Sunday, August 17, 2014

Postpartum Reflections

{Originally written on June 23, 2014 -- Sorry for the late posting!  I was originally waiting to post this until after I shared Emily's birth story but that took a little longer then I expected!}

In the first couple weeks after Emily was born, I did a lot of staring at her.  Who am I kidding, I still do.  ;)  But while she slept cozily in my arms, I realized a few things about my childbirth experience....

Labor & Delivery

I expected labor and delivery to be harder than it was.  Yes, my delivery was dramatic {and some might say traumatic} but aside from "the Pitocin incident", I think it was generally easier than I'd imagined.  Yes, there was pain, but thanks to modern medicine it was mostly bearable and more important, fleeting.  By the time Emily came out, I honestly didn't care about what I'd just gone through.  When Shep calculated the number of hours I'd been in labor and pushing, I was shocked.  It didn't seem that long while I was going through it.  I guess I was so distracted by the thought of meeting the newest love of my life that not much else phased me!  I recall Dr. R. express surprise at how I was smiling and making jokes during labor and praising how long I pushed for and how I "never complained once" throughout the long process.  I reminded her about my Pitocin crying incident, to which she thought my response was "appropriate".  Wow, I guess if a doctor with decades of years of experience delivering babies thought I did a good job at keeping my cool, that's something to be proud of!


This is the category that surprised me the most.  Perhaps my 3rd degree tear {ouch!} is to blame, but my physical recovery was much more painful than I realized it would be.  Sure, I knew that my lady parts would hurt after squeezing a watermelon-sized baby out of a much smaller opening.  But, I didn't realize the extent to which that pain and soreness would affect daily functioning -- going to the bathroom, taking a shower, bending over, sitting down, lifting my leg up to put pants on...  I didn't feel like a fully functioning human until almost several weeks after Emily's birth, and didn't feel 100% back to "normal" until Week 5-6.


Shep and I always joke that the only hobby I have in life is sleeping.  Needless to say, I was terrified of the lack of sleep, and how it might affect me.  Sleep deprivation, after all, is no joke -- anything that is used as a torture tactic is no walk in the park.  I'm not sure whether the lack of sleep I experienced during most of my pregnancy and especially during my last trimester primed me for the sleepless nights of new motherhood, or whether "new mom" adrenaline is to thank, but I didn't sleep more than a dozen hours the entire first week of Emily's life and I honestly did not feel tired.  I didn't sleep the night or day I was in labor, nor did I sleep a wink my first postpartum night in the hospital.  I think I was awake for over 48 hours straight and could not fall asleep, nor did I feel like I needed to.  I got maybe 1 hour of sleep during my second postpartum night and a maximum of 1 hour of sleep each of the first 2 nights we were home from the hospital.  But shockingly, I didn't feel it!  It wasn't really until the week leading up to her 4 week birthday that any fatigue hit me... but even so, it isn't nearly as bad as I'd once dreaded it to be.  In fact, I almost pop out of bed when I hear my little love start to stir or cry... in a way, she energizes me!


During my pregnancy, I was very worried about breastfeeding.  What if I didn't produce any milk, or it hurt, or I didn't know how to do it right?  To my great surprise, Emily latched on like a champ as soon as I got into my recovery room after her delivery, and she kept on latching and feeding like a pro for the first several weeks.  It wasn't until about 20 days after she was born that I started having some issues with her staying latched.  She would pull off, bob her head back and forth, and other fun things that made me question what the heck she was doing!  But, so far we've soldiered on through it and I'm counting on this temporary tricky patch to disappear like a designer dress on the clearance rack at TJ Maxx.

All in all -- every step I've taken to get to this point has been sooooo worth it, just to get to hold my sweet little snuggly in my arms.

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