My first birth was an Induction/C-section. I put the slash between those two words because I’ve come to learn that a c-section often accompanies an Induction, and this was the case for me. I had both a C-section to care for and my VaJayJay. It was rough. I was thrilled when I had my first VBAC, but also had an episotomy, and then two more vaginal births. Surprisingly, no one really spoke with me about vaginal aftercare. I mean, an entire human being came out of my VaJayJay, you would think someone would have told me how to care for it! I learned, after 4 babies, that there are some helpful products from the Hospital, and there are some products no one tells you about! Let’s talk about Post-Partum Vaginal Aftercare!
After my first VBAC I sat in my hospital room wondering what my vagina had just gone through. I was afraid to look, but eventually mustered up the courage to have a peek with my makeup mirror. I thought that for sure there was a giant tunnel. I thought I’d be able to see up my giant Vagina tunnel straight through to my eyeballs or the top of my uterus at the least. To my surprise, it looked fairly normal. Swollen and bleeding, but pretty normal considering that a baby just came out. The Hospital gave me a stack of items, I’ll link in affiliates if I can help you find them. They included:
- Giant Disposable Pads
- Disposable Nylon Underwear
- Dibucaine numbing ointment
- Peri Rinse Bottle
- Witch Hazel aka Hemorrhoid pads
The Dibucaine ointment
was one of my favorite hospital-provided items. When combined with my condom ice-pack (for external use) it was fantastic. I would take a condom ice pack, covered by nursing with a hospal-provided disposable paper towel (surprisingly didn’t get stuck to my vagina), top that with witch hazel pads and a draw a line of this ointment right on top. Imagine putting a perfect line of ketchup on your bratwurst. I took this combination, often after using the toilet, and placed the condom ice pack from my vagina and across my perineum or taint. After the nurse showed me how to make this combo, I was ready to go and changed it every few hours myself. It’s important to know that the condom ice pack doesn’t go in your vagina, it sits on the outside like a hot dog would on it’s bun. It was great for swelling, pain and something I wanted to continue at home. (Pinnable Image Below)
For my second baby. I bought condoms and made ice packs before going into labor. I filled the condoms up with tap water and put them in the freezer. To my surprise, finding a plain condom at Target was difficult. They were all ribbed, textured, had special creams or colors. Not great for Post-Partum vaginal aftercare. I eventually located some plain condoms
and had ice packs ready to cool at home. With my VBAC, unlike my Induction/C-section, I went home in two days! It was nice to have the ice condoms at home.
The peri-bottle was both friend and foe. While it’s nice for rinsing blood off, it can spray too forcefully and I found it to be painful on my episotomy. It does make a nice at-home rinsing tool for cloth diapers, but often a regular cup was better. I would fill up the cup and pour it slowly over my vagina while sitting on the toilet. In addition to the toilet, the hospital had a shower right in my room and I was able to stand, not sit on the wooden bench they provided, and let the water run over my lady parts. This helped rinse off blood without requiring scrubbing. After pain and swelling went down I was able to clean gently with a wash cloth, but never required any more then an ibuprofen with the ointment and ice-pack combo.
Bleeding was another after care item to prepare for. While the hospital provided me with these giant disposable pads, and underwear made from material like the stockings my Mom made me wear when I was little, I needed something for home. Bleeding was the worst the first few days. It gushed out when I stood up but was mostly contained by these giant pads. With my first son I didn’t know about reusable pads
and purchased the biggest disposable pads I could find. The bleeding went on like a heavy period that tapered off after about two weeks. For my last delivery, I had reusable pads
waiting at home for my post-partum care and have come to adore them.
The nurse cautioned me and said “if anything larger then a golf ball comes out, save it and call me.” While I did pass some clots, I didn’t see anything bigger then a golf ball and didn’t have to call. Standing up after laying down was the hardest. I knew the rush of fluid was coming and braced myself. Luckily I had the washable chuck pad (green in photo above) on the bed for overflows. After a day or two I was comfortable enough to wear my own pajamas without bleeding on them.
After a few weeks everything started to look very normal. The swelling I had even during pregnancy went down, my vagina looked surprisingly normal despite having small changes that I noticed, and I often marvel and think back to my delivery. How did a baby ever come out of there?! I do believe that taking care of my VaJayJay and keeping down the swelling with ice contributed to a happier recovery. The female body is an amazing thing! Make sure to read my Top Items to Have After Delivery that No One Tells you About
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