It has been 3 months since our Sweet Nico’s arrival. He’s a bright star in our family, and a constant reminder of joy and love.
I have been very blessed thus far with a smooth sailing postpartum recovery. My emotions have been pretty even keel and energy levels are above average, not just back to normal. I was overjoyed to discover this past week that my thyroid antibodies levels are very low, meaning my autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s) is still in remission! It was in remission throughout my pregnancy, and I’m grateful it has stayed that way. Physically, however, I still have pain from the birth, and I was not expecting it to last well into the postpartum months. If you read my birth story, you know I had a vaginal birth that was vacuum assisted in the final moments. After being in labor for 14 hours, and then pushing for three, my doctor deduced Nico appeared to be stuck on something, and a vacuum was necessary to finally meet him face to face. I’m so grateful he was ok during this time, and not in any distress despite, and in a matter of moments I was holding my healthy baby.
As you can see, having Nico was a journey in and of itself, but perhaps the most challenging part of Nico’s arrival was my physical recovery. No one told me that I wouldn’t be able to sit down for a few days, and that I would experience soreness sitting for several weeks afterwards. You see, I tore pretty badly during the birth, and received several stitches. At the hospital, the nurses gave me hospital gloves filled with ice to help with the pain, and this felt great! My wounds took a while to recover, and since I had soreness beyond the typical postpartum weeks, I turned to another source. A dear friend introduced me to post natal physical therapy, and all the wonderful things therein.
I started to see Allison Oswald of Plumbline Pilates and Physical Therapy. Allison is a beauty, inside and out. She is kind and gentle, and just the type of person I felt like I could trust. In a matter of minutes, I felt like I had known her for years, as we shared about our births and the mutual experiences therein. In her own sweet way, she led me to realize the birth process can leave long lasting effects on a woman’s body if not addressed properly. She also explained to me how different births affect the speed of recovery. No one had spoken to me frankly about the post- birth recovery. I was “all ears,” and grateful I had met such an experienced practitioner.
The first thing Allison addressed was the pain I was feeling ‘down there’ on a daily basis. If I sat for too long, or sneezed or had too much pressure or weight on my pelvic floor, I would start to feel a ‘raw’ pain, like I had a wound that hadn’t scabbed over. I knew my pelvic floor was not what it used to be, and Allison addressed this as well. Previously, I took pride in my ‘strong core,’ and worked on it doing yoga and pilates weekly before I got pregnant with Nico. I knew now, however, my core was weak. For the first few weeks postpartum, I could barely get off the ground from a seated position without the help of something to balance on. After all, as Nico was exiting my body and entering earth at his birth, I literally felt like I tore every muscle of my pelvic floor.
Allison gave me a pelvic floor exam and tested the strength of my muscles. She explained to me that because Nico was a vacuum birth, my recovery would just take longer than most. The ‘raw’ feeling I felt was scar tissue, and because I am breastfeeding, my body is not focused on healing as fast as it would have in the past because it’s focused on feeding my baby. Also, when breastfeeding, the body’s estrogen level is lower, and this causes slower healing as well.
Allison not only addressed the pain, and how I could heal faster, she addressed the weakness. With a series of exercises, actually all very small and slight movements curtailed to my body and the birth I had, I became one step closer to having my strength back. These exercises have proven helpful, and now, at just over 3 months postpartum, I feel confident enough to go back into my old yoga and pilates classes, without fretting about my lack strength. I am very grateful for the expertise and advice I received from Allison, and highly recommend her to any momma looking for some post part care!
Allison helped me so much, we have been inspired to host a Sweet Laurel x Plumbline Pilates workshop later this summer, so stay tuned! Allison will address pre and post natal care for women, and I will share my personal tips and tricks for nourishing yourself and your baby pre and post birth. I can’t wait to experience this with you all, and provide functional tools that will empower women to experience healthy and wholesome pregnancies. xoxo, Laurel
All photos were taken by the talented duo, Grey and Elle.