11 October 2010

Postpartum Fail

Three good guesses why I'm awake and, no, the baby isn't one of them. Calico and my husband are both peacefully sleeping in the bedroom and I'm up blogging. Why aren't I sleeping? Because I am in PAIN! *jazz hands* and also because I need a break for a little bit.

I'm going to be completely honest: new motherhood kind of sucks and I can't decide if I feel like a jerk for saying that or not. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but I feel like I'm already failing at it. I don't know what I'd do if Steven hadn't been home for the last two weeks and was home this week. Honestly, he's been my hero and I couldn't ask for a better partner in this.

I think I'd be able to feel like I could swing this better if it weren't for the PAIN! and that my insomnia has kicked back in full force. How cruel is it to not be able to sleep when the baby is at night? We're co-sleeping at the moment because I find I can grab little cat naps if she's in bed with me, at least. I haven't really napped with her at all; Steven has done most of that.

Back to the PAIN!, though. It looks like I will be calling my OB tomorrow about it because this is miserable. I'm still getting the occasional back spasm (not terribly bad), but what's killing me is pelvic girdle pain. Though Calico was a relatively easy birth, the laxity of my joints and her pushing through seems to have caused some fairly serious dysfunction. It hurts to sit, to stand, to cross my legs, to get up from a seated position, to walk any kind of distance, to sleep on my side at night, and so on. And I mean hurts like contractions, not just a little ache. The only bonus now is that I can take Aleve, which works marginally better than Tylenol.

I was reading about this pelvic dysfunction and it looks like it will be minimally 10 weeks before it settles, with an average time for complete recovery being 6.25 years. Not months, years. I am grumpy that we can cure flaccid penises, but apparently, you just suck it up if you're a woman and in pain. The only good thing is that since I had this issue prior to giving birth, I was able to get right back to seeing my physical therapist and hopefully that will facilitate a quicker recovery because, really, 6.25 years? I don't think so.

While I am also whinging like a baby, my next thing is breast-feeding. I likewise kind of hate it. Actually, no. I don't kind of hate it, I have a love/hate relationship with it, but there's been a lot of frustration and tears involved with my boobs.

The good part is that Calico is getting 100% breast milk, which was something important to me. While I want to breast-feed for the health benefits, the main reason behind this is that we really can't afford to do formula. Calico had a hard time latching... still is on the right side, in fact. I was exclusively pumping for a while and we had to rent a pump since the motor in the one we have isn't as good as it needs to be. We saw a lactation consultant last week and she was immensely helpful and got her latched with a nipple shield on the right side. She occasionally can latch on that side without it and she's pretty much good on the left, but it's not been easy.

I'm sure some of what's making it worse is that I really hate having to deal with the Stunt Nipple, I hate guessing how much she's eating, and I generally hate how helpless I feel when I'm feeding her because of the set-up of our living room. Steven is going to try and rearrange it tomorrow so that I can at least have a decent chair to sit in, where I can reach a drink and see the television or get to the computer. Sitting and just watching her eat makes me want to crawl out of my skin, especially when I'm thirsty or hungry. As long as I have something to do, it's not that bad.

Hell, we even managed to nurse in public today, so it's getting better. Hopefully my dislike for it will lessen as it gets easier.

I don't know. On the whole, I just feel like I'm not doing a great job right now. Calico loves Steven, he's definitely her favourite person, which is great, but it also makes me feel like I'm just the dairy barn. I'm afraid it's going to be awful when he goes back to work in a week. I don't know if I can handle it. I'm honestly also terrified of developing postpartum depression, even though I know that plenty of people are watching out for me. I can't tell if this is still baby blues or if it's more serious. I worry a lot lately.

So now that this whole post has been emo, I'm going to try and end on a positive note with things that I am happy about.

Calico is very healthy and obviously, the breast milk is doing something because she'd gained almost half a pound and is over her birth weight now. I need to weigh her tomorrow because I think she's closer to 8lbs now. She really only cries when she's wet or hungry; she's a great baby.

I'm 6lbs below my pre-pregnancy weight and while that doesn't exactly mean pre-pregnancy pants, my belly is almost gone and I was able to buy real! pants! with a non-elastic waistband and a zipper! They're a size above what I was pre-pregnancy, but that's not even bad for two weeks out. And yes, I realize it's a little foolish to buy pants now, but I was back down to two pairs of maternity jeans, one of which is now way too big and the other of which Calico peed on. The maternity pants I bought, expecting to wear them postpartum are not comfortable since they had the giant belly panels.

