RECOVERY/IN THE HOSPITAL:
I will not lie - the first 2.5 days were really really tough. I was hooked up to an IV and had a catheter so I couldn't leave my hospital bed for the first 2 days. I was completely doped up on pain meds so I would randomly fall asleep and wake up to someone new in our room. There were doctors and nurses and techs in and out of the room constantly (even more so for us than the normal new parents since we had specialists checking in due to Jack's dwarfism) so that, coupled with have a fussy/crying new baby meant I really didn't get to sleep more than about 20 mins at any given time for days. Hubs had it even worse. Since I was useless beyond breastfeeding the baby, he had to do EVERYTHING else. He had to do all the soothing and the burping and the diaper changing. He had to be lucid enough to meet with all the doctors and direct everyone and make plans and appointments. He even had to bring Jack to me every time it was time to nurse. Even after the catheter and IV came out and I was able to get out of bed and walk (and even just sit up), it still took about a day for me to really be able to do much. Just getting up to use the bathroom was very difficult and if I didn't keep on top of the pain with my meds it was bad. But eventually I moved through it and was able to help him out more with the baby. Unfortunately, Jack was extremely fussy those first 4 days. He would cry or at least fuss almost non-stop and it was very difficult to soothe him for any amount of time. On the 3rd day the nurses told us that Jack had officially lost 12% of his birthweight and I was not producing enough milk to keep him full so we'd have to supplement. I continued to breastfeed for each feeding and then Hubs would feed him some formula while I double pumped. It was exhausting. (And it hasn't stopped yet. This is what we are still doing and it is still exhausting. More about that below.) It didn't really stop him from crying and fussing though. By the third night Hubs and I were both crying out of sheer frustration. One of the nurses took pity on us and took Jack out of the room to the nursery for a couple hours in the middle of the night so that we could get some uninterrupted sleep. She told us later she also attached a huge sign to our door saying not to enter except in case of emergency. God bless her. [ASIDE: Note to future mommies: "Rooming in" is wonderful - you get to bond with baby, do all kinds of skin-to-skin, breastfeeding, etc. and it really is a wonderful way to learn how to care for your newborn and feel confident in caring for him/her upon going home. But it is EXHAUSTING. And when trying to recover from major abdominal surgery, I have to wonder whether or not it was the best decision for us in the end.] But our hospital stay overall was amazing. I am so so glad we chose to deliver in that hospital. Someday when I have some hands free again I am going to write to thank them for everything. All of the staff was wonderful and we were so well cared for. On the fourth day though, we were happy to go home with our little guy.
So regarding my "recovery" from surgery - there really was none to speak of. A newborn is so needy that there is no way to put yourself first so you can "recover". The best I could do was keep on top of my pain meds, try to remember to eat and drink, and try to get as much sleep as I could. None of these things have been easy. Even with my husband helping to take care of Jack and my MIL staying with us for the first 4 days there has been very little opportunity to rest. I am mostly better now though. I am still taking motrin every 4 hours but am no longer on any real pain meds and I rarely have pain, just soreness.
It's true what they say - there is no way to prepare you for this. It is hard. I feel like I am just feeding around the clock. He's already gone through phases of cluster feeding too so I really am kind of constantly feeding. I originally had hoped that I'd be able to exclusively breastfeed (BF) but I am so so tired as it is that if my husband wasn't able to give him a bottle of formula sometimes I think I'd go crazy. BF has been interesting (read: kind of difficult). I really like feeding my child. I really hate pumping. When PG I wanted to have the attitude that I would try my best to BF but if it wasn't meant to be then that is okay. But almost two weeks later my milk hasn't fully come in and we've had to continue to "supplement" with formula (the quotations are because the main part of his feeding is coming from the formula, not from me). I try to have the attitude that as long as he's getting enough to eat and is gaining weight then it doesn't matter how it's happening but honestly it's hard to have that attitude. I feel like a failure. I feel like BF is the essence of motherhood and I am failing at it. My body is failing once again. ::Sigh:: We'll see what happens. Apparently having a c-section can delay milk coming in as can PCOS so I sort of have a double whammy. At this point I'm not quite sure what to do. I'm still trying.
