Mellow Mummy: Postnatal Recovery : Taking life as it comes...

Saturday 19 May 2012

Postnatal Recovery

I can't get over how different my postnatal recovery has been since giving birth to Holly 2.5 weeks ago compared to my recovery after Lara's birth.  I know this has a lot to do with the differences in my labour and birth and the trauma my body suffered during childbirth but it also has a lot to do with experience - I was well-prepared this time and learned lots of lessons after Lara was born.

Given that our babymoon was rudely interrupted this time around by a family tummy bug followed by Lara getting chickenpox, I'm astounded at myself for remaining so mellow during the recovery period.  This is how I coped!

  • Wounds
    I was more mentally prepared for stitches this time around and I think I was lucky that the stitches were in an easier place to deal with.  As with my first child, I took Arnica homeopathy tablets to speed up healing, took a daily bath in salted water with a few drops of lavender oil and ensured that everything stayed clean and dry. I kept a cup in the bathroom to pour warm water over the stitches and keep them clean and ensured I drank plenty of water to dilute the urine and prevent stinging. I started pelvic floor exercises as soon as I felt brave enough and was surprised at what good shape the muscles were in.  My stitches healed within two weeks.
  • Piles & Constipation
    After Lara was born I suffered from hemorrhoids and constipation so badly that it has left me with lasting problems and pains which this week have brought me to tears once again.  This time, it all kicked off before Holly was born and so I was already taking laxatives and using ointments.  Lessons I learned were not to hold back from going to the toilet, however much it hurts and also to use a soft toilet tissue like Andrex Washlets which, in my opinion, should be on every new-mum's essentials list - not only do they make it more comfortable but also help you to keep things clean, which helps your wounds to heal and stay uninfected.  I also experimented with wiping cold cotton pads soaked in witch-hazel to help reduce the piles but it didn't seem to do much.
  • Sore Breasts
    Now this one came as a surprise with my first baby - people warn you but you just don't 'get' it until it happens.  On day two when my boobs felt raw and the nipples were bleeding, I reached for my lanolin cream, had a nice warm bath with a flannel on each breast and told myself repeatedly that everything would be alright once the milk came in... I grimaced through the pain and sure enough, the next day the milk arrived and after relieving the weight of the milk using my breast pump, everything slowly returned to normal.  Well, as normal as leaky, enormous breasts can ever be.
  • Dizziness
    Breastfeeding is hard work and puts a lot of demands on your body.  My secret is to snack regularly and I have museli bars and cake bars secreted throughout the house for me to grab when I need them; I also have emergency glucose tablets for if I feel light-headed.  Mr. B is always pestering me to drink - I feel like I'm drinking about 20 pints of water a day.  even with all this in place, I did suffer when the milk first came in - I had 4 migraine headaches in two days (I usually get about 1 a year) and the midwife put this down to dehydration.  Ug.
  • Sleep Deprivation & Routine
    As a second-time mum, I think I was well prepared for the sleep deprivation.  The chicken pox and tummy bug didn't help matters with myself, Mr. B and Lara up several times each night, as well as Holly.  Having a preschooler in the house rather enforces a routine, whether you like it or not.  I;m not the kind of mummy who would try and implement a feeding/sleeping routine for my newborn but I'd say that a normal daily routine seems to have happened without us even trying this time.  Holly still has a very annoying wide-awake period between about 3 and 6 in the morning but it'll come with time and I'm sure I won't even notice it happening.  When you have your first child, people tell you to make the most of your baby's nap times and sleep when they sleep but it's another one of those things you don't truely grasp until it happens - this time both myself and Mr. B have been a lot more disciplined on ourselves to sleep when Holly sleeps... even if it means some very early bedtimes for us.

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