Postpartum: 1 week & a few days

I went on my first post c-section walk today. A slow .7 mile in the neighborhood with my mom and #JadeTheBoxer. Alex stayed at home with daddy. We went at 9:30, so even though it is September and it’s a tiny bit cooler, the mid-80’s temps did feel a little uncomfortable to me.

The best news about my postpartum body is the terrible edema I had has finally disappeared. All the sudden yesterday it went down. I was swollen from the waist down after all the IV fluids they pumped into me.

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My giant uterus is shrinking back in fairly fast. It is very odd to have my abdomen feel so soft, but I think it would cause more body image angst if I didn’t have a big incision there too.

I struggle with the limitations on my physical movement. I’m not allowed to traverse my stairs more than once a day. So I come downstairs in the morning and go back up at the end of the day. I can’t carry Alexis on the stairs, nor in her infant carrier. I can’t drive. I feel a little like a prisoner in my own home! The hospital discharge instructions said all of this would be in place for 6 weeks, but I will ask (beg) at my incision check for a reduced sentence.

My mental state is pretty good, I’ve gotten a little weepy at times but I think that is normal with the hormone changes.

Going into this I thought I wanted a natural birth, because “that’s best” and I feel like there is a lot of judgment out there in the mommy world about various birthing methods. But there used to be a much higher mortality rate for mom/baby and birth. If I was in the old computer game Oregon Trail, I probably would have been left behind on the trail because of the difficulties. So I am grateful for modern medicine.

And I have a sweet, beautiful baby girl. She’s worth all of this!
Alexis
Alexis

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15 comments

  1. Anyone (including you) who says you “haven’t done” or “aren’t doing” something right is wrong. As long as baby is growing all is good.

    You are slowly going to heal up, there is nothing wrong with that. Your body has been traumatized. There is no S for superwoman on your chest. Just be human and accept the limitations.

    Take all the help you can get. If someone asks “what can I do”, give them a laundry basket and let them wash.

    All the best.

  2. Congratulations, your daughter is beautiful. I agree about the judging that exists about natural birthing (there is one particular “big 6 HLB” that is about to labor that is pretty smug about it), I think its sad that women need to feel in competition about labor, all that matter is that mom and baby are healthy in the end.

  3. haha! Thank goodness life today isn’t like the Oregon Trail game. šŸ™‚

    Glad to see the swelling in your foot has gone down. I bet that made walking difficult. Don’t worry about the limitations on your movement. The time will go fast with that little bundle of joy.

  4. Oh I forgot to warn you about the swelling. My doctor never mentioned and it freaked me out. Did they show you how to hold a pillow over your incision when you cough or sneeze to lessen the feeling that you’re going to pop a stitch? They didn’t tell me that either. I saw it on a babycenter video. Also the incision itching is apparently normal. I swear the need a post c-section manual.
    But it does get better. Also, my doctor let me drive as soon as I stopped taking the narcotic meds, which I stopped taking as soon as I left the hospital. I was driving within 2 weeks because I had to. Mom was gone and hubby back to work. There’s a lot of baby dr appts in the first month. Might want to ask.

    • No, they didn’t show me anything either! You’re right, they need a manual! And I haven’t been taking the narcotic they prescribed, just ibuprofen so perhaps I’ll be cleared to drive! Thank you for the tips!

  5. Hi Jill,
    Long-time reader… first-time replier šŸ™‚ Your post really resonated with me because I went through a very similar experience with my first child. I had severe preeclampsia and swelled up like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. I had an emergency c-section, so my daughter was 7 weeks premature and spent 2 weeks in the NICU. During the two weeks that she was in the hospital I focused on HEALING. There was no way I could care for her if I didn’t care for myself first. I slept. I rested. I stayed on the first floor. And when I tried doing something I shouldn’t have done (vacuuming!) my body quickly reminded me that I wasn’t ready. Like you, I was itching to get back to exercise. The post-partum belly drove me NUTS and I missed working out. But I knew that I’d be back in the game eventually, and the doctors give the six-week rule for a reason!
    Take care of yourself, don’t try to be Superwoman, and accept any and ALL help. Sleep as much as you can. Snuggle with your beautiful daughter. Rest and recover–your body NEEDS it.
    Best wishes to you and your new family!

    • Thanks Sue for sharing your experience with me and for commenting! It’s so hard to not be itchy about getting back into fitness, I feel like the pressure to push ahead is so abundant, I really appreciate when people remind me this really is a short period and my body needs healing!

  6. i’m glad we are not on the oregon trail too! i would probably have dysentary and be left behind before you went into labor.

    i am glad you and alexis are doing well. i can’t imagine how hard it is to feel ok for the most part but not be able to do much of anything! i hope the checkup is ahead of schedule and you can get a little more freedom šŸ™‚ she’s adorable!

    (and whoa! that is some edema. i’m glad it’s gone away)

  7. Your commenters are so smart. No ‘S’ on your chest! Let yourself heal! Hold a pillow over your incisions! Thank GOD we are not on the Oregon Trail!

    I personally wanted to have a “natural” childbirth both times (if you can call it that when I was in a hospital, surrounded by medical personnel, with monitors strapped to me because of my hypertension!) but went into it with the attitude that if I NEEDED an epidural, I would ask for one. I know that the only reason I was able to have “natural” births both times was pure luck. I had little babies and everything went according to plan. Not everyone is so fortunate, and for those moms I am extremely grateful that modern medicine can help. Nothing about having a C-section (or getting an epidural, or giving birth squatting in a field, or breastfeeding or co-sleeping or babywearing or using a stroller) makes anyone any more or less of a mom than anyone else.

    I’m so happy you and Alex are both recovering well! Keep taking it easy, even though you want to push, and you really will heal faster. Before you know it the birth will be a hazy memory and you’ll be running daily.

  8. I am smitten by your daughter’s picture. What an absolutely beautiful and precious girl. Take care, rest up and take all the time you require to recover. Before you know it, you will be going as strong as ever. Reminds me of a story of motherhood and running, and how strong it can make a person. I read this the other day and perhaps it has some connection in your own life…just thought I’d share. http://runningmagazine.ca/2012/08/sections/feature/canadas-marathon-mommarathon-mom/

  9. Sorry! Late to the comment party! Just got back from Portland… anyhoo… While I had to “take it easy” for 6 weeks after both by c-sections, I was told I could drive after a week postpartum (I cheated and drove at day 5 to buy random stuff at CVS šŸ˜‰ I managed to putter around the house and do laundry and tidy up…my body *definitely* let me know when to chill out. I think you might be able to do the same. Just sayin’ šŸ˜‰

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