Nov 14, 2012

One Month Postpartum

I almost hesitate to write this post now, but I felt it was important to follow up, not just with Addison updates, but also with how I am doing. So why do I hesitate? I was never afraid to share my pregnancy with everyone, so why suddenly do I not want to share my postpartum journey? For one, not a single woman out there will like what I have to say regarding my weight loss since having Addison. And two, recovering and how I have been feeling feels like an incredibly personal and private matter. That being said, I’m exercising my right to censor slightly, but know that I will be as honest as I’m comfortable with, which means that tearing, swelling, catheters, bleeding, and an assortment of other [potentially gross] birth unmentionables might make their way into this post.

“Nine Months Up, Nine Months Hours Down”
This is one of the things I dread sharing because like I mentioned before there are many women out there who will hate me because of my experience.

During my pregnancy, I gained a total of 14 pounds and had gestational diabetes. I also spent the majority of my pregnancy throwing up. Not exactly ideal. I didn’t have any stretch marks. I didn’t have any swelling. I gained no weight anywhere other than in my belly. If you had seen me from behind then you would have never known that I was pregnant. In fact, it wasn’t until I was four months away from giving birth that I even looked slightly pregnant. Mostly I just looked a little purgey and bloated.

So basically, we figured all the weight I gained was Addison and her accessories. So after she was born and after things slowed down enough for me to actually look in the mirror, I quickly realized all pregnancy weight was gone. A week after getting out of the hospital (2 weeks postpartum), I weighed myself curious to know how close I was to my pre-pregnancy weight. As it so happened, I actually weigh less now than I did before I got pregnant. On one hand I was surprised: who expects that? But on the other, I wasn’t surprised at all: due to the throwing up and the gestational diabetes I was sure to have loss weight, and therefore I was carrying strictly baby weight and nothing more.

So clearly my concern is not for losing baby weight. My ab muscles are not as tight as before I was pregnant as to be expected, but after I am cleared to work out again I’m sure that will changed. Although my body will never be as it was before, but that doesn't mean I can’t try and help me feel a little more like me again.

[Physical] Healing
Bleeding, tearing, swelling. All unpleasant repercussions of giving birth. I tore just like with most women and with a few stitches was good to go. I had no more bleeding than any other woman. However, my swelling was so bad that the catheter was left in for an additional 24-hours after giving birth (normally the catheter [due to the epidural] is taken out right after birth). After going home, my bleeding ceased quickly. I was still in considerable pain from the tearing and swelling, but towards the end of my second week postpartum I was already feeling like a new woman.

Honestly, I healed a lot faster than I had thought I would. I may still not be in perfect condition, but I can move without pain (although I do hurt from time to time). I had definitely expected the pain and bleeding to last for longer than it did. I guess that’s the good thing about expecting something to be worse than it actually is - when it turns out to not be what you expected then you are pleasantly surprised. So right now I feel like I can take on the world and I definitely don’t feel like I gave birth a month ago.

Sleep? Who needs sleep?
No one will be surprised to know that we have gotten very little sleep. It’s exhausting to have a newborn. She doesn’t sleep more than 4 hours, and that’s a lucky, rare occasion. Mostly, we get about 2 hours of sleep at a time, but again that seems like a rare thing. After we left the hospital, Addison refused to sleep anywhere but on us. So after spending almost an hour feeding her, she will fall asleep right after we burp her but then as soon as we attempt to lay her down, she is wide awake and wanting to be held.

This is actually to be expected. She is in what they call the “fourth trimester.” She wants to be held and cuddled with. She wants to feel close and secure. It’s not that I mind the cuddle time because there will be a day when she may not want anything to do with me, but night after night is difficult, exhausting, and at times frustrating.

“Baby Blues” and All Those Pesky Hormones
This is number two for me. This is the one I struggle with talking about. Not with Rob, mind you, but here now with you. Rob has been amazing listening to me and talking with me after how I’m feeling. Although I’m not pregnant, those hormones don’t immediately leave my body. I go through a whole sea of emotions on a daily basis.

I love my daughter. I’m so excited to finally meet her and for her to be here. She is more than I could have ever hoped for and I can’t wait to see who she will be become. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have days when I want nothing more than I get far away from her. I get exhausted and frustrated. Rob has been amazing at taking her when I need that space, but as soon as I have that much needed space I also miss her. It’s truly a whole range of emotions.

To say I never get frustrated would be a lie. I get frustrated because Addison is a slow eater and takes far too long to breastfeed in my opinion, plus it feels like as soon as we get done, she wants to eat again. She also tends to “play” when she’s eating, which causes some pain and more frustration when it comes to breastfeeding (look for a breastfeeding post in the near future sometime). I get frustrated because I’m tired and I want nothing more than for her to nap/sleep in her port-a-crib, which she refuses to do more than she actually sleeps in it.

Beyond feeling frustrated, I don’t feel like me. “Me time” is something you hear a lot about, and it’s something that is actually hard to get by. Just getting a shower can be difficult. In order to insure that I get one, I wait until Rob gets home and then I take one in the evenings. I much rather take a shower in the mornings (especially with those postpartum hormonal night sweats that make me feel yuck!), but I can’t guarantee Addison will let me. Just having time to write posts can be hard to come by. Luckily we have been able to use a jeep carrier, which gives me use of both hands.

Everyone always says to nap when the baby naps. The problem with that advice? Sometimes I have to chose getting something to eat over napping or just changing clothes. Sometimes you have to chose to do something else over taking that much-needed nap. Trust me, I try to nap when she does, but keeping myself fed is sometimes just as important.

Like I said before, I love my daughter. I’m crazy about this little girl. I get frustrated and I’m definitely exhausted, but I wouldn’t trade these few weeks for anything. I just keep reminding myself that this too shall pass. She’ll grow out of this phase of needing to eat all the time and refusing to sleep in the port-a-crib. She is beautiful and unique. More often than not, despite the exhaustion and frustration, we do good. We are slowly finding our pace. We are finding what works for us and what does. It’s all a learning process.

One month out and we are surviving. I’m surviving. Some days it feels like I’m barely hanging on, but mostly we are making it through. I’m enjoying the time I have now with her. I’m just taking it one day at a time. One step at a time.

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