Tag Archives: c-section recovery

3/28, one month already!

So here’s a look at what we’ve been up to the last few weeks (can’t believe its been a month already since she was born!).

We got home on Sunday, March 3rd and that whole first week seems like such a blur. Thankfully, Tim was home with me that whole first week and I found I really needed him. Even though he couldn’t feed her, he was able to help with diaper changes and allowed me to take care of myself as well as take care of her. I was pretty sore from the surgery still. I stayed on the painkillers for a few days after going home and that helped. I noticed mostly that I still wasn’t really able to bend over. I couldn’t bend over at the end of pregnancy because I had a huge belly in the way and now it was just that it hurt. Still, I got around ok. I couldn’t drive the first week, but since Tim was home, I didn’t really need to. I was incredibly swollen! I weighed myself the day after we got home and I had only lost 8.2 pounds since giving birth (and baby was about 7.5 of that!). I could see all the extra fluid from the IV’s they gave me. My ankles and feet were swollen and my face even looked really puffy. I think overall I still looked 5 or 6 months pregnant in the belly. It takes a while for your uterus to shrink back down, but even besides that all your organs had been pressed up to make room for your enlarged uterus. Add that to the weak abdomen muscles that pull everything in tight and its no wonder things still look very pudgy. I honestly wasn’t worried about it though. I was exhausted and caught up in being a new mom.

The night sweats were something else! I had heard that you sweat during the night, but I wasn’t totally prepared. I would wake up to feed Alexandra and look like I had just run a marathon. We’re not talking about a little perspiration. We’re talking about hair soaked, sheets wet, uncomfortable! I would get out of bed to feed Alexandra and be so cold! But I knew that was the body’s way of getting rid of all the extra fluids so I was ok with it. By that Friday when I stepped on the scale again I had lost 14.4 pounds!

Alexandra was doing great! She was breastfeeding very well, very often and she slept a lot. We took her to her first doctor’s appointment a few days after we were released from the hospital. They wanted to see her sooner because of everything that she had been through during birth. Everything was great! She was already back up to her birth weight which the doctor said was “surprising in a good way for a baby exclusively breastfeeding”.

With Tim being home and Alexandra sleeping a lot, it was a great week and we were both enjoying being new parents. Sure, we were sleep deprived, but we had expected that. I had my 30th birthday that Thursday (when she was exactly a week old). Because of everything going on in our lives it didn’t really seem like such a big deal. I didn’t put much thought into turning 30 at all or think if I had accomplished everything I had wanted to by this point in my life. I was a new mom with a wonderful daughter that I fell more and more in love with by the day. All that being said, it was the perfect day for me. Tim went out and brought home Jimmy John’s for lunch (the whole pregnancy I had to give up cold cut meats so I was so happy to enjoy my Jimy Johns again). We spent the whole day just being a family and lots of family and friends called or sent cards (or flowers from my sister and brother in law) to wish me a happy birthday. For dinner my brother and sister in law came over and we ordered Italian food. I even got Alexandra to take a bottle of pumped milk which allowed me to have a Sam Adams Cherry Wheat beer which I had also been craving during the pregnancy.

So if the first week was the “honeymoon” period, week 2 was…well if I’m honest, pretty much a nightmare, except for my little Angel of course.

Tim went back to work on Monday and I found it was a lot harder trying to manage by myself. I had all these grand ideas about keeping a perfect house and cooking great family dinners since I’d be home all day and babies sleep a lot, right?!

Suddenly our sleeping beauty started being awake A LOT more! And when she was awake, she was fussy and just wanted to feed ALL THE TIME! In our breastfeeding class they told us to always just feed whenever they want to because they could be going through a growth spurt and they will know how much they need. So I was feeding her every 30-60 minutes…and that’s from the start of one feeding to the start of the next! This continued day and night. Sometimes she would feed for 30 minutes, other times only 5 or 10. After a couple days of this I was more stressed out and exhausted than I think I have ever been in my life. If she was feeding every 30-60 minutes it meant that I was sleeping maybe 20-40 minutes at a time. Additionally, she was having tons of diapers. So I honestly felt like 24 hours a day I was in this diaper change, feed, burp, change…sleep for 20 minutes, repeat. I started reading things while I was spending so much time feeding and realized that she was over double the recommended diapers per day. They say a baby is getting enough to eat when they have 6 poopy diapers a day…she was easily going through 14 or more and they were all very wet, which I read is not good.

