SO you made it through my labor and delivery. Lets talk recovery!
After delivering my daughter I imagined my postpartum bleeding to be a war zone. This was far from the case. My bleeding was pretty minimal and reminded me of a regular period. My bleeding also didn’t last very long and lightened fairly early in my recovery.
Postpartum Smells- WARNING- TMI
It is important that I note the first time I used the bathroom after having my daughter. I was pretty sore, I mean I just pushed out a 7lb baby…. but what is engrained in my memory was the SMELL. Lochia is the vaginal discharge after giving birth, containing blood, mucus, and uterine tissue and for some women it smells very foul. It’s a smell that you dont want to even remember and I refuse to descibe for you. You can google “foul smelling lochia” for a description.
Now, from what I am told after discussing this with my coworkers and reading online, not all women and all deliveries experience this type of smell… and I pray with my next child I never have to smell that again. Keep in mind that this smell is only signs of an infection if you experience other symptoms such as a fever and chills so pay close attention to your body.
Moving on from the smell. To aide my recovery I took all that I was allowed to take from the hospital, pads, (I left the icepacks… I didn’t like the feeling of wetness when the ice melted) disposable mesh underwear, Formula Maximum Strength Benzocaine Topical Anesthetic Spray and Pre-Moistened Witch Hazel Pads. I even bought extra spray and witch hazel pads from amazon when I ran out.
Using the Bathroom
Peeing was not that bad, it burns a little depending on the angle and since I ripped during delivery angling my pee was essential. But what did hurt was having a BOWEL MOVEMENT. OMG… It was literally like delivering a baby. Remembering to breathe with every push was essential! I would spend close to an hour trying to get out that little turd. Water and stool softeners are your best friend!!!! I have a tendency to google symptoms and after a quick google search I was pretty sure that I had a hemorrhoid.
Six Week Check Up
Slowly the throbbing pressure/pain of delivery started to lessen. By my six week check up, although the pain had significantly lessened, I was still pretty sore and wondered how people were getting cleared to have sex.
At my six week check up I was rather nervous because I knew my doctor would have to check me to make sure everything was healing properly. I was still pretty sore and like I mentioned, I was still experiencing some pain.
Now, its important to explain the relationship that I have with my OB/GYN. You see, he’s been my doctor for the past 10 years and we have a really cool relationship. He knows, my mom, my husband, and he is very aware of my fear of pain and dramatics…. he even visited me in the hospital the day after I delivered my daughter.
Okay, back to my visit. We spent the first half of the visit catching up. My doctor was very knowledgeable about my delivery and was excited to see the baby. Soon it was time to get checked. Let’s just say, it was not comfortable and quite painful. My doctor and the nurse who I am also close with laughed at me for being so dramatic and cleared me to begin working out and to have sex. I didn’t feel healed.
I told my doctor that it was quite painful pooping and asked if I had a hemorrhoid and he said yes, “a small one.” He then told me that I could sit in a sitz bath to reduce it. I was shocked that I had to ask and bring it up, rather than him identifying it and telling me. I also asked him when would I be fully healed and he said within a another week or 2.
I left the doctor’s office doubting my strength. Was I more healed than I thought? Was I in fact being more dramatic and fearful of pain than other patients?
Shortly after my six week check up my husband and I tried to have intercourse. I was still experiencing some pain but after my check up I wanted to challenge myself… maybe the fear of my pain was actually the real culprit.
So I tried, and lets just say it was a fail. I learned that there was a part of my vagina that not only burned when I peed but also burned during penetration. I knew something wasn’t right and resorted to google.
After googling my symptoms I came across a page on granulated tissue. Granulation tissue is new connective tissue that form on the surfaces of a wound during the healing process. Granulation is normal but it is suppose to heal. For mothers who are breastfeeding sometimes the granulated tissue never heals due to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding usually dries us up down there and makes healing difficult, causing the granulation to never advance through the healing process.
Back to the Doctor
So back to the doctor I went to confirm whether I had granulated tissue. I even brought a picture that my husband took of the area that didn’t look healed. After discussing my symptoms with the doctor and showing the picture, it was confirmed that I had granulated tissue and should not be having sex until it was healed. Sex was no where on my mind because the granulated tissue was extremely painful. I was now 2 months postpartum and I was ready to be healed.
My doctor prescribed me Premarin estrogen to apply on the unhealed area to speed up the healing process and to come back in two weeks.
Two weeks came and went and there was no change. He prescribed me a different cream encouraged me to apply it twice a day for another two weeks and I did and I saw a subtle change.
My family and husband encouraged me to visit the doctor who delivered our daughter (she was apart of the same practice as my OB/GYN) to get her opinion on my recovery since she spent the most time down there during my delivery. When I went to see her I finally felt like a doctor was LISTENING to me. I no longer felt crazy or felt the need to endure the pain. She validated my pain and explained how painful the granulated tissue is and for me to even attempt to have intercourse with it speaks to my strength. She instructed me to use the first cream (premarin) and told me to use it until the tissue healed. If it didn’t heal after a month to come back….
Well PRAISE THE LORD- – – It healed!
But now there was a new issue. The pain was gone, it only took 5 months postpartum but I noticed that trying to have intercourse was “tense.” I noticed that I was a lot tighter than usual but not in a good way. It literally felt like my muscles were contracted and clenched. I again resorted to google and noticed women talking about pelvic floor dysfunction and physical therapy. I figured what do I have to lose than to see yet another doctor…
Honestly, it was a struggle getting to the physical therapist. I couldn’t shake the feeling of thinking my symptoms were just in my head. So many friends and family members kept saying, “are you sure you just aren’t scared” “try relaxing.” My gut was telling me it was something more. So I went to a physical therapist that focused on postpartum issues and pelvic floor therapy. After discussing my symptoms, delivery, and medical history she told me it sounded like I had pelvic floor dysfunction and tight muscles and could confirm it with an internal and external examination. I was hesitant to have someone touch down. Even though I was healed from the granulated tissue the pain wasn’t forgotten. To relax myself I literally had to tell myself that this was for the benefit of my healing.
At the conclusion of my visit it was confirmed that not only did I have pelvic floor dysfunction, but I also have a hyperative pelvis and my abs separated (diastasis recti) after delivery.
11 months postpartum and a ton of therapy sessions and at home exercises and I am almost completely healed and back to pre-baby Elan.