Right, enough of me cooing over my wee baby.
This post sits firmly within the Womb For Improvement genre of oversharing, because I am going to tell you how I am recovering from the birth. I asked a mate of mine (the one who declared after my birth post that we'd had almost identical birth stories) how long it had taken her to recover from her stitches and she couldn't remember, so I want to write this down.
I warn you this'll be graphic. You may wish to look away, I've helpfully headed the sections so read what you want.
All things considered my birth was pretty easy. I mean it was painful but it was so quick I haven't really suffered from any post traumatic stress. I haven't forgotten the pain but I can absolutely see why people claim that women do forget.
Except for the stitches. I was sliced open from front to back to allow the forceps to grab hold of my baby and stitched up afterwards. This was on only thing that caused me significant pain after the birth.
I was in hospital for two days after giving birth. Desperate to go home and at one point the midwife said something that made made heart sink; "We want you to do a bowel movement before you go home."
Not only had I squeezed everything out in the hours prior to giving birth so I had nothing left to poo but the idea of straining against the stitches filled me with dread. Luckily the midwife who discharged me didn't ask any searching questions so I went home backed up.
I think it was day five before I did my first shit.
My NCT tutor give me one very valuable tip. She recommended folding up a hand full of toilet paper in your hand and sort of holding yourself in place from the front whilst pushing out of the back. "How long do you do this for?" asked a member of the group "Oh just for the first poo" was the response. I reckon I used the holding method for about a week and a half before I felt confident enough to push without the safety net.
I stopped taking the painkillers (only paracetamol, they didn't prescribe me anything very exciting) after about 9 days which was when I felt I could sit and walk relatively comfortably but it was only after three weeks when I realised I was completely pain free and I could swap the enormous duvets of a sanitary pad for a more discreet liner.
Many of my flatter chested buddies have blossomed mammarily when they start breast feeding. One even texted me in amazement as she suddenly realised that being better endowed now meant she physically had to lift her breast to wash under it - I've been lifting and wiping since I was 15. I have no doubt that my milk filled baps are larger but I think there comes a point when upsizing is less impressive so the increase in size is unremarkable.
I once read an article about Sarah Jessica Parker's role as Producer (as well as actress) in Sex and The City) - from what I could gather her main contribution was the innovative idea that her character's 'thing' would be she'd wear a bra in bed. Sounds to me like someone wanted and excuse to keep her norks under wraps even when it was artistically appropriate. I've started to adopt the same style, but for purely practical reasons. I'd heard of women whose boobs leak when they hear their baby crying, or if a feed is overdue. What I wasn't aware of before I started this breast feeding lark is that baps are obviously jealous types, so whether I bung Olive on the left or right tit for a feed the other one starts to leak in sympathy. The nightime bra is essential for holding breast pads in place and preventing the sheets from getting soaked.
I've been incredibly lucky on the weight front. I don't know if it was because I had morning sickness for all of my pregnancy, or because I missed the final growth spurt by having Olive three weeks early. But I have managed to miss out on excessive weight gain and stretchmarks. I'm back in my pre-pregnancy jeans - admittedly sporting a bit of a muffin top, but that is preferable to my maternity jeans that literally fall off me. I didn't weigh myself during my pregnancy, the only scales I had at home were those ones that somehow measure the ratio of body fat as well as weight and there was a warning not to use them if pregnant - I'm not sure if this is because the electric impulse is unsafe for the baby or just that the results are inaccurate, either way I didn't risk it. But I got weighed at the doctors 15 days after giving birth and my BMI was down to 26.2. Pre-pregnancy it generally hovered around 23 - 24 so I reckon it won't be long before I'm back within 'normal' range (18.4 - 24.9) and with breast feeding I don't even have to think about dieting to get there.
There is always a worry, particularly with having tried for so long and so hard, to get here that when I did I would regret it. Either because of hormones or just being unable to bond for one reason or another.
I was warned that baby blues, which are distinct from full blown depression, can kick in on day three to five. Sure enough, bang on schedule on day four I woke up and just felt a surge of fear. It hit me that this was forever, that I was no longer the most important person in my own life and everything I did would have to be negotiated around what was best for Olive. I couldn't even imagine a time when I would be able to go to the loo by myself. I burst into tears at the enormity of the responsibility I had foisted upon myself. The husband gleefully diagnosed 'baby blues' and since then it has been all good.
That doesn't mean to say I've been giggling and skipping around the house 24/7. Both sisters have been treated to an early morning phonecall from me when I haven't been able to say anything for a couple of minutes as I've been in floods of tears. But this has been entirely due to lack of sleep and I think it would have been irrational not to be crying in these instances (might I also add they have responded beautifully, driving across London to come and support me).
I was also wracked with guilt and sobbing uncontrollably when I found out after 16 days Olive had still not gained her birth weight.
But day-to-day I am so very happy. She is just amazing, and even writing this I'm welling up - this time with happy tears - because she is all I hoped for.
Ok, maybe a little bit about the little one. We had a midwife appointment on Friday and not only is her jaundice gone but she has regained (and more) her birth weight which makes the constant nomming on my boobs worth it. She is hardly a fat knacker at 5lb 13oz (up from 5lb 9oz) but certainly going in the right direction!