Surprise!: Giving birth still means recovering from birth too.
July 12, 2012

This week is my twenty-fourth week of pregnancy and to kick it off, Donald turned to me a couple nights ago and said, “Sometime when you have a chance, you should order some postpartum pads so that we know they’ll be here before the baby arrives.”

I’m not sure if this happens to other people in subsequent pregnancies, but it was like time stood still.  I have to recover from a birth again!  FUCK!  HOW DID I FORGET ABOUT THAT?!

When Charlotte was born, I bled for eons.  I remember counting it out one time and realizing that I would have bled LESS if I’d had regular periods the whole time – and then I spent nearly an hour in tears because my breasts weren’t working and I was bleeding like a stuck pig and I was afraid to poop.

HOW DO YOU FORGET ABOUT SOMETHING LIKE THAT?!

I mean, think about it this way: I remembered about labor and delivery, so I switched prenatal care to a midwife.  I remembered about breastfeeding, so I started preparing my “nursing center” and talking to Charlotte about how she can help me manage engorgement when the baby is born.  I remembered about late pregnancy fatigue so I started crafting Charlotte’s weekly schedules months in advance so that I wouldn’t have to do it when my time would be better spent devouring large quantities of ice cream.

I remembered about the feeling that my belly was made of bread dough and I remembered how awkward jeans with buttons felt when I started wearing them again and I remembered to prepare for that moment in pregnancy when my gums were too tender to handle proper brushing more than once a day…but I couldn’t remember that I was going to spend six weeks in blinding pain?!

Sometimes my own state of moron-hood really amazes me.

So this week is devoted to reading up about postpartum care and recovery, to finding someone who can help me make postpartum pads to suit my needs (I’m one of those weird-ass cloth pad users) (I know, I know, next thing you know I’ll be dancing naked under the full moon, it’s ridiculous), and to preparing an overall postpartum supply list (WITCH HAZEL PADS!).

On that note, what is on your postpartum recommendation list?


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  1. By on July 12, 2012

    well, i only have one advice for you, now that i “know”...

    when you’ll feel like your guts are held together by your underwear.. remind yourself that one day, pretty soon, sooner than you think, you won’t even REMEMBER the pain, the disconfort, the horridness of it all !!!

    ps bravo on thinking ahead. i must say the lack of post partum preparation / information was the hardest for me. i didn’t know you could pee under the shower to stop the burn, for exemple.. all those little details (scary but ho so true)  that SHOULD be contained in pregnancy books..

  2. By Court on July 12, 2012

    Ugh… I haven’t put much thought into this yet, despite being at 29 weeks.  My son was born via C/S, and I’m working with a midwife this go ‘round for a VBAC attempt.  I’ve thought through so much else, tried to cover bases and have stuff lined up for a hopefully more successful BFing experience, but I haven’t given one iota of thought to the actual postpartum recovery.  Obviously, recovering from a C/S was different, and I think one of the things that is going to shock me is that I had an aunt who came and stayed with us for the first two weeks.  My guess is that I’m forgetting how much she really did for me.  :(

  3. By on July 12, 2012

    Here’s my prep list (fresh in my mind!) but it may not all apply to you (and not all related to recovering):

    - Stock your freezer full of meals; you won’t have time to cook elaborate meals for a while.

    - I like having a pump *just in case*; now that we’re exclusively breastfeeding (yay!) I still use it once in a while when I’m engorged. I’ve managed to save 25 oz so far in the freezer; not too sure when I’ll use it though.

    - Breast pads (a must!) and lanolin. And while I’m at it, a bra that fits properly. So nice when the rib cage gets back to normal size…

    - My fat clothes. I got fat after James and bought some clothes. They fit now, so I don’t have to wear maternity clothes all the time.

    - OK, I’ll say it, stool softener. They gave some at the hospital but I needed some for the first week I got home as well.

    - That spray bottle thing (forget the name). Nice to clean the area down there gently.

    - I used pain killers (tylenol and motrin) but I think you said you don’t use them. Good luck!

    - And yes, cloth pads are a must. I have a friend who makes them. Not sure if her thick ones would be absorbent enough for you. http://www.etsy.com/shop/matersum Write to her if you’re interested. She’s great and will help you figure things out…

    Don’t worry, you’ll be so sleep-deprived that you won’t notice the recovery period LOL

    MC

  4. By Alicia S. on July 12, 2012

    Oh my Lord, I got hemorrhoids after Matthew’s delivery from apparently pushing too hard. One push in, the nurse told me it generally takes first time mothers an hour and a half to push a baby out so I should save my energy. I was like FUCK THAT, and had him out in about 6 minutes.

