I didn't really know what to expect from this whole birth business, as illustrated by the fact that I dubbed it Vajayjay Destruction 2011. I was fortunate enough that one of my closest friends taught us our hypnobirthing classes and since I am super special, we were in the class by ourselves.....that was mostly due to the fact that we ended class by hanging out and having dinner together. I asked her all sorts of ridiculous questions, but probably the best one was near our last class when I said 'um will my vajayjay go back to normal?' followed by 'how long will that take?'. She assured me that it would in fact return to normal "fun-having" size and it only takes a few weeks. Geez I hope so - thought me.
Then comes the fateful birth of Nugget. I'll be honest with ya, that first couple pees afterward stung. Not as bad as I had imagined, but enough to wrinkle your brow a bit. I was stocked up on supplies. I had a ton of those super huge vagina destruction pads (for those who haven't yet heard about these, they are approximately 6 inches wide by 12 inches long by 1 inch thick, but hey why let your kid be the only one in a diaper?) and two super sexy pairs of mesh undies. I had a squirty bottle, which my midwife explained was for if it was too painful to wipe. I fill that sucker up with warm water and squirt after peeing. That shit felt amazeballs. I also had a perineal ice pack, but I never needed it. Give me a shout out if you'd like me to send this jewel your way.
So you might recall I had a few small tears. Now before I had tears of my very own, the very thought of tears from birth sounded excruciating. Holy Shit it tears? That can't be good. There are in fact some serious tears out there that recovering from has to be horrible, but let me reassure those of you whose eyes are about to pop out of your head with fearful shock, my tears surprised me. When she said 'you have a couple tears', I thought it was going to take forevs for them to get better and that I would be in super amounts of pain. Like I said the first couple pees sucked a bit, but then I never felt them again. Now wipe the sweat from your brow and settle back into your chair.
The "flow" of post-birth is a little interesting. So obviously baby comes out and lots of fluid comes out too. Placenta detaches and comes out. Along with some blood. I have heard that it is only around a pint. But Andy attests that he was shocked at the amount. The midwife had him help her change the pads under me, some guys probably would have flipped out. He is super good at staying calm, um thanks Iraq? I guess. The midwife pushed on my abdomen a few times. Once right after the birth and then again about an hour later and then two hours after. She said it helps to encourage the uterus to contract back down. Interesting. Well each time she pushed there was a gush....eeeeewww! Sorry peeps full disclosure. Even though those giant pads seem ridiculously oversized, you need them that big the first few days. I have told friends if you can steal extra from the hospital, do it. I think I had around 30 of them and used them all up.
Don't freak out though. After a couple of days....I want to say 4 (sorry for not writing this when my memory was still fresh) things slow down to a medium period level. So you can switch to regular pads. But I wanted to feel fresh so I changed my pad every time I went to the bathroom....which holy crap, the funniest thing about post-birth pees is that you suddenly realized what an insane capacity you have again. I was sitting there thinking 'wow I haven't peed this much in forever'.
I was actually pretty surprised that by our 3 day post-baby check-up I was feeling normal downstairs.....obviously I was still bleeding, but I wasn't in pain and if you hadn't pointed out that I was holding a baby all the time, I would have thought I was just having a regular period. In fact, my midwife complained that she wished I hurt more than I did. This may sound odd, but I was asking her if it was okay for us to go out for sushi and she was like 'no! dang it! I wish you were in more pain! you're supposed to take it easy and mostly lay in bed all day'. She admitted that the problem with natural births (compared to epidurals to clarify) is that women usually feel recovered much sooner and want to go walk around and do things. But her biggest recommendation was in order for everything to 'get back into place' I should try to move around as little as possible. This was especially true in my case because I opted not to have stitches. She told me that I should basically walk around with my knees together. Since I wanted things to go back into place and heal correctly, I listened and spent my first week walking like a duct around the basement.....Oh did I mention I stayed in the basement my first week. Another strong recommendation she gave was to not go up the stairs. Thank goodness Jack was down there with me otherwise I would have gone bonkers.
