Every now and then (in the past 5 months) my husband and I have reminisced about our labor and delivery experience, the ups & downs, the challenges and triumphs. When it was over we couldn’t believe that we did it and did it together.
For the most part our experience was pretty predictable and there wasn’t anything we weren’t prepared for. I had taken the prenatal course with the BCT and I read a large number of books in preparation of my labor and delivery experience, but the one thing I was not adequately prepared for was my full postpartum experience.
I knew a lot of stuff like the Baby Blues coming around Day 3 and from that point the waterworks were turned fully on and I cried over everything. Then there was the bleeding. That was predicted and I knew about that. There was the fact that breastfeeding could be and was a bit difficult, that I also knew. I felt I was fully prepared for postpartum life, but what I didn’t expect was the pain.
I knew there was going to be some pain after giving birth and that there were plenty of methods for pain relief, but I didn’t expect my pain to be at the level that it was. I had to have an episiotomy due to needing vacuum assistance. I really didn’t want one, but during some of my last appointments prior to birth I knew it was a possibility after having conversations with my doctor and she told me if I needed it she made that decision (one reason I got an epidural at the last minute). Well I got one and healing was not joyful.
I really think the pain sabotaged some of the initial bonding with my daughter. I wanted to give all I could and love on my daughter, but the pain was a real issue. There were many times where I had to get up and down a lot especially in the night and that wore on my body. Every move I made hurt and sitting wasn’t fun (I now understand why there are rental services through the BCT to get a special cushion to sit on). At every turn I was in a huge amount of pain, pain I was not expecting. My stay in the hospital was 6 days, originally it was 4, but due to my daughter having jaundice we had to stay 2 extra days. I came home on a Monday and ended up in the hospital emergency room on Wednesday. After being checked out I was told everything was fine and to take my pain medication.
About that medication… I hadn’t really been taking it. I took it at night to help me sleep (what little sleep I was getting) and I figured I didn’t need it. WRONG! My pain medication was also an anti-inflammatory, a fact I did not know and once I started taking it on a regular basis I was much better, but it still took 4 more weeks before I could move around without any pain. I truthfully wasn’t expecting that. I assumed you had your baby, had a bit of pain for a few days, and then you moved on. I was very wrong.
People always obsess about the pain of childbirth, which is painful (but manageable), but they never really talk about how much they hurt after. I always saw new moms cuddling with their babies and they seemed to care and pain free. I never knew it was a facade because I knew I put on the same facade because on the outside I was the happy new mom and behind closed doors I was in a terrible amount of pain and I felt at times I couldn’t function through it.
In the end like every other woman I made it through the other end. When the pain was gone it was gone. I saw my doctor at 6 weeks and everything was healed up normally. Once the pain was gone I felt I was able to properly bond with my daughter. We could spend time with one another and I could love on her without every move being calculated and painful. My only regret of my childbirth experience was that I wish I had been more prepared for the pain after having my baby.