Pregnancy Tracker: 6 weeks postpartum
Size of the Baby: Nearly 11 pounds
Biggest Obstacle: Settling into a sleep schedule
I've been thinking a lot lately about how amazing the human body is and the female body in particular. Having recently experienced the miracle of childbirth, I am especially in awe of the body's ability to heal.
Pregnancy and birth transform the body in dramatic and powerful ways. Amazingly, after giving birth, women who had healthy, normal pregnancies do not see a doctor again for six weeks. Obviously, if a new mother has any pain or other symptoms, they would get checked out. However, for the most part women do not receive additional medical attention after childbirth until six weeks. My postpartum appointment is this Friday.
Physically, I've felt completely healed for several weeks. The only pain I experienced after delivery was from the stitches from my perineum tear. The doctors in the medical group that treated me do not believe in performing routine episidomies.
For many decades doctors did episidomies regularly because they felt a clean cut would heal better than a jagged tear. However my docs contend that any tearing would likely not be worse than a cut. In the spirit of "do no harm" they prefer to let nature take its course and only cut if there's a medical reason to do so.
My tearing was minimal and the stitches weren't too painful. I only took ibuprofen for a couple days after the delivery. Within a week of returning home, Dennis and I were going for walks with Sienna. My body had definitely lost some muscle tone in the final weeks of pregnancy and after lying around the hospital and at home for several days. After several long walks, my legs felt much stronger and healthier.
The fact that the postpartum body bounces back so quickly speaks to the fact that pregnancy and birth are natural processes. The female body is built for it. Certainly, keeping healthy and fit will help you to heal quickly. This is especially true for women with additional complications, such as diabetes, where managing your blood sugar will help with all kinds of physical healing.
I'm not exactly sure what the doctor will examine in my postpartum checkup. I need to jot down some of my blood sugars, because I'm sure they'll want to discuss my control. I'm starting to get the hang of managing my blood glucose while breastfeeding. Basically, after months of my blood sugar tending to be high (and needing lots of insulin) now my blood sugar wants to drop all the time, so I have to compensate differently. All the walking, in addition to breastfeeding, are causing lows most days. I'm heading them off by eating more, but I'd like to maintain my weight loss and not be eating all the time. Thus, I recently lowered my basal rates and have adjusted my bolus ratios, to good success.
Breastfeeding is another aspect of the female body that's so incredible. Since I am pumping breast milk for Sienna, I have to mimic her feeding routine in order to produce enough milk. For several days, while she apparently went through a growth spurt, I just barely had enough milk pumped to keep up with her demand! I started pumping more often and my body responded. After a few days, I noticed that I got several more ounces out of each pumping session. Now I have bags of breast milk stored in the freezer. It's just incredible how the female body works!
Postpartum hormonal changes caused some emotional havoc for me. The "baby blues" is a great description. Those first couple weeks after Sienna arrived were very up and down for me, emotionally. I'm sure the sleep deprivation didn't help! I was obviously excited to meet our baby, but I would cry at the drop of a hat for not apparent reason. Hormones are crazy! After about three weeks, however, suddenly I felt like my old self and could really focus on bonding with Sienna. Luckily, for me, that stage was short. I certainly have a lot of empathy for women who experience true postpartum depression.
Published On: February 19, 2008