Warning this post will most likely be brutally honest and a whole lot of information a lot of people wont want to read. I, however, wish I could have read more things like this while pregnant to prepare me for what postpartum would truly be like. Read at your own risk!
The first 2 days postpartum were spent in the hospital. These were the easiest days. Blair slept the majority of the time and I could ring a nurse to bring me pain pills or ice/heat packs. My emotions did take a turn for the crazy while in the hospital though. When they took Blair to the nursery to do her hearing test (Garren went with her) she was very upset and I could hear her crying. Next thing I know I am shaking uncontrollably and sobbing. I knew she was fine, I knew Garren was with her but I couldn’t help it.
The worst part about the hospital was them coming in constantly to jump up and down on my abdomen. Really they were just “massaging” it to make sure my uterus was shrinking down but it hurt almost as bad as contractions during labor. The cramps you experience while breastfeeding? Yeah those are no joke. I honestly felt like I WAS going into labor again each time I fed my baby. Talk about motivation to keep breastfeeding. Then that first weekend we brought her home Blair screamed non stop. It honestly sounded like some one was beating her, and I thought for sure some one in our apartment building would call CPS. We finally called the nurse and she told me it sounded like she was hungry and not getting enough. She told me I needed to supplement with formula. This was confirmed when the nurse came out to weigh her and we realized she had lost well over 10% of her birth weight. (10% is the “safe” limit of weight loss for newborns) Cue hysterical crying from mom once again. Mom guilt is the worst guilt I have ever felt. I felt like I had failed my baby already. We ended up feeding her 3 bottles before my milk came in enough to completely feed her.
Stitches. I had a 2nd degree tear which required some stitches. I was most afraid of this postpartum and they ended up being no big deal. Sneezing and coughing was a little precarious the first 2 weeks but they honestly never really bothered me. I had a little bit of back pain where I was given the epidural but it only lasted about 48 hours.
My sister in law Heather came when Blair was 5 days old, and my mother in law when she was 9 days old. I am so grateful they did. I am really bad at asking people for help but there is no way I could have handled all the new changes alone. (Garren had to leave and go to school) Basically I didn’t have to cook, clean, or even get my own water the entire time they were here. They let me take naps while they held my baby, and told me things were normal when I got paranoid about noises Blair was making or other random new mom worries.
My least favorite postpartum symptom is I constantly feel freezing yet I wake up soaking wet in sweat. It’s disgusting. I hate it so much. The first few times I went to my room to take a nap, while some one else held her in the living room, I would wake up shaking uncontrollably until I had Blair back in my arms or nursing. It was like this weird adrenaline rush to get to my baby as fast possible. I have been prone to depression in the past so I was really nervous about PPD but thankfully after the two weeks of baby blues I feel great. I am so grateful for my amazing husband, supportive family and our beautiful little girl. Being a mother is about 10 times harder and easier than I ever imagined. I am exhausted but it’s a happy exhausted. Going out in public overwhelms me and I prefer to wear her in the moby wrap instead of have her in the car seat. She just feels safer securely attached to my chest.
Breastfeeding is a whole lot harder than my breastfeeding class lead me to believe. Which is unfortunate. We are three weeks in and I have finally weaned her off the nipple shield, but it’s definitely a steep learning curve. We will get it though :)
My postpartum body actually weighs less than I did pre pregnancy but don’t let that fool you… things have changed….
Note to new moms, Every one will tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps. For some reason I find this impossible during the day. I think of 500 other things I should do, but I will really only have this opportunity with my first baby so I am trying to force myself to nap. During her 3:00 am feeding I am always SURE I will nap the next day, so I try and remind myself of that exhaustion the following afternoon.
Really every one’s labor, birth and postpartum experience is going to different with similarities all new moms can empathize with. Don’t let the media, social networking, or braggy “friends” make you feel guilty for the choices you are making for your baby. We are all doing the best we can. Just remember baby’s don’t keep so snuggle and love them as much as possible while they will still let you.
Blair is 3 weeks old today! She celebrated with some hard napping: