With my first born I had a forceps delivery with an epidural, with my second born I had a drug-free, natural birth (against my will, I might add!!!) without intervention and a second-degree tear.
So, these upcoming postpartum problems are in relation to the deliveries I had. They were relatively uncomplicated and straight forward births.
For those mamas who had different experiences, please comment below with the unexpected postpartum problems you experienced.
On the mental health side of things, I was lucky enough to not suffer from Postpartum Depression. I was very cryey after the birth of my second son, but I just needed a hug from my mum to sort that out, so I can’t really call it a medical problem.
I had a few weird things happen to me postpartum, but those were on top of the standard awfulness that ARE expected i.e:
- Having to sit on a kid’s rubber ring for a week because ALL THE BITS HURT! I also used frozen aloe vera covered mat-pads, which felt like a very cold, very soothing hug in my knick knacks.
- Milk coming in – and if like me, you formula fed from the off, your milk comes in and has nowhere to go, so has to dry up. My boobs were massive and rock solid. They were very sore, and I walked around like a robot. There is a lot of conflicting advice online about how to ease the discomfort, but none of it worked for me. Tight bras, loose bras, cabbage leaves, hot showers, don’t touch them, express a little…. Blah blah blah. It’s just the internet giving you stuff to do to pass the time.
- Exhaustion – obviously.
- Fear over the first poo. I don’t remember the first poo, but I do remember the fear.
- Weeing… what a faff. Because it would sting, I’d have to pour warm water down there to sooth it while I was weeing.
- Passing blood clots.
- Hair and weight loss.
- Afterpains, which were essentially more contractions (second baby specific).
And all the above is standard postpartum fare. What a nightmare. And don’t forget you’ve got a brand-new baby you’ve just met that needs you more than you’ve ever been needed before in your life.
Here are some of the bonus postpartum nonsense that happened to me:
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Once I googled this, I found it was quite common. It’s so rubbish. It makes everything just a little bit more difficult. CTS is when you have constant pins and needles in your hand. I had it in both.
I wore splints most of the time, which helped a bit, but I couldn’t feel the softness of my new baby’s skin, or enjoy stroking his hair. Changing nappies, making bottles, and getting him dressed were all uncomfortable experiences. It all felt like sandpaper at the tips of my fingers. After a couple of weeks, I went to the GP and he gave me steroid injections, which sorted them out asap. It was heavenly to get the feeling back in my hands, and be able to touch my baby.
I had some remaining placenta up there, didn’t I!
The pain felt like a sharp stitch in my stomach. It would come and go, and I’d have to lie down and concentrate on breathing through it when it hit me.
This was Day 4. I thought it would pass, but it got to 10pm and my husband made me call the hospital. They couldn’t identify what it was over the phone, so I had to go in.
Now… I had a 4-day old newborn and a one-year-old toddler, both in sweet slumber. I didn’t want to rock the boat and get them all dressed and in the car. I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone, as it was 10pm on a weeknight, so I made the decision to drive myself. I did tell my mum what I was doing, because I knew she’d be upset with me for not telling her if she found out after the event. She wanted to drive me, but she lives over an hour away, so that would have been mental.
I drove the 45 minutes to the hospital. The pain was bearable, but I was also trying to balance on the stupid Post Natal Donut Cushion as my bits were still on fire.
It was during Lockdown 3, so the hospital’s resources were bleak (fair enough). I waited for around 3 hours for the doctor to come and do some checks. I then waited another 2 hours for the results to come through. I was very uncomfortable, because of the pain, but also because everything in the bullet points above was also happening. I wanted to be at home, taking care of my new little squidge.
What I didn’t mention is that at about 12am, my mum turned up.
I was irritated at the time. I didn’t want her to worry about me. I was OK. I wanted her to go home and go to sleep. We were in the middle of a pandemic! They wouldn’t let her in, so she was just sitting outside in her car, in February! I kept asking her to go home, but she wouldn’t.
I got my results and they explained that my womb was infected because of some suspected remaining placenta. Lovely stuff.
They gave me some medicine and sent me on my way.
It was 4am.
And there she was – my mum.
As soon as I saw her, I understood why she waited in the carpark all night.
She did it because… she’s my mum.
I’d do it too.
I cried a lot. I’m a cryer. I felt lots of things. She made the decision to take me to her house as it wasn’t too far from the hospital.
We then met my family back at the hospital at 10am for our newborn’s 5-day checks.
My husband held the fort all night and got them ready in the morning, which I hadn’t had to do by myself yet, so it was impressive.
He didn’t bring a bag. He brought the boys, which was great. Great stuff. But he didn’t bring anything else. No bottles, no milk, no nappies, nothing!
It was a good job we were at the hospital, that comes equipped with baby stuff, or it would have been a disaster. The nurse practitioner laughed outwardly and heartily at my husband.
Major Brain Fart
Around 2 weeks postpartum, I had finished a night feed and was getting ready to settle my little one by reading him Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I’d been doing this most nights and had previously read the entirety of HP and the Philosopher’s Stone to my firstborn during night feeds.
However, as soon as my eyes hit the page, something super weird happened. I couldn’t read the words. I figured my eyes couldn’t focus because I was tired, so I thought I’d shake it off. But the more I persevered, the more it became apparent that I was having real issues reading.
I teach dyslexic children, so I started to put my teaching into practice. I was managing to get through words very slowly, and by the end of the sentence it was clear that I wasn’t retaining anything.
I got to the words, ‘Professor McGonagall’ and that’s when I crumbled. I recognised the word, even if I couldn’t read it, but I couldn’t remember her name. Professor Freaking McGonagall! I started to panic. I tried to figure out what was happening to me by doing a Google search, but writing was just as impossible. So, I went and woke my husband up.
I cried. Obviously. I’m a cryer.
He was disorientated and didn’t know what was happening. He passed me Paddington to read, so he could try and understand. And then…
I read it perfectly fine. I was equally relieved and embarrassed.
He still believed me though, which meant a lot. He treated it seriously and encouraged me to go to get it checked out, just in case. I couldn’t stop reading after that. I wanted to keep making sure I hadn’t lost this beautiful superpower I’d taken such advantage of my whole life.
The doctor said it was either extreme exhaustion, giving me a good old brain fart, or it was an ‘ora’, which is apparently something that happens before a migraine. So, I still don’t really know what to make of that – but it certainly freaked me out, good and proper.
Overall, I got away lightly. Each of my blips didn’t last long and were solved easily. Let me know you’re postpartum problems in the comments below. It’s good to share. You never know, it may make another mum out there feel less freaked out when it happens to them.