Updated: Feb 25, 2022
How do our bodies do it?
Sometimes even science is stumped!
Don't get me wrong, I knew about most of these things but I honestly didn't realize the severity of each one.
I guess I was living in fantasy land..hoping it really wouldn't be that bad.
While I was at the hospital, after having my little one. I realized I was way underprepared for post-birth care.
The fourth trimester..nobody talks about it.
This might be because all of it is very vivid imagery, possibly because we don't like to think that we have to go through that, or maybe because society tells us to hide our tears.
Well, this post is here to hide nothing. We are going to talk about it all!
No matter how uncomfortable it may be.
This post is here to help that new pregnant mom. In the way I wish I would have been told.
1. Getting out of Bed
Is it because you've been laying in a bed for hours? Is it because you have just torn immensely down there from delivering a whole human? Is it because you abruptly lost so much fluid in a matter of hours?
The first time you get out of bed after delivering your precious newborn is the strangest feeling. It's so surreal, so weird, and so very painful steps all at the same time. You are shocked by how light your front is that you almost fall over, due to compensating your weight for months. You finally realize after hours, just how squishy your stomach is now. And finally, that pain after you make the first wrong step..yep that's your uterus, your vagina, your back.
Why does everything hurt?
You just had a baby, it's more than normal!
Your uterus is left with a huge scar, where that baby used to be. Your vagina? Blue and swollen.. and don't forget about those stitches! Yeah… You can sort of feel them.
And your back is swollen as well, and aching from all those contractions along with the pushing you have just done!
Take a second to realize just how strong you are, you can do this! I promise.
2. The First Pee
When you are ready to get up, they will take your catheter out. Don't worry you're in so much pain down there and still a little numb, that you honestly don't even feel this.
Would we even care about this little thing after what we just went through anyway?
Finally, after taking those super strange steps you reach the bathroom and then the toilet, where a nurse helps you to sit down. Don’t be surprised that this pee will feel very abnormal. You will need to almost push again to get that first pee out, and once it starts coming, expect it to burn.
All these muscles have been stretched immensely! Don’t worry you’ll pee normal soon!
Oh yeah that…maybe don’t look in the toilet when you get up.
I made this mistake and it honestly scared me.
There is so much blood, so much. Your first thought is that you're dying, and then you remember, that yes you just pushed out a whole human.
3. First Shower
Oh thank the Lord! Finally, something that's going to relax our muscles!
Despite not having people help you shower since you were a child, the nurses helping you with everything is much appreciated. Something about being pregnant and having a baby, makes you not even care that you are always naked in front of these strangers.
The hot water is more than wonderful, and for some reason, you wish it could even get hotter. Yes sitting down on the seat is very uncomfortable but you want to stay in the shower forever.
Don't worry about the blood on the towels, the nurses are used to it.
After the shower, a nurse will help you get out and dry off. Then she will show you how to do postpartum care.
• a nice cool spray, Dermoplast for pain, burn and itch.
• Tucks medicated Pads
• Heavy Liner Pads
• And a soft cloth diaper
Also a tip, at the beginning it is very difficult to maneuver yourself to step into a diaper, especially without dropping the medicated pads. If you have a spouse, mother, sister, or friend that will help you with each trip to the bathroom for the first few days..recruit them! I was thankful that my husband never complained to help me put my pads and diaper on (I know super romantic), even though he gets sick with the sight of blood.
Before the hospital, stock up on at least 2 dermoplast sprays, 2-3 packages of tucks pads, and the home diapers will have an absorbent pad layer inside, but I suggest buying 1 package of medium flow pads for when you finally stop bleeding as much.
Another tip: I was afraid that toilet paper may hurt to wipe with, so I used some of my baby's extra wipes that I knew I wasn't going to use on him.
I realized at the hospital that I was unprepared for postpartum care. After having to change my pad every time whenever I went to the bathroom, It dawned on me that I need more diapers, for I only had one package at home. So I then sent my mother and sister to go buy me a couple more packages of these diapers. And let me tell you, I used all of these diapers except for maybe three of them.
