Surviving recovery 

​How do people do this? How do people survive the recovery period? 

After 24 hours of difficult, exhausting labor, I delivered a 6.4-pound baby boy by cesarean section. It certainly wasn’t the birth I had planned; I had wanted a drug-free, natural birth. But complications during labor made it necessary, and I don’t regret going under the knife. 

However, because I wasn’t expecting a cesarean birth, I wasn’t prepared for the recovery process. I hadn’t planned on stitches in my mid-section, or pain when I move the wrong way. I hadn’t psyched myself for bed rest and limited mobility around the house. 

Labor only lasted 24 hours, and I survived that. But recovery is driving me insane. 

When I’m at home, I’m used to doing all sorts of things. I do the laundry. I cook. I organize the closets. I feed and play with the cats. I change the bed sheets. 

Now, I have to ask Oneal to do all of that, because I shouldn’t even be going up or down the stairs too often. 

Worse, I look and feel sick. I feel feverish and I have a mild headache quite often, because I developed an infection. I get cold sweats and chills at night. 

Since giving birth, I seem to have stopped retaining water, and the swelling in my legs and feet have gone down. Sure, they look slender, but they also look weak and lack muscle definition. My belly, for months round and firm, now looks like an empty husk, flabby and soft and tender, underscored by the bandage that hides the neat stitches. Even my face looks smaller, and when I look in the mirror I think I look haggard. My breasts are engorged with milk, sometimes so much that they’re rock-hard and painful. 

It’s been less than two weeks since I gave birth, and I know I should take it easy. I know I should enjoy the downtime and cherish the time with my newborn. But if you know me at all, you would know that I hate feeling like there are things I can’t do. I hate feeling incapacitated, and I absolutely hate asking for help. 

Oneal and Dante remind me that it’s been less than two weeks since I gave birth, that I underwent major surgery, that I’m not doing nothing, because recovery takes time and I can’t really speed it up. 

Good Lord, how do workaholics survive this? 

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