So I called the pediatrician. They said it could be acid reflux but that they don’t diagnose it or treat it until the baby is 3 weeks old. They suggested burping more frequently, putting towels under her bassinet mattress to raise it to a 30 degree angle, eliminating dairy from my diet (some babies immature digestive systems can’t process a protein in milk), as well as caffeine and chocolate. They also said that I was feeding her way too frequently and that was probably what was causing all the diapers. They told me to not feed her more often than every 2 hours. So I asked what to do when she cries and cries until her next feed: “you’re just going to have to find other ways to soothe her.”

So I started right away with everything they suggested. It was NOT easy. She still wanted to feed constantly so she would just cry and cry and I would want to rip my hair out waiting for 2 hours to pass. She absolutely would not sleep! When they are too tired, they can actually have a harder time falling asleep so it was just everything working against us. I felt terrible for her. She was so frustrated and seemed to be in physical pain after feedings and there was nothing I could do to comfort her. It really makes you feel like you’re failing at being a mom when you rock, kiss, talk to, sing to, dance with your baby and she just screams anyway. I started to feel like she didn’t need me for comfort…just needed the food I provided.

Well, the thing that happens when you’re establishing your breast milk supply is that it responds to demand. So since she was feeding so frequently, I started producing to keep up with her needs. Then when I started holding her off to only every 2 hours, my breasts started to get really full, engorgement. It was uncomfortable and I would have pumped to relieve it some except that I had no time to pump when I was either changing a diaper, feeding, or holding her trying to get her to stop crying.

A couple days later in the afternoon I started to really not feel great. I was freezing, even though my house was just as warm as it always was. I was exhausted and felt like I didn’t have the energy to do anything. So when I finally got Alexandra to sleep, I decided to try to sleep too. I got in my bed under the covers fully clothed and could not get warm. I attributed it to hormones since they were to blame for making me sweat like a linebacker at night. I attributed the tiredness to the fact that I hadn’t been sleeping very much. Well, I finally fell asleep for about an hour and woke up with a horrible headache. I decided to take my temperature since I was still freezing and it was 104.8! That was the highest fever I’d ever had to that point.

So immediately I checked Alexandra and Thank God her temperature was normal! So I called my doctor’s office and spoke to the on call doctor. She asked me a lot of questions about my incision but it seemed fine. She also asked me about my breasts…and at the time, they seemed normal too. She told me to take some ibuprofen and if it didn’t go down in 24 hours, call back.

Well, the fever did not break. I kept checking it at night and it was still well above 100. Sometime in the middle of the night I got up to change and feed Alexandra and as I was carrying her to the nursery I started to feel really dizzy and my feet even stumbled a bit. This terrified me because I feared that I could drop her. When I got back to bed I checked my temp again and it was 105.3! I woke up Tim and had him help me with changing her the rest of the night. Unfortunately Tim had to be gone the whole next day so I knew I was on my own. Fortunately though in the morning I had a very distinctive hard, painful lump in my left breast that was really red. That was one of the things the doctor had asked me about so I called back. I had developed mastitis, which is an infection of the breast that has to be treated with antibiotics.

There’s that saying “God never gives you more than you can handle” and on this day it was so true. Tim was gone. I felt awful and just wanted to sleep all day. Alexandra was great all day and went 3 hours in between most of her feedings and slept a lot, allowing me to do the same. The next morning when I woke up I already felt a lot better from the antibiotics. My breast was still very sore, but the fever was gone so I had some energy back. And Alexandra was back to being very fussy.