The first day home was a bit of a shitshow. We had so much stuff everywhere (and we took practically everything that wasn't bolted down from the hospital - which was awesome by the way since we've used almost everything) and hadn't determined any kind of a system yet for where to feed or change or where anything should go... The entire house was a mess and we had a bunch of family there cooking for us so everything was even more cluttered, and I was in serious pain since I had been moving around all that day packing and coming home. It was rough. I did the bare minimum of what I had to do then I went to bed. When I woke up, everyone but my MIL had left (thank goodness) and my SIL and cleaned up and organized a bunch of stuff. Godsend! MIL stayed with us for four days and I was so so grateful for her help. Even with me, Hubs and MIL it was still difficult in those first few days. One of the major things that made it better though was that we went to meet with Jack's official pediatrician the day after we got home. Originally I was really annoyed that we had the appt so soon since we hadn't had any sleep, I was in pain, and we had just gotten home the previous afternoon but in the end I am SO GLAD we went that day. That is because we told the pediatrician about how Jack was fussy/crying all the time and about my BF issues and he said we simply weren't feeding him enough formula! When we left the hospital they had told us to only supplement up to 15ml after BF. The pedi told us that at this point in his growth (and with his size), his stomach could hold up to 2 oz (60ml) so since my milk wasn't in yet it was no wonder why he was always upset - we were starving the poor guy!! I was so pissed at the nurse who told us that. Once we got home we started giving him more formula and he has been so much better ever since. Poor baby :-(
Besides the pediatrician appt we've had a bunch of other appts too (other pediatricians, neonatologist, genetic counselor, geneticist, nephrologist [kidney specialist]...) which I'll write about in detail in a seperate post. Jack also failed both of his hearing tests when in the hospital (not too surprising since one of the issues that comes along with Achon is often hearing problems) so we have an appt coming up with an audiologist and then also his 2nd appt with the pediatrician early next week. All the dr appts have been a bit of a whirlwind when trying to establish some semblance of a routine. It hasn't been easy.
And now Hubs is going back to work this coming Monday. I'm scared. As of now we've established a schedule with "shifts" that seems to be working for us:
5pm - 8:30pm: Hubs sleeps and I'm up with baby
9/9:30pm - 2:30am: I pump then sleep and Hubs has baby
3am - 8am: Hubs sleeps and I have baby
8:30/9am - 12:30pm: I pump then sleep and Hubs has baby
1:00pm - 5:00pm has been our golden time. That's the only time we have to get in all the errands, cooking, cleaning, laundry, dishes, showers, shopping, visiting with company (and we have had a LOT of company), anything we need two hands (or one hand) for, plus giving the poor neglected pup some exercise and attention (all while one of us still cares for the baby of course). This is why blogging/answering emails/being online is so hard lately! It's also the only time we are both awake at the same time. Unfortunately, we're usually so busy during this time we still don't really get to see one another. I miss him. And with him going back to work soon we're going to have to figure out a new schedule- likely one that will consist of me taking care of Jack pretty much all night long so Hubs can function for work. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if our baby wasn't nocturnal. I'm tired and emotional just thinking about it.
Lastly I wanted to mention the changes to my body since giving birth. Obviously, I no longer have the huge belly. Instead, I have a layer of skin/flab that hangs over my c-section incision. It's really not attractive. And it's weird because it is sensitive to the touch. For about a week it was numb and then as the feelings came back it's been sensitive/on the verge of painful. And I have no idea what to DO with it - I went out to the store for the first time yesterday and selecting pants was interesting. I didn't know whether to try to push this new skin flap up and out over the top of regular pants or try to tuck it down flat against my stomach/pelvis. In the end I did the latter while wearing my tightest pair of maternity jeans. I hope it starts to go away because I have no idea what to do with it. Besides that, I have been having soreness at my incision site here and there and my back pain has been out of control. Worse than when I was pregnant. I have always had back pain and I was shocked that it actually seemed to get a bit better while pregnant. Now, I assume all my muscles, ligaments, etc. are shifting back into their regular places so for me, that means it's back to the back pain. Only now it's worse because I'm carrying around my little guy all the time and reaching and moving and barely ever resting. I'm a little concerned about it. What HAS likely helped is that I'm actually already back down below my pre-pregnancy weight. If you want to know the secret to losing 25 lbs real fast it's to have an almost 10 lb baby with a ton of extra amnio fluid, breast feed, and not get a chance to eat enough or stop moving. One last thing to mention was my FEET. In the week after giving birth my feet because elephant feet. No lie - they were HUUUUUGE. I have never seen anything like it. I should have taken pictures. They were so full of fluid and were pushing out of the skin so much I was sort of worried they were going to explode. I could not wear ANY shoes. When we went to doctor's appts I wore my husband's slippers and even those hurt. It was CRAZY. I was so relieved when that swelling went down after about a week. I also had some serious cankles going on and my lower legs/calves and face were a bit swollen but nothing too insane. Everything is back to normal now though.