My husband is amazing and I fall in love more watching him with Calico. He has been amazing while he's been home and I am so blessed that he could take this time off.

I finally got some tonight and it was great. Ssh, don't tell my OB (though she had mentioned a while ago that as long as my lochia had stopped, there wasn't any harm in it). I felt a million times better afterwards.

My lochia has stopped and, aside from the pelvic issues, I've had a great recovery from Calico's birth. While my non-labour did not go as planned, her birth and the period after has been better than I'd hoped. I hope it keeps going well and maybe that will make me feel more like myself again.

Welcome Calico!

Reposted from my personal journal:

I had my last appointment with the OB on the Wednesday before she was born. I was told that I basically managed to have negative progress. My cervix was high, tight, and closed and I was still barely 50% effaced. Coincidentally, I was told she'd probably be in there for a while. Made my calls about that and went home to try and have a nap. I felt lousy all day Thursday, but when Steven got home, we had to run to Target since we were almost out of toilet paper and I wanted Taco Bell.

There in was my last belly picture. I couldn't fit behind the table at Taco Bell, so we posted pictures of that. Anyone on Facebook will have seen that one.

We ate, I still felt lousy, and got ready for bed. I had taken my collection of night pills and was just sitting down with the computer, waiting for them to start working. As we had been talking construction and how we feel like we're living in the Winchester Mystery house with Grandpa, I was googling that. I felt dribbly and figured I probably peed myself. That's one of the perks of pregnancy. Turns out it wasn't pee; it was my amniotic sac and it definitely ruptured when I stood up. Since I was Group B Strep positive, we called the OB and were told to go straight to the hospital so I could start antibiotics.

I picked the worst night ever to break my water. There were 40 other women who went into labour the same night, three who delivered while still in triage and one in the Ante-Natal Centre. I arrived at 1:15, defiled the hell out of the parking lot, and got into a room. I originally asked to have my IV done in the back of my hand, but was assured that it was better in the side of my wrist. I asked for Emla, which apparently doesn't exist at Women & Infants. They got something else out, which did not work at all, and then proceeded to run the line in with a frakking straw. So now I'm panicky, vomiting because I'm stressed, and have no idea what's going on. At this point, I was not having contractions at all.

We got moved to Ante-Natal Care around 6am because all 22 delivery rooms were full. I was until around 5:30. We didn't even see a doctor until around 4 and that basically was because I was having panic attacks since I had been told I would probably need to be sectioned if my water were broken more than 24 hours because of the GBS. They were able to get me an ativan, which also helped. I finally got moved down to Delivery around 5:30.

Unfortunately, they checked me and I still had not progressed at all nor was I having any real contractions. I was given the option of a couple drugs (cytotec or pitocin) to kick start things since we'd basically been trying natural methods all day. I opted for the pitocin since I was going to be getting it one way or the other. Unfortunately, my body did not handle it very well and by the time they'd gotten it to 3, I was in agony. There was also an issue with being able to monitor her when I was basically doing anything but lying still in the bed, which was horrible. My nurse, Pam, at that point suggested an internal monitor if I wanted to keep trying naturally or she could get an anaesthesiologist in, if I wanted to consider the epidural. We opted for the anaesthesiologist. I didn't want to have a monitor screwed into her head.

The one we had, Dr. Winter, was seriously amazing. I told him that if I didn't already have a name for the baby, I would have named her after him. He was good about listening to my fears about the epidural, did explain to me that I would have to hold still for him, but he'd make sure I could handle it. What apparently worked was a cocktail of Diprivan (aka. the Michael Jackson OD drug) and fentanyl. I got 40ccs of Diprivan since I am a spazz. I did feel the pressure of the epidural, but the Diprivan helped in not caring that I was getting it. The worst part was that I was a little itchy from the fentanyl.

I will say that my concerns about the epidural taking weird were founded. I had almost no numbness in my legs and was actually able to keep control of my bladder the whole time. My nurse was impressed; she said I was only the 4th with that much control she'd seen in 25 years. They were able to crank up the pitocin so that by 4am, I was dilated to 5cm and by the 7am shift change, I was at 9cm with a little lip. By 8:15, the contractions started feeling different and around 8:30, I was feeling pushy. My day nurse, Dita, went to get the doctor, who apparently thought he might have enough time to deliver another baby before me. She told him not a chance... I started pushing at 8:38, she was out in four pushes by 9:02, and the placenta was out 9:05. I opted not to watch her come out, but Steven did.

