There are so many things that you don’t quite expect after giving birth and even second time around, I forgot about the changes your body goes through. After 9 months of growing a human being, it’s totally expected for your body to become unrecognisable. Of course, every woman’s journey and experiences are different so I can only write about what’s happened to my body…
Bleeding: I bled particularly heavily straight after birth, like a lot! To the point I was standing in the shower and it was pouring out. Other than keeping an eye out for blood clots, they just said heavy bleeding is expected. Giant maternity pads will become your best friend and sudocream also became mine. As you’re wearing pads for a prolonged period of time, I basically ended up with nappy rash for adults… glamorous ey?! The heavy bleeding lasted for around a week and then it really lightened up, although I found I’d bleed heavier on the days I was most active so maybe that was a sign I should have been taking it easy. The bleeding has continued to get lighter and is now more like bloody discharge but it’s still not completely stopped even 4 weeks postpartum. If you’ve had stitches, then I found Spritz For Your Bitz helped, freezing pads to help cool the area and using sensitive cotton pads as they’re less likely to irritate you if like me you’ve basically got a high maintenance vagina that’s extra sensitive!
Boobs: Every woman’s boob journey will definitely be different especially due to feeding choices. I’ve decided with both my boys to bottle feed so the best thing you can do postpartum is leave them completely alone. I slept in a bra, only showered every other day so I didn’t need to take my bra off and made sure my maternity bra was on tightly so my boobs hardly moved. Around 4 days postpartum, I did resemble Pamela Anderson, with my boobs rock hard and not moving when I took my bra off. Unfortunately this does not last and they’ll be swinging by your knees before you know it. My boob pain was so much worse second time around, which I’ve heard can be quite common with subsequent pregnancies. Between day 5-7 my boobs were absolute agony, to the point I was crying in pain. I couldn’t put any pressure on them and even Chester laying on them hurt me. I felt sorry for Chester at points too because I could tell he could smell my milk and kept rooting around like crazy. Night 5, Neil had to sleep downstairs with Chester as he wouldn’t settle around me. Night 6 was a bizarre experience, I got out of the shower and Chester started crying and no exaggeration, my boobs began pouring with milk!!! I had to literally cup it! Apparently the midwife told me that skin to skin after birth encourages milk to come in and after Chester’s birth, I was lucky enough to have a golden hour of skin to skin with him. I was still wearing breast pads daily until around 2 weeks postpartum but even at 3 weeks, I was still sometimes leaking. It’s now been 4 weeks since his birth and my boobs feel completely back to normal. Bye bye porn star boobs… you were nice while you lasted!
Body: My birth and postpartum journey second time around could not have been any more different to first time around. Noah’s delivery was difficult and I ended up with 5 tears requiring lots of stitches. Thankfully with Chester, I had no tears and just a small graze so needed no stitches… hallelujah!!! Despite this though, I still feel sore. Birth is a massive trauma to the body so despite having no physical damage, there’s still a lot of going on down there. The only way I could describe how I felt was heavy. It felt like someone had tied a brick down below and it was dragging down. It was a very odd feeling! I also walked like I’d shit myself for a good couple of days as it felt like I’ve bruised my back and arse. Taking it easy is the only way things started to improve and an active day would leave me feeling achy and sore the next day. You also feel so swollen down below and can’t believe what you’re feeling when you wipe after the toilet. This will go down so don’t worry, you won’t always have a vagina puffed up like a balloon!!! You’ll be amazed when you first wipe down there and realise how swollen is it. Top tip for your first poo… roll tissue up and apply pressure to your front bits! It helped me feel like my vagina wasn’t just going to fall out! For the first few weeks, my vagina did feel very uncomfortable. It felt like when you put a tampon in and it’s not in right, like a constant sensation that’s somethings in there. I did ask the doctor about this, who assured me it was all normal and just due to swelling. So 4 weeks postpartum and I feel pretty much back to normal, although with my first recovery, it wasn’t until around 8-10 weeks that I began to feel better so I feel incredibly lucky this time around especially considering I have a two year old to look after!
Weight: I always found this one very interesting to know how much weight you’d lose straight after birth. So I weighed myself when i got home from the hospital and I’d lost 10lb, which was baby, placenta, blood etc! I had put on 2 and a half stone during my pregnancy. After a week or so I’d lost another few pounds as my milk started to dry up. 4 weeks postpartum and I still have around 1 stone 4lb to go until I get back to pre-pregnancy weight but I’m in no huge rush. When you have a newborn, it’s nearly impossible to survive without a cupboard full of chocolate and biscuit supplies to get your through the sheer exhaustion. I’m hoping to start getting back into slimming world within the next week and will start back at the gym shortly. Before 6 weeks postpartum, it’s only advised to do gentle exercise. I’d like to return to the gym, mainly to give myself a little time away so before 6 weeks I’ll be walking, on the bike or the cross trainer and absolutely no weights! I’ve been incredibly lucky with my stomach and I didn’t carry a huge amount of water so my stomach swelling went down almost immediately. Although it’s so normal to still have a bump and it’ll take time for everything to settle down so don’t worry if you do! I still have a lot more weight around my stomach than before which I’d like to start losing slowly and I also gained a lot of weight on my hips and bum so I’m looking forward to slowly losing this. I think having two boys and a dog to run around after will definitely help.
Mood: I’ve generally been feeling really food. My hormones went into complete meltdown around day 4 and I honestly cried over absolutely nothing. You’ll find you get waves of sadness over irrational things and also feel completely overwhelmed when you stare at your beautiful baby. I battled mum guilt second time around because I felt like I couldn’t split myself equally. I also found myself feeling really sad for Chester as Noah was getting lots of attention, which I know it’s important for them not to feel left out, but I felt like the opposite happened and everyone seemed to forget Chester. I’ve had quite a few comments about ‘trying for a girl’ which when you’ve newly given birth, these sort of things can be so upsetting. 4 weeks after giving birth, I’m still generally feeling good. There are days that motherhood completely overwhelms me, I feel ‘touched out’ and I wonder if I’ll ever sleep again but generally have more positive days and have a fantastic support network around me which is always a massive help!
So that’s been my postpartum journey so far, I really hope it’s helped and not scared you off. Like I said everyone’s journey is completely different and no two recoveries will be the same. Is there anything else you’d like to know?! Let me know and I’ll be happy to answer it as best as I can!