    The hemorrhoids were so awful that I planned to push more gently with my second child, even if it took longer to get her out. Only, with her, I went without anything to manage the pain, so you can imagine that by the time I was actually allowed to push, I wasn’t about to take my time with that shit. I had her out in less than ten, too.

    I also got very familiar with the witch hazel pads all over again - but I will say, recovery was easier for me the second time around, I was able to number-two sooner, and I bled much less.

  5. By on July 12, 2012

    My birth center recommended taking a disposable diaper, running water over it so the gel puffed up, and then freezing it. We snagged some from a friend since we used cloth, and it was glorious to sit on a cool pad. I covered it with a cloth wipe so it wasn’t too cold on my bottom and that also worked to absorb the PP blood. Prefolds also work well for PP pads. If they’re going to be bulky no matter what you use, you might as well use what you have!

    And, like Alicia, I had horrible hemorrhoids, but I got them from my bowels emptying right BEFORE my 40+ hour labor started so I couldn’t sit down the whole time. Witch hazel was my friend as well.

    Fun times!

  6. By on July 12, 2012

    Sarah, I’ve read and loved your blog since Charlotte was a baby but never commented. Here goes!

    First, I wanted to let you know a lot of people find recovery easier with a second baby, so hopefully you will find that to be true.

    Second, your birth experience has a big impact in how you feel post-partum. I think if you have a great experience in the birth center, your recovery will likely be easier.

    I gave birth to my first (and only, so far) child at home with a midwife and yes I bled for almost 6 weeks but other than that I remember feeling pretty darn awesome the next day, and even that night.

    I did use those witch hazel pads and the “peri bottle” several others have mentioned for use when peeing. Definitely good to have a breast pump on hand but now that I’m much more accomplished at hand expression that would probably work better. Oh, and of course, line up a parade of people to bring you food!

  7. By Heather on July 12, 2012

    This totally cracked me up! I know, I know, it’s not funny. BUT I can totally relate, and I assume you just blocked this from your memory. It would be easy to do with a cute squishy baby to think about! Maybe the second time around won’t be as bad?? One of my friends has four children and tore like a bitch with the first two but with a good midwife the last two were much better. She said she barely even had a hemorrhoid with the last. So there is hope…minus the bleeding and cramping. Oh, the things we endure for these beautiful people we bring into the world!

  8. By on July 12, 2012

    I had 2 c-sections (unfortunately) so my recovery was different from yours but I did make some new discoveries the second that I must share!
    Both times, I was so constipated from the pain meds that I couldn’t poop for 6 days! Ugh horrible horrible things happen. Thank god my mom is a nurse so she spared me from the humiliation of disimpaction the first time (ugh sorry this is so detailed but I must share this!) and the second time, I was prepared - not only had I been taking stool softeners, but I drank warm prune juice a couple times a day! Miracle of miracles! Warm it to make it more palatable. Things exit in a very soft way. :) just remember to slow down your intake after things get moving.
    The second secret from my sister, which I did not get to use (c-section) is tampons soaked in witch hazel then stored in the freezer! ** Not for insertion** of course, but the shape makes it easier to hit target areas and the coldness is soothing. Ask your midwife to store all of your pads and witch hazel accessories in the freezer.
    I’m sure you will have lots of help - that is the most important thing to have prepared because a newborn and a three year old = very very different recovery!!!

  9. By Sara on July 12, 2012

    I think the amazing part of this is that Donald said you should order the pads. Goodness, my husband is amazing, and does a ton, but he became ghost white when the doctor mentioned uterus in his presence.

    For me, recovering with my second was FAR FAR easier than with my first. Perhaps it was because I was in better shape, perhaps because I didn’t have a horrid inter-uterine infection, or maybe I didn’t have the time to really think and focus on it. But, it was so much easier.

    And, I agree with the previous commenter - you’ll be so sleep-deprived that you won’t even notice. :)

  10. By on July 12, 2012

    My plan for an easier postpartum recovery after our 2nd was giving birth on my knees. We had a midwife and delivered in a hospital, and I was on my feet the whole time. I sat in the car while driving to the hospital and I lay down so they could check my cervix, but that’s it. Once it came time for me to push I was on the hospital bed, the head of the bed was raised all the way up and I put my arms on that—I was facing the head of the bed and I was squatting (but on my knees, not my feet). Jenson was out in 3 pushes (which equals 3 contractions, which probably equals about 1 minute) and I was doing laundry (carrying a basket from the basement up to the 2nd floor) in 3 days. I was having shower sex in 3 weeks (I was still bleeding a bit). Woohoo!

