want to be sticking anything up in there for a long time.  Bonus for breast-feeding, though: apparently breast-feeding women don’t see the return of their normal periods until several months after the baby is born.

As for baby weight, no, I am not back to my pre-pregnancy weight yet, but I don’t have too far to go.  I have 8 more pounds to lose out of the 30 that I gained.  I lost about 20 pounds in just the first two weeks.  I will have to work to lose the remaining weight, since I seem to have stalled out on the weight loss.  But really, 8 pounds shouldn’t be that hard to lose, right? And I really haven’t done anything special to lose the weight yet, since I haven’t been working out, so I am hoping that once I start actually exercising again, the rest will come off.  The most impressive piece of recovery to me is just how quickly the uterus shrinks after birth.  When I came home from the hospital, I still had a big floppy belly.  My uterus was still swollen from holding the baby, but since there was nothing in there anymore, it was really jiggly.  For the first two weeks, my belly was noticeably smaller with each day that passed!  Now that it has been 5 weeks, my belly, is still shrinking, but at a much slower pace.  I am definitely bigger than I used to be, especially in the hip/butt, stomach and chest regions (which leaves my legs and arms the same size, but then they were the same size even when I was 9 months pregnant). I now have 3 pairs of pre-pregnancy shorts that fit and one pair of pre-pregnancy jeans (I might actually have more jeans that fit, but I haven’t bothered to try them on since it’s been in the high 90’s/low 100’s this summer).

Here are a couple of progress pics:
The day we came home from the hospital.  You can see my big, jello belly.

My belly 1 week post-partum.

2 weeks post-partum.
5 weeks post-partum.

And, of course, for your viewing pleasure, Guinevere at 5 weeks.  

Her Aunt Sharon is visiting from New York, so I put her in her special New York onesie (even though it’s still  little big).

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