Thursday, August 8, 2013

Surprising {to me} Things About Giving Life to a Human

You may have picked up from my sarcastic comments in my posts throughout my pregnancy, that the thought of delivering a baby terrified me. Beyond that, being responsible for another human was even scarier. Prior to getting pregnant, the thought of my stomach being stretched to house something the size of a watermelon completely weird-ed me out. For me, pregnancy was like going off the high-dive at the swimming pool for the first time: close your eyes and jump.

In the 3.5 weeks since I gave birth, I have been asked many times how I was feeling/doing. I am surprised to be responding with "I feel fantastic!" and actually mean it. Here are some things I am pleasantly surprised by when it comes to pregnancy/delivery and the aftermath.

1.) Your stomach actually returns to it's previous size pretty quickly. Of course, my stomach is not near as firm and/or flat as it was before and I have about 15 pounds to lose before I will fit into my pre-pregnancy pants again, but I am shocked at how fast my stomach deflated. I won't be rocking a two-piece any time soon, but it's amazing to think three weeks ago, there was a baby in there!

2.) The epidural doesn't really hurt. I totally wanted an epidural, I wasn't attempting that naturally. But the thought of a needle going into my spine!? I can barely handle getting a flu shot, let alone a needle in my back. Some people had told me that I'd be in so much pain that I wouldn't even think about what was going on. To an extent, yes. But honestly, it really didn't hurt!

3.) Despite having an epidural, the actual delivery will still hurt. There is pressure and stretching that no amount of drugs will cover up. I even had an injection of lidocaine "down there" and I could still feel it all. The pain really is worth it and you really do forget about it quite quickly. {Not right away though, as some lead you to believe.} But within a few days I wasn't banishing the idea of more kids anymore.

4.) After the baby is born, you won't even pay attention to what the doctor is doing "down there". The placenta was delivered, stitches were put in, my stomach was pushed on - I know all these things happened and I was dreading them. But I was so happy to be holding my baby, that I honestly didn't even notice what was going on.

5.) The bleeding isn't that bad. Everything I read going into this prepared me to see more blood than I had ever seen, to the extent that I would wonder if my uterus was still in my body. I bled, but it wasn't THAT bad. I am assuming a majority of the bleeding happened immediately after delivery, when I was oblivious to what was going on.

6.) The real pain in the days following {at least for me} was back pain. I am not sure if it was from the epidural or the pushing or the dramatic shift in weight distribution {probably a combination of all of the above} but my back was SORE and really weak for at least a week after delivery.

7.) The pain "down there" afterwards really isn't that bad. Did it feel like I got kicked in the crotch multiple times for a few days? Totally. But it was manageable. I took the drugs they gave me, when they told me to take them. They gave me some spray at the hospital that numbed the area and told me to use it every time I peed. I loved that spray.

8.) Breast feeding feels weird, but it doesn't hurt. The first time he latched on, it was a really weird sensation. I wouldn't call it a good sensation, it was just different. But I got used to it quickly.

9.) Engorgement hurts. That wasn't the surprising part. The surprising part was how badly it hurt. When my milk came in, I was questioning if I would continue breast feeding at that point. Nothing gave me relief. Even after he ate or I pumped and I was empty, they still hurt. Luckily, the worst lasted about 24 hours for me and within a few days, they only hurt when I go too long in between feeding or pumping.

10.) The instant love you feel for the baby is... Indescribable. Overwhelming. Amazing. All at once.  I knew I would feel instant, overwhelming love - I love him before he was born - even before he was conceived.  But to actually experience such love - at the risk of sounding cheesy, literally completes me. How this tiny thing that doesn't really do much at this point except scream, demand food from my body and poop can weasel his way into my heart and completely take it over in an instant, is beyond me.

Then again, how could you not love this face!?

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