You guys, this recovery stuff was SO much easier the second time around it's crazy. I know as a first time mom I was somewhat unprepared for the physical recovery after birth and it wasn't a walk in the park by any means. But this time around? Sort of like a slow but steady walk in said park, for sure. I know not everyone has this improved experience with round two but I figured I'd share my perspective for documentation purposes/funsies. Maybe someone out there had a rough time with recovery for the first baby and is nervous about it for number two--and I can tell you that it might be a lot better the next time.
So one thing I vividly remember about the physical recovery process from the first time? The very first trip out of bed to the bathroom. I remember that trip because it was scary and bloody and gross and pretty horrendous. But this time? Didn't even leave a trail of blood behind me! Granted, my legs were really wobbly this time and I almost took down my nurse, but I did get up a lot sooner this time (maybe within 2 hours of giving birth?). The first bathroom experience wasn't totally horrible. Yes, it was bloody but not so much that I thought I was sitting in the middle of a murder scene. And peeing right away was no problem and really not too painful. Of course, I only had a small first degree tear this time compared to my second degree last time, so I know that helped.
Every trip to the bathroom after that got a little better. I was even able to muster up the courage to do Kegels within the first week and I know for a fact that exercise scared the heck out of me for WEEKS the first time. I did the post partum recovery dance in the bathroom using the peri bottle and giant pads and numbing spray for about a week. And after that first week I stopped using the bottle and could straight up wipe. Hallelujah for bathroom trips that no longer take 7-10 minutes a piece.
I just realized that this post is going to talk a lot about blood and pee and private parts. Maybe I should have warned you above but hopefully you read the title of the post and sort of figured it might be gruesome? My apologies.
Anyway, the amount of bleeding I've had this time around is significantly less and more manageable. Honestly within 2 days at the hospital I saw a big decrease in the amount of blood on my giant pads. Then after the first week I saw another drop in it to the point that I could *almost* get by with a panty-liner. But it's weird, and something that I called my OB about the other day, because get this: I will have NO bleeding at all, barely any spotting either, for a whole day. And I'll get excited that maybe the bleeding is finished. But then I'll stand up after nursing and BAM--a gush of blood. Sick, right? Apparently that can be normal according to the OB office although it does make me nervous that something is stuck in there. But really, I'm still just over 2 weeks out and I know you can bleed for 6 weeks. And maybe I'm overdoing it a little bit and my body is just healing. Whatever. Trying not to worry too much about it since it's not like I'm gushing all the time (maybe happened 3 times total now?).
One thing that has been exactly the same this time? Night sweats. A lot of them. I remember being a little freaked about it with Truman but this time I'm down with it because to me it means I'm shedding water weight and have a justifiable reason to say, 'my hormones are out of whack, forgive me' to Nate whenever I get a little psychotic. I mean, I'm drenched in sweat most nights when I wake up to nurse Cecelia. Therefore things are obviously a little 'off' while my body adjusts to baby on the outside.
Now as far as the uterine cramping that comes along with nursing? Way worse for round two. Way worse. Like, I wish some of my second-time mommy friend would have warned me. It was only really bad for about 5 days but man, those first few days when I'd nurse I'd actually feel like my cramps were comparable to light labor contractions. Again, I realize this is a 'good' thing and as my friend said, you just have to tell yourself that every contraction is shrinking your uterus back down and therefore making you skinny again. :) And I'm glad it only lasted about 5 days or so, too.
I've already mentioned that my milk came in a LOT faster with baby #2---it was right around the 24 hour mark this time. Cecelia's poops even changed from the black meconium to the yellow seedy breastfed poop that fast. I think it was around day 3-4 that my milk came in for Truman, which I think is normal for the first baby. But also, I think I have more of a milk supply this time around, at least compared to what my little lady likes to eat. I've been pumping since day 4 due to engorgement and although it's much better now, I am still pumping once per day and getting a really insane amount compared to my early days of pumping with Truman. I don't know if that is because this is the second time around and my boobs 'remember' how to make milk, or because I did breastfeed for a full year so they are seasoned pros at this milk production stuff, or what. But I don't mind it as long as CeCe can handle the milk. And sometimes I do worry that I have an overactive let down for her which might contribute to her spitting up at times. We'll see, I guess. But I never thought I'd be in a position with potentially too much milk for my baby girl!
Let's get down to the numbers, shall we? With Truman I gained 43 pounds while pregnant. With Cecelia I gained 34---cue the angels singing on that one. I believe I was still up 18 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight with Truman at my 6 week follow up and then I stopped weighing myself, but by 9 months all of the weight was suddenly off when I did step back on the scale. So far after this pregnancy, I'm only weighing myself once a week to avoid the obsessive tendencies that come with frequent weigh-ins. At one week I had lost 13 pounds and at two weeks I was down 15 pounds. Which means I have 19 more to go at the two week mark and honestly, it doesn't seem that horrible to me this time around. I know I might hang onto 5-10 pounds while breastfeeding anyway, and that is fine by me as long as I can fit into my pre-preg clothes by the time I return to work at the 3 month mark. Once I can exercise and run again---which, by the way, it's been SO freaking long! I stopped running at week 6 of my pregnancy when I had that pesky little 'threatened miscarriage' with Cecelia and so I'm sure my first run will be pretty awful. But once I can start exercising again I have faith that the rest of the weight will eventually come off. I think it's more important to feel comfortable in your own skin instead of stressing about numbers on the scale, since pregnancy really does 'rearrange' things on the body a bit no matter what the scale says. I have my one piece swimming suit to arm me this summer, I can't wait to exercise again, and I will just pray and pay attention to what I'm eating, hoping that my old body someday returns. Also, I'm really grateful to be 5'10" because my extra weight gets sort of stretched out vertically and doesn't look totally horrible. But still, I'm itching to be skinny again.
Oh, and my belly button did go back in after being an outie during pregnancy. The linea negra is still there and probably will be for awhile. And the skin on my stomach is fairly soft and saggy and stretched, but thankfully no stretch marks this time either! I think my ab muscles might be a little less shocked from pregnancy this time and are trying to make an appearance sooner. I'm far from a six pack or anything but it's nice to be able to sit up from laying down using my abs instead of my arms.
And now for pictures. Definitely less of a belly sooner this time around...
Also, the huge boobs do help compensate for a little tummy. And Truman is such a photo-bomber sometimes:)
Here is my one week post partum post from Truman, the two week post partum post, and then the 11 month post partum post.
Overall, I have a lot more energy after giving birth compared to my first go around. I remember taking a walk around the block after T---literally one block---and then feeling like hell and paying for it big time on day 4. This time I felt good enough to go to the zoo with two kids (and my mom and Nate, don't worry) on day 6 after birthing Cecelia. I've had to pick up my heavy toddler and care for him, too, which does change the game a lot with a second child. And really, my energy levels are probably a lot better this time because of the help I got from my mom, from Nate, and the fact that Cecelia is sleeping pretty great at night. I love our frequent walks right now and having a baby in the summer, instead of the dead of a Wisconsin winter, really allows for more physical activity. And I think sunshine does wonders for my mental sanity, too.
That pretty much sums up the post partum recovery process for me this time around. Maybe I'll do another check in at some point since it's still so early after having baby girl.