What to Expect || 14 Weeks After Delivery

 

IT WORKS!

ThermiVa works for me!

Days turn in to weeks and weeks turn in to months and there is but a few days left of the year. Life is feeling more normal every day. Body feels recovered, though waking up in the morning seems a challenge all on its own. One thing I wish for, more hours in the day/night. All in all, I really couldn't be a happier mommy even if the 'mom brain' that comes with the title leaves me wanting for more memory. I am planning on getting hormone pellets once I am done nursing. Why wait till I finish nursing? Hormone changes still fluctuate while a mother breast feeds. Why try to balance that when my body is fluctuating due to milk production. Back to the point (getting off topic is such an easy thing to do these days), I have opted for the Intimate Care Procedure. 

The heart and soul of Aviva Woman is providing Intimate Care. There isn't a place quite like us that focuses on care that too often gets brushed over or avoided all together. I am so glad that after having my 4th child I could talk with someone and be treated for my own intimate concerns. Leaking after a sneezing bout has been something that I have been experiencing for some time. I never thought anything of it until Aviva Woman. Now, I notice my body bracing every time I have to cough or sneeze. Why should I have to live like this! I know I am lucky, it could be worse. Another concern for me personally is dryness. With the hormonal changes due to breastfeeding, it is common for a woman to experience intimate dryness. That can make sexual activity less than exciting for both me and my husband, but probably less for me. My sweet husband appreciates any physical attention without comparing me to my pre-pregnant self; however, I would like to feel my body producing its own lubrication and not have to use any sort of artificial lube. 

It has been a week and a half and I can add my personal testimony that IT WORKS! I have noticed a lot more strength when I sneeze. In fact, I haven't had any dribbles for the last several days and with cold season underway, there have been lots of sneezing. This is a big win in my book. In terms of intimacy, the husband has reported that it feels "amazing." I think it puts a man in a hard corner to ask what it feels like. He doesn't want to make me feel like I was 'loose' but he did say I feet tighter. I noticed that I do have more lubrication but I still need KY if we have sex more than once in an evening. Speaking on sex, one of the benefits of the procedure is enhancing sexual enjoyment. I am still undecided if my enjoyment was a result of the procedure or if it was because my husband seemed more into me and sex than before (he has been on testosterone pellets which have really changed our marriage for the better but that is a whole other story). I do think I was able to have an orgasm more easily for whatever the cause and I could certainly feel more. It's not easy to explain without completely pouring over the anatomy of the feminine body. Suffice it to say, bedroom time has become something to look forward to rather than an act of love. 

I plan on completing a series of 3 over the next 3 months and will report as I notice changes take place.  I am so honored to be able to share my story and hear that it has inspired others to seek relief for intimate concerns. I am an Aviva Woman and you can be, too.  

 

What to Expect || 5 Weeks After Delivery

 

Managing the Bins

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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 || 2 Weeks After Delivery

What to Expect || 2 Weeks After Delivery

The Body changes that take place after having a baby can be shoved to the side as mothers poor over their new little one. But, there are big change that take place in our bodies that can last for years to come. Learn about what to expect is a step toward healing both physically and emotionally.

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An Uneventful Labor and Delivery || Comparison of all the deliveries

 
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So, nothing was posted at 39 weeks because there was no change to report. Boo. I couldn't help but feel disappointed because I thought I had been progressing at such a good pace. It was a conscious effort to remind myself that the baby still had a full week to cook before my due date and that, at least, I was unlikely to be 10 days late like the past two baby's were. The day before my due date I had a full sweep of the membranes. Ouch! I certainly felt that! I thought, I may go to the hospital later that day but nothing consistent developed in terms of contractions. Until, the morning of the 20th. Today, is when all the action took place. Contractions were getting uncomfortable, like bad cramps and the tightness in my abdomen. they were off and on every 3-6 minutes. I felt like it was time to head to the hospital. I'll not go into detail about all the laboring as the purpose of this is more about the journey to recovery. But I will say a little note about the different types of deliveries, as I have experienced them all now, and how I feel about each one. 

Baby One. This was a traditional vaginal delivery. I was trying to go unmedicated (no epidural) but my body stopped progressing because I simply couldn't relax. I got the epidural and had a real struggle to push out my son because he was faced up instead of down. It just makes pushing a little more difficult. They ended up sucking him out and he had a lovely suction mark on his head that went away after a few days.

