Today marks the 3-month anniversary of Jacob’s arrival. And, although more than 90 days have passed, I am still feeling some of the effects of his birth.
I have hesitated to share these details with you because, let’s face it, no one really wants to hear all about someone else’s hemorrhoids or sore nipples—which is why I am going to let you read about them instead. (I’m thoughtful like that.)
Before I had the grand pleasure of birthing a nearly 9-pound baby, I thought that my body would gain some semblance of normality fairly quickly and that by the time the magical “six week” mark had hit, that all would once again be well with the world and my womanly parts.
Oh, how the sweet innocence of it all now makes me chuckle.
There may be a few women who live above the laws of nature and are able to bounce back from childbirth with nary a problem, but being a law-abiding citizen, I am not of those women.
Even parts of my body that have no direct correlation to birthing a child have taken on new features since I found out I was incubating a bouncing baby boy—my feet are bigger, my eyesight has worsened and my taste buds now love ice cream more than potato chips. This last fact may not sound terribly important, but that is because you are not a potato farmer. Rumor has it that the potato market has been on the decline since the shift of my fattening food allegiance. (Note to all the potato farmers reading this post: may I suggest a new way to boost your sales: Potato. Chip. Ice. Cream. You’re welcome.)
My old love of potato chips and my new love of ice cream stand in contrast to my very deep hatred of hemorrhoids. Okay, so that’s not the greatest transition sentence I’ve ever written, but you try making the jump between ice cream and hemorrhoids. It’s not easy. Which just so happens to be how I would describe going to bathroom when you have hemorrhoids and an anal fissure (read: a tear in your poop shoot).
Another way to describe it would be “gut-wrenchingly, mind-numblingly painful.” If you can’t relate, just imagine passing a knife through your rectum. No, make that a dozen knives. Recently sharpened.
In the first weeks after Jacob’s birth, every bathroom experience had me stomping the ground, banging the walls, crying, and yelling in pain. (At the time we lived in an apartment with paper thin walls, so I undoubtedly had very confused and frightened neighbors.) I even tried using some of my relaxation techniques I had learned for labor every time I “went.”
Unfortunately, the pain wasn’t just “back there.” Even at the six week mark, urinating was painful, sitting in some positions hurt, wiping “down there” made me cringe, and the thought of sex … Well, let’s just say I tried not to think about it.
All along, I thought everything that was happening was a normal part of the recovery process. I figured I would “give it some time,” and things would work themselves out. Plus, I knew that if I called my midwife, she would have to check things out, and if there’s anything worse than the feeling of passing knives out of your body, it’s having another human being prod at your butthole. (To my more sensitive readers: I apologize for the lack of delicacy, but to date, human kind has yet to invent a pleasant way of discussing one’s butthole.)
Finally, after six weeks of wondering if I was permanently ruined, I went in for my check-up and to have my stitched removed. Turns out, I had hemorrhoids “back there,” granular tissue “in there,” and thrush on my nipples (more on that later. I can feel your excitement already.) My midwife wrote me a prescription for the hemorrhoids and thrush, burned off the granular tissue (OUCH!) and promised me things would feel much better in the next few days.
For the most part she was right. I don’t hit the walls anymore when I go to the bathroom, but I do still whimper loudly. My husband is a pretty happy camper again, though there are still occasional, mildly traumatizing (read: mood-killing) moments when I feel like things are ripping down below despite my stitches having healed. And, of course, my feet are still bigger and my jeans are too small.
All that said, would I do it again? Just one glance at the little munchkin sitting beside me with the slobbery fists shoved in his mouth, and I know the answer: You bet your sweet hemorrhoids I would.