Okay, I'm sorry this has likely been really disjointed with tons of typos - no time to proofread or edit!
There's a bunch of other stuff on my mind too so here's a list of random thoughts and things I have learned so far:
- I did not know what "tired" was until Jack came along. I used to get annoyed when PG when people would say "get your sleep noooow!" as if I was sleeping so soundly. But no - pregsomnia is nothing. At least then I had the opportunity to REST even though my body was working hard growing a human. But there is very little resting now. I am actively up all night long - feeding and burping and changing and rocking and singing and walking and and and. It makes you a very different kind of tired.
- We had my MIL come and stay with us for 4 days when we got home from the hospital. It was a Godsend. I highly suggest having someone come to stay during those first few days - especially if you have had a c-section.
- Cloth diapers make excellent and absorbent burp cloths. ( We use disposable diapers but these were a hand-me-down and work awesome)
- We have approximately one million swaddle blankets and swaddleme sacks and then quickly learned that our baby hates being swaddled.
- Babies pee and poop a LOT. And you really need to watch the firehose with a baby boy because once that diaper comes off and the air hits him it's a free-for-all. I have already been peed on more times than I can count. (I have also been pooped on and projectile-vomited all over. The mommy trifecta!)
- So far there has been no need for any other clothes besides short sleeved onesies and long sleeved footed pjs. Jack lives in these and in spite of a bureau full of clothes, he has worn the same 5 "outfits" for the last 2 weeks
- I feel so bad for the dog. He is used to being the center of attention and the poor guy is so neglected now. We try so hard to get him exercise and give him love and pats and treats but there is just no way around it right now - all the focus is on the baby. I hope that will be able to change soon. He's getting depressed.
- If someone offers to help, LET THEM. If they offer to bring food say yes. If they offer to hold the baby for 30 mins while you rest say yes. If they are going to the store and ask if you need them to get anything for you say yes. I had my neighbor pick up colace and metamucil for me the other day because I could. not. shit. No shame. And that's another thing:
- Take lots of colace and metamucil. That first poop is a doozy. It hurts. The constipation was out of control. I think I could have pushed the baby out in less time and with less pain than that first poop.
- Having lots of Purell around the house is a good not-so-subtle hint to visiting guests to wash their hands before holding the baby
- Besides using the nursery to pump, we have not used that room once yet for the baby. When PG I was all about making sure it was all ready to go and perfect. And now we live downstairs in the living room around the clock.
- I love my baby and I love being a mommy. But I'm finding it lonely too. I like when there are people here (if they don't interrupt the quasi-"schedule" we have going) since there are other people to talk to besides a sleepy baby who doesn't understand what I say and a dog that just looks at me quizzically wondering why this creature is here. I miss being able to spend time with my husband. The shifts we're doing enables us to both get two 3-4ish hour blocks of sleep in per day so that's important but it also means we rarely see one another now. I just miss him.
- I cry every day. I am on the verge of tears most of the time. I think it's just from sheer exhaustion and from having our lives completely overhauled in the span of one day. I cry when one of my "shifts" is ending and Hubs has come to relieve me because I'm just so tired, I cry when I see him hold Jack because it is so beautiful and he's such a good daddy, I cry when I finish a pumping session and see that I didn't get very much milk, I cry when I finish a pumping session and see that I did get a good amount of milk... you get the picture. I'm a ball of hormones.
I am hoping things will start to normal out a bit sooner rather than later and that maybe we'll fall into some routines that feel more natural. Overall we're doing well though, it's just hard and has been a complete whirlwind so far. We are happy though. Most of the time I still can't believe that Jack's finally here and... we did it. We finally had a baby. After all this time and effort. We are finally a family. It's amazing to me.
|Our little football.|