This post contains affiliate links.
So in April Miss Margaret turned one month old and what a whirlwind that first month was for us all as a new family. One of the things we did was I basically “went to bed” for two weeks. Other than the required appointments for Margaret, I didn’t leave the house. Here’s some of my thoughts that I typed out and saved as draft before finally posting… in September. Amazing how things have changed…
After delivering Margaret (and enjoying our peaceful 2 hours of skin-to-skin and a few sweet attempts for her to feed from me, they moved us into the recovery wing of the L&D at Martha Jefferson. It was a beautiful few days with a view of Carter Mountain and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Margaret was with us the entire time except that first night when a sweet nurse said she was going to “give her a bath” and “bring her right back” and she was sympathetic to the fact that I hadn’t slept in 2 days so Mike and I got a blissful 5 hours of sleep. Outside of the amazing staff, I really wanted to leave the hospital as soon as possible… the hospital bed was really uncomfortable (as I felt relatively fine, just sore and mentally all over the map) with the bar that folds the bed riding into my back… and the nursing staff was absolutely amazing… but their frequent bursts of coming in and out would coincide with being right when Margaret and I had gone to sleep which was honestly incredibly jarring. My parents came to visit and my Mom would be joining us at our home the day of discharge. There was some drama about my discharge but thankfully that was remedied and so M and I were able to take Margaret home by around 2pm on Friday, March 24. Starting with discharge day, I used the Notes app on my iPhone to log in feedings (which side, how long) and diapers (type of diaper) – this has proven to be SO helpful when the Pediatrician asks questions at appointments!
So M took a month off from work, and my Mom stayed with us for two full weeks and then came back and stayed with us for another week at around Week 4 and 5. (One of those, “Thanks Mom, we’re good now.” to “JK Mom PLZ COME BACK HALLLPPPPP”). I had been on a cooking frenzy before the baby arrived and so I had split pea soup, chicken tortilla soup, chili, lasagna and a bunch of frozen stuff ready to go in our deep freezer.
I really cannot recall a whole bunch of our days but I know I was bad about sleeping as I like to read to defuse and relax before bed. I struggled to sleep as Margaret struggled to sleep in her HALO Bassinest. We had ordered a new bed/frame and the metal basic one kept creaking and making noises which kept bothering poor Margaret! Then we made the mistake of introducing her crib to her during one very early naptime and that was it. She probably would have loved the Bassinest if we hadn’t shared with her the glorious roominess of the crib. That said, the Bassinest was great for AM naps and when we needed to run to the restroom. Our long waisted and long-legged baby girl liked having stretch out room! So… sadly… M took the night shift (he handles shorter sleep shifts than I) and moved into the nursery with the twin size bed and the crib while I stayed in the master to sleep nice and long overnight. This helped my mental health and prevented post-partum depression, I am fairly certain. That solid sleep almost every night made a MASSIVE difference.
Because Margaret was discharged at