Postpartum Complications Scene 1: Leaving the Hospital

“At least it can only go uphill from this,” I say in the days following Henry’s unplanned cesarean birth.

I am naïve to possibility of anything worse happening to my body.

On Sunday, three days after Henry’s birth, we pack up our hospital room to drive home as a family of three. I never imagined my body would look or feel like this. My belly is still massive—much more than the postpartum uterus bulge I had anticipated. And I feel awful. I made the terrible mistake of not napping yesterday, so I’ve had just three hours of sleep in the last thirty-six hours. My whole body hurts, but I’m confident I’ll feel more like myself once I’m in my own home and can sleep when Henry does.

Before I leave my hospital room, I take off my huge, comfy socks and try to put my shoes on. I awkwardly push and squeeze and curl my toes to get my shoes on, but they don’t fit. My feet are swollen. In fact, most of my body is about two times its normal size. I barely recognize myself. The swelling is surprising because I never had any swelling during my pregnancy.

Henry’s first car ride home.

My nurses tell me that I’m recovering really well and that swelling is normal after having a cesarean, so I’m not too concerned, though I seriously hope I don’t see anyone I know as I leave the hospital. I’d feel the unnecessary need to explain the swollen state of my entire body and no one has the emotional strength to do that after having a baby.

As we settle in to life at home with our sweet baby boy, I hope that the overall horribleness of how I feel will fade.

(You can read scene two here.)

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