Managing Postpartum Pain

I’ve given birth three times to four kids (one set of twins) and I’m here to say that it doesn’t get any easier (all my births were via C-section). When I was 19, I went to the hospital to get induced. I was past my due date and she didn’t want to come out, so this was the next option. I was excited and ready to meet my girl. They checked me in, got me hooked up to the monitors and I thought it was only a matter of hours before I met my first love. Sadly, when they went to check my cervix, we discovered I wasn’t dilated at all. My doctor decided to give me medicine to help my cervix ripen. Cervidil was placed inside my birthing canal and I was then told to wait 12 hours and viola my cervix would be ready to go. This wasn’t the case for me. I didn’t dilate at all and was still where I started when I arrived 12 hours earlier. Now, because of this, they decided that I should have a c-section. Failure to progress! Back then I wasn’t fazed by this outcome and was honestly happy to just get it over with. Now that I’m older those words hurt. Again, failure to progress! Knowing I would never experience birth the natural way hurts. Still, I’m grateful I was blessed with four beautiful children and no complications, even if that meant three c-sections.

I don’t remember much about the birth of my oldest let alone those first few days as a new mom. I do remember that I forgot to take my pain meds before heading home from the hospital and I told myself I’ll just take them when I get home – no big deal. I fell asleep for obvious reasons as giving birth is exhausting. When I woke up, I was in so much pain. Tears rolled down my eyes and I couldn’t even get out of bed. I remember my mom taking me into the bathroom to help me shower and I was just crying, my body ached so bad that I could hardly stand. In that moment I told myself I wouldn’t miss taking my pain meds again. I remember how tired I was and how I would nod in and out while feeding my new baby. The exhaustion is pretty much all I could remember. I was in so much pain I couldn’t even take in the joys of becoming a new mom. It’s all just a big, blurred memory of exhaustion.

My second birth I remember much more vividly, maybe that’s because it was only four years ago but still, I remember. I remember how I faithfully took my pain meds every 4 hours. I didn’t miss a single dose. I was still tired, still nodded off while I nursed the twins, but I wasn’t in pain – so that’s good right? Or at least that’s what I thought until we were about a month in and I still didn’t go #2. Now all my mom’s reading this know what I’m talking about, how hard it is to make that first bowel movement. You know what makes it even harder? Opioids. Yup, the little, tiny pills that were keeping my pain tolerable were severely constipating me. I had excruciating gas pains. I would sit and strain so hard just trying to get out one tiny, little fart and nothing. I would cry because I was in so much pain and I just couldn’t fart, couldn’t release all this trapped gas let alone go #2. I wouldn’t wish this pain on my worst enemy. It was bad. I mean on all fours yelping kind of bad. I took laxatives, vitamins, stool softeners and nothing would work. I finally had to insert an enema up my butt, TMI I know I know, but these are the things you experience after birthing tiny humans. These are the events they don’t tell you about. I couldn’t tell you how relieved I was after this; I swear I lost like ten pounds in a week after. Ok maybe I’m exaggerating slightly, but still it was such a weight lifted off my body.

Now when I got pregnant this last time the only thing I dreaded was the after birth. I suffer from IBS so my bowels are already working against me. Add in a major abdominal surgery on top of that and it just spells recipe for disaster. I did not under any circumstances want to go through that pain again. I stayed fit during my pregnancy in hopes it would keep my bowels moving properly and I drank my water hoping to keep my system flushed out. This time around I told myself I wasn’t going to be taking pain meds every four hours. So here I was having my third c-section, which was definitely my hardest. Trying to heal from a c-section, while nursing a baby and trying to keep your twin toddlers off of your incision is

not for the weak. Unlike my last births, I wasn’t able to just lay in bed and rest. My oldest was in school by the time I had the twins, so I got to lay in bed all day and heal. With this birth I still had two littles at home with me all day that needed my attention. So here I was taking care of twins, doing schoolwork with my oldest, and nursing this new baby, yet my pain was manageable. Instead of taking pain meds every four hours I was only taking them once a day in the morning.

So how did I manage my pain though out the day you ask? By consuming cannabis. I found that going out to the garage and taking a couple tokes here and there was all I needed to help keep my pain at a tolerable level. I wasn’t nodding in and out while feeding my new baby either. To know that I’m fully present this time around instead of drugged up and barley conscious on pain meds makes me so happy. I’m able to fully take in and remember this experience. I can sit and actually admire my newborn learning to nurse instead of struggling to keep my eyes open. I have been so calm and aware this time around and I’m so here for it. As of right now I am two months postpartum and have been able to successfully go #2 and pass gas like a pro. I switched pain meds for cannabis and it was the best decision for me to heal during postpartum. I’ll choose cannabis over pain meds and their poopy side effects every time (no pun intended).

We all deserve to be present in those early days, they go by so fast. Cannabis made that possible for me this time around and I’m going to embrace every moment to the fullest.