One thing that my mother shown me to use, was an old school ice pack. This will help with all the swelling and aching from your vagina. It also can fast track the healing process some.
These can be found at Walmart or Walgreens. These blue bags are soft, because we know everything needs to be soft right now! Fill it up with plain water, place in the fridge not the freezer, and place on the area when you are hurting. It will hurt to sit normal for a while, so this ice pack helps a ton!
5. Going Home
It seemed like an eternity in the hospital, but for some reason you are not ready to go back to the real world.
The ride home will be very painful, no matter where you sit. Buckle up though, cause it will hurt to sit regularly for a while.
I'm sorry! I'm just being honest!
Getting much sleep the first night home is going to be difficult even though you are exhausted. Thankfully you'll sleep better though since there is not a nurse coming to check on you every few hours.
Another tip: Make sure your bed is lower and not super tall. Our bed is very high, so due to me not being able to get on the bed myself because of the pain when I lifted my legs, we slept on the couch for the first 3 days.
6. The First Poop
I just pushed out a whole human why am I scared of this minuscule thing?
To be honest, I think our minds get the best of us and fear works its way in. As long as you keep taking your stool softeners, you will be just fine!
I was very scared of this next thing that came after having a baby.. silly right? Many women do the same thing, we don't want anything coming near that area anytime soon.
Don't get me wrong, a fed baby is best! What you choose to do with YOUR body is YOUR choice, and stick to that!
We were only able to breastfeed for 3 weeks until figuring out he had a dairy allergy.. And then later we figured out he had a soy allergy.
However, breastfeeding causes your uterus to contract. Yes. You heard me correct. You will keep having contractions for weeks after delivery.
Don't worry! It does get better, you can do it momma!
Sadly, we were never able to reach this point of “it gets better”. But, at the end of our journey, it definitely was not as painful as the beginning.
I found myself asking when my milk was going to come in a lot, how will I know when I have it?
You will know.
I was changing my baby boy at his changing table when all of a sudden milk was running down everywhere. I was screaming for my husband to get a towel, due to me not being able to leave my baby on the table of course.
It wasn't fun at the time, but now we laugh at that memory.
Will it ever stop?
I asked myself and my mother this question many times..daily. I was shocked by how much I was still bleeding and having to wear pads weeks after. Your bleeding is most likely normal, so don't worry. If you are afraid it is not, set a timer for 30 mins and then go to the bathroom to see if the pad is soaked completely. If it is, that is the time you need to call your ob-gyn.
Every woman stops bleeding at different times, sometimes sooner, sometimes later. So don't stress about it too much (even though it's aggravating) and spend time with that precious angel you made!
Except to bleed for around 4-6 weeks after. I stopped bleeding around 3-4 weeks.
9. Your First Period
Yes unfortunately more bleeding. I know. Being a woman sucks each month.
I started my first period around 11 weeks after birth. And unfortunately, I was not prepared. I happened to be visiting my best friend in another state. So I did not pack pads or tampons or have anything with me.
Don't be alarmed if you bleed way more than normal this period. You are also getting all that excess gunk out of your uterus that was left in there for weeks.
I bled a lot. I had to change a tampon every few hours during the night and bled through many shorts and pants with a tampon in.
10. Postpartum Depression
“No, it's just my hormones”, this is what I said daily. Denial. We don't want to admit we have it.
Many moms have it after birth and don't even realize it. Your body has gone through so much trauma and so many changes in a matter of days. Postpartum should be normalized due to this. It's so important to tell someone if you think you have postpartum.
For me, this looked like:
• Suddenly crying for no reason and not being able to stop for hours.
• Not wanting to get out of bed for days.
• Having no energy to even brush my teeth.
• Not wanting my husband to touch me at all.
• Having a very poor self image of myself.
• Not wanting to eat for days (this can also be reversed).
• Crying in the bath tub to my self because I'm not fun anymore.
• Getting very snippy and yelling for not a real reason.
However postpartum may look for you. Whether it's mild or major, days after or 18 months after. It should not be ignored, and your feelings are legitimate.
Check out our article on more symptoms and signs of postpartum depression!