The mother's post-partum body is a strange thing. After dealing with carrying a baby for 40 weeks and then ejecting said baby into the world, who can blame our bodies for being a little bit out of whack for a while? I did this twice before but there were still some unexpected things that my body did after giving birth a third time in July:
- Broken inner thermostat
From about Day 3 post-partum, my body seemed to be unable to regulate its own temperature. I felt so cold almost all the time, to the point where I was shivering almost all day. It was almost like having a fever, except there was no fever. So I would rug up all day - that meant that I would wear multiple layers of clothes, thick pair of socks...heck, I even took to wearing a beanie indoors! So I found a way to manage. That being said, changing clothes and taking a shower felt like torture. It was like I was being sent out in the cold of winter when in actuality my (working) house thermostat said it was a balmy 27 degrees.
The weird thing is, when I slept, I would sweat so much I'd wake up completely drenched! But I was still freezing cold at the same time. This went on for a good 3 weeks before my body managed to regulate itself. So why does this happen? Apparently it might have something to do with hormones, and while most mothers are able to regulate their body temperature after a couple of days, it may take longer for some other mothers.
- Odd hollow feeling
It was a pretty strange feeling that started when I woke up the day after giving birth. I got up from bed, tried to take a deep breath...and couldn't! I recall feeling this to an extent with my previous two births, but it was a lot more noticeable this time around. It may be that I had a big baby this time (he was 3.7kg compared to the 2.6kg for the two older boys), so I was more stretched out, but my abdomen felt unbearably hollow for the first three days.
My midwife, Andrea, explained that my displaced organs needed time to go back to where they're supposed to be. This includes my diaphragm, which was all squished before. So of course I found it difficult to breathe in those first few days - it almost hurt to take deep breaths. The most I can manage were shallow breaths. This only lasted about 3 days or so, but it was quite disconcerting!
- INTENSE after birth pains
They say that after birth pains gets worse with each subsequent birth. Well, through my admittedly limited experience, I have found this to be true! It's almost like going through labor pains all over again, multiple times a day, for about 3-4 days.
I didn't need painkillers to give birth, and yet I downed them like candy in those few days post partum. It got bad enough that I was crying from the pain! This pain, of course, is actually a signal that things are going well and that your uterus is shrinking back down to normal size. But man...hard to see the positive side when it feels like your uterus is twisting itself into knots!
- Having a normal sized bladder again
I remember waking up the day after giving birth and thinking, "Hey, I didn't have to get up to pee 100 times last night!". That was quite cool. But while it felt good to not have a pea-sized bladder, I had to remind myself to empty it often to avoid things like UTI and kidney stones (both of which I'm prone to). Still, yay for not sitting on the toilet more often than sitting on my couch!
Looking back at it now, a little over four months later, I can still very distinctly remember all this. And I'm still amazed that it was my first time feeling all of the above to such an extent, despite it being not my first time giving birth! It reminded me that every baby, every mother, and indeed every birth is different - and this extends to the post-partum period as well. Are there any strange things your body has done post-partum that you'd like to share?