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Post Partum Recovery- the first week

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Pardon the randomness of thought, this entry has been composed in tiny installments with no interest for proper editing and story flow.

Because I can ramble quite a bit I have broken down posts between my actual post partum recovery and baby Shaman’s first week (upcoming).

Recovering from a c-section is no walk in the park, I was bed bound until the following day and the first few hours were spent with minimal feeling and movement while I waited for the anesthesia to wear off.  They hooked me up to a morphine drip for the pain which did nothing, the nurses just kept saying “keep pressing the button” and it took several hours to convince them that no amount of button pressing would make a difference.

Finally they called the doctor and he approved some magic something to be injected in my IV that gave me relief and allowed me to get some sleep.

Because my water had been broken for so long before Shaman was born the biggest concern was infection, even though he never had a fever or any symptoms and his culture came back negative one of the markers was very high so he was on a course of antibiotics for a while, as a result baby didn’t get released from the hospital until a day after mom did.  I never felt like I was released as I never left the floor, not even to go to the cafeteria, the only difference is that I couldn’t ask the nurses for happy pills.

Thankfully breastfeeding got off to a good start, given that c-section can have a negative impact on breastfeeding I consider myself lucky.  When I first tried shortly after birth Shaman was too hyper and overstimulated to be interested in the breast so we gave him a couple of hours to chill out.  A few hours later he was focused on the mission and once he found the nipple he latched on like a pro.

I’m in desperate need of nursing bras and tank tops, I have very little that I can wear to facilitate nursing.

The challenge now since my milk has come in is that I spend most of my day being a leaky faucet, I’ve actually made small puddles of leaking milk!  The 2 pairs of cloth nursing pads that I have are definitely not enough!  This baby ain’t starving!

Now back on to the recovery process, there are various painful moments that come to mind:

Painful moment #1- removing the dressing from the incision, they were nice enough to wait until all painkillers had worn off.

Painful Moment #2, the Mother of All Painful Moments: standing up for the first time.  I almost fell over but miraculously I didn’t cry.

You will stand up and feel like the front of your body’s being ripped off.  Thanfully the nurses were cool and didn’t rush me, they just told me to call them when i was ready to try.  I would stand completely bent over then slowly have to raise up.

Soon after that my own self imposed mission was to take a shower, I am proud to have done it unassisted although it took forever as moving was still quite the mission but at least it helped me start to feel human again.

Most stupid painful thing to do ever: allowing the Percocet to wear off! I learned that this is no time to be a hero.  I still try to go unmedicated as much as possible but sometimes I just can’t help it.

The remaining painful moments are coughing, sneezing and laughing, specially if without warning, I just see stars!

By next morning they had me on a liquid diet even though I cheated and got the night nurse to sneak me some juice and jello the previous night.  By lunch time the second day I was on solid foods and mediocre hospital food had never tasted so good!

I was encouraged to walk around the floor and after a successful trial run we decided to go on a walk with Shammy, he was being fussy so I pulled out my Baby K-tan carrier and he immediately loved it!  Apparently the nurses had never seen a baby being worn and were amazed that he could look so happy.  We did get in trouble for using the “fancy thing” because nobody told us that baby had to be moved in the bassinet at all times.  I seems to have been missing the rules book in my admissions packet.

a happy 1 day old being worn by mommy

We couldn’t help but roll our eyes when as we headed back to the room one of the nurses commented on how “those fancy things were not available back when I had my kids”, I guess that people truly don’t know that baby slings and carriers predate strollers and car seats by thousands of years… :sigh::

Here I am almost a week later and still trying to clean iodine (or something like it) and adhesive from the myriad sensors, needles and IVs off my skin)

For the most part we had a great experience at the hospital, almost all of the nurses were excellent and one of them went above and beyond being helpful to us.  I did have a clash with a breastfeeding nazi nurse that expected my milk to come in less than 24 hours after birth.

The biggest challenge was the staff being loud whenever coming into the room at all hours and waking Shammy up, usually a minute after we finally got him to sleep which most of the time wasn’t a quick and easy thing.

Halfway through our stay they relocated us to a different room.  I understand their logic as we were in a larger room equipment for surgery recovery and they were preparing for Monday which is a busy day for scheduled C-sections, however the staff really dropped the ball in the process.  With no advance warning we are told that we need to move, the nurse says “no rush” but is trying to pick up our belongings to move them to the new room.  Thank goodness I had just gotten a dose or I would have been barely able to move myself.  This whole process left a very sour aftertaste and we made sure to report it.

I took the opportunity to take a breastfeeding class offered by the hospital’s lactation consultant.  I truly felt like a nerd in there, the LC was shocked that I had been attending La Leche League meetings and read books and websites on the subject, she is used to dealing with moms like my classmates, completely clueless and vulnerable to booby traps.  I am glad that I was as prepared as I was as I did encounter my own booby trap later that night and if I hadn’t been as well informed I could have easily been guilt-tripped into something that wasn’t truly necessary and I would have regretted later.  I will share the booby trap story as part of the upcoming Baby’s first week report.

Since I wasn’t able to get the placenta for encapsulation (more about that later), I started to feel my first major hormonal drive on my second day at the hospital.  That subsided fairly quickly but by the time I reached my second day at home I had a firm case of the baby blues established.  I noticed it was bad when I started to cry when I dropped yet another something on the floor that I couldn’t pick up.   Most of it is stress induced as I’m overwhelmed at how impotent I feel while still recovering, how many simple things I am not allowed to do and the fact that Daddy Fox is going back to work tomorrow and I’m suddenly trying to figure out how to survive the long days home alone with Shammy.

On Thursday I had a follow up with the surgeon to have the staples removed and he immediately could tell that I wasn’t doing well so now I have a prescription for anti depressants that I don’t want to have to take but will have to seriously consider depending on how things go.

My body hasn’t learned the whole concept of sleep when baby sleeps so the sleep deprivation is adding up!  I am freaking exhausted and today I learned that it wasn’t just from lack of sleep.  It turns out that my hemoglobin level is very low causing anemia probably as a result of the 1200 cc of blood that I lost less than a week ago.

I am glad that I got this information as I was starting to wonder if something else was wrong, I had reached the point that I didn’t dare try to stand up while holding baby for fear of falling.  So now I need to boost my iron consumption and have a prescription for iron tablets.  The doctor was talking about blood transfusions if I didn’t improve by Monday but I definitely don’t plan to go there.

In the meantime I just have to deal with feeling more weak and tired than I already should be feeling but at least I know the reason why.

I admit that I have been lacking nutritionally and that doesn’t help matters.  My day consists of mostly snacks and small meals, not all of them optimal choices but that’s what happens when I’m not recovering at an all-inclusive resort.

I haven’t proofread anything that I’ve written but I can only assume at how negative most of it may seem, I’m sure that my mood doesn’t help matters but I do want to point out that it isn’t all bad.  Compared to an online friend that had a c-section 6 weeks ago I’m doing great,  unlike her, I have full control of my bladder and don’t have to walk around wearing depends.  See? the glass is half full.

Now if I could just get one of these grabber things I wouldn't feel so helpless

In other news,  I have already lost 21 pounds, I did gain a lot so we’ll see how long it takes for the rest.  I’m not particularly concerned and don’t plan to stress about it as I’m more into stressing about what to wear that’s convenient for nursing and doesn’t irritate my scar.

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Author:

White collar hippie, Pagan tree hugger and crunchy mama living in Florida with her husband and 2 sons. She works part time as a breastfeeding counselor, freelance virtual bookkeeper, and web designer along with homeschooling her children.

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