The next week was probably one of the hardest I’ve gone through. It tested me in a way that no endurance event I’ve ever done has. I love my little girl, and that never wavered through anything. However, I felt like my sanity was slowing slipping away day by day. I wasn’t sleeping and I started to dread the nights because they brought the hope of getting some sleep and I was always disappointed. The days were long and I couldn’t wait for Tim to get home from work so that I could have a break. Sometimes she would just cry and cry and cry and a couple times I just put her down in her bassinet and closed the door and sat right outside and put my head in my hands and slumped down and cried myself for 5 minutes before I could go back in and try everything all over again. Over the weekend Tim got to see what I was talking about. By Sunday afternoon he had already made the decision he couldn’t go to work on Monday, that he needed to help me. I was beyond thankful! I called the pediatrician again on Monday morning and they had us come in the same day.

They ended up diagnosing her with acid reflux, even though she wasn’t quite 3 weeks old. We got a prescription for ranitidine and with it, a full jar of hope! I knew it wouldn’t be an immediate fix (they say it takes a few days) but there was hopefully some relief in the near future. So we gave her the medicine (which is flavored MINT for a baby?) which she hated and spit out immediately after I put it in her mouth. Thankfully, I have an awesome sister in law that also dealt with a baby with acid reflux and told me that pharmacy can put grape flavor in it. So I took it back, the pharmacist gave me a hard time, but finally added it anyway (I was not going to take no for an answer) and Alexandra has been taking it much better ever since.

It didn’t work right away and during those days I remember I got through it by repeating to myself over and over again “this is not forever, its only temporary”. I knew even if the meds didn’t help, that colic doesn’t last forever in babies. I imagined that I was going through some kind of boot camp. There’s an end in sight and you won’t be getting by on 20 minutes four times a night forever. That seemed to make it at least bearable.

Finally, after a few days we did see a remarkable improvement! The first night she slept for 3 hours straight I wanted to cry in happiness! She was spitting up and vomiting a lot less and not always looking like she was in so much pain after feedings. She still seemed to have painful gas/bowel movements and that kept her fussy, but it wasn’t nearly as bad. Additionally, we would have “good days” and “bad days” but the bad days weren’t nearly as bad as they were before. I was wondering/hoping that some of her digestive discomfort was due to the antibiotics I was on and that once I was done with them, she would improve. Any little bit of hope you can cling to when dealing with a colicky baby can make a huge difference in your mental health.

The Hospital Stay, 3/22/13

The days following Alexandra’s birth were the happiest and scariest of my life.  It was a wild roller coaster of emotions.

We knew they were treating Alexandra as though she had an infection until they had the results.  A pediatrician met with us later on Thursday and explained everything that was going on.  They didn’t know what kind of infection my uterus had but they had my placenta and were doing tests on it to find out.  They had me and Alexandra both on lots of antibiotics.  The first day I was hooked up to an IV and a catheter.  I was given a lot of drugs to control the pain.  I had an ice bag over my incision that I couldn’t even feel.  I felt groggy, but happy to have my baby.  Later on in the day the nurse helped me get up and walk around the room a bit.

Alexandra was wonderful.  We had some visitors and she mostly just slept.

That first night was awesome and scary.  We opted to keep her in our room overnight since we had already spent so much time away from her.  I woke her up every 2 to 3 hours to feed and she did quite well.  It was a group effort though since I couldn’t really get out of bed on my own, Tim had to help with everything.  I think I dozed off and got maybe 15-20 minutes of sleep at a time because I kept looking at her to make sure she was still breathing.  Sometimes she was wide awake and would just stare at me, wide eyed and it brought tears to my eyes just thinking about how wonderful she is.  I didn’t think anything on earth could be any cuter than she was when she looked at me with those big blue eyes and squirmed around kicking up her feet.

