A recent discussion led to the realization that I was downright spoiled at the hospital following both of my kids' deliveries. Those angels they call nurses loaded me up with all the postpartum recovery swag a girl could possibly want. Yeah, yeah, you got the mesh undies. But there's a whole 'nother level of pushin' products that make childbirth - or at least those first few days afterward - so much more bearable.
Some basics: Did You Know that your vagina is pretty much a self-cleaning machine? Post-birth, the bleeding that moms experience is called "lochia", and it's actually due to an open wound on the uterus left behind by the placenta. It's important to be able to keep track of how heavy that bleeding is - and to cut back your activity if the bleeding worsens or gets heavier. But beyond just typical bleeding, there are a number of reasons a mom will want some postpartum relief. TMI, but I totally needed stitches after both of my kids' births. Since I pushed for over four hours with Shep, my vulva looked like it was winning the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge.
Mesh Undies And More
Yes, every birthing mom should get those ultra-comfy mesh undies. Stash as many as you can into your bags and enjoy the comfort for as long as you want. A week? A month? Like Gossip Girl, I'll never tell. These are the perfect "I Don't Want To Ruin All My Underwear With Blood" substitutes. And yes, take all the chux pads and the huge diaper-like pads that they hospital will spare. Trust me, your insurance (or heaven forbid you directly) are paying for it. And if you can find the Holy Grail of postpartum pads - the instant ice-pack pads. These suckers make great foundation layers for the next bit.
Tucks and Foams And Dermaplast
If you want to numb your bits, and your doctor says it's ok - numb your bits. I was blessed with a full can of Dermaplast upon discharge from my hospital. This Heaven-In-A-Can numbs the skin and soothes any soreness. It got me through the first week or two while my stitches dissolved. Do yourself a favor and ask an L&D nurse to teach you how to make a Tucks and Epifoam pad setup. For the first day or so after delivery, The massive diaper-sized pad topped with ice-pack pads, topped with Epifoam and Tucks pads. Of course, you want to layer all that up inside your sexy mesh undies.
Sitz Back and Say "Ahhh!"
Trust me on this one: get a sitz bath. What is a sitz bath? Um.....basically a shallow pan that you fill with water and sit on top of. Better yet, you can have a sitz bath that functions like a bidet - which comes in especially handy when everything south of your border is tender to the touch. I got mine from Amazon for around ten bucks - and you should try to get one if you can. At the very least, make sure to grab a sitz soaking solution. Most of these are similar to bath salts - some can have herbs or flowers added. If your doctor has given you the thumbs up, you can soak in a bath with the sitz solution so that you can relieve irritation and heal your bit(s). Better yet, grab some Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Spray and spritz generously after you use the loo!
Listen, it might be uncomfortable to talk about your perineum or your vagina - on the internet - with a stranger. Don't feel self-conscious! I'm not judging you - I'd just like you to find something that helps you feel more like yourself after you give birth. I used to think my mom was less than pleased that I even use the word, let alone talk about spraying my own vagina with special tonics. But hey - she did help me make padsicles when she visited just before my daughter was born last winter. You know what she said? "I wish I had tried this when I was having kids."