Sunday, November 27, 2011

A postpartum problem

There were many things I read and was told about postpartum. Mostly it had to do with blood, clots, and having your privates feel like they were just run over by a tank.  I actually made the mistake after having my son, of inching up on my tippy toes so I could see how bad the damage was in the hospital mirror. (bending over wasn't an option yet)
My mother shared a story from my birth about how she was taking a shower, after she had me, and a clot the size of a quarter appeared in the shower stall. She screamed, a nurse came in to see what was wrong, then she literally picked it up and took it away. To this day my mother is not sure what was more traumatizing; the fact that it came out of her or that the nurse just picked it up like it was a quarter. 
Blood doesn't bother me. I'm one of those weird women who is actually happy to get my period now. In HS not so much, but then I also needed a bottle of Midol to make it though that week. No, now after having kids, I'm happy about it. I take it as a sign that my body is functioning like normal. It's kind of like having a light flash on saying "Everything is OK down here". And since I can't see all of "down there" I'll take anything that is a signal of normality. 
After my daughter though, things were not normal. The initial bleeding and swelling went away after about 2weeks. But it was followed by pain. I didn't really pay it any mind, because after all, I did just stretch everything to it's limit. So I didn't worry much. Until the romance started coming back into our lives. Then it was a problem. 
I don't know how to describe it other than a widespread, abdominal, sometimes sharp, mostly dull pain. When I went in to get it checked out, I cried when the midwife used the speculum and winced when she prodded my lower belly. This hurt more than birth. She said it looked fine and to just rest some more. I went after a month to see an OB (a male) and he was pretty much well non-sympathetic to it. Almost to the point that it was like I was making it up as an excuse not to be intimate with my husband.
 I'm sorry, but I don't need a new excuse, having two kids that sometimes don't sleep, is enough. Thank you. He prescribed a estrogen cream and gave me a sample to try. I tried it. Then I read in the side effects that it's not supposed to be used while breastfeeding. So I chucked it. No Hormones for me. 
Another month passed and I decided to go and see the female OB that I went to during my first pregnancy. She was great as an OB for yearly, etc, but I wasn't big on her when it came time to birth. Which is part of the reason why I had switched. 
I made an appointment and felt waves of nostalgia as I walked up to the building (which they have (sadly) now torn down to expand the hospital side.)  She listened as I explained my problem and how I had seen another OB and how I was prescribed estrogen cream and my hesitation to use it. She took a peek and then we talked some more. One of the reasons I liked her so much is because she dumbed down the medical lingo for us non-medical folks. (I don't like having to google everything) She told me that the skin had atrophied, which simply means it is thinner and more sensitive than it used to me. She talked about how this is something that happens to women when they hit menopause and that that is why I was given the cream. 
I'm not in menopause, I just had a baby. 
She then started asking me questions about my life, if I was sleeping, working, taking my vitamins, etc. Then she specifically asked if I was taking enough iron. 
No. I had stopped taking it simply because I had run out and just didn't think I needed it anymore. 
She then said something that every OB needs to say to their pregnancy, postpartum, and nursing moms. 

"You need to take your iron. You need to rest. Don't worry about the baby weight until a year. Give yourself time to heal and don't try being a super mom."

I couldn't believe that I had even thought that I didn't need it anymore. That was the one thing she and my midwives had pounded into my brain while I was pregnant. Take your IRON. Eat your proteins. The fact that your not pregnant anymore doesn't mean you can stop. 
Simple Lessons learned the hard way. Sine I've been taking my iron, my problem has vanished for now. We'll see what happens after the next one and what my life is like when I hit the big M. 

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