Before continuing to read, please remember that I am not a healthcare professional. Any perceived advice should be taken at your own risk/under the advisement of an actual healthcare professional, not me. I am speaking out of my own experience, and I cannot stress this enough, everyone’s experience is different.

I will also be using correct anatomical terms as well for various private parts. That is a part of childbirth.

Another thing I would like to emphasize is that while my experience with postpartum was difficult (as it is for most), I made it to the other side, and God willing, so will you.

Without further ado, here is my postpartum story.

After about a day and a half in the hospital (I was induced), my beautiful baby girl came out. I was so excited to hold her, but after a few minutes, I started feeling a little sick. They told me I was losing blood, and gave me a shot in my thigh. They had taken my little girl and were looking her over, cleaning her off, and so forth. Meanwhile, the doctor was sewing me up from inside my vagina all the way through the perineum and part of my butt cheek. I only had a subcutaneous tear (it did not go through any muscle), but it was a tear. I did not feel the doctor sewing because I had an epidural that worked, but I felt it after.

Pushing an almost 9 pound baby out of my body aggravated the hemorrhoids I already had. My doctor had the general surgeon look at them before we left the hospital, but I ended up just continuing to apply the steroid ointment I had been prescribed during pregnancy.

After an hour or 2 the nurses made me go to the bathroom and they taught me how to clean myself. Yes. You read that correctly.

After using the toilet, I had to spray from the front of my labia to the very back of my anus as many times as I needed to until I was clean. Then, I had to pat myself dry. Not rub because stiches, plus I was super sore. Two super pads were placed in my very large mesh underwear ( all provided by the hospital), then a perineal cooling pad was snapped and placed on top of those and three or four witch hazel pads were layered in a row and placed on top of that. Before I pulled the underwear up and waddled back slowly to the bed, I sprayed everything on my underside from front to back with a pain relieving spray called Dermoplast.

I did that every time I went to the bathroom, and sometimes I changed the cooling pad just because I needed to do so. In fact, they started making me ice diapers, which are literally newborn diapers with with a slit cut in the top and ice placed in them. I made more of those when I went home because perineal cooling packs are expensive, and I just wanted everything down there to be cold or numb. In a couple weeks, some friends sent me Earth Mama Herbal Perineal Spray, and that also felt amazing, especially after I put it in the fridge.

After around 4 and a half weeks, once I was starting to feel better and walking around well, I popped one of my stitches. Don’t ask me how I did it, because I’m not exactly sure. It hurt really bad. Walking/standing up became difficult again, and I decided to visit my doctor. He checked everything, and told me it would be okay. The vagina is very forgiving, but just in case, he prescribed an antibiotic to prevent infection and sitz baths twice a day.

The night after I started the antibiotic, my whole bottom started itching like nothing else I have ever experienced. I talked to my mama, and I was sure I had a yeast infection. I applied clotrimazole cream (an antifungal), and called the doctor.

When I call my doctor’s office, someone in triage answers. That person then speaks to a nurse, who either calls/sends a message to me over myhealthchart app, or talks to the doctor who sends me a message or gets an appointment scheduled. There were way too many people in between me and the doctor. The doctor prescribed for me to take Fluconazole (a yeast infection medication) after I finished the antibiotic in a week.

I cried.

After not sleeping for 3 days, messaging the office multiple times, and sobbing to my mama, sister, and friend, a nurse told me to take the Fluconazole, which I had taken in the past with no issues. It is supposed to work within 24 hours.

24 hours after taking it the itching had spread down my legs. It was swollen and red, and one of my best friends had just arrived from New York to visit. I don’t know what I would have done without her, because she drove me to the doctor’s office after my dad said they need to see me or I needed to go to the ER.

Turns out, I’m allergic to sulfa drugs/the antibiotic I was taking. Benadryl and a steroid took care of it. I was on pelvic rest for a total of 8 weeks just to make sure everything was completely healed.

All that to say, post partum was not fun. I have never met anyone who thought it was, though my experience is not typical, at least the allergic reaction anyway.

While it was not fun, I would rather go through that than the last 3 weeks of pregnancy again because at least you can usually sleep a bit (even if it is erratic), and you have a baby! My daughter is worth every second of pain.

A big thing I learned was to keep asking for help. My friend who I sobbed to, came and took my baby for a walk while I went to the drugstore to pick up the fluconazole and grabbed some electrolyte water from the grocery store. My visiting friend bought me a smoothie and watched my daughter while I saw the doctor. It doesn’t just take a village to raise a baby, it takes a village to make a mama.

Post partum is hard, and sometimes there are lasting effects. Even so, it is worth it, and before you can blink, it is over and your baby is one or you have another one or any number of things. Most importantly, it ends. When you’re in pain or weak from pushing or having surgery to get a baby out of your worn body, remember that it does end, and there are people who want to help you. You are amazing.

You got this, Mama!

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