Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Physical Recovery - Part 2

Thank you for the kind (and understanding) words on my last post.  It’s nice to know that maybe I’m not such a wimp after all.  J  I can imagine that having more c-sections would “toughen” someone up…especially if there were another baby/toddler to chase after and care for.  There wouldn’t be time to sit around and feel everything because you’d be too busy…you wouldn’t have time for the pain.  That makes total sense.  There was more to my physical recovery than just my surgery and so I’m going to share that with you now.

I’ve mentioned my wrist pain…I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about it.  It started while I was pregnant and I figured it was just tendonitis.  I wore a brace, had a cortisone shot, iced it…nothing worked.  Then while I was in the hospital my other wrist began hurting.  It actually was worse than my left wrist.  I dealt with it because I had no choice but to do so.  It really made handling the baby difficult and painful.  Bath time was the worst.  I had to hold her so tightly because she was wet and wiggly but my wrists would scream with pain.  It was like someone was taking an ice pick and digging around in each hand.  It was really difficult to say the least.  And forget trying to take her infant seat in and out of the car.  Holy Hell…that caused such a burning sensation.

BJ told me that I needed to see the doctor again.  I was extremely hesitant because I knew the next step would be surgery.  How on earth would I care for an infant while recovering from wrist surgery?  Not to mention that I didn’t want to be away from her for more than 10 minutes.  I bucked at the idea of seeing the doctor and just suffered.

This went on for about 4 months, maybe a little more.  One day I happened to notice that my wrists were not hurting as much.  I could pick the baby up, move my thumbs and even grip things again.  Miraculously, I was getting better.  Each day and week that would pass after that I got better and better.  My only theory is that most of my pain was caused from pregnancy hormones.  I’d read that being pregnant makes you more susceptible to carpal tunnel but that is not what I had.  However, once the hormones fully got out of my system, I was better.  My right wrist/thumb still gives me problems from time to time but it’s definitely something I can live with after the pain I had been feeling.

I had been told to expect my thick, lush pregnancy hair to fall out “after giving birth”.  What I did not expect was the timeline for this to occur.  My hair was awesome during pregnancy.  Between the hormones and the pre-natal vitamins I had a great head of hair for the first time in my life.  It was awesome.  I waited a few weeks and then a month and then two months and my hair was not falling out any faster than it had before so I thought I was good to go and maybe I’d be lucky enough to keep this great mane.  Not so much.  What no one bothered telling me was the hair loss actually begins more than 3 months post-partum.  Say what?

BG and I actually started losing our hair at the same time.  I would say she was about 3 ½ to 4 months old when her little baby hairs started shedding like crazy.  I also started shedding like crazy at that time.  I had never seen so much hair fall out of one person’s head in my life.  It was like a horror show, for real.  We have a stand up shower so our drain is on the bigger side.  I clogged it, night after night.  My hair was EVERYWHERE.  I would empty my brush before blow drying/brushing my hair and then have to do it again when I was finished.  I was stunned and also a little afraid that something was really wrong with me.  I visited my due date buddies on a message board and I was not alone, thank goodness.  This hair loss thing was scary but normal.  It just kept getting worse, too.  Once I came back to work I started to actually “do” my hair.  My bangs were getting thinner and thinner and I hardly had any to style.  The sides of my hair would fall in my face and I couldn’t understand why so I looked really closely at myself in the mirror.  I was horrified at what I saw.  I had a receding hairline that rivaled any man’s and almost all of my bangs had fallen out and started to regrow.  It was the strangest looking thing I had ever seen in the mirror.

The good news is that the hair was starting to grow back.  The bad news was that the new hair was really dark (seemed darker than my natural color) so it clashed really badly with my highlighted dark blonde hair.  Since my bangs were almost non-existent it looked like someone had taken shears to my hair and only left me with about an inch of bangs.  It was quite a sight.  I went to get highlights and explained my plight to my stylist.  She had the same thing happen to her.  She did her best to highlight the little dark bangs so that they didn’t stick out like a sore thumb under my very thin bangs.  Once I got the highlights done it wasn’t so bad.  That happened in October and we had some family pictures taken in November.  I love our pictures but I really hate my hair.  If you pay attention to my hair you can see that I hardly have any bangs.  It’s strange looking to say the least.

Thankfully, I’m getting my hair back.  It’s growing at what seems to be a snail’s pace but at least it’s finally growing.  And it’s falling out at a regular pace, like before the pregnancy.  I know it must sound strange to hear me talk about this but I was not expecting the loss to happen so late after birth and I definitely was not expecting it to be so fast and furious.  I think it’s completely normal but no one told me the timeline so I was taken by surprise.  Hopefully anyone reading this that hasn’t been through it can be a little more prepared than I was.  It’s only hair but it’s a big part of what people see when they look at you.  Not to mention that for a lot of people (me included) post-baby self image can sometimes leave a lot to be desired.  The last thing I needed was to feel self-conscious about another aspect of my outward appearance.

My body is shaped differently now.  I heard that would happen, too, so I expected it.  I have lost all but about 7 pounds of my “baby” weight.  My old clothes do not fit, though.  I’m still wearing maternity pants most of the time.  With an extra 7 pounds you would think I could squeeze into my old pants but my weight is distributed differently so that’s not possible for me at this time.  I didn’t like my shape before and I don’t like it now.  I need to change it and I will…I’m just having a hard time finding the discipline to do so.  I was about 10 pounds heavier than I wanted to be before getting pregnant so I have a lot to lose before I’m comfortable with myself again.  I know it takes time but BG is almost 14 months old (WHAT?!) so I’ve had the time.  I just need to get my butt in gear and control myself a little more.  One thing that has really changed are my arms and shoulders.  Yes, I have more weight on me overall so my arms are bigger but I now have bigger muscles, too!  And my shoulders are a little bit wider because they are stronger, too.  That comes from carrying around my sweet baby girl and she weighs about 21-22 pounds right now so she can be quite a work out.  But that is another reason my clothes are not fitting like they used to.  I’m in desperate need for some new clothes but I’m hoping to drop a few pounds first.  We’ll see.  I’m getting sick of the maternity pants so I might need to splurge on a few things pretty soon.

I think that just about covers my physical recovery from pregnancy and birth.  I will be tackling my emotional recovery next.  It’s going to be hard to revisit my feelings from a year ago but I need to do it.  For myself, mostly, but if I can help anyone else I really want to.  I’m actually glad I’m going to write about it now instead of when I was going through it.  Some of you may have wanted to commit me if I had written everything out back then.  J


Dr. Grumbles said...

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Anonymous said...

Hi from ICLW! The hair thing happened to me too after I had a functional cyst + an extra long estrogen priming protocol + IVF + a brief pregnancy. And, yeah, totally scary when it starts to happen! Apparently when your estrogen is high, you don't shed hair like normal, until it drops again and everything sheds at once a few months later. Good