Moms are like soldiers. Except soldiers have weapons and their heads are shaved. Laboring moms have contractions and our vaginas are shaved. New moms have engorged breasts that are unexpectedly rock hard, uncontrollably leak and nipples that are suddenly raw and sore. We look at each other like we’ve been through our own battle and we survived. We are still surviving, every day. Lucky soldiers get to be dressed, laboring moms and breastfeeding moms have our parts and pieces on display. We are stretched, ripped or cut to make room for a human to enter the world… but not before we have pooped… in our Dr’s face.
The truth is we are stronger than we ever thought we were. We can go without sleep and not be angry or cranky about it. We wake up every few hours so this tiny human can eat and we don’t mind. Time doesn’t exist unless we are keeping track of the last feeding. We eat last and it’s cold, but we don’t care. We hold our pee until the tiny human is taken care of. We sacrifice and don’t even question it. We are mighty. Not to mention the 9+ months we spent creating a life and nurturing it. We women are pretty amazing.
Post partum has its good and bad. Sometimes I cry. I cry because I am tired or because I am happy. Or sometimes I cry because I was just really moved by that commercial or facebook post.
Immediately after Crosby was born I had a belly button again. I looked down and there it was. My tummy, though still big and suddenly soft and mushy was without question smaller than it had been seconds ago. And I had a belly button. The healing of the episiotomy was not good. In my opinion it was the worst part of the entire process. There is nothing you can do, because your vagina has been sliced open and now is desperately trying to heal. Pain if you’re sitting, standing, walking, sleeping and let’s not even get to time in the bathroom. I’ll just let your imagination take you to the exact worse place and there you have it. On the bright side, I have a baby, a very cool baby. The healing of the episiotomy didn’t take as long as I thought it would. In less than 2 weeks I was pretty much okay and now, a month later, I am perfectly fine. But I am still weary when I have to poop. Oh see, I went there. I was really going to avoid it. Oh well. Days after the birth my insides were killing me. I couldn’t get out of bed. I was in such pain. Turns out my organs were returning to their original home inside my body. Well, having your organs move around inside of you hurts like hell. Just so you know. Luckily it only lasted a day and a half. I hear from my C-Section friends that the Dr puts your organs back in place when you are on the table. Maybe that’s why they look so much thinner after birth.
A delightful unexpected thing that happened was watching the pounds just pour off in the weeks following birth. Every day I woke up looking considerably smaller than I had the day before. In less than 2 weeks I could wear my pre pregnancy pants. Okay, I have to clarify, there was still a tummy, a soft mushy muffin top over the pants, but I got them on and that was a total win in my book. In the month since the birth I am able to wear many more pants and they fit better. But the truth is, it will take a long time to get back into shape. Things are soft. Nobody wants to be that soft. Luckily there is a little help with the excessive perspiration that happens. Who am I kidding, perspiration is to polite and gentle a word, I sweat. I wake up drenched in sweat. For two weeks I had to put a towel over my pillow so that I wouldn’t have a wet pillow. Maybe that’s why the inches melted away. They really just dripped out of my sweat glands all night long. I guess it’s better than running on the treadmill all night.
It’s not until after birth that friends remember and share all the truths about birth and postpartum life. My hope is to prepare any new mom for all those little surprises that will happen, like the back pain. Sure there was pain when I was pregnant. But the back pain after pregnancy is far worse than it was during pregnancy. I have no core strength anymore. Literally after birth I could put my hand in between my ribs pretty much back to my spine without hitting anything in between. Gross, scary and very real! So yeah, the core is absent. Now that my organs are back in place I have to get my abs back so that the back pain can ease up. Carrying a wiggly baby isn’t like carrying a 7 1/2 pound sack of sugar. It’s a wiggly baby with a head that flops if you don’t support it. Breastfeeding that wiggly baby only exasperates the back pain.
I get thrown up on all the time. The best is when he finishes feeding then just pukes it up between my boobs as if he is telling me to put it back from where it came from. The kid poops all the time. ALL THE TIME. You cannot have enough diapers or wipes or burp cloths. Just today I was changing his diaper and he let out the loudest fart right at the moment I wiped. My hand vibrated. I laughed so hard. Thank goodness he didn’t poop because that has happened… a lot. I get peed on all the time. It’s like he is waiting for a diaper change and the opportunity to pee freely. I remember one of the first times he peed freely Kurt was changing him and Crosby peed in his own ear. Kurt felt so bad. I couldn’t help but think this was hilarious. I quickly cleaned his ear, all while laughing. Maybe the lack of sleep makes me laugh more? Maybe I just laugh a lot. But really every time this kid poops, pee’s, farts or throws up on either Kurt, himself or me, I laugh. Well maybe not at 3 am. So not every time, most of the time.
Speaking of 3 am. The lack of sleep is really hard. Yeah, there are naps and thank God for the nap. It’s not that there is little sleep. It’s the lack of solid sleep. It’s the waking up every few hours to feed, change a diaper and burp. It’s hard to not get that solid 8 hours or 6 hours or even 4 hours of sleep. Every little noise wakes you up, because you become programmed to be there for any and every thing. I am lucky, because Kurt gets up and helps out. He will change a diaper or burp Crosby just to help out. He is the absolute best husband ever. Then I had my mom here for almost a month. Every morning she would take Crosby so Kurt and I could get 2-3 hours of uninterrupted sleep. She loved it because she had her solo time with him and we loved it because we woke rested and capable of being happier more capable parents. Help is crucial. Help from a spouse, a parent or a friend makes the difference. Thank you to all of you who have helped me. Even bringing coffee or food, thank you for all the big and little things.
Newborns are just tiny humans you have to keep alive. They don’t smile unless they are pooping or farting. They cry when they want something. Some cry more, some are more content, some sleep lots and some don’t. I think we are truly blessed. Crosby cries if he needs a diaper change. He winces if he is hungry. If there is gas, he’s super upset and we know it. But he is a good baby. Loving. He lets people hold him and kiss him and love on him. And recently he has shown us a little bit of his delightful personality. He loves his bath time and sharing in that is precious and joyful. He can be screaming crying, but the second I put him in the bath he goes soft and happy. I think he may be an Olympic swimmer, or a lifeguard or a surfer. Whatever he wants to be is just fine with me, as long as he is happy.
So this postpartum time has it’s ups and downs. Without question this is a fun and exhausting journey. Crosby is delightful and I know it is only going to get more playful and more fulfilling as he becomes who he is and as I get used to being his super cool mom. Oh gosh, I hope I am a super cool mom. 🙂 At least I know I am a soldier mom and if I can overcome birth, sweaty sleepless nights, a healing vagina and leaking boobs, I can do this.