It’s been 2 weeks since my world has changed with the birth of my little baby boy. Since we’ve been home, there’s been a lot of adjustment and reintroduction to “newborn” mode. Luckily, we’ve had a lot of help from my parents and sister who’ve been constantly checking up on us. It’s been really nice to be and feel like a complete family of 4. I sometimes catch my husband with a thousand yard stare with his realization of “we’re 4 people now”. In light of all this happy family feelings, I know I’m not 100% recovered from the delivery. I remember a lactation specialist came to my room on the day Brandon and I were being discharged. She asked me if I had any breastfeeding questions and/or concerns. During her speech, she said this: “Remember you housed your baby for 9 months; it can take 9 months for you to feel like yourself again.” I’ve never heard anyone put childbirth recovery in that perspective which makes me reflect on what I’ve been through these past 2 weeks.
I had an induced vaginal delivery with Brandon which was scheduled at the beginning of the month. There were no complications during the delivery and Brandon came into the world breathing on his own with no signs of stress. Thankfully I had no tearing that would require an episiotomy (which I had with my first born), but the doctor did have to stitch me up for some interior tearing. The pain medicine that I was taking at the hospital made me drowsy and lightheaded, but it helped ease the pain of sitting and standing. The maintenance and proper care of my area down there was not easy. It’s like going through your period that’s on steroids; the cramping and bleeding exists even after childbirth. The ease of going to and from the bathroom, the constant “diaper” pad changing and spritz of Sensi Care (or perineal/skin cleanser) was a routine that I continued at home. I relied on a couple of perineal cleanser sprays to help relieve the pain whenever I went to the bathroom where it was really uncomfortable to pee for a while. It’s been 2 weeks and the pain has definitely gone away. I still wear pads and have Sensi Care in my bathroom as backup, but the cramps and pain are no longer there. Even though the swelling and pain is gone within 2 weeks, it can take up to 6 weeks for my area down there (especially vagina) to completely heal.
For the first week of being home, I had no idea what daylight was. Days blended with each other and I had no concept of time except for when is Brandon’s next feeding. During the first couple of days of him being home, I thought I had it easy with his feeding schedule because it was consistent. But, there was one night where he was on my breast every 30-60 minutes. Whether he was actually sucking or not, I felt truly exhausted by the time my daughter was getting ready for school. I felt like my soul was sucked out of me since I practically pulled an all nighter. When I have nights like these, it’s nice to have a little help from my husband. Even though he can’t provide milk, it’s relieving to catch little Z’s while he changes his diaper or cradles him back to sleep.
During the day, it’s nice to hear my husband’s positive affirmations of what I’m doing for Brandon. He says things like “you’re starting to lose weight in your face/stomach/body/etc” to cheer me up. He even praises my perky chest whenever I’m feeding Brandon. I tell him, “Enjoy them now; they might not last long.” Other physical changes that I noticed once I got home from the hospital included my feet and ankles swelling up like sausages. Oh it was so painful to walk! I propped my feet on top of pillows for a week straight to relieve the puffiness. Thank goodness that’s gone, but I was worried it was a medical condition since I dealt with high blood pressure throughout my pregnancy. Another change I noticed was my hair and nails growing stronger and faster. They didn’t change in texture, but I noticed a difference. One change I wish didn’t have to happen was my acne. My skin was mostly clear throughout my pregnancy and pretty good for the first week I was home. But all of a sudden, I started breaking out around my jawline and chin early this week. I have heavy duty zits where some are clustered on both sides of my chin. This is a typical area for my hormonal acne pre-pregnancy so maybe this is a sign that I’ll be getting my period soon (?).
Breastfeeding has not been a stroll through the park, but an empowering feeling to provide sustenance for my son. I signed up for a Breastfeeding class at my local Babies ‘R Us before having Brandon’s delivery date changed. As I settled with the group, the instructor asked me if I was pregnant with my first. I respond with, “Oh, I just delivered my second child last week.” To her surprise, it made the group dynamic more interactive since I was able to provide some feedback of my (minimal) breastfeeding experience thus far. Overall, it’s an interesting feeling when breastfeeding. I wear different nursing pads (still testing to see which I like best) to keep myself from leaking throughout the day and night. I have a few nursing shirts that are of different styles to suit how I feed Brandon (so far, the pull down shirts are in the lead). I use nipple creams after every feeding because they get a bit sore after every feeding. And, my iPhone has become my best friend during the middle of the night feedings. I check my Facebook feed, retweet any beauty tweets on Twitter, and collect my resources on Clash of Clans. I even chat with my uncle who’s from the Philippines (time zone is 12 hours ahead of EST). I openly breastfeed Brandon in the house where my husband and daughter are not surprised to walk into a room and see a little head on my exposed breast. I do cover him when my parents come over (yet, I can feed him openly when my sister is here). When I first fed Brandon in front of my daughter, she asked me questions like, “is that the same milk that I drink?” or “are you going to feed him your other boob?” and “does he like cookies?” She’s been receptive to all the new things she’s been learning about her baby brother. Her newborn brother has had a positive influence to her especially in school. Every morning, she storms into our room saying “good morning brother.” She’s by his side every time he cries, kisses him whenever he’s awake, and calls him “little fella”. Despite their age difference, she’s already becoming a protective big sister who’s loving and willing to do anything for him.
These past 2 weeks have been a big learning curve for everyone in my household. It hasn’t been easy, but I think we’re doing a pretty good job. I know that I still have a long road ahead of me to finally feel like me. But for now, I’m enjoying every minute watching my little Brandon grow.