    I had 2nd degree tears with Isla, awfully uncomfortable stitches and everything ached. With Jenson, I was back to normal (not including wearing normal jeans) in 3 days.

    My postpartum tips:
    - Research labour positions!
    - A pump WILL help with engorgement (My breasts were engorged for a week with Jenson and he couldn’t latch on to my nipples because my breasts were so huge that it was stretching the nipple and making it flat, I had to pump for a minute or two to get milk out and let my nipple get erect enough for him.)
    - Peri bottle
    - Don’t feel bad for putting a movie on for Charlotte so you can rest your eyes when baby’s sleeping, or sending her to your dad’s (I struggled with PPD so this was a lifesaver!)

  11. By on July 12, 2012

    Prunes with every single meal or snack. Prunes. Prunes are my one and only recommendation.

    Also- Midwives. :) Hopefully, like so many wonderful midwives, yours will do your postpartum visits at your house so you don’t have to get yourself into any sort of a vehicle.

    Yay babies!

  12. By Sarah Christensen on July 12, 2012

    Jiminy crickets, Cynthia, THREE WEEKS?!  Don’t put that in a comment here; Donald reads this and he’s going to have completely unreasonable expectations now! =P lol.  That’s seriously amazing, though.  I was too afraid that my uterus would fall out or that I would rip open and fall into two pieces to have sex for several months after Charlotte was born.

    I’d forgotten all about the peri-bottle, what a good suggestion, guys!  Nobody even told me about that postpartum last time so it wasn’t until I wrote about how much I hated using toilet paper while sore that someone commented “WARM WATER!“ and basically saved my life.

    Lisa - I thought about using prefolds, but I was sort of worried about them moving around?  Is that a problem?  I used them with my last miscarriage and I leaked through, leaked out, they shifted, there was blood everywhere, etc.  I was changing clothes and soaking out blood stains four or five times a day because of the quantity of blood as compared to the prefold coverage - and I couldn’t tell if it just wasn’t absorbent enough for me (I was checking it every 30ish minutes, so that seems unlikely) or if it just moved around too much so the blood wasn’t always hitting its target or what?  How did you keep it in one spot?!

  13. By Sarah Christensen on July 12, 2012

    Sarah M - YES!  Home postpartum visits are what I’m most excited about.  No way am I getting in a car for at least two weeks if I don’t have to lol.  When I was postpartum with Charlotte, I was walking long distances in no time, but I distinctly remember a trip to the pediatrician’s office where I was like “forget that crap, I’m flying hoome” lol!

    Did anyone have luck with apples postpartum instead of prunes?  As soon as the baby was out, I was chugging water and apple juice (no sugar) and even though I’d been worried about it, pooping again postpartum turned out to be a complete non-issue for me.  I basically holed up in the bathroom, told Donald to leave me alone for a little while, and let my body do all the work.  My stools were very soft for probably the better part of three weeks without any softeners, just apple juice and water.  Is that abnormal?

    Sara - Donald’s pretty difficult to phase =)  When I had Charlotte, I was *WAY* out of my comfort zone with regards to my body and he didn’t even blink.  I remember one time asking him to help me size up a blood clot to determine if it was too large and he was like, yeah, no big deal.  Even now, I usually either dump my cloth pads in with the diapers or I keep them in a moon jar by the toilet, and he has no qualms about it.  He won’t handle the moon jar himself, but he doesn’t mind it being there and he doesn’t mind washing the diapers with pads in them.

  14. By on July 12, 2012

    I concur on the second baby recovery going much better. But I did beging chugging apple juice and taking stool aofteners as soon as I had her. I iwsh someone has mentioned the frozen diaper trick to me, that sounds like a great idea! Also, my hardest thing was how much more help I needed after my 2nd and subsuqent births. Accepting help is hard for me, but when you have toddlers and preschoolers running around, it’s no time to be proud. allow people to bring you supper, come over and play with Charlotte or hold the baby so you can. Plus, the adult conversation is nice.

  15. By Christine J on July 12, 2012

    Postpartum was a breeze second time around.  My midwife INSISTED that I not leave the bed for one week and I swear that was the best advice.  I stopped bleeding at 2 weeks.  I also encapsulated my placenta.  I would recommend this to EVERYBODY!! It worked so well. 

