If you didn't have a chance to read my labor & delivery post you can find it here, but for a quick overview... I ended up having a c-section. I had my c-section Thursday, September 5 after being at the hospital since 2 that morning and not dilating more than a centimeter (for a total of 4 cm). In the end, our beautiful baby girl was born at 6:58 pm.
Overall, the physical side of recovering went pretty smoothly. I'm the type of person where I don't want to take anymore medication than necessary so as long as the pain was bearable I didn't take my pain meds. For the first month or so I was moving very slowly... I was definitely walking a LOT slower than I normally would... sitting up from a lying down position was almost impossible if I didn't have anything to grab to help pull myself up. Thomas was very sweet and he would let me put my arms around his neck and he'd help me sit up. I also had to be careful whenever I sneezed or laughed. Even though the stitches were taken out the day we left the hospital, my tummy still had a long way to go before it would be fully healed. It's also a standard that for the first, I believe, 6 weeks or so you don't carry anything heavier than the baby, this includes the baby in the carrier. This period of not lifting anything lasts even longer when you're recovering from a c-section. I think I started feeling almost 100% (which means finally able to walk at normal speed, laugh, and sneeze etc.) after about two to two and a half months.
The emotional side of recovering after labor... now that's a different story. I think I'm a pretty level headed person... I try not to let my emotions get the best of me and I'm definitely not overly sensitive or anything (except for those few special times once a month ;]). But after giving birth to Chloe... my emotions were on a wild roller coaster! Jessica Alba states it perfectly in her book, The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You:
"I never understood, until we went through it [...], that it was actually possible to feel frustrated, delighted, overwhelmed, exhausted, and crazy in love with one tiny person all at the same time--it's a constant state of butterflies-in-your-stomach joy that I could never have grasped before."My first mini breakdown came two nights after Chloe was born, the night before we were able to go home. Thomas and I had just put Chloe down for a nap and I was just watching her sleep. I remember feeling so happy that she was here and I felt Thomas and I were transitioning into this new phase of our lives so well... yet despite all of these positive feelings I still felt so sad. That's when I just couldn't control myself and the tears just started flowing. When Thomas asked me what was wrong, I honestly didn't know what to tell him. I thought about it for a bit and thought maybe I was just over being in the hospital. I told him I loved all of our nurses but I just couldn't wait to go home. I wanted to be in my own home, sleeping in our own bed, just the three of us as a little family. After getting those first batch of tears out... I felt better.
After going home I definitely felt like I was in a better mood. The three of us got into the swing of a routine pretty fast. We kind of would tag team it... Thomas would stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning and would take care of Chloe so I could catch a few hours of sleep. He would only wake me up if she needed to eat, and if I was too tired he would feed her a bottle. The first week or so home I felt fine.
Then I noticed I started to feel super clingy with Thomas. If you know me... I am in no means whatsoever, clingy at. all. In fact, I'm normally the opposite: Miss Independent who rather try do it on her own than ask for help. So this came as a shock to me as well... and it actually took me some time to realize that I didn't want to be away from Thomas. It's not that I was scared of being alone with Chloe, I knew that I was more than capable of taking care of her. It was just so comforting to have my husband around. I think at the time, I didn't want to admit that I was suffering from the baby blues. Needless to say over the first few months... I had a few more mini breakdowns. These breakdowns usually started off with me talking to Thomas about some random, normally minuscule issue that I, on a non-postpartum day, probably wouldn't have even been bothered with. Then me breaking down into tears and confessing, "I don't know why I'm crying... I don't know why I'm so clingy..." I don't think that I give Thomas enough credit for being so patient with me during my mood swings. He would always goes on to explain that we are doing such a wonderful job with Chloe and he would always volunteer to do more and more for me.
After having Chloe, Thomas and I learned a lot about being able to rely on each other. I used to try and do it all... but once you have a baby it becomes very apparent that no matter how much you try and plan ahead, as much as you may try and prepare yourself, there will be mishaps and you will make mistakes. I learned that it was okay to admit that I was tired and that I needed a nap... that sometimes I don't have the answer and need to ask for help. Most of all... I am learning that it is okay to make mistakes... and that what is more important was that we learned from them. But we are learning and that's the beauty of it all... All three of us are new at this and we're going to teach each other so many things and we're all going to grow, both as a family and as individuals. I cannot wait to see the beautiful journey that God has in store for my little family and me.