My last blog (a while ago… sorry!) addressed the massive suckage that is pregnancy. Well, my little bundle of joy, named River, *FINALLY* arrived. That whole birth thing was pretty brutal, but I had a wonderful, supportive husband at my side and a really kick-ass nursing staff to help me through it at the hospital. I was induced, so labor took forever… 28 hours to be exact. (You can bet your ass that I’m going to hold that over my kid when he’s a teenager!) After my long ordeal, the two labor nurses got me up out of bed to go to the bathroom while the hospital staff cleaned my room of all the birth gore. I distinctly remember taking my first wobbly steps and exclaiming, “YES! I’m not pregnant any more!!” It was a massive sense of relief both physically and mentally, even though I know taking care of a kid for the next 18 years will be way tougher. I’m now six weeks post-delivery and I am STILL relieved and happy to not be pregnant. Let me recount the ways:
1. I can bend over. Yes, it’s true. I can now pick up things on the floor that I’ve dropped. I can bend over in the shower to shave my legs again. I can trim my toenails. I can reach the fruit drawer in the refrigerator. I can stand up and sit down without straining. I can unload the dryer and put the dishes away by myself again. It is SO AWESOME. You truly don’t realize how annoying (and limiting) it is to have a giant bowling ball attached to your stomach until it’s not there any more.
2. I can sleep again. Ok – I know this is a loaded point, because I’m obviously not sleeping much with a newborn in the house. However, when I DO sleep, the quality is way better. I’m sleeping like the dead now. I lost my ability to sleep well during the first month of my pregnancy and never regained it. The first few months I was too stressed to sleep. Then when my belly started to bulge, I couldn’t get comfortable. Then my unborn kiddo started kicking and decided the absolute best time to practice his roundhouse kicks, squats and speed bag technique was any time I laid down to sleep. Sometimes he would just repeatedly kick the same spot (usually the side I was laying on) for hours. I would roll over and then he’d pick a new spot. The only thing that helped was getting up and walking laps around the house. I swear I had the most active child in-utero and it drove me nuts. I sat up in bed at 2am one night and just started yelling at him, which made my husband think I had lost my mind. One of those giant body pillows helped a ton with getting comfortable, but didn’t make my insomnia go away. On top of all that, waking up and pee six times a night wasn’t improving my sleep patterns. I slept harder than I have in my entire life, as soon as that kid was out of me!
3. My bladder can finally catch a break. There’s nothing like the weight of a bowling ball perched on your bladder for months on end to make you hate the bathroom and feel like you have no control over your own life. The last two months of my pregnancy, I would pee and literally have to go again the second I walked out of the stall. I couldn’t make it through a trip to the grocery store without a pit stop. Road trips were a nightmare. I even had to stop once on my half-hour commute to work! When I was still able to ski, I would have to stop at the lodge after every single run. I’m intimately familiar with the bathrooms at every single store in town. Now, thankfully, I am back to normal and can make it through a whole movie, a trip to town AND walking the dog without a break. Hallelujah.
4. I’m getting my energy back. Pregnancy pretty much sucked the will to live right out of me. The first trimester, I was exhausted or nauseous around the clock. All I wanted to do was lay on the couch and try not to vomit. The second trimester, I was more active, but was still tired 24/7. Then by late in the second and the entire third trimester, I was huge and awkward and both physically and mentally exhausted. Even the most basic tasks, like cooking dinner (or writing a blog), seemed too daunting. My kid was a giant parasite, literally sucking the lifeblood right out of me. Normally, I’m a pretty active person, keeping busy with running, hiking, skiing, paddling, riding my bike, etc. Suddenly not feeling up to doing anything was demoralizing for me. I felt like a giant slug and I hated every minute of it. Queue birth and even though I’m tired from managing an 8lb tyrant, I feel like going for walks, taking trips, going to the store, working in the garden and hiking again. What a relief to feel semi-normal! I can’t wait to build my fitness back up and lose this baby weight to feel like my old self again!
5. I can eat a goddamn sandwich again. And sushi. Enough said.
Of course the very best part of being post-natal? My little dude I created and I get to hang out finally. Is parenting a huge challenge? Yes – duh. He’s a kid and screams and cries and shits a lot. It’s frustrating and stressful. Despite the down moments, having a snuggle little guy I’m getting to know that I can show the world to is pretty cool. Getting him here was NOT easy, but I’m glad I survived the suckage of the last nine months! I’m also thankful I have an awesome parter who was patient, loving and supportive through all my craziness the last few months. I have a new respect for women (and their spouses) who have more than one kid!!