    Make sure your pelvic floor is strong NOW, not after.  Lots of kegals and squats.  Make sure your iron levels are good.  Floradix+Herbs is an excellent supplement to to that. 

    Good luck!!

  16. By Ashley on July 12, 2012

    One of my friends sent me this to use in the peri bottle, and it was heavenly: http://www.mamagoddess.ca/collections/gifts-under-30/products/mama-goddess-perineal-wash

    What are the cloth pads like? Do you use them during your normal period, too? Hope that isn’t weird. I’ve been curious but haven’t had anyone to ask. I hate tampons, but can’t use a Diva Cup because I have an IUD and the suction from the cup could knock it out of place or pull it out.

  17. By on July 12, 2012

    I use Go with the Flo cloth pads.  http://gowiththeflopads.com/  I love them, really soft, absorbent, comfy.  She (the seller) once made triple P pads (post-partum pads) that were extremely large and great, however, I didn’t need anything as large as those and I’m not sure I used them since her other heavy protection pads were sufficient for me in my birth recovery.  The nurses at the hospital were fine with me using these, too, which was nice because I was going to use them whether they liked it or not.

  18. By on July 12, 2012

    The recovery, both physical and world-turned-upside-down-ness, was way easier with the 2nd baby. You and your body have done this before so you can handle things much easier.

  19. By Sarah Christensen on July 12, 2012

    Ashley - The cloth pads are great.  I can’t remember how I stumbled upon them, but I’ve been using them for my period ever since and I love them.  It’s much less rough than wearing disposable pads - it just feels like you’re wearing underwear, honestly.  And I like that there’s no crinkley sound or chemical smell.  I have a couple small Planetwise wet bags that I use during my cycle and I just launder the pads and wet bags with Charlotte’s diapers.  The only times I’ve had any problems were: a) my last miscarriage, where I just bled way too much and the pads I had weren’t up to the challenge, and b) the first night of the period is always a little rough because it’s my heaviest flow of the cycle and my night pads are long and slim, but I toss and turn alot so about half the time I end up staining a bit.  I’ve been waiting to rectify that problem until baby2 so that I could juts use wider postpartum pads to help with the tossing and turning issue.  You’re more than welcome to ask any questions; I’m not shy about it =)

  20. By on July 12, 2012

    Hmm, I bled for a long time, but it was never heavy enough to bleed through the prefold (it all turned clotty, then light, after that). Also, since my midwives gave me strict orders to not move around too much in the beginning and this was my first child so I didn’t have to chase another, I obeyed and stayed in bed as much as possible and didn’t have too much trouble keeping the prefolds in place. I then moved to my regular cloth with no problems. I was advised to purchase a cheap pack of granny undies (99 cent bin undies to the rescue!!) to accommodate the postpartum bulk and bleed-throughs and just throw them away if they were super stained. I have to admit that I still have them around since they never got too bad. Heh. So, ultimately, I’m not sure how to keep things in place if you’re more active. Maybe sew some bands on your undies like the Luna pads to strap the prefold down?

    For constipation avoidance, I drank green smoothies of blended fruit and spinach with some bonus flax seed and didn’t have any issues. Helps bring those iron levels back up, too.

  21. By Sarah Christensen on July 12, 2012

    Oooh, the bands is brilliant!  I wish I came up with these ideas on my own =)

  22. By on July 12, 2012

    Since I had a c-section (2 of them, bah.), my recovery needs have been slightly different.  I highly, highly recommend XL underwear that won’t rub against the area around incisions, and pants with soft waists.
    Also, stool softeners.
    And a good water bottle.
    And more cloth pads than what you THINK you’ll need. There were multiple times when we were so behind on laundry that all of mine ended up in the wash with none leftover to wear.

  23. By on July 12, 2012

    you know what i did to keep my pads in place after i gave birth ? i cut out a pair of thick stockings i had (winter ones) onto little shorts (but long enough so they wouldn’t run up my thighs when i walked or during the night) and wore them over my underwear.. it actually really helped keeping everything in place..  but wasn’t very sexy.. which might have been a good thing too.

  24. By on July 12, 2012

    #1: Put food in your freezer! Muffins, egg casseroles (frozen in individual portions), baked oatmeal squares, casseroles, bean & cheese burritos, cooked chicken or ground beef to get a head start on dinner, chopped onions & peppers, chicken breasts in marinade to thaw & bake. Anything to help eliminate food prep.