The funniest part of my self-banishment happened pretty early on. I had a bunch of visitors, I think my grandma came and then Pickle's mom and then the midwife. That was in addition to Bret, Andy, and Andy's mom which were with me pretty much every day. Well when the midwife came my grandma and Pickle's mom said goodbye and everyone else went upstairs to see them off. After Jack's check-up I suddenly realized how alone I was down there.....and how much I had to pee. Shit! Now a rational person would have just laid their baby down in the crib or on the bed, or on the floor because shit they are a newborn and they don't wake up that often let alone roll away. But in my not-all-there mind I was like 'there's no one to hold the baby so I can pee'. FYI this mental state is pretty much the reason he didn't get set down more than about 30 minutes a day. Someone was always holding him. So I
Okay so despite feeling really normal, I followed all midwife-recommentations so that my lady bits would get back into place. By about four weeks post-baby I was feeling so normal that I couldn't tell that I ever had a baby. Well beside that whole saggy belly bit with crazy claw-like stretchmarks on it. Okay but if I'd have closed my eyes - totally normal.
I talked to Caroline, the apprentice midwife, about what she thought about having sexy-time this early. She asked 'do you feel like having sex?'. And I did. Oh man watching Andy with our baby made me like a bitch in heat running around with my tail in the air....was that one too graphic? sorry about that.
But I was surprised. How was it possible that I felt like having sex after a grapefruit-sized head popped out of me? But I did feel like having sex again.....of course I decided it would be better to wait until the 6 week mark that apparently someone decided was official somehow. And as luck would have it, the 6 week "official okay" happened right before Andy's finals week. So he was not so in the mood what with all the stress. Apparently boys can experience stress-related labido reduction just like girls. Who'd've thought it? We ended up waiting until the weekend of Mother's Day after he was all done with school.
Let me confess that I was scared shitless. Just because I wanted to have sex and things felt back into place, didn't mean that the rampant thoughts didn't plague my head about the state of the Vajayjay. Would it hurt? Would I be able to orgasm? Would he feel anything or will it be too big in there still? Andy and I approached this fear the same way we approach most things, with comedy. As I was laying there watching him strip off my super
Which raises the question: why the hell am I telling you all this about my vajayjay? Well because I wondered what to expect and I couldn't find the information anywhere. I wanted to know if I would ever feel like having sex again and if I would ever enjoy having sex again. I have heard women say it is super painful and their drive tanks, which worried me. So I feel it my duty to share with the world....errr well the four of you...that yes - I did feel like having sex again and yes - I still enjoy it. Woohoo! I was really shocked at how quickly I recovered from birth and that I still had a desire to be a woman, wife and partner besides just being a mom.
So this brings up one last little point....birth control. At my 6 week appointment the midwives told me their suggestions. They both used the low-dose estrogen IUD after their first babies and they really liked it. I talked to them about my apprehension of doing anything with hormones. So they listed off all the options which I am sure we all know: copper IUD, diaphram, cervical cap, condoms.....basically it is their duty to recommend I use some form of contraception. They admit that a lot of breast feeding women don't ovulate as a means of your body saying 'I'm busy with this one', but there is still a wide occurance of Irish Twins so I need to keep that in mind. Then my midwife made me giggle. She said 'and remember the pull-out method is not an effective means of birth control'. I felt like I was in fourth grade health class....wait that would have been too advanced for fourth-grade....okay middle school health class.
I talked with Andy about getting the copper IUD, but I think we're going to go crazy and wing it. It seems ridiculous to try to prevent a pregnancy after I spent so freaking long trying to get pregnant. Maybe my lady parts are healed or they realized how to work and I will get preggoed again right away. And if that happens, cool. It is strange how your outlook on life changes. 5 years ago getting accidentally pregnant would have made me break out in hives. Hell getting accidentally anything would have freaked me out. I am a planner. So despite my rational brain saying 'you should wait at least two years until you have accrued enough vacation and personal leave to go on maternity leave again', the new baby-loving Natalie is like 'fuck it! let's see what happens'.....I am pretty sure that is also the hippie-peace-loving Natalie because that side makes me want to dance around a field with a flowing skirt on.....weird.