Friday, September 21, 2007

what about me?

As for my own research study, I worry that I may have implied things I didn't mean to. Like, if you were hurting after you had a baby then something is weird with you or whatever. Of course not.

So, since apparently I "go there" now, here's a little more than I ever shared before as far as my own post partum pain and healing:

Baby #1
Episiotomy. Terrible throbbing "something is ripping" pain. Aching. Pulling and ripping sensations. Like a little pliers was on me, and I got beat with a baseball bat for days. Couldn't stand or sit or spread my legs to put on pant-legs or step aside or anything like that. I Used ice packs, numbing sprays, tucks pads, for weeks. I ran out of all the stuff they gave me in the hospital and sent my husband out for behind the counter pharmacy runs for those very products. Had to do alot of running around in the form of "well baby" checks at four days (!) and one week (!!) and those trips out set me way back to the beginning as far as pain. I couldn't sit in a chair for weeks. I cried alot at how much I hurt, at home in the arms of my husband. I didn't want to ever have sex or another baby ever again and I couldn't have been gladder about it. I was afraid to touch or check myself for a few weeks, too horrified at what I might discover. Twingy sparky pokey pain forced me to feel around and I was surprised to feel just a bit of swelling and the stitches. A few days later they were gone--the "dissolving" kind.
I remember one shopping trip with my mom when baby was 1 month old, and how badly I ached. I felt foolish, like she was a big old baby now and why was I sore? I thought maybe I didn't do my kegels enough or something. I finally told my mom we had to leave the store because I couldnt stand up anymore. I skipped my six week check-up, as I couldn't bear the thought of a vaginal exam. I went at 10 weeks, and cried when the OB whipped the little paper doily skirt at me and told me to strip down and put that over my lap. I told her "I think they sewed me up too much" and she kind of laughed and said "we'll take a look". I was shaking almost seizure-like when she came back in, and I said I couldn't go through with it. she promised to just look and she said that she didn't need to do an exam today. I came back at 3 months and she had 2 strange men come and give me exams along with her. I told her exactly where it felt weird, and they whispered a bit to each other about something and then agreed to me having a "small repair". It was scheduled for Mid-December, my baby was born in June. Six months. Thanks.
The surgery was very uneventful. I was put under anesthesia, and told "everything went great" a few minutes later. I was sent home with some darvocet and another set of stitches. But this time I felt ok within a week, and me and my husband were able to resume life again ;)

C Section
But I pushed for an hour or so, and had many rough vaginal exams, a catheter, and a thing screwed into the baby's head. So, I was disappointed at the stingy achy perineum and hemorrhoids I got alongside my cesarean! such bullcrap!

Baby #3
I don't know how long I pushed, an hour or two, it was really gradual, at the peak of some of the contractions, I would push a bit, but the real hard pushing with every contraction where you have no other choice on this Earth but to do so was maybe an hour or so. I was achy, but not enough to make me cry or anything. I took an herbal bath as soon as the placenta was out, and that felt lovely. Midwife made me the most fantastic things ever--after the herbal bath, there was a big pot of herbs on our stove. So she took the wet herbs from the bottom of the pot and made small piles of the wet herbs wrapped up in sterile gauze and put these little packets into the freezer. My husband would bring me a new one every hour or two and I would put it where I needed to for pain. As the little frozen pouch melted from my body heat, the herbs (comfrey, garlic, lavender, etc) would release their healing properties.

I got into bed and stayed for 5 days. the last 2 days I was half in bed and half in the big velvety recliner. Once I was was out and about, I never had ANY residual aching, and bled for a very short time compared to my other births. I got to actually rest and actually not be neglected and deserted and it was all good. We took the new baby to the State Fair at 3 weeks old, which is not my style AT ALL, (being much more the type to nest in with a tiny newborn for a million reasons) but I remember it being very pleasant, and although we left tired, it was just a tired from going to the fair with a 6y/o, 3 y/o and a 3 week old, not anything about "Ow, my achin coochie".

Baby #4
C Section
I pushed for 4 hours. the nurses had their hands in me, trying to get me to "direct my energy downwards". they pushed and pushed the bottom of my vagina down, asking me "do you feel that? Can you push down here?" I pushed with a bar thing over my bed, to pull on, except due to the epidural I was numb. So numb I couldn't use my legs whatsoever. Couldn't push against the bed, the hands that were kind of holding my legs, but that was off and on, couldn't scoot up or back or anything. But I pushed. I pushed way beyond "10". They pressed and pulled and I worried about the pain I would have afterwards.