    #2: Stock up on paper plates & cups to use for a couple weeks.

    #3: A peri bottle for witch hazel so you don’t have to wipe after bathroom trips.

  25. By on July 12, 2012

    Much good advice already on post baby.  I have had 4 (plus 1 miscarrage) and I agree with others that the recovery does get easier.  With each baby my period has gotten heavier and heavier and heavier.  This is totally off baby topic but just wondered if you have ever tried a menstrual cup?  Since having my 4th baby it’s been a life saver many times.  I can actually leave my hosue on my heaviest days.  Probably should not wear postpartum but down the road might be useful!

  26. By Sarah Christensen on July 12, 2012

    Meg - I’ve never tried a cup.  I tried sponges and then cloth pads and I liked the latter so much that I just never looked back lol.  I don’t have a problem leaving the house on heavy-flow days, the only time was really during the first week post-miscarriage.  After that, the bleeding decreased enough that I was able to go with cuts of prefolds and thick cloth pads without a problem, it just wasn’t…discreet.

    When you guys say that the recovery eases up, does that include blood volume or is it just that your body heals up more quickly so you’re not in as much pain and therefore more tolerant of the bleeding?

  27. By on July 12, 2012

    I’ve loved your blog for so long! I wanted to write and share my favorite tip from my midwives: frozen condoms. You get some condoms (Yeah, the cashier’s face when you buy them will be priceless.) and put water and a bit of alcohol in them and freeze. They’re the perfect shape for your bottom and so soothing when wrapped in a towel.

    And, I also had a MUCH easier second time. So excited for you!

  28. By on July 12, 2012

    Recovery:  For me blood volume was the same and I bled well into my 6 week check with all.  I think my body healed faster and I was moving around in little to no pain within a day or so.  All were vaginal uncomplicated births.  Also, the distraction of having to take care of other children helps ease the pain.  Although with my 4th especially I had to really just force myself to sit and rest instead of jumping back into routine.  It was not as easy to do but made recovery faster as well.  Recovery was always bittersweet for me because I wanted to be up and at full strength and memorizing every moment but the reality for me was up all night nursings and lots of missing sleep! The only areas I attempted to keep up with were the laundry (and only washed not put away and folded) and food (premade frozen meals were a life savor!) If those two things were managed then everyone was happy and I could rest!

  29. By on July 12, 2012

    Meg - I want to talk to you about that menstrual cup your using! I’ve wanted to try a Diva Cup for so long, but I’m so scared and I don’t want to invest that kind of money into something that might not work. I can’t leave my house on my heaviest day either. Please email me! Just click on my name above.

    Sarah - Sorry to use your blog as a forum. And yes, 3 weeks. Totally unrealistic for after we had Isla, but after Jenson, I had no stitches and the midwife okayed it. My sex drive was set to KILLER when I was pregnant and it didn’t drop after I had Jenson, that’s actually what made me go into labour.

    I bled just as much after my two, my body body bounced back super quick after my 2nd. Doing Kegels actually felt good after Jenson. I wanted to kill Arnold Kegel after Isla.

  30. By Sarah Christensen on July 12, 2012

    Cynthia - Whatever, a forum is fine! =)  I know a few people who use the Diva cup and swear by it too so let me know if you want me to connect you with them as well.

  31. By on July 12, 2012

    Off topic here, but I’d love a post on cloth pads and diva cup, even if part is a guest post and info in the comments!  I tried a diva cup type thing over ten years ago in college, and never had success. But I’d love to learn more now. I’m also intrigued by the cloth pads!

  32. By Alicia S. on July 13, 2012

    Honestly, I’d like to hear more about it too. This stuff is so fascinating to me. We’ve always been disposable diaper-ers, although when any of my friends get pregnant I’m the first to tell them to at least try cloth diapering first. My mom thinks that I’m crazy for telling people that non-disposable options are always better because she grew up in a time when disposable options were the stuff of dreams come true. I genuinely had no idea that people are back to using cloth again for period control. (My mom would have a heart attack!) Looking back, I really hate that we didn’t give cloth diapering more of a chance - but now that my periods are very, very light anyway because of my IUD… Idk, this whole cloth thing might be worth at least learning about!

