Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Postpartum: Month 2

See also: Month 1. My goal is to also have the month 3 post up before he turns 4 months...

Started this month almost feeling like we were getting in a groove - then realizing how quickly babies change their habits (as soon as you get used to something, it's different!) and how tired we really were, having some medical issues pop up, and kind of falling apart. Then many aspects improving greatly by the end of the month! 



Baby


Becoming more and more alert. We set out a play gym, which includes a mirror overhead and a piano at his feet, and he loves it. He's also enamored with the black and white mobile that's over his changing table. He can stare at either one for 15 or 20 minutes if he's in the mood - a lot longer than I would thought his attention span would be capable of! He started smiling and giggling - at first, mostly at inanimate objects, such as the mobile, and doing some babbling. 

He was 23" and 12 lb 9 oz at his two month appointment, and we moved up to size 6 month clothes just after Thanksgiving, shortly before that appointment. But he's in the 50 percentile for both height and weight so... I'm not entirely sure what's going on with the clothing sizes (does vanity sizing extend even to this demographic?! Actually I have a theory about standardized manufactured clothing coming on the rise around the same time as formula, and formula growth charts versus breastmilk growth charts - I need to do some looking to see if that's actually a thing.).

Started stretching out eating to 3-hour intervals, especially at night (yay!). Not totally consistently - also plenty of 2-hour intervals in the mix, but learning that nothing with a baby is ever a linear progression. We introduced the bottle around 4 weeks (we'd previously fed pumped milk (and formula for a couple nights before my milk came in) via syringe), and continued with him having at least one a day - he took to it great!

We had his first Thanksgiving, at which he met his great-grandfather! 


4 generations!

Physical Health & Recovery

Just after the 4-week mark, I decided to try going for a run. It's not that far before the standard 6-week mark (and my clinic only does standard postpartum appointments at 3 and 8 weeks, and I didn't want to wait til 8 weeks for clearance), and I've heard of plenty of women being ready to return to running or other exercise before that.

However, "plenty of women" does not mean "every woman", and those that it does mean probably had fewer delivery complications. A couple days later I started feeling what turned out to be a mild bladder prolapse. At the appointment I made to have that checked out, my midwife also pointed out that my external stitches had popped and I had an open wound. (How I wasn't feeling pain or at least discomfort from that, and hadn't even realized it was happening, I have no idea.)

So I was instructed to focus on routinely doing kegals, given a referral to physical therapy (which for a variety of reasons I didn't actually start until January), and had the wound treated with silver nitrate (which cauterizes) and an estrogen cream (which gives the skin some bounce back to help pull together, since the low estrogen while breastfeeding causes some slack). By around 8 weeks, the wound was healed and the prolapse much improved.

Mental Health

The bladder prolapse really freaked me out. Adding on the open wound made it worse. Even though I objectively realized that neither was a huge deal in the long term, I cried through the first and a couple follow up appointments about it. My midwife was so concerned so referred me to the mental health specialist in their office, though I was already going back to seeing my own therapist and she started me back on an antidepressent.

Then a couple days after the appointment for those diagnoses, I had my first plugged duct. It happened on a day when the baby was being fussier than usual and I couldn't really set him down in order to deal with the plugged duct, and Abe was also out of the house all day for school. Such a pain (literally and figuratively), and just when it seemed like breastfeeding was really hitting a groove and going well! I called my MIL in tears, and fortunately she was able to come right over to help with the baby while I massaged, applied heat, pumped, and nursed all afternoon to get out the plug. 

Again, not something that's truly a big deal, but it felt so challenging on top of everything else going on. Fortunately, by around 8 weeks, things were improving health-wise, I learned more about preventing plugs, and the zoloft starting kicking in. My midwife and even her nurse noticed at a follow up appointment that I was doing 1,000 times better! There were a lot of ups and downs, but around this time we started figuring the new normal, both in my health and raising a baby. Not that you can actually "figure out" a baby, but we learned that as soon as we learn how to handle something, it changes! This was really a turning point.

Fitness

After the failed run attempt, just focused on building up my core with a postpartum yoga video I found on youtube, and some walking. I felt a bit demoralized, so even though I could have done a bit more of alternative workouts, I definitely wasn't mentally feeling up to it. 

General Thoughts

I knew parenting would be hard, but seriously, it's hard!

I thought after giving birth it'd be nice to "have my body back". Nope. At least while breastfeeding, your body is still being run by the fact that you just had a baby. It will not act as you expect. If you want to stick with breastfeeding, you have to figure out how to cope with that.

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