Recovery from VBAC

After my son was born I was so exhausted. I hadn't slept hardly at all the night before, and giving birth unmedicated was much more physically exhausting than I'd thought. The rest of the day after I had Jacob I mostly stayed in the hospital bed, only getting up to go to the bathroom.

The first time I tried going to the bathroom, I couldn't do it. Evidently it's possible for your bladder to be temporarily paralyzed from the trauma during delivery. That was extremely uncomfortable, needing to go but not being able to. A few hours later I was finally able to go, which was good because I didn't want to have a catheter. Things burned because of my tear, but I used the peri bottle to rinse off and that helped a lot.

The next day I got up more. There wasn't much to do besides wait to be discharged, so we just took care of the baby and got all our stuff together. I took a shower and got cleaned up. It was so nice not to be hunched over, and not have to worry about an incision. My stitches were a little annoying, but I sat on an ice pack frequently and wasn't in much pain. I did take pain killers because the afterpains were awful. I hadn't felt any with Jason because I'd been on so much meds, but this time I wasn't all drugged up and they hurt just as bad as labor contractions, so I took the extra strength Ibuprofen.

I felt very sore all over the day after he was born. Kind of how I felt the day after a car wreck in 2003. Like my muscles just ached. Muscles I never knew could hurt, did. But it really wasn't that bad, just achey.

We left the hospital the evening of June 2nd. It was surreal going home after just one day. When we got home my brother and sister-in-law brought Jason home, he'd stayed the night with them and visited us in the hospital once. He hadn't really cared for the baby at the hospital, but was very happy to have him at home. I nursed and then DH fell asleep on the couch with the baby while I got online to update everyone.

I recovered quickly, feeling pretty much normal after a week. My tear annoyed me a little longer. The first week I had to sit carefully and used a numbing spray and witch hazel pads constantly. But by about 2weeks it was only a minor annoyance.

The first 2 months Jacob was a great night sleeper. He would only wake once or twice a night. It was so nice to get some good sleep at night, especially because he was a horrible daytime napper. He hardly napped at all during the day and wanted to be held constantly. He was definitely not as easy-going as Jason had been, which was very frustrating. I had a hard time getting anything done because he was always in my arms and/or fussing. Plus he ate every hour all day long. It was a good thing that Jason has always been so good at keeping himself entertained, because I wasn't able to do much with him.

Unfortunately after the first 2 months his night-time sleeping got much worse too. He would wake up every hour, sometimes up to 10x a night, and continued this for nearly 7 months. I was exhausted all the time. My sweet DH started taking him the first half of the night with a bottle, and that kept me from going insane.

Emotionally this recovery was different as well.

On one hand I was still so proud of myself for being able to have a VBAC. I was thrilled at my success and happy to be able to feel like myself sooner. I felt strong and empowered. I no longer felt angry about my c-section. My feelings changed from sadness and regret over my c-section, to thankfulness. Without it I wouldn't have pushed myself to learn more that could help myself and others.

On the other hand, I did not bond with Jacob as easily as I had with Jason. I'd heard so many people say that many c-section mom have a hard time bonding with their baby and that natural birth created stronger bonds, etc. But my experience was the opposite. Of course I still loved him and would do anything for him, but I wasn't just enjoying spending time with him. I figured there were a few reasons for this.

First, I was so tired of having to hold him all the time and his fussing that I was frustrated with him a lot.

But I think the biggest hindrance to our bonding was my fault. All during his pregnancy and labor I'd been so focused on having a VBAC. I was focused on myself and what I could do. I prepared myself to have a VBAC, not a baby. Yes, I had wanted a baby, but I'd wanted to prove myself capable of giving birth and that was my goal. So when I had Jacob it was like, "Yay, I did it! I had a VBAC! Oh...um, I have a baby too, what do I do?!"

And I felt awful that I didn't bond as quickly or easily with Jacob. How could a mother love one child more than the other? I finally realized it wasn't about how much I loved them, I loved them both so so much, it was just shared differently with each child. As Jakey's personality grew I saw what a gently, loving boy he was. He was my "Momma's boy". He wanted me more than anything else and was always ready to give hugs and kisses. He craved affection and attention.

Slowly our bond grew stronger. I still love each boy differently, but it is not because I love one more than the other, it is just because their personalities require different shows of love. Just like adults want affection in different ways, so do children.

So, as you can see, both my physical and emotional recoveries were quite different from my first birth, easier in most ways but a little harder in ways I hadn't expected.

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