Steven got to hold her right away. Because of the hatchet job they did on the IV, it was almost impossible for me to use my right hand/wrist. I was able to breastfeed her about 15 minutes after she was born and Steven was able to hold her for the rest of the first hour she was alive. She never left our sight. They had a warmer in the room so I could watch her while I ate lunch (breakfast was basically all things I was allergic to) and while Steven made calls. Total time at the hospital: 33 hours and yes, we did make Battlestar Galactica jokes.

I was in delivery until almost 3p because of all the women having babies. I was able to nap for a bit, which will play in later. My parents were waiting for us. Mum couldn't get over how much she looked like me as a newborn. She is literally a carbon copy of the pictures I've seen. They hung around long enough so Steven could go home and grab a shower and feed our kitties. He got back around 6, just after they'd left, and we basically sat and wondered at our little girl. And then, this is where the story goes downhill.

I realized I was hungry, but didn't think anything of it until a nurse came in and asked where my tray was. I said what tray? They had forgotten to send me a dinner and, of course, it was very late, so they had nothing good left in the kitchen. Dinner was amazingly lousy. Steven ended up grabbing me some candy from the gift shop and I had jello for dinner again. I was exhausted at this point, so we took the night nurse's offer to have her go to the nursery for a little while, since I'd been up basically forever. I fed her from 4a-5a and they went to take her down. I'd just settled in to sleep, when someone brought her back in abruptly at 5:20a. They didn't check our bracelets, told me she was screaming and inconsolable (she was not), and left the room before I had a chance to ask anything. I got her settled and tried to go back to sleep. I don't even know who came in, but we literally had someone stopping by every 15 minutes until breakfast showed up around 7:30.

Since they didn't bother sending me a dinner the night before, they'd also never sent me the menu so I got some random breakfast which consisted of a bunch of things that I was allergic to and eggs, which I don't eat. So, I lost it. Completely. I started sobbing. This is why I'm glad that Steven was able to stay with me; he went down to the nurses' station and talked to them, as well as getting me a new meal from dietary. We also had an amazing nurse, Millie, from the nursery who Calico loved. Upon thinking about it further, I had not had any substantial sleep since noon on Thursday, nor had I actually had a decent meal since Thursday night. Jackie, my day nurse, got us a Do Not Disturb sign for the door and left instructions for me to be left alone from 1-4:30.

Calico got to meet Deb, Steven's biological mum, and Shirley, his biological grandmother, that morning. They were both excited to get to hold her and I believe Calico is the first great-granddaughter. We had a nice, if short, visit with them and I finally got my nap. Steven opted to go home, shower, and feed the cats again. We also chose to take part in the Stork Dinner Club, which is a special meal for new parents. I wasn't going to get it at first, but I am really, really glad we did! It was probably the best meal we had while we were there. We both had filet mignon, green beans, baked potatoes, and cheesecake, plus a glass of merlot and glasses we could take home to remember the birth of our little girl. We ate by candlelight while looking out over Providence. It was amazing.

We kept our Do Not Disturb sign and finally managed to sleep from about 12:30 to about 7:30, which was amazing. Calico went for a light treatment in the nursery since she was fairly jaundiced and we opted for that rather than to see if she still needed it in the morning and, therefore, would delay going home.

I felt a million times better the next day, which was our last day there. We were supposed to be released at 11am, but the doctor noticed I was coughing and wanted to check my lungs. They were gunky and she ordered a chest xray before we could go anywhere. Calico had to have another heel stick before we could be cleared. I was released with bronchitis, which is exactly what you want to go home with a newborn with. Only good thing is that it's chronic for me and she won't be able to catch it.

We're settling in here now. At a week old, Calico is sleeping a little better at night-- she had bad gas pains at first. She's also having a lot of trouble with her latch, but I have been able to pump enough to have her fully on breastmilk. We have an appointment to see a lactation consultant tomorrow and a nipple shield that seems to allow her to latch a lot better. She did well at her first well baby appointment; she hadn't lost any weight, which was nice to hear.

We're doing pretty well with the cloth diapers so far, as well. We switched her the day after we got home since she was already developing a rash from the disposables. Poor kid seems to have my skin for that, since I was likewise getting rashy. Recovery is going well for me otherwise. I'm hardly bleeding, I'm a pound below my pre-pregnancy weight at 8 days out, and my body feels fairly normal again, aside from the little hormone surges.

Steven is home for three weeks, which is awesome. I am really happy to be able to spend this time with him and our daughter. I wish we had fewer projects to do, but meh... We're still finding time to enjoy the kiddo, take walks, and watch Dancing with the Stars.