Thursday, May 5, 2016

10 Things No One Tells You About Post-partum (the TMI no one wants to talk about)

UPDATE: Four months post-partum

Workout program: Insanity Max 30

Latest event: INSANITY Live certified and hired on as a fitness instructor!

Everyone made it seem like pregnancy would be the hardest part about having a baby, but that was NOT the case for me...

So, being under this assumption, I, of course, powered through pregnancy and was like "IT'S OVER!!!!" when Eleni was birthed.

 I.... was.... SO WRONG.

Here's the thing, pregnancy was NOT hard for me. The first trimester was by far the worst, and the rest I just made myself function normally. It had its things, but honestly, normal functioning without a pregnant belly had its things, too. The moment I gave birth, I looked down at "myself" and was horrified with what I saw. I had an unusual amount of swelling (they were putting ice packs on me while I was pushing), and let's just say I was mortified by what I saw. I didn't know anything body part could morph into something so horrifying. This TMI leads into the top ten things I didn't know about postpartum:

1. Swelling.

Besides the "down under" region swelling (I hear not everyone had it as bad as me), your whole body might swell. Mine did. I was loaded with fluids. My face was puffy, my arms and legs were puffy, everything was puffy. My eyelids, especially. But I hadn't slept for three days so who knows what the cause of THAT was ;)

2. Bleeding.

I bled for 6 weeks. I diapered it for two weeks. Do NOT refuse the diapers they give you at the hospital. They were made for YOU. Yes, you're going to feel disgusting, but these diapers will help CONTAIN. Which leads me to #3...

3. Pee.

Okay. So gross. No one told me this, either. For a week or two, I could not control my pee. And I mean, AT ALL. This means that if I had a full bladder, it would come out...without me initiating a pee. Hence, the diapers. And then by the time I could control the initiation, I could NOT cut off a flow. Another couple of weeks and a LOT of exercises before I could do that. I had soooo many embarrassing moments with this... and although it may seem like I'm all about sharing the "TMI", I can't go as far as telling all my embarassing moments. Just know that we're all in this together. 

4. Night sweats.

As I said in #1, sometimes a woman's body will be filled with fluid. The way your body speeds the elimination of this fluid is through sweating. LOTS of sweating. My sheets were soaked. So, I slept with towels under me and changed my pajamas once a night in the middle of the night. This also lasted a couple of weeks. Which leads me to #5...

5. Engorgement=the need for towels.

When your milk supply comes in, it comes in full throttle until you make a feeding schedule and let the boobies adjust to your baby's needs. Not only did I need towels for sweat, but also for my engorged boobies. NO nursing pads will be enough. I tripled up, used two washable pads with a disposable underneath. Too much hassle, didn't help, still soaked, so instead I changed my bra and shirt once in the middle of the night as well. You...will... feel.... HIDEOUS.

6. Nipple bleeding.

I don't know how common this is, but my nipples bled for the first couple weeks of nursing. They hurt SOOOO BADDDD! I had to take huge preparation breaths before letting Eleni nurse, and then I would wince as she nursed. I didn't use nipple butter the first few days, and I think that was a bad idea. Finally, over time, my nipples became used to it. But I can see how moms would give up in that first month! I wanted to!


Between 3-6 months postpartum (mine started at three, going strong at four...), you might lose hair. I am losing CHUNKS of hair. Huge wads come out all the time. I'm worse than shedding dogs. Everyone in my  house is covered in hair. Eleni has my hair stuck in all her crevices and rolls. This is NORMAL. Your losing all that pregnancy hair (which stops growing and becomes thicker during pregnancy).

8. Losing weight CAN be more difficult than before.

I have some friends who had babies the same year as me, and their weight just shed off with breastfeeding. Being active and healthy, I thought for sure my work would pay off even faster. It didn't. It certainly has gotten me to where I am, but I was expecting more. DON'T BE AFRAID TO GO SLOW! My resource during pregnancy was "How to Exercise While Pregnant: For the 9 months of pregnancy and the 5 months it takes to get your best body back". I read this and thought "Okay, maybe for NORMAL people it will take 5 months, but it's gonna take one month for me". This was awful. I thought that because I was doing well I would be one of those miracle cases. I've been working hard, and I'm still 8 pounds away from pre-pregnancy weight. No big deal, I feel healthy, but am a little disappointed because of how I was amping myself up about it.

9. Pubic Symphysis (the way you birth matters)

Some get this during pregnancy, and it causes pelvic pain. I didn't notice anything during pregnancy, but noticed it post-partum. I birthed in a way that really put stress on my pelvis (on my back, pulling my knees in with all my strength. The harder I pulled my knees in the stronger a push I was able to give. My arms and back were sore for a week). The inside of my thighs (the bones connecting to the pelvis) and the pelvis itself were in pain. I couldnt do lunges, I couldn't bear more weight on one leg than the other, I couldn't get up off the floor one leg at a time, and I couldn't take normal steps. This leads me to #10.

10. Pelvic exercises DO matter.

I should've focused more solely on my pelvic floor and lower abs. They still need work, but the more I focus on my lower abs the less pain I feel in my pelvis and inner thigh bones. I have to consciously engage those abs, though, because I went on to exercise before I made sure they were tight and ready to control my body. Besides doing pelvic floor exercises to help you control pee and tighten the "down under", they are REALLY important to get your hips, pelvis, and back aligned.

BONUS #11: Contractions.

Can't forget this! During breastfeeding and even just while lying around the first week, I felt contractions! They were just as awful as labor. THEY GO AWAY. If you had a traumatic labor, it could make you remember your experience and be emotionally painful, but there is an end, and it does not last the way labor does.

Alas, these are the main 10 (11) things I did NOT know about before giving birth, and I hope it adequately prepares you for the possibility of going through the same things. ***NOTE, not everyone has the same experiences, but these ARE common for a lot of women.