Caleb’s Afterbirth – Body Slammed

Over the years, I’ve heard various people say something to the effect of: “Your body will never look the same after having a baby.” While this is very true, it could also be said that your body will never feel the same after having a baby…something akin to getting body slammed by the Incredible Hulk…at least for me.

The day after I came home from the hospital, I hopped dragged myself onto the scale, excited to discover how much weight I had lost so far. Ummmm what!?! I had just delivered an 8 lb. baby, but only weighed 7 lbs. less than I did when I left for the hospital. Granted, I was unbelievably sleep deprived at the time and couldn’t recall my middle name, but I was *pretty* certain the numbers weren’t adding (subtracting?) up. Not only had I delivered an 8 lb. baby, I had also shed a placenta (email my mom for a pic), my amniotic fluid, etc. Staring down at the scale in disbelief, I caught a glimpse of my feet over my (still) very large belly. The light bulb popped on. When I was at the hospital, I had been pumped with far too many fluids and was clearly over hydrated. No wonder every part of my body felt so stiff and uncomfortable – it felt like I had been pumped to maximum capacity with an air compressor! It took two weeks before everything shrunk back to its original size. Check out the pictures below for a visual reference –

My elephant feet/legs, four days after Caleb was born
A comparison shot, taken a few days ago

Unreal right!? I don’t want to be one of those crazy “birth mom-zilla’s,” but I’m pretty set on refusing an IV next time around!

I also continued to recover from the second degree tear that occurred during labor. Each trip to the bathroom was quite the affair, and took ten minutes to complete the care procedure. Thankfully, (or not so thankfully at all), I was still constipated, so I didn’t find myself bowl movementing much. But man, when I did, it felt like I was having another baby. Awesome. Oh and random tangent – am I the only one who found determining whether to put underwear or a bra on immediately after showering a huge dilemma? I could never decide if I’d rather bleed or milk all over myself, and in the midst of my analysis paralysis, I naturally ended up doing both. Ah motherhood…so wonderfully humbling.

The severe pelvic pain (PGP) I developed in my third trimester was a slow recovery and continued to be an issue for about three months postpartum. This meant that I continued to require assistance to: sit/stand up, roll over, walk any notable distance, get in and out of a car, and go up and down stairs. I slept in our living room for the first month after giving birth, because it was still too painful to get in and out of bed. I thought dealing with this was difficult while pregnant…add a newborn into the mix, and Sean suddenly found himself the caretaker of not just one crying baby, but two.

In the midst of the above mentioned challenges, I also began suffering severe back spasms for no apparent reason. At seemingly random moments, my back would wig out and render me immobilized. It was the weirdest thing…it was like I became paralyzed temporarily. One of my more lucid memories in those first few weeks was finishing up nursing Caleb at 2 am, looking forward to sleep, when my back suddenly went into spasm. Sean took care of Caleb, while I remained stuck (literally) in the glider for the next hour until my body just worked it out. I sat there and cried quietly as I watched the precious minutes pass, knowing I desperately needed sleep before Caleb was up again needing to nurse, and the opportunity was passing before my eyes. Since then, my back has continued to experience problems which I am currently in physical therapy to alleviate. The other day, the therapist told me my job as a stay-at-home mom puts me in the same category for back strain/injury as a construction worker. Who knew!?

Readers – did you, your wife, or a friend experience any of these ailments (or others) after giving birth?

More posts in the ‘Afterbirth’ series:

Caleb’s Afterbirth – the Hospital (Part 1)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – the Neighbs (Part 2)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – Breastfeeding Blues (Part 3)

Caleb’s Afterbirth – Am I an Incompetent Parent (Part 5)

Also, read about Caleb’s birth:

Caleb’s Birth Story: Rated PG-13 for Language, Nudity, and Drugs 🙂

And here’s the 10 ways pregnancy crushed my dignity:

Part 1 – Constipation
Parts 2 & 3 – Appetite and Weight Gain
Part 4 – Mourning Sickness
Part 5 – Incontinence
Part 6 – Crazy Hormones
Parts 7, 8, & 9 – Pain, Pain, Pain
Part 10, the Pinnacle – Diarrhomit