Friday, 24 July 2015

The Postpartum Funhouse Body

I was lucky throughout my pregnancy.  I gained about the right amount of weight despite my best efforts to EAT ALL THE THINGS.  I wasn't very sick.  I generally had energy to do things.  I wasn't overly emotional (apart from the pregnancy rage...that shit was real).

Postpartum Tiggy has been a bit different. Probably still lucky, but a little less so.


Living on hospital food with near war-time ration portions led to a weight loss.  How much?  No idea, as I had no scales around.  But going by how my clothes fit, I think I was getting close to my pre-pregnancy weight.  Until I was discharged and started receiving large portions from the staff cafeteria.  Developing an addiction to chocolate and other sweets (the tan square...oh my god) has not helped.  Last time I hopped on the scales I was up to my pre-eclampsia pregnancy weight.  Only now it isn't mostly water, baby, and baby accessories.  Since coming home I have been living off of coffee, hot chocolate (because I can't have coffee all day), and toast.  Lots and lots of toast.  As in half a loaf of bread a day!  And chocolate.  And cookies.  And as much dinner as I can cram into my face.  Why??  Because lactating.  I NEED it.  I don't.  I have realized this and am adjusting the diet accordingly.  Except the coffee and hot chocolate.  Nobody's perfect.

The Tummy

My once taut beer belly has fallen.  I have a proper FUPA.  My pregnancy bump was smaller than the one I am now sporting.  And I can't seem to hide it or suck it in.  I have been meaning to start exercising...

I never got a stretch mark, thanks to IUGR and pre-eclampsia, but I did have a faint linea nigra which was more noticeable after Bubs.  

The c-section left parts of my stomach numb, although it is getting better.  I can fit my pre-pregnancy jeans, but not for too long because of how they cut across my numb tum.  Pretty uncomfortable.  The incision healed cleanly and the scar won't be so noticeable now that my flub has migrated south.

The Boobs

I think they have settled down.  They didn't get too much bigger, but when they get engorged, holy hell.  Hard as rock melons and about the same size.  And they are a bit achy.  And the nips hurt like hell if there is a cold draft.  But I have a good supply thanks to lots of help from the midwives, and now thanks to Bubs.  And while I do leak a bit, they aren't like faucet taps.  Yet.

The Lady Parts

Since I didn't have a vaginal birth, the downstairs is much as it was, except perhaps a bit dusty (hint hint Moose).  I was lucky after the birth in that I didn't bleed too heavily or for too long.  However I paid for it and Karma gave me a period 7 weeks after Bubs, despite breast feeding on demand.  Boo.  Hiss. I am now "fertile" again.  And on the mini-pill.

Other bits

My hair never got nice and thick, so it is still the same.  My nails are still hard, but I keep them cut short anyway so I don't scratch poor Bubs.  My skin was fine, up until a sudden burst of acne and oily-ness.  Wunderbar.

The first week after Bub's arrival I puffed up.  I lost the pre-eclampsia swelling from my face and hands, but it went straight to my legs.  Impressive cankles.  After a few days it disappeared.

My blood pressure at first wouldn't behave, and I was back onto a big does of labetelol, but after four weeks they started weaning me off it, and I was totally off it before we took Bubs home.

I had forgotten how nice it is not to have to pee every five minutes.  I feel like I now have a bladder of steel. 

Boobs aside, I think my rib cage is bigger than it was.  Not in terms of fat, because along the ribs is the one place I am not cushy, but my shirts fit tighter in areas other than the boobs, and my bras need to be on the outer clasp.  I think, despite my uterus not growing up to the diaphragm, that perhaps my ribs have expanded. 

I am tired, I hurt in odd places (my knees!!), and I just don't have the energy I had when I was pregnant.  But I suppose that has more to do with being up to feed the Bubs, and enduring an epic cluster feed earlier in the week. 

The Emotional Stuff

Apart from my day 3 hormone crash which coincided with Bubs struggling in the NICU, I have been pretty even keel.  The pregnancy rage is gone.  The worst I can complain about is extreme frustration when Bubs won't sleep or let me sleep during the epic long cluster feeds, and even that is more concern that the Moose won't get enough sleep for work because I can't keep her happy.  The Moose, of course, isn't worried about that and just wants to help when I need the help.  What a good Moose.

I think that just about covers much of the postpartum fun.  I've probably forgotten other things I could have written about.  Baby brain.  Just as bad as pregnancy brain.  Maybe worse. 


  1. Reading your journey all along has prepared me for what I believe is the inevitable development of my own pre-e. I am swollen beyond belief; my hands are so puffed right now that they hurt constantly. If I try to use them too much (including typing) they go numb. I didn't realize how hard pregnancy would be on my body. This morning I had a breakdown in the tub about how I couldn't keep doing this for three or four more months.

    That said, knowing that you went through pre-e and had a preemie and everyone is fine and healthy and alive - this gives me hope. This makes me feel like no matter what, I'll be okay.

    I'm glad you're doing well with the breastfeeding. (This is another one of my fears.) And that you're off the labetalol. And that you generally seem in good spirits, despite things happening rather quickly at the end.

    This is all such good news! Seriously, SO happy for you!

    1. I hope you don't develop pre-e, but if you do, so long as they catch it early (as in you attend all your appointments, which of course you will because those of us with fertility issues ALWAYS attend every appointment we can get!), you and jellybean should be fine. Watch for headaches, any kind, even ones that feel like sinus headaches, and the visual disturbances since you already have swelling. And upper gastric pain (heartburn like). If you do develop it and it looks like you may end up with a preemie, try to tour a NICU if you have time. It helps to know what you'll be faced with. But they do amazing things in NICUs these days!

      Breastfeeding is hard, and we have our good days and our bad days! It is a skill babies and moms have to learn, and it is handy to see a lactation consultant or talk to a midwife about it once the baby has arrived, or even before get some information on the how to's.

      Pregnancy is hard on the body, and it has definitely not been kind to you! Child birth and postpartum are a bit hard too, but hopefully you will skate through them. And if you don't, well, it doesn't last forever. That is what I remind myself when I am sleep deprived and bubs won't stop crying or won't latch properly because she is in angry piranha mode.