birth

Postpartum Body and Things

First, I am so glad I was able to work out for basically the entirety of my pregnancy. I’m pretty sure keeping that up helped me with the labor process and it most definitely helped with the recovery process.

Second, I wasn’t quite prepared for just how hard the postpartum stuff would be. Those first few days were really hard physically and emotionally. I blame most of it on lack of sleep. Every one said to sleep when the baby slept. Which I tried to do but still, was really only getting sleep in hour increments the first few days we were home.

Something I wasn’t expecting was how hard regulating my body temperature would be. I just cannot get it right! I’d be freezing, then have hot flashes, then be cold again. Apparently this is something that’s normal. The hormones and drop in estrogen can effect it and I definitely was feeling it. I’m hoping it isn’t something that sticks around for a long time.

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Breast Feeding

Nursing wasn’t going well because of the tongue-tie/latch issues and that was so hard emotionally and physically for me. I wanted nothing more than breast feeding to go well and when it wasn’t I felt awful. I felt like I was somehow failing and I was definitely being too hard on myself. My mom tried to help and she said it was okay, that this stuff sometimes happens and she had a similar issue with me. That didn’t necessarily make me feel better about it but it helped me realize that the priority was feeding Logan. It just took a few days for me to come to terms with that.

The lactation consultant we saw gave some advice and said we needed to supplement with formula for a little while because Logan had lost too much weight since his birth (11%, and anything over 10% was worrisome). My heart was broken for so many reasons. But once again, I reminded myself the priority was getting him enough food. We started supplementing, the consultant got me a super-duper hospital grade breast pump and I started pumping. Once that all happened things got a lot easier! Logan was eating and we were getting a routine and a schedule down. Within one day of doing this he’d already gained 5 ounces and was out of the “danger zone.”

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Once we figured this stuff out, it was much easier!

As for me, once we got this routine down and I was pumping a lot and getting more and more supply, and more sleep, I felt much better. I was recovering quickly and could move around easier. We tried to go for daily walks, weather permitting, and getting outside helped. Each time we went for a walk I could tell I was healing more.

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It is kind of weird to not have a workout schedule. Definitely a mind-shift. Right now I am focusing on healing and taking care of Logan.

Weight

My postpartum body was a little foreign to me. It was weird to no longer be pregnant. It was weird to think that this cute little creature was actually inside me. Then there was the weird realization that my body was in this in-between stage. No longer pregnant, but not back to my “old” self either. It kind of felt like my stomach had just deflated like a balloon!

I did get on the scale a week after he was born. Mostly I was just curious. I’d heard that you can lose something crazy like 20 pounds once you give birth and I was curious to see what it would say.

For the last two or so months of the pregnancy I stopped looking at the scale when I went to the doctor. I just didn’t want to know what my weight was and honestly, it helped me a lot mentally. It wasn’t the priority and I didn’t need the pressure or the “feelings” surrounding weight gain so I just lived in denial for a few months. It was the best decision for me. I still counted my calories, worked out, ate when I was hungry and did my best. It worked.

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When I checked in at the hospital I weighed 190 pounds. Icky number for me mentally. When I got pregnant I was 157 pounds. 7 pounds over my goal weight. So I had gained 33 pounds during the pregnancy. I was a-okay with that amount honestly! I was worried I was in the 40+ pounds territory so I was actually pretty happy to see that it had stayed in the 30’s–which was what my doctor had recommended for weight gain.

One week postpartum I had lost 18 pounds. Crazy. It’s so weird to see a “loss” like that. Eventually I will get on track and try to lose the weight but right now it’s not my priority. Eventually I will get back to some kind of exercise and I’ll try to lose those 22 pounds.

I’m not counting my calories right now, just eating regular meals and good food. I will start counting in a few weeks. Right now I am just trying to get a handle on being a mom, pumping, feeding Logan and getting rest. I will say this, though, I have had hunger like I’ve NEVER experienced. Definitely not while pregnant! It’s crazy how hungry I’ve been breastfeeding!

Emotions

Like I said, the first few days were rough. Sleep deprivation did a number on my hormones and I felt like a complete mess! I do not believe I am suffering from PPD, I don’t feel depressed or have any of the symptoms. It definitely feels like hormonal fluctuations. There have been tears, that came out of nowhere. But overall it’s manageable. As long as I get enough sleep. I’ve noticed that if I skip taking a nap or two during the day I feel the emotional stuff way more than when I routinely nap a few times. Knowing the triggers was huge and I tried to get more sleep to avoid this.

Logan and I went on our first solo outing this week and I saw my therapist. He did so great! I was a little nervous venturing outside–and driving!–without Michael but it was good, everything went smoothly (and he did so well I was even able to stop at Target on the way home for a few things, which definitely gave my confidence a boost). My therapist does not think I’m suffering from Baby Blues or PPD either. She said what I described was an obvious case of sleep deprivation and crying is my body’s way of saying “you need sleep!” That was reassuring to hear.

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Despite the bumps in the road and the obvious learning curve, things are going much better and I’m feeling pretty good. I’m so deliriously happy about this baby. Even when he’s having a fussy moment it’s hard not to stare down at him and just think he’s too adorable for words. 🙂

Logan’s Birth Story – Part 2

Part 1 is here. 