She hadn’t really cried a lot yet, so suddenly at 2 am when she started screaming it took Tim and I by surprise and we kind of looked at each other like “what do we do?”  She had just been fed so I didn’t think she was hungry.  We both seemed to realize at the same time that it could be her diaper.  If there had been a camera in that room that night capturing what ensued it would have been hilarious!  It was like the blind leading the blind.  She hadn’t had a dirty diaper yet and we had no idea where the new diapers were or wipes or anything!  We got it done, and I have to admit that we naively believed that we were navigating the challenges of parenthood quite well.  HA!

The next day we received some mixed news.  Alexandra’s white blood cells were showing some immature cells which typically is a sign of stress.  The pediatrician explained that it could be just from the stressful birth, but it was definitely an abnormal result.  I was still running a fever, but luckily her temperature was normal every time they checked.  They wouldn’t have cultures until sometime on Saturday.

Alexandra was a great little baby though and seemed so healthy, which the doctors kept telling us was a great sign!

I will offer some advice for first time parents that I heard and wished I’d followed more.  We had so many visitors, which was great, and we enjoyed having everyone there and seeing her.  But they would bring me meals and if someone was there I felt impolite eating in front of them so I’d let the food sit and then by the time I could eat it, it had been out too long.  Finally though I got past my guilt and just started eating in front of people.  Don’t be shy either about kicking people out of the room to feed.  Its so important to establish a schedule and your milk supply and the baby is too young to wake herself up and let you know its time to feed.

Saturday morning was awful.  Shortly after my breakfast Tim headed over to our house for the first time since we left early Thursday morning.  The nurse came in and said they needed Alexandra for a little bit to take more blood cultures and give her her antibiotics.  She was scheduled to have pictures in an hour and the nurse said she’d be back by then.  I figured it would give me time to get in a shower so I said ok.  I got out of the shower, no baby.  I got dressed and ready, no baby.  The photographer came to the room and I had to tell her we weren’t ready yet.  I waited and waited.  I hadn’t left the room yet and even though I was off my IV now and could, Tim was still at home and I felt strange leaving all our stuff in our room with no one.  I paced around the room and finally couldn’t stand it anymore and walked outside to the nursery.

What I saw I will unfortunately never forget.  My 2 day old baby was on a table where a nurse was holding down her foot as she screamed, white in the face, fists in the air.  There was blood on the blankets, her feet were wrapped in bloody bandages and her hands had big bruises.  She had been gone for 2 and a half hours.  I asked what was going on and they told me that she wouldn’t stop kicking so they had to hold her foot down while the IV went in.  They also said her blood kept clotting in the tube so they had to keep poking and repoking her and taking more blood for the lab.  I couldn’t help it.  I broke down and started crying right there.  I held onto her little hand and looked at her angry face and tried talking to her while they gave her the IV but when they had to poke her bruised hand again, I had to leave.  I felt sick.  I wanted to be there for her, but I just bawled.  I can’t explain just how horrible it was to watch her in so much pain.  She had been enduring that for 2 and a half hours!!!  My heart broke for her.  She was only 2 days old and it wasn’t fair that she had to go through this.  I knew it was for her own good, but she didn’t.  I felt horribly guilty too that it was my infection that caused all of this.

I called Tim so upset and told him that I needed him to be here.  I was an emotional mess the rest of the day.  Finally, we received some great news.  All of her cultures came back negative!  They wanted to keep me one more day due to my fever just going down, but we were ok to go home on Sunday!  Of course I cried again, this time tears of joy.  They had the results from my placenta back and had determined I had group B strep in my uterus.  They test all pregnant women for this at 36 weeks and my test was negative, so how I had it undetected I guess I’ll never know.  While the pediatrician assured us this was great news, he also told us that she could still develop the infection a week later.  He told us we had to be very diligent about watching her for signs and fever and immediately take her in at the sign that anything was wrong.  He also cautioned that there is a lot of nasty flu going around this year.  He told us we should keep her away from public places, not let people touch her without washing their hands and not let anyone who is sick be around her at all.  I asked how long and he looked at me with all seriousness and said “June.”  That’s just what an over protective parent needs to hear, LOL!

So finally, on Sunday afternoon we wrapped up our little girl, put her in her car seat and took her to her new home!  Best day ever!