When I was pregnant I geeked up on my pregnancy, what was happening day by day, how my body was changing, how it was going to change over the 40 weeks. I read books, blogs, downloaded 3 different pregnancy apps and read them like the Bible everyday. Some of the articles touched on postpartum recovery, but really I didn’t pay that close attention. So there were some things that surprised me when it came to my postpartum recovery I wish I had known a little about before so I wasn’t obsessively googling!
1.Urinary Incontinence. I learned about incontinence fast. And I’m not talking about the kind of incontinence you get when you laugh or cough and just a little bit of pee comes out. I’m talking about standing up out of bed and your entire bladder falls out from between your legs into a warm puddle beneath you, with no way of stopping it no matter how hard you think about it. Apparently postpartum incontinence is very common (1 in 3 will women suffer) – so how come I had never heard of this before?! What’s more…it can take months to recover. When the nurse told me it should get better within a few weeks, I believed her. But now, I am not so sure. It has definitely got better since the immediate week after giving birth, but I am no way near being fixed. Chris had me sit on towels on the sofa and in the car, he even put multiple layers of waterproof blankets under my side of the bed (a picnic blanket with a waterproof bottom, and one of the pads we took home from the hospital!). Fortunately I haven’t had any real big embarrassing accidents. I’ve been working on my kegels (I did do these when I was pregnant BTW) and trying to stop/start the urine flow when I pee. Sometimes I can control the flow and other times I can’t no matter how hard I try, this gets me upset and frustrated at myself. Here’s hoping the nurse was right and this doesn’t last long.
2. Night sweats. The first night home I woke up after an hour (because that is all my sweet one would let me sleep) and I was DRENCHED – as if I had jumped into a bath in my sleep. Weirdly, I had even managed to shape my duvet into a wet ball and was cradling it like it was my baby (that’s another story!). The same thing happened night after night. I suffered night sweats when I took the Progesterone in oil during IVF, so I hazarded a guess that it is hormonal related. Again, a quick google, and apparently night sweats is very common in postpartum recovery! It is the hormones aiding the body to rid of all the excess fluid no longer needed that was made for pregnancy. Oh OK then. Could have warned me so I could be prepared with a few towels by my bed! Just as well Chris put those layers down in the bed for my incontinence!
3. Body changes. OK so I knew my body was going to change after giving birth – No shit Sherlock! But what I wasn’t prepared for was how MY body was going to change. Suddenly, I could sleep in what ever position I wanted. I had got used to bending at the knees when I picked up things from the dishwasher/bottom cupboard etc. But now I could put my shoes and socks on without having to contort myself into a yoga pose. All of these things changed gradually when I was pregnant and now the change back was almost instantaneous…I couldn’t get out of the habit of doing my pregnancy moves! I only needed my maternity clothes for perhaps 2-3 days after giving birth, it wasn’t long before I was able to fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes. Yesterday I packed away my maternity clothes and I felt an overwhelming sadness. I haven’t packed away my maternity trousers/jeans though because they are so comfy!!! I missed my pregnant body so I had a little cry, I don’t know why I felt like that because now I have more clothes I can wear! Part of me was also deeply sad for myself as I wondered whether I would ever wear those clothes again. It was hard to let go.
4. Weight loss. Speaking of body changes…within 3 days I was down to my IVF weight and within a week I was back down to pre-IVF weight. Some of you are probably hating me right now. But honestly I did not expect it to be that fast, I started to worry if that was even normal. I must have lost my IVF weight when I was pregnant which would explain why I only put on a total of 12lbs. Remembering that I felt guilty for Aviana being growth restricted (IUGR), this just reinforced my guilty feeling. May be I hadn’t eaten enough when I was pregnant, may be I wasn’t nourishing Aviana. I have so many questions about Aviana being IUGR and what this means for a future pregnancy if we decided to try again. I am hoping that my OB will shed some light on this at my postpartum appointment with the results of my placenta testing.
5. Phantom kicks. It is the strangest feeling…I know there isn’t a baby in there, but I was still feeling ‘kicks’ for two weeks after giving birth. Whenever I felt something I would rub my tummy as if Aviana was still in there. So so weird.
None of these surprises are terrible (except for perhaps the urinary incontinence being rather a pain), just wish I knew about them before!
9 thoughts on “5 Surprising things about my postpartum recovery”
I’ll comment more later when I have more time…But if you get some puppy pee pads it will save you some laundry instead of using towels!
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The night sweats are crazy. I was really confused getting them as to why I was sweating when it wasn’t hot!
As for weight loss, I dropped 18/35 in two weeks and the other 17 is literally going nowhere! I totally thought breastfeeding would be the answer to weight loss and I’m surprised that it’s not been that way!
I do think the postpartum recovery is not talked about enough and knowing what to expect has left me to the mercy of google!
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Yes!!! I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation with any of my friends about postpartum recovery – just the births!
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I am so glad you can read my comments! I’ve been having some problems with WordPress not sending my comments.
I had night sweats occasionally, and even if I wasn’t sweating I still felt hot. And, I too had mixed feelings packing up my maternity clothes for the same reason. It took so long to get to that point and be pregnant with a healthy baby, and even though we haven’t decided on if we want a second yet, it still made me sad to pack them away because I enjoyed my pregnancy. And I may never be there again!
I think that’s definitely one of the things that made me most sad about putting the clothes away was not knowing if or when I might see them again 😞I think I will need to hide the box from myself so I don’t think about it every time I go into my closet!!!
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Ok, more time! Incontinence sucks. I heard about it, and was actually told by many that the kegels honestly didn’t help at all. I definitely lost my bladder a few times just after she was born, and also couldn’t stop it. It’s gotten much better (12 weeks later), but I will say that I can’t hold it like I used to be able to! If I have to pee, I HAVE TO PEE!!! I wear a pantyliner at all times…sometimes when I sneeze I leak as well, which sucks. I’m still hot a lot of the time, not just at night. I’m not sure how much hormones plays into this, because I’d think they’d be gone by now, but who knows. I will say that I also do still have a strong sense of smell! I’ll often smell something, and B will tell me I’m crazy! I’ve definitely had phantom kicks, recently too! I actually had a dream last week or the week before that I was in a complete panic because I COULDN’T feel the baby kicking, I thought the baby had died. I woke up upset, then realized that I didn’t feel her kicking because she was asleep in her bassinet beside me! Pregnancy/motherhood does crazy things to our brains!! Before being pregnant I slept on my belly…but even now I’m afraid to sleep that way! It’s like a mental block I developed while pregnant I guess? I continue to lose weight as well. It must be the breastfeeding, because I’m certainly not exercising lol. I actually just said something on Facebook about it the other day…I’m 20lbs down from the day of our FET, and 33lbs down from this time 2 years ago. I want to keep losing, so need to do something about it…but it’s so strange to lose weight continuously, doing nothing!
I can so relate to the phantom kicks! I remember missing being able to lay on my tummy when I pregnant (even though I don’t lie on my tummy anyway ) lol
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