Baby Two. I labored at home until my contractions were pretty close together, 2-3 minutes apart. When the crampy feeling became pretty intense I went to the hospital. Everything seemed to by fine until the nurse broke my water only to realize that the baby's head was not in the birth canal or engaged. The baby was sideways. The nurse told me not to push (why do they say that? Contractions are automatic!) and with each push I could potentially be breaking my baby's back and/or my pelvis. I was wheeled in for an emergency c-section. BUT it was midnight with only one surgeon on hand. We were waiting for the other doctor to run to the hospital but my baby's heart rate started dropping. So, the doctor reached up in there (like elbow deep!) and grabbed her by the jaw and pulled her out. I was in a gas mask and didn't know what was happening so when I finally came round again I was confused about why I couldn't feel my c-section scar. The confusion still lingered as they placed a little wrapped bundle into my arms. 

Baby Three.  The plan was to go natural, which went well all the way up to a 10. My husband was a champion in helping me through the laborious work. Everything was going smoothly and according to plan. The baby's head was still a little high so before having them break my water the doctor had me push through a couple contractions to lower the baby deeper into the birth canal. They broke my water and out came the umbilical cord, prolapsed cord is the technical term. Its supposed to be really uncommon but luck would have it happen to me. Before you know it, I was being wheeled to the surgery room with the doctor riding at the foot of the bed holding my little treasure back up in the birth canal off the life support of the umbilical cord. I was put completely under as I was not hooked to an epidural drip (unmedicated/going natural). That was scary. It took me about 90 minutes to regain full consciousness. If we didn't have any videos of those first few hours I wouldn't be able to tell you much about it. 

Baby Four. The goal was to have a VBAC, vaginal birth after cesarean.  But I wanted to make sure that if I ended up needing a c-section I would not need to be put completely to sleep. To avoid this, I opted for an epidural right away. Baby number 4 was a dream delivery. Labor was uneventful with not complications to report. Delivery was pretty standard and out came my little sweetheart. I was able to do skin to skin and had a lovely bonding moment after they sucked the poop out of his lungs...I guess that was the only thing not great. The baby pooped in the water sac and may have breathed some in. 

Summary. 

C-Section. The Pros +++ and Cons ---

  • Under Carriage was still in tact. No Wincing on the toilet. +++

  • Could plan and schedule a c-section so its not an emergency. +++

  • Less trauma to the baby. +++

  • Risk to the mother, especially if you are put under. ---

  • Battle Wound Scar. One piece swimsuits for me. ---

  • Long Recovery. 6 weeks low energy. ---

  • Felt like my organs took a year to get back in place. ---

  • 4-5 days at the hospital. Not much sleep to be had. ---

Vaginal Delivery and VBAC. The Pros +++ and Cons ---

  • The Under Carriage....not the same and wincing at the toilet. ---

  • Left the hospital after 24 hours! +++

  • Back on my feet in a few days. +++

  • Still tired but noticeably more energy compared to the c-section. +++

  • Baby squeezing through a tight space! ---

Have more questions? Comment below!

 

What to Expect || 38 Weeks

 

Here we are at 38 weeks. My husband is in California not due to return till later this evening. I've been having contractions off and on all week. Carrying my toddler around was sure to help progress me. I arrived at the doctors office first thing on Thursday morning with specific instructions to notify Husband at the slightest change so he could catch an early flight if needed.

38 WEEKS || 4CM DILATED AND 80% EFFACED

38 WEEKS || 4CM DILATED AND 80% EFFACED

Well, I had progressed! The Doc told me I was dilated to a 4 and 80% effaced. He asked if I wanted my membranes striped again. I told him my husband was out of state and wasn't quite sure what to do. Besides! I was having brunch with friends the next day!!! Can't miss out on a brunch especially when my independent days are numbered. So, we opted not for the membrane sweep. I called my husband to let him know how I had progressed. He was really worried but I told him not to worry (though in my head I really wished he was home for peace of mind). This is so odd for me. I am never this far progressed especially BEFORE my due date. I took it in good faith that my body is doing what it knows and that hopefully I will have a relatively normal delivery.

To my surprise, Blake (Hubby) elected for the early flight and left his meeting. He wanted to me home in case anything happened. He came through the door and we sat and we walked and we cleaned and we waited. No baby. I did get to go to brunch the next day.

BABY BRUNCH

BABY BRUNCH

Brunch was a blast. According to all my friends who have had babies, me dilated to a 4 and 80% effaced was like, "why are you not in the hospital"?!?!? I know. I was equally confused.  They can offer you an epidural when you are dilated to a 4. Here I am with no signs of labor. Maybe things aren't progressing like I thought. Or maybe I will just go over like all the other kids of mine. Or maybe I just need to be a little more patient as I am still not to my official due date. **Word of advice, when they tell you your due date, just add 10 days to that date.  Every day before that date will feel like a gift if you deliver before hand.