Alllllright. Let’s see what I can remember…
Delivery recap: med-free midwife assisted hospital delivery. Labor was about 11 hours total, only 2 1/2 hours of hard labor, and pushed only 15 minutes.
I had a 2nd degree tear, but it was really very minor. They only called it ‘2nd degree’ because it was a little bit crooked. It only took 5 stitches to repair.
I was up and walked to the bathroom to pee about an hour after birth. The first hour after DD was born we had skin to skin, nursed, and bonded as a family.
Ok. After I was able to urinate, I was cleared to go up to the Mother-Infant unit. They made me ride in a wheelchair thing, but I asked if I could just walk instead… but hospital policy was that I had to ride :/ The lady bits were a little sore, but I had an ice pack and a gigantic pad and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
I took ibuprofen for pain management, and they also gave me a stool softener. I had virtually NO swelling at all, since I didn’t push for very long. I didn’t have any hemorrhoids either 😀
I actually found the ice pack to be a little bit too much, and once I got settled in our room I removed it. I did use the witch hazel tucks pad thingys, the foam they gave me, and the squirt bottle to clean myself after going to the bathroom.
The only thing that hurt more than I thought it would was once I when I was laying in bed, I lifted up my bottom to straighten out my hospital gown (so my shoulders and feet were on the bed, but I lifted my bum up in the air) and it kind of felt like all my insides had been stirred up and melted and were about to come out of my butt. It kinda hurt! It just surprised me more than anything, and after a few days it didn’t bother me at all.
So for the duration of my hospital stay, I nursed constantly… especially at night. Babies often get their days & nights mixed up since they are used to being in a quiet and dark environment. The lights and noises of the day are often too much in the very beginning. It took a good week to get that straightened out!
We came home, continued to nurse, and I kept up with the witch hazel & the pads, but I no longer needed the ibuprofen.
My nipples hurt by this time, with BabyDane’s cluster feedings, and the fact that she would fall asleep while nursing all the time, so when we finished she wasn’t really full and would go again in 30 minutes. It became overwhelming, frustrating, and rather painful.
I tried using a nipple shield, which did help for a while with the pain, but it didn’t make her nurse more effectively.
I had started pumping after about a week since I knew I would need some back-up when I went back to work. After about 2 weeks, when we realized that she was gaining weight MUCH more slowly than we would have expected, we introduced a bottle of breastmilk from my budding freezer stash. It went well, she took the bottle with no problem what so ever. I found (at that point in time anyway) that the pump emptied my breasts more effectively than my baby, so by about 3-4 weeks I transitioned to exclusive pumping.
I think at this point, I should have fought harder to keep nursing at least once a day, so that the baby would have at least had the ability to nurse. I tried relatching after 4 months, and again at 6 months, but it didn’t go well and she has NO clue what to do with a boob! I think if I had just stuck it out I would have been able to nurse more effectively once she got the hang of it and my supply had been established better. Oh well, live and learn right?
I had my share of baby blues, mostly stemming from the sheer anxiety and frustration of a lazy nurser. I had such an easy, natural birth that I had assumed breastfeeding would come just as naturally. Well, I was wrong, and I grossly underestimated how stressed I would be with the sleep depravation. Nursing became a source of pain, stress, and general anxiety instead of a beautiful bonding experience. I know she felt it too, and she probably couldn’t relax since I was so tense. It definitely got to me. I was tired. I ended up being chained to the pump- which meant that I had to do all the bottle setting up and cleaning as if we used formula, with the added stress of actually sitting there like a dairy cow and pump ALL.THE.TIME. I think I kind of lost a little bit of my own identity. I was so unsure about everything, but I really did the best I could.
Looking back, I can see that those were some pretty dark days. At the time, I just figured it was normal baby blues and normal first time mom frustrations. Everything really did work out ok, but I didn’t realize how sad I was at times until I was happy and looking back. Oy. I was not a happy person that first month. Gah. Everything was just so… overwhelming.
The turning point was when we fell into a good routine and she was sleeping better. I had a pumping shcedule, and I really found my groove with taking care of her, taking care of myself, and getting out of the house regularly. When she started to smile and interact with the world a little bit, it was so rewarding! The clouds parted, the sun shined down on us, and unicorns shit glitter as they leapt over rainbows.
Well, something like that anyway 🙂