I was going to try and get a post up every Monday, Wednesday, Friday still, but it's Thursday and I'm just writing my first post for the week.
EL. OH. EL.
I wouldn't say I'm "busier" than before, but I simply don't want to rush around getting stuff done. All I want to do is hang out with Piper, and soak up every second of Jack's newborn stage. That's the most important thing right now, and I am in absolute heaven over here.
Piper is down for her nap though, and Jack is snoozing on my chest (letting out the cutest snores), so before I hop into a much needed shower, I wanted to recap on this first week of my postpartum recovery!
I feel like I have to state that this is MY postpartum recovery. There is no set "normal" recovery that every woman follows. We are all different people. We all went into pregnancy in different physical shapes, with different genetics, had different activity levels during pregnancy, different approaches to eating, different babies, different hardships during pregnancy, and different deliveries. There are a lot of factors that go into it! I had NO idea what to expect after having Piper, and it was honestly all quite surprising going through it the first time. I hope by sharing MY experience, it's not used as a template or a comparison for postpartum recovery, but rather helps prepare you for going through your OWN recovery. Hopefully it isn't as shocking for you as it was for me at first haha.
**Sorry if this gets TMI. It's hard to talk about postpartum recovery without getting specific though ha.
As I mentioned in Jack's Birth Story, my doctor had to do a very fast episiotomy at the end of labour to quickly get him out. She did an awesome job with stitching me back up, but it was a second degree tear, meaning the tear went deeper into the muscle beneath. I felt SUPER sore, and was super swollen (from the pushing as well), for about 4 days after delivery, and standing up/sitting down didn't feel great haha. There was/is obviously a lot of bleeding too, especially because of the blood thinner shots I have to take.
Every day I have felt a little better and better, and it's honestly AMAZING to me to think of how the body can recover after birthing a baby. It knows what to do and how to do it. It's so incredible and gives me an even greater respect for my body. I feel SO much better today (9 days postpartum) than I did this time last week. There's obviously still bleeding and discomfort, and it's uncomfortable to walk around for long periods of time, but all things considered, I feel really good!
Breastfeeding has been A MILLION times easier this second time around. With Piper, I had to have pillows set up in specific positions so I could nurse her in one specific way haha. It took me a few months to get completely comfortable with nursing, and I got anxiety the closer it got to each feeding time because it really stressed me out! It was also SUPER painful with her for the first 10 seconds of latching. I don't know if it's because she wasn't latching totally right, or what, but it was hard! Jack has been a master eater from the get-go...literally latched himself a couple of minutes after being born haha. He eats in half the time Piper did, and eats a LOT. It's been much less stressful, WAY less painful, and so much easier. I don't know if it's because it's my second time around and I know what I'm doing, or if it's because he's just a good eater.
How much weight did I gain during pregnancy? Don't care. Am I back to my pre-pregnancy weight? Don't care. As for how I physically look, I'm embracing it and loving it this time around! Of course, I've looked/felt better, but I'm fully embracing this stage and appreciating my body for what it just did for me. With Piper, I didn't know what to expect, and I was honestly surprised when I still looked 6 months pregnant after she came out. I guess you're just used to looking a certain way when there isn't a baby in your stomach, so it's weird when the baby comes out and you're left with a totally foreign body. Now, my skin is obviously still soft and stretchy around my stomach (something you can't really see in a snapshot picture). For the first few days after having him, my whole stomach would jiggle around with each movement and laughter. I got used to this rock hard stomach from having a baby in there, along with the braxton hicks contractions I was having 99% of the day, so it was a weird transition. There's no other word to describe it other than "weird". My uterus, although not as swollen as it was after he was born, is still shrinking. I still feel contractions from it shrinking, especially when I'm nursing, which apparently you feel more and more of the more kids you have (I don't remember feeling any with Piper).
I had a little gap between my abdominals (less than 1 finger-width), which is totally normal (you don't want it to be 2 finger-widths apart or more), and it has already pulled back together which is great! Honestly, while my pelvic floor feels MUCH weaker after going through this labour, I can see and feel the benefits of all the exercises I did during pregnancy, along with making an effort to nourish my body well. I don't mean this in an arrogant way AT ALL, but I am so proud of myself because having a healthy pregnancy IS NOT EASY. It's hard! It requires a lot of effort and a lot of motivation. But it's SO worth it! It was worth staying away from certain exercises I knew weren't appropriate during pregnancy, because it protected my core and helped it recover postpartum. It was worth it to keep up with beneficial exercises because it kept my body strong FOR labour and, again helped it recover postpartum. **You can get my pregnancy workout guide HERE. It was worth making an effort to mostly eat healthy food during pregnancy, because I don't feel like I suddenly have to start doing things different now I am postpartum. I just have to continue with what I was already doing!
WHAT I'M DOING NOW
I'm still working on fueling my body properly because it makes me feel good, and I know it's good for the milkies. I'm not counting calories, macros, or anything like that. I'm just trying to eat lots of REAL food (seriously, lots of it because I'm STARVING), while making room for my favourite treats still. I am not exercising right now (I have gone on a couple of tiny walk around the block, but that's it because it doesn't feel the best ha). I don't plan on exercising I am cleared at my 6 week postpartum checkup. I think it's very important to fully let me body recover externally and internally first. I will start some pelvic floor recovery movements soon, which is more like basic breathing techniques to help my body recover, but that is it. No belly band, no "get your body back quick" program...just showing my body lots of love and care right now through rest, recovery, and quality food!
I sure look and feel different from MY "old" normal, but I feel so confident in my body, and I am fully embracing this new normal of mine.