Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Postpartum: Month 1

We're now almost to two months as I finally finish this (umm, tomorrow, in fact), but that's kind of the theme of parenting so far, it seems. Best to have merely ideas of what to do for the day than actual goals or plans. 

I do intend to post the birth story eventually, but it ended up being a complicated birth and somewhat traumatic (but thanks to modern medicine I survived, with a healthy baby and intact uterus, so all is good now!), so it's taking a while for me to want to sit down and do that writing (though I think it will actually be helpful to do so, both the processing and to identify gaps in my memory for Abe or our doula to fill).

Baby



A bit fussy in the first few days (particularly at night - though by default our hospital does rooming-in, the nurses will also take the baby for a bit to give you a break, which Abe took advantage of especially since due to complications (I wasn't even out of bed unassisted until the second morning) I wasn't much help except for trying to nurse.) But overall, he's really an exceptionally easy (relatively speaking) baby. Crying at this stage mosty meant he's hungry or was dealing with digesting one way or the other. Otherwise he's pretty happy!

Born at 8 lb 6 oz, he lost a full 10% (my milk came in on the later side of normal - day 5 - 6, I think), then was back up to 9 lb 2 oz by his ped appointment at 2.5 weeks! His next appointment isn't until two months, but at the end of month one we estimated on our analog scale - about 10 pounds. 

Nursing was reasonably easy - my milk coming in was slightly painful and obnoxious for about a day, but not nearly as bad as I thought it'd be. We had a period where I had some soreness, but then I realized I'd gotten lazy about making sure he was latching on properly, and just being diligent about that fixed it. He ate about every 90 minutes at first, then fairly soon stretched that out to two hours - and then continued eating every two hours on average around the clock, for quite a while.

By the end of the month, he was starting to wake up and be alert (during the day, and usually at least one stretch at night - but fortunately for me usually during the time Abe would take over and do a feeding) instead of just being a sleepy potato. His first holiday was Halloween - we took him to a pumpkin patch, and my mom made a little lion hat to go with a lion-themed sleeper we had, so Abe and I dressed up as a wardrobe and the white witch. 



Physical Health & Recovery

The first two weeks I was utterly exhausted. My discharge instructions were to do pretty much nothing but sit on the couch and nurse for two weeks (to recover from blood loss) - and it really wasn't until near the end of the second week that I felt like doing much more than that. 

One of the days during this time period we were out for a doctor appointment, then decided to run some errands so we were out of the house for over 4 hours. When we got back in, I sat down on the couch - and all of a sudden starting shaking. Though I'd never had any blood sugar issues before (going 5-ish hours without eating because I was out and busy wouldn't be a problem at all, though I'd be hungry when I got home), apparently I do while recovering and nursing! We called my MIL (a retired doctor) to come over, and she quickly realized it was a blood sugar crash, and got me eating appropriate amounts of sugar and protein to resolve it. She and Abe then didn't want me home alone with the baby (and especially carrying him up the stairs) for a few days to make sure nothing else happened that would leave me unable to safely care for him, but fortunately the incident wasn't repeated (and I've been careful to eat more frequently since then!)

By the end of the month I was actually feeling reasonably good and felt mostly recovered (spoiler: I wasn't. Just still had hormones propping me up). I went for a run at the 4-week mark (spoiler: that was a bad idea). 

Mental Health

For the first 2 to 3 weeks, definitely had some of the baby blues. Lots of little things set me off, and I was just purely exhausted. One night I had accumulated so much fatigue that I unintentionally started sleeping through the baby's wake-ups, so Abe got up with him a couple times to feed him (I started pumping early on, and we did syringe feeding when I wasn't nursing, until we wanted to introduce a bottle). When I finally woke up enough to realize what I had happened I started bawling while I effusively started to apologize to him (it really wasn't a big deal for him to get up with the baby for me to get a bit more rest).

That generally weepiness and sensitivity improved by around week 2 to 3, and I generally felt like I was getting a handle on things (spoiler: I wasn't. Also just hormones, I think.), but when I did get upset I got really upset and crying tons without being able to easily pull myself together. Thoughts about the birth and some other insecurities set me off when they crossed my mind.


Fitness

Just daily walks starting at about two weeks. One attempt at running at four weeks, which turned out to be a poor choice.

When I first weighed myself post-hospital, I think at about a week postpartum, I was up 15 pounds from prepregnancy, so I'd lost 25 of the 40 I gained via the baby, etc. I maintained that for the rest of the month. At the end of the month, chest, waist, and hips were all up 2 to 4 inches from prepregnancy.

General Thoughts

Assuming I'd have an uncomplicated delivery, I also assumed I should be able to bounce back pretty quickly. I'm in good shape and healthy, and birth is a natural process, so why wouldn't I? Instead, I felt traumatized by the delivery and like I was recovering from an exhausting illness once I got home. I didn't expect to feel so "sick" in the sense of being helpless and fatigued. 

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