As prepared as I was for childbirth itself, I wasn’t as prepared for after childbirth of a stillborn baby. After childbirth, I expected to be sore and tired, but I didn’t expect some things that stung a little more than I would have wished given my baby was born still.
When your milk comes in. The hospital prepped me for this before I left. They said to take ibuprofen, wear a sports bra, and ice. What I did not know was that I’d wake up on day two looking like I had just gotten giant implants! What a slap in the face. Oh…and the pain to go along with that. Ice and ibuprofen didn’t seem to help, but after a few days the pain subsided. The physical pain was bad enough, but the emotional pain to go along with that is what tore me apart. My body was responding well to feed my newborn, but what my body failed to realize was that I had no baby to feed.
Leaking. People warned me how hard breastfeeding can be and if you’re not consistent, your milk will dry up. Seeing as how I wasn’t breastfeeding one ounce, I figured I’d be dried up in a couple days. That wasn’t the case for me. I had what I assume was a great supply for at least a month. Breastpads were my best friend.
More Leaking. I didn’t realize that going through childbirth can cause some issues with incontinence. It makes sense to me now, but going into it, I had no clue! For the first few days I couldn’t tell when I had to use the restroom. I typically forced myself to try every couple hours until I gained feeling back. And always make sure you have an extra pair of pants around if you plan to cough, sneeze, or laugh! There is no control!
Jiggly Belly. For a while I went back and forth disliking my stomach and liking it. I liked it because my stomach grew to carry my baby and I actually liked my three tiger marks under my belly button that I only noticed after giving birth. But then again, I’m human, a woman, and can be self conscious. The first few weeks, that belly is just out of control. Little muscle tone – so much jiggle. I was thankful for my maternity jeans well after I got home from the hospital. And today I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight, yet it’s still hard to button my pre-pregnancy jeans.
Phantom Kicks. I wasn’t prepped for what I learned are called “phantom kicks”. When I got home from the hospital, I swear I still felt Joshua kicking me. I Googled it and learned I wasn’t the only one who felt these kicks after giving birth. During the first couple weeks, the kicks felt so real. In the first few days those kicks made me feel pregnant again. I’d perk up and thinking, the baby’s kicking, only to come back to the cruel reality that I wasn’t pregnant anymore. Even to this day when my stomach twitches or grumbles, I think of Joshua.
Emails and Mail. I was prepared for my milk to come in, but I wasn’t prepared to be inundated with emails and mail congratulating me on my new arrival. I unsubscribed myself from a good majority of the emails telling me how big my baby was and the milestones he was supposed to be reaching. I had looked forward to those weekly emails the 41 weeks I carried Joshua and to no longer share in that excitement was hard on me. It seems like every day there is a new formula coupon in the mailbox or survey on my hospital experience. For a while I wanted to pick up the phone and call every website that was sending me emails and every company sending me mail and scream at them, “don’t you know I lost my baby? Stop sending these dreadful mailings!” I still receive parenting and baby magazines. I sigh whenever I receive these, but still end up reading them. I enjoy learning about babies and parenting and know someday I’ll need those tips and techniques.