The c section pain is indescribable and I have never attempted to describe it in here and I am not going to today. But what was HORRIBLE also was my mangled perineum after all that stuff they did to try to help me! Holy jeepers! I was REALLY sore, and my bottom, oh god the hemorrhoids were out of this world. I demanded a real prescription. At first they ignored me, but I asked and asked and asked again, like a quadriplegic, I lay in that room, waiting for some hopes of someone coming in, I would jump at each little lunch lady sound in the hall , hoping it might be someone who would come in so I could inquire again about some real cream or something. they finally had a doctor come "take a peek" and he was like HOLY CRAP! and I was brought some steroid stuff within a half hour.

So, ok, skip past all the c section recovery, which took about a year. A little less. About 11 months to stand up all the way and not be limited in my activities or lifting. But the secret thing that I was suffering through for that first year as well was this terrible unnerving sensation that something was wrong inside inside of me, in my vagina. If I stood up for more than 5 minutes, I really needed to go lay on my side. It was like a throbbing vein, would be the best way to describe it. It was bad. My greatest desire was to make some kind of tiny frozen insert, like a little icicle, but I never did. That would have felt good, or at least that what I kept thinking would have been nice. But it is gone now, the last time I had that feeling was after a day of rediculous furniture moving, when I do that, I still feel about 3 months post partum in my abdomen and feel things aching a bit. I now know that even c section moms can have perineal problems. More super sucky untold secrets, right?

Well that's all. Wanted to put my own crotchal stories out there if I actually expect you-all to, right? I am completely so happy that we are discussing this. Even among girlfriends, it seems hard to get a chance to talk about things with all the kids around, at least in my house.


Rixa said...

Ahhhh, good old perineum talk! I was really surprised at how much pain I was in after the birth. Labor and birth were very doable. But afterwards I felt like I'd been beaten with a baseball bat. Yeeoutch!

I had a totally un-managed labor (it was an unassisted birth to be exact), spontaneous pushing stage (as in, my body suddenly took over and pushed, and I had no conscious choice, I just had to go along for the ride). I had a midwife come over a few hours postpartum, and she said I had a straightforward 2nd degree tear, which I chose to have stitched.

It was painful to sit for the first few weeks, although I noticed that ice packs made a dramatic difference. I started them on day 4 or 5 and should have started them right away (only that was my husband's job to make the ice packs and he didn't get around to it until later, because he had lots of other things to do while helping me out).

I lay in bed for the first few weeks and made sure I took it easy.

I had constant throbbing pain for about 4 months, and then intermittent pain for several months longer. Not really terribly painful, but just the constant aching got really old. I noticed that Kegels really helped.

It's funny--when I think of having more kids, the labor and birth part doesn't bother me, but I sure hope that I won't be as sore afterwards!

HW said...

"The c-section pain was indescribable..." Yes, it is.
My biggest frustration was the way other women minimized my post c-section pain. A friend visiting me in the hospital 24 hours after my c-section mocked me for not walking her to the elevator. I felt lucky to be sitting upright in a chair....
A lot of women consider c-section the easy way out as far as pain. It truly is not.
Thanks for your honesty.

CreepyUCMama said...

Yay, crotch talk. =) Like Rixa I was surprised by the pain afterwards, especially the super gnarly after pain/cramps that made me almost puke...those went on for about 2 weeks. But I don't know how bad I tore, I just know that for the most part things went back to normal and I did not bother having it looked at or stitched. I also had an unassisted. But that was with my second.

My first was a c-section after a long long back labor and 3 to 4 hours of pushing and way too much horrible digging by the med-wives and nurses.

And I second the joy joy joy of those herbal baths afterwards, I sat in one with Logan for two hours after she was born and then had another one later, it was totally awesome. And after that I relied pretty havily on frozen pads that I had soaked in witch hazel...those things are totally amazing.

Oh, and 2 and a half years later I am just now starting to get my stomach muscles back in order after that c-section. My back and pubic bones...that's a whole other story.

Kelley said...

About those after-pains... I have never had any kind of drugs during labor, HOWEVER I am all for the Tylenol 3 and Ibuprofen afterwards. Actually, I probably won't use the Tylenol 3 again, but it sure made things easier to deal with. I cringed and almost cried every time I nursed my second and third baby in the days after birth because it hurt so bad. Those pains seem to get worse with every baby, too. Why is that? The nursing goes fine, but the pains... OW!

I agree with Rixa. I'm actually excited for the labor and birth of my next baby. If it's anything like the last (which it won't be in terms of adrenaline and the sheer insanity of flying down the road threatening to give birth in the back of my new van - *shaking my head at myself*) in terms of being so pleasant and peaceful, it will be great! I realize that each birth is different, but the last one went so well that I am really excited for the next one.

That said, I intend to take it VERY easy for a while next time. Last time I jumped right up and got back to normal immediately because I felt so good. I also bled for 11 WEEKS!, too. I've since learned that taking it easy for a bit can help to make bleeding stop sooner. That would certainly be nice. I got really tired of all the blood by the time I was finished.