    By the way, what on earth is a diva cup?? Lol, I’m sitting here trying to imagine and probably getting it all wrong… :-P

  33. By on July 13, 2012

    Cynthia:  Tried to email just you but didn’t work so here I go…sorry Sarah! I started with the Diva because it seems to be a popular/inexpensive cup.  I gave myself 3 full months with it before determining it was just too long for me.  Loved the concept and wanted it to work.  So, bought the Lunette.  I am petite (5ft 1in and about 105 lbs, 39yrs, and have had 4 babies vaginally) so by all means the large sizes would fit me.  The small Lunette is a different shaped and I wanted to try it so I bought both. So glad I did.  The large is just a bit smaller than the Diva and a bit softer but same capacity.  For my heavy days it has worked great.  By about day 3 I can switch to the small one and love it more.  Easier to get in, pop open, and don’t feel at all.  I have tried it on my heavy days but have some leaking.  Also, a few times the large one slides down on me.  I have only used these cups for 2 months so trying to fix both those issues.  There is a learning curve so for the first few cycles I would just wear at home. My last cycle was 100% cup (and cloth minis for leaks).  Still had a bit of sliding and leaking but not bad. (Only thing I can figure is my cervix is just very low on those first couple days because it is harder to get it in place.)  Overall I keep trying because I love the concept. I was having side effects from tampons/pads and since using the cup I just feel over all “healthier down there”  It has also shortened my period by a few days and I have very little spotting.  Not sure if that is normal but a nice surprise.  My opinion is that everyone’s body is different and what works for me might or might not work for you.  So I would recommend the Lunette over the Diva simply because I have had better success!

  34. By on July 13, 2012

    Sarah - I would love that! I invested in Diva Cup-a-likes, but I had so much trouble with them and they were super uncomfortable that I just couldn’t use them. Give my email to your friends!

    Meg - Thank you so much for that info. I’ll look up the Lunette. I think, for me, the biggest hesitation comes from not knowing how to deal with the troubleshooting issues. Hearing you say that there is a learning curve makes it better for me, so I know I’m not the only one struggling with it. I need something to get me through my heaviest day, like you, I can’t leave the house for 1 or 2 days. Ultimately, I’d like to make the switch… I just need some more info from real people.

  35. By on July 13, 2012

    Meg - I forgot to mention that I have 2 children, so needless to say, I have a little confidence issue with the normalcy of all my girly bits. We’d like to have 4 (GO YOU!) so it’s nice to hear a menstrual cup still fits! The whole “pre-birth” and “post-birth” sizes from Diva Cup freaked the hell out of me… But I guess it is normal.

  36. By Sarah Christensen on July 13, 2012

    Cynthia - One of my friends who loves her Diva cup also has two babies =)  She’s great, you’ll love her.  I’ll pass along your info to her.

    Meg - I don’t mind at all!  Besides, I think by now that my husband and my father have tuned out to this conversation so I don’t have to worry about their hearts giving out while they read along lol =P

    Phancymama - I’ll see if I can arrange something like that =)  I found someone who is going to help me make the postpartum pads on a modified pattern so I’m sure I’ll be writing about how that process goes and whether or not it worked too.

  37. By gretchen from lifenut on July 13, 2012

    My post-partum routine: Send my husband out to get the superest maxi pads he can find, the biggest bottle o’ stool softeners, and a big turkey sandwich. Viva tradition!

    I’ll be having c/s #4 in October. First 5 kids were vaginal. Recovery IS different. Bleeding is the same, but obviously it takes longer when your entire uterus is removed from your body and those seven layers of tissue, muscle, and fat have to heal. It sucks, but obviously not so much as to make me swear off more babies. This time will be the last, though.

  38. By on July 13, 2012

    Sarah:  Thanks!  It’s been fun chatting.  My husband has heard an earful about menstrual cups over the last few months and now just rolls his eyes and nods! LOL! I am trying to get my sisters on board but so far no go….

    Cynthia:  There are several forums out there where I read about different folds to use and ideas to troubleshoot.  Some surprisingly work better than others.  So it really is a learning experience.  Go for 4!!! LOL!  Adding baby #3 was by far the easiest for me.  Baby #4 has been a dream except for the fact that it takes a small miracle to get out of the house and usually not even on time!  My life is crazy and busy but I would not trade it for anything!

  39. By on July 13, 2012

    Hi Sarah! Someone has already mentioned it but you should look into encapsulating the placenta, assuming you haven’t already. I haven’t done it myself (I really wasn’t aware of it until now) and honestly I haven’t done a great deal of research, but I will likely try it if I go for a 3rd :) Best wishes- so happy for your sweet little family!

