This is the stuff that no one tells you about…and although I do not plan to be crude or graphic…this is definitely the area you want to read only when you are postpartum.
Postpartum after a Miscarriage
When I came home from the hospital with my first 3 healthy babies, the postpartum time was not fun, but I had a squishy newborn to make it worthwhile. When you have experienced a miscarriage at any stage…you will still have to go through this part and depending on your unique circumstances you may need to make special arrangements.
One of the worst parts about Postpartum is the bleeding. It comes and goes and seems to drag on forever. At first there is clotting and sometimes the bleeding stops giving you false hope that it is gone only to start up again the next day. With our miscarriages and the delivery of Lily, I was not prepared for the PP stuff. It honestly did not enter my mind.
When you find out you are pregnant, you happily pack away any feminine hygiene products you own for months down the road. And for me, even the ones I did own were not possible to be used in those first weeks.
After our babies were born, I bled for almost the full 6 weeks. With each miscarriage, it was about half that and from what the midwife explained, the further along you are, the longer it may take.
I originally bought Always Pads because they seemed long enough and strong enough to get me through without ruining my sheets at night and the wings gave me hope I would not ruin the last few decent undies I had. But, I must say, they irritated my skin really badly and I had to go with something a little less long/wingy to be happy. My favorite is Kotex and I am linking up the ones I used so you can at least see what worked for me. The drugstore is filled with options and it was honestly overwhelming for my grieving heart each time I had to go in.
Also, if at any point in time things seem more extreme or worsening, with pain or smell…call your doctor! This is not the time to tough it out.
Tears or Incisions
It is possible that you may arrive home with tears, stitches and/or even an incision depending on your personal situation. Make sure you bring home a peri bottle that they hopefully will give you in the hospital. I would fill mine with warm water each time before I used the bathroom to be sure it was as comforting as possible.
For the first week PP, I added a homeopathic remedy to my peri bottle that my midwives had recommended called Arnica. I took it orally as it recommended and also added a few small beads to my bottle to apply topically. This can be found online and at most health food stores.
For incisions, it is SO important to follow all your doctor’s instructions for caring for your wound. One of the things many friends have mentioned saved them much pain after their caesareans was a pillow. They never went without a pillow in their hand because as soon as the needed to cough, sneeze, laugh, etc. they could use that pillow to brace themselves and prevent the pain from being unbearable.
Right now it may be hard to sleep at night, especially if you had a rough delivery. I struggled the first week to sleep or nap because every time I did I was right back in that bathroom delivering my sweet Lily. Talk to people and get those feelings and thoughts out of your head, but also keep taking every opportunity to just lay down and rest. This is not the time to rush back into work or anything else.
Make sure you are getting outside for fresh air and sunshine every day during this time of grief and mourning. Whether you feel it or not, it is helpful to you physically and mentally.
Also, allow family members to step in and help with meals and laundry and any other necessary things at least during the first week. Just rest…I can not say it enough…rest!
The first week home from losing our Lily, my hubby and I went through 3 tubs of Breyer’s Chocolate ice cream. Is that healthy? Probably not. Does it matter in that first week after you have experienced a great loss…nope, I do not think so!
We were fortunate that friends and family members fed us in our time of greatest need. Honestly, three weeks later as I write this, I am still struggling to meal plan. But, I am giving myself grace to just figure out one meal at a time and not stress about being super organized and ready for a week’s worth of meals.
If you had a first-trimester miscarriage, like our first two, you may not have the support that those with later miscarriages has…and for that, I am so sorry. We did not have meals brought then, but honestly, we needed them! Feel free to ask for help…ask a friend who is stopping by to bring milk or items you need. They want to help desperately and often just need to know how.
Whatever you do, nourish your body during this time. There will come a day when you are ready to begin losing the baby weight, but it does not have to be within the first weeks or even months after your loss!
Watch for Signs of Depression
I get it, the grief is unbearable and it feels like you will mourn for a very long time. But, there is a difference between grief that is normal and something much more extreme. If at any times you have thoughts of harming yourself or someone else, talk to your doctor immediately. Hormones, grief and outside factors can add up to what feels unbearable. Make sure that you do not suffer in silence! This article talks about the differences between PPD and Grief and I think it is worth reading!
For Moms out there who have been through this, feel free to add in the comments tips that would be helpful and I can continue to add to and update this post!