The first 2 days home with baby were amazing. I was riding a hormone high, the baby was straightforward to take care of, we slept lots while she slept, and a cocktail of feel-good hormones and pain killers made me feel like I was healing fast.
After that the fatigue and soreness became a little overwhelming. My abdomen has recovered and my uterus is back down to normal size, but the soreness I still have is from the stitches… I had a second degree tear, so the muscle tissue tore as well as the skin. This is making it difficult to sit to nurse and to rock my baby to sleep. I get easily frustrated wishing I could do more – even getting out of bed to get the baby for nightly diaper changes and feeding is painful on the crotch. Standing up from seated with the baby in my arms is a painful challenge. I can’t imagine recovering from a c section…
Post-partum is definitely a rollercoaster of emotions. Having a newborn is simultaneously the most challenging and most amazing thing we have ever done.
My feet and ankles swelled up in the first week post partum, more than they ever did while pregnant. Apparently it’s from having IV fluids during labour. I still can’t get my wedding rings on.
My first pee post-partum was much more traumatic than my first BM because the hospital was threatening a catheter if I didn’t pee by a specific time of day. Luckily, after deep concentration and lots of patience, I got my stream back. Also, stool softeners are a god-sent. After they ran out, the sensation of “pushing” is not something I was ready to experience again quite yet.
Breastfeeding has gone as well as I think it can. There have been stressful times and some pain as Avery and I both learn the ropes, but overall we are getting the hang of it with no major problems. I tried different things to deal with the scabbing and raw nipples, and have finally discovered that the Le leche guidelines work best for me: use expressed breast milk on them after feedings and let air dry, and let ’em all hang out in the open air as often as possible. It does feel a bit dehumanizing to walk around the house in a jumbo pad and exposed swollen boobs, but comfort and healing is way more important than feeling fancy in this sensitive time. However, this is another reason to choose your visitors carefully… It sucks to be struggling with breastfeeding and need to air out your nipples when you have a house full of company.
My milk came in 5 days post-partum. Avery went from 8lb 4oz to 7lb 9oz (totally within normal weight loss range) before she started gaining again. 4 days post-partum she fussily and frustrately fed ALL NIGHT LONG. That did the trick to bring in my milk, and she quickly gained 4oz back in a single day.
I accurately predicted who would be useful and who wouldn’t be, but in the end I felt I couldn’t say no to family. One family member brought their cat to our house with them for the day (our cats are upset enough right now…) on the same day another family member brought their baby. It was loud and stressful and took a lot out of me. On the flip side, friends came for short, 20 minute intervals, brought food, and left. That has been wonderful.
We found that we didn’t really need help… Between my wife and I, we have had no problem keeping her fed and changed and ourselves fed and showered, and the house cleaned. Those who bring food are very appreciated though. When family has visited they all want to hold the baby and think that will be helpful, like I will need a break. But holding your newborn is not only the best part of caring for her, it’s also really important for bonding, breastfeeding, and baby’s health (skin-to-skin). I tried accepting the offer to pass off the baby so I could take a nap, but I just ended up crying in bed from separation anxiety.
It appears as though giving birth was NOT the cure to my high blood pressure. We ended up sitting in a walk-in clinic two nights in a row this week because it was spiking higher than ever before. Sick kids were coughing and sneezing all over the waiting room and I was super upset about it, but I had to feed her and couldn’t leave her at home. My wife walked around outside with her and only came in when she was hungry. I did manage a trip to get blood taken without her. Sitting in medical waiting rooms for hours night after night is not something you want to be doing with a less than a week old baby. I also cannot sit in hard waiting room chairs at the moment, so I did a lot of leaning over the backs of chairs.
I have finally been put on a blood pressure med, but so far it isn’t affecting me at all. We are just trying not to be too stressed about it, because we want to enjoy this time with our daughter. My wife is really concerned though, and this constant reminder that I need to be worried about sudden onset of seizure or stroke is is bringing my mood down. I’m not allowed to be alone with the baby because of the risk. I hate needing to be babysat and just want to be able to enjoy alone time with my baby. When my wife goes back to work on Thursday the babysitting will commence.