  40. By Sarah Christensen on July 13, 2012

    OKAY, I’m going to just go ahead and admit this up front: I’m sort of a chicken about placenta encapsulation.  First of all, I have a problem swallowing pills.  So there’s that for me to think about.  But also, I don’t know…I love reading about placental encapsulation and printing, but the idea of doing it myself…I’m not sure I’m quite there yet.  Burying it by a rosebush is about as far as I’ve come on that.

    But then again I’ve read that there may be a link between placental consumption and a reduced risk of postpartum depression and this does, admittedly, appeal to me.  I didn’t have ppd with Charlotte, but the prospect of it really freaks me out.

  41. By on July 13, 2012

    The placenta capsule are usually pretty small and since they’re not tablets, much easier to swallow. My doula encapsulated mine. If you have someone encapsulate it for you, you can talk to them about using smaller capsules. I was at risk for postpartum depression because I had it after my miscarriage, so my midwives highly recommended it. I felt more emotionally stable the first 3 weeks postpartum than when I was pregnant.

  42. By on July 13, 2012

    Sarah - Thanks so much for that! And it sounds like I should look into encapsulating my placenta too… I didn’t know it helped with PPD.

    Meg: Thanks for your encouragement! I’ve heard that adding to the brood after you’ve had the 2nd is pretty easy… They all just thrown in after Baby 2. I’m looking forward to having 2 more, your words made me even more excited. Most people tell us we’re crazy for wanting 4. And would you mind sharing those forums?

  43. By on July 14, 2012

    This post just inspired me to buy three bottles of fiber vitamins. I got the gummy ones because I’m so sick of swallowing/gagging on the enormous prenatal vitamins. I’m 39 weeks pregnant and was on bed rest from 27-35 weeks. Now after a month of walking as much as possible, as well as taking full advantage of the lifting of the pelvic rest restrictions baby hasn’t arrived… Glad to have some good advice on post baby coming! I’m WAY more terrified of the after than of the birth.

  44. By on July 14, 2012

    If you’re concerned about swallowing the capsules I did find something online about a man who makes placenta chocolates… He does milk or dark and has a couple different flavor options. Just sayin… :)

  45. By Jill on July 15, 2012

    I encapsulated my placenta, and I took the pills for a few weeks after my unplanned C-section.  We went camping at 2 weeks and again at 6 weeks post-partum - not sure there’s a connection, but the idea is that the placenta helps keep iron and hormones at a healthy level for recovery.  I wouldn’t have bothered, but I was concerned about PPD and would have tried anything to prevent it.  The hardest part was bringing it up to my husband, but when I did, he was totally nonchalant about the idea.  I haven’t mentioned to anybody, though, and never discussed it on my blog.  I still have most of the capsules in my freezer.

    My biggest problem the first few months after delivery was the copious amount of milk I leaked.  I didn’t have any good reusable breast pads, and went through many, many boxes of disposables.  If anybody has recommendations for reusable ones, I’d love to hear them!  It was crazy to go through 6 pairs of disposable pads a day while I was diligently cloth diapering…

    I also used disposable pads for the bleeding, but maybe my goal for #2 should be to try cloth.

  46. By on July 15, 2012

    I am now, at 37, trying to get pregnant for the first time and this post freaked me out! I KNOW its not all unicorns and rainbows but didn’t think much about recovery after the hard work of labor was done. Valuble info-even if scary for me. Thanks for being so honest on here :) And everyone else for their honest advice and stories.

  47. By on July 16, 2012

    Jill - I used face towels while I was engorged, many face towels. Then switched to reusable pads once my milk stabilized.

    Alissa - I don’t know many women who were prepared for recovery, including me. After I had my 1st I told everyone that I would gladly push another baby out if it meant that my recovery would be over.

  48. By tara pollard pakosta on July 16, 2012

    ICE, i remember putting ice in bags, wrapped in cloths, down there because I was so swollen!
    that was for baby #1!

    baby #2 required NOTHING , was not sore, had less bleeding too, overall it felt like I didn’t even give birth it was so easy. 2 pushes and she was out. from start to finish when I went to the Dr. to even see if I was in labor was only 90 minutes to when he sent me home and said he would be right over! he walked in, took one look , told me to push and there she was!
    I think your 2nd will be MUCH easier on your body!
    BUT, it’s also good to be prepared!
    can’t wait for you to have this baby!
    xoxo
    tara

  49. By kaly on July 16, 2012

    Wow, so many great tips. I think the only thing I used that wasn’t mentioned was this earth mama angel baby “Happy Mama Spray” (http://www.earthmamaangelbaby.com/pregnancy/happy-mama-spray.html). I used it religiously along with the peri bottle and I felt pretty “normal” down there after 2-3 days after my first/only baby. Our hospital did the frozen diaper thing as well and that worked wonders. I remembered one of my close friends told me not to look until it had been 6 weeks or I would freak myself out, but I looked at 3 days (and I had 3-4 stitches) and all was well. It’s a great product. They have a peri balm that is supposed to be good as well, but I never had to use it. Good luck!

