What to Expect || 5 Weeks After Delivery


Managing the Bins


Looking around the house, there are several piles or bins that are crammed with stuff that doesn't belong in the given room. This is my attempt at cleanliness.  At some point, I will empty these blasted bins and find a home for all the items in them. Laundry is in piles and closets look barren. Speaking of clothes, did anything I own ever look good on me??? And did I actually like these old clothes I had before pregnancy?  I'm seeing a common theme with my house that mirrors my brain. All the various ME's (mother, wife, career woman, friend, the fun self if she is still there) are compartmentalized into different bins in my head as I try to complete tasks from each 'bin' at some point during the day or week. 'Try,' is the key word in that last sentence. This post is all about the 'Trying.'

Before focusing on the mental work, I'll brush up on the physical changes going on. The 'back door' region, I am so happy to say, is getting better. Though I still find myself wondering if ThermiVa could also be used...shall I say, behind. Things are feeling more normal. This next topic is sensitive, too. I have been experiencing some intimate dryness which is causing redness and irritation. I know this is because my body is not producing hormones right now so I am really eager to start my first ThermiVa to help with intimate dryness. Folks, its not glamorous but its the truth! Aside from the dryness, the lady parts seem to be back to normal. Yes, I have checked down there with a mirror and can say things are looking like they did before.  Thats a relief.  What I need to start doing is hitting the gym. Is there a movie, Honey, I shrunk Your Muscles?  Because I can't see anything that resembles muscle tone. 

"Men can suffer from postpartum depression,"

Moving on to the mental and emotional progression of postpartum, this area still needs some help. As I mentioned in the last post, postpartum can be a real struggle for women and its different for each pregnancy. I am still experiencing anxiety and days of sadness from being overwhelmed. I just learned that this can happen to men, too. Men can suffer from postpartum depression from lower levels of testosterone. Interestingly, my husband has been on bio-identical hormone pellets and had a placement just last week. I thought he was starting to act more moody two weeks ago! And to think, I believed he was reacting to my lousy attitude. It turns out, it could have been the male version of postpartum and not my fault after all.  Finally, a win!  For me, I have decided to try a low dose of progesterone. A new study from Yale reported that doses of progesterone helped postpartum smokers stay away from smoking. I think it helped these women maintain a more calm attitude, which kept them from picking up the smoking habit again. I have never been a smoker but studies show that lower levels of this hormone can cause all sorts of these negative feelings associated with postpartum. Luckily, our provider Tara, has coached me on the why's and how to take my bio-identical progesterone capsule. I get them at a compounding pharmacy in Sandy, Brighton Pharmacy. A word, these make you sleepy! Take them at night. I took my first one last night and was REALLY sleepy when I was waking up to feed the baby for his night feedings. By the way, I've heard people take this to help get restful deep sleep over sleeping pills.

I will let you know how this works out as I take my capsules during the next few weeks. One thought, since the last post, I think admitting that I was having a hard time adjusting and feeling seriously overwhelmed has really helped! It was extremely scary to talk about these emotional challenges. The physical changes are more humorous to describe.  It is the emotional topics that frightened me the most to share. But that is the whole point of Aviva Woman, our community's safe place for women to share and discuss intimate issues free from scorn, judgement, and pressure.  If I can't start the conversation, who can I turn to, to do so? 

Getting this out there helps me unload my emotional 'bin' for today. I still have lots of laundry and sorting to do but I will close the lid and prioritize what needs to be done now, which is rest and (background baby cry) and feed this little heart of mine.




What to Expect || 37 Weeks


I'd like to share my journey on what to expect after expecting. My name is Suzi Sands, Founder and CEO of Aviva Woman. This is my 4th and last pregnancy. I've had 2 vaginal deliveries, 1 C-Section, and a hopeful VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). Since there is plenty of information about being pregnant but little about what happens to our bodies after delivery, we are going to start just a couple weeks before the anticipated delivery date of September 20.



My 37 week check up gave me some great news. I was dilated to a 3 and 70% effaced. Here is link that explains what dilation and effacement are. Being this far along at week 37 is major for me. I am usually 10 days past my due date and perhaps a 3 dilation when I get to the hospital in labor. 

I elected to have my membranes striped, which basically means my provider used his finger to gently separate the bag of water (amniotic sac) from the side of the uterus near the cervix. (I see Dr. Watts at St. Marks OBGYN Women's Clinic, the same clinic that provided care during my 3rd pregnancy.)  After my check-up I headed back to work. I felt relatively fine that day but did notice a lot more bleeding and mucous. This is normal as a result of the membrane sweep. **I highly recommend using panty liners all day long especially during the last few weeks of pregnancy. It keeps me feeling fresh and clean from all that 'stuff'.  

The next day of having my membranes striped or swept, I noticed more contractions. I kept track of when they would occur and how long. It's crazy, because you would think that after doing this pregnancy thing a few times I might recognize a thing or to about labor, but it is still all a guessing game at this point. My contractions were pretty irregular going from every 10 minutes to 15 minutes, then skipping an hour and picking back up again throughout the day. They felt tight and I had a little cramping but nothing major to report on. However, I really thought to myself, "Tonight is the night." And I wasn't sure I was quite ready for the baby to arrive even if my body was terribly uncomfortable. Sitting. Standing. Laying down. It all feels miserable. Right?!

Well, the weekend came and the new week started. Still pregnant. My husband had a work trip planned on Tuesday through Thursday. He was pretty anxious on whether to stay or go. I told him to go and work while he can. I can handle this. Plus, he stayed at a hotel near the airport in California, which is only a short flight. I highly doubted I would go into labor....until my 38 week check up.