I left off with the jacuzzi tub. The nurse came in and gave me some fentanyl, which was nice and took the edge off the contractions but didn’t take away the pain. It made them still painful but I didn’t feel like I was dying! I lounged in the tub and let the drugs just kind of make me sleepy. It was hard to keep my eyes open and really only became “awake” when the contractions would come.

Finally it was starting to get to be too much. The contractions were getting worse and I was also starting to feel sick to my stomach. I don’t really do well with medications like that and even though they gave me anti-nausea medication with the fentanyl, it wasn’t helping anymore. It was time to get out of the tub and have the epidural. Michael let the nurse know and she told the anesthesiologist. We were told it could take up to 45 minutes to get going. That kind of made me panic a little bit!

Michael and the nurse helped me out of the tub, which was really hard. Not only was I slow and loopy from the medication, but the contractions were coming so fast that I’d have to stop whatever I was doing when they came. I finally got out and leaned against the hospital bed that was in the highest position it could be. I leaned over and tried to breathe through the contractions, tried not to throw up, while Michael held me and the nurse dried me off.

The walk back to our room wasn’t very far but when you’re having contractions it feels very very far away. Finally we made it back. They put the epidural in (it was around 10:30) and within a few minutes I was feeling a million times better!

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I had a little statue of a goddess giving birth that I was using as a focal point and I’d bought two LED candles, which turned out to be the best idea ever. They really helped (and we are still using them now that we’re home). I got in bed and knew that this was pretty much where I’d be for the rest of the journey. The epidural kicked in and I could still feel my body and wiggle my toes but the contractions were so manageable that I was able to sleep!

For the next two hours Michael and I slept in the dark room. At midnight the midwife came in and did the last check. I was fully effaced, at station 0 and 7cm dilated. She said that we should rest for awhile and that she figured we’d probably start the labor process around 3. Sleeping sounded fantastic!

Michael slept and I dozed off and on. I woke up a few times from the contractions and could use a button to kick in the epidural a little more. It was limited in how much and I had no idea how much or how often the button worked. I tried not to press it too often because even though the pain had been so bad I thought I couldn’t take it, now I wanted to kind of experience some of the process without being completely numb to it all.

I woke up one time and realized that I couldn’t feel my left leg at all. I could still feel the right and wiggle my toes, but the left felt completely dead. That disturbed me and I called the nurse. They came in and checked and determined everything was fine, this was just something that happened with epidurals. I still found it really disturbing and I backed off on the button even more and tried to rest without using it.

Around 3am I started to feel pressure. Instead of contractions it felt like…I guess like maybe the baby was trying to crawl out? It’s really hard to describe the feeling. The nurse came in and checked on me and said it was going to be a little bit longer before the midwife came in because she was delivering a baby next door as we spoke. That was fine with me. I just went back to dozing and listening to the baby heart beat monitor.

At 4am the midwife and nurse came in, as did the baby nurse who would be there for the birth. They prepped everything as I just laid there and then things were suddenly moving very quickly. After spending a day just waiting for things to happen it was happening!

At 4:30 we started pushing. Michael was at my side. The candles were still going and we had our music playing. I don’t remember the exact song that was playing when Logan was born but I remember the three songs that were playing as we pushed. CSNY “Suite Judy Blue Eyes” (which is funny because it’s kind of an inside joke between Michael and me), “Take It Easy” by the Eagles and “Easy” by Faith No More.

Because my left leg felt completely dead, I couldn’t hold it up to push so they put that one in a stirrup and I held the right leg. The nurse and midwife coached me on how to push, we did a practice round and then got started. They had me take a deep breathe, lean forward and push while holding my breathe (which I didn’t get at first and kept letting the air out), then inhale again, hold it and push. So three pushes each contraction and then I’d rest.

I couldn’t really feel the contractions so they told me when it was time to push, but I could feel the pressure start building and that told me that it was almost time to push, too.

After just a few rounds of pushing the midwife said he was coming! One last push and all of a sudden there were cries.

His little bird cries were precious. He wasn’t wailing, but just making it known that he was here. 🙂 They immediately put this little creature on my bare belly and he opened his eyes and stopped crying and just looked up at me and then looked all around the room. My mom said that I did the same thing when I was born.

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His little cries turned into squeaks and he settled down and just chilled while he laid on me and they did some checks–listened to his heart, lungs and took his temperature–all while snuggling with me.

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I just could not get over how alert he was and how he kept looking up at me. There were lots of happy tears and I just felt in awe of what just happened.

The rest of the stuff–I have no idea. I was kind of in my own little world with Logan and Michael. I guess the midwife delivered my placenta, didn’t feel it or remember it, and I guess we got a photo of it but I don’t remember that happening either. Then everyone left for about an hour while we just snuggled our new baby.

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Having that quiet time with just the three of us was amazing.

So after just under 30 minutes of pushing, Logan was here–8.4 pounds and 20.5 inches long!

After and hour they came back and took Logan away to do the other stuff. He was still in the room with us but over on the little baby warmer. Michael went with him while they weighed and measured him, took his foot prints and did some more testings. His Apgar score was 8 and then 9. Then they gave him back to me while they did the rest of the stuff they needed to do to check me.

Another hour of cuddles and Michael called everyone to give them the news. Then it was time to be moved to our recovery room. And I ate that piece of apple pie for breakfast. 🙂