  50. By kaly on July 16, 2012

    oops! Linked to the wrong stuff. It’s the New Mama Bottom Spray, though now I want to get that other stuff too!

    http://www.earthmamaangelbaby.com/postpartum-recovery/new-mama-bottom-spray.html

  51. By Sarah Christensen on July 16, 2012

    Kaly - That is TOTALLY on my list.  After Charlotte, the hospital gave me some sort of foam numbing agent, which I used religiously, but I’ve heard that the Earth Mama Angel Baby is a much better product, that it has fewer harsh chemicals, etc.

    Alissa - If it makes you feel any better, when I had Charlotte, I was so unprepared for postpartum that I was actually really genuinely surprised that there was any pain after the baby was born.  I thought birth was the hard part and that after that you just skipped to weight loss, with minimal bleeding.  The extent of postpartum recovery shocked the hell out of me.  I think that even an ounce of preparation and knowledge goes a long way - if you know what you’re in for, it’s not as bad as if you’re caught off guard, right?

    Jill - I used Medela’s cloth breast pads but for the first several months I leaked through them constantly so I also cut up some prefolds, sewed around the edges, and used those with the cloth pads.  They aren’t super discreet, but they did get the job done for me.  I probably have twenty cloth breast pads - in the early days, I went through four or six a day plus the prefolds, then I went down to four or six a day without the prefolds, then to two or four a day, then finally to two a day.  I never used disposables - I had a box, but it’s still half-full, I only use them for laundry emergencies lol.  It wasn’t until Charlotte was over 2 years old that I was finally able to go without breast pads - I just wasn’t that great at regulating milk flow apparently lol.

    Just Duckie - That sounds like something I could get behind.  I’m off to google now!  A few women in my mom group also mentioned smoothies, so I might look into that too…=)

  52. By Mary @ Parenthood on July 16, 2012

    Lol - I was SO disappointed after having my daughter when I couldn’t immediately wear my pre-pregnancy clothes.

    Apparently too many people stressed not to bother getting lots of maternity clothes since I’d only wear for short time.

    I had a c-section so recovery was different but staying in bed for the prescribed two weeks definitely sped my recovery. My midwives said that even vaginal deliveries should stay in bed for a week and not even get up for water (support person’s job). I’m usually a slow healer but compared to my friends with c-sections I was back to “normal” months earlier.

    I had a massive oversupply issue (literally leaked 4 ounces while feeding on the other side). I used two prefolds stuffed into my bra; the disposable things lasted 30seconds.  During the day I had good luck with a product called LilyPadz. They applied enough pressure that I could walk around without the equivalent of a towel up my shirt. I had to check them and empty every hour or so but really helpful.

    Also: love the diva cup. Definitely a learning curve. I also find it shortens my cycle and generally helps me feel less cranky! My cervix shifts position substantially during my period, which means that the cup is much more comfortable during part of the cycle than others. So if you tried at the beginning of your period and hated it, try again starting a few days in.

    Lastly (but not least) a small number of ladies get PPD when their period comes back. I was totally blindsided at 7 months.

  53. By Sarah Christensen on July 16, 2012

    Mary - Me too!  I was sooooo upset because everything I read online said to pack maternity clothes from two months prior to wear home from the hospital.

    Bullshit.

    I had to wear out my sweaty, blood-stained clothes from WHEN I ARRIVED because those fit WAY better than the stuff from two months prior and I didn’t think to pack anything bigger just in case.

    Did you like the LilyPadz overall?  I looked at them when I was postpartum, but I didn’t know anyone who used them so I was really worried about trying them out.

  54. By on July 20, 2012

    Figure out in advance what chair you’ll be sitting in. I made the mistake of only having soft couches. Until my stitches healed from the tear, I couldn’t sit comfortably on a soft couch or sit up in bed.

    We eventually brought one of the ratan outdoor chairs inside. It’s very firm and has a 3 inch cushion. This seemed to be perfect.

    I also got a little rolling laptop stand. That way, I have a place to set my food, water, and I can use my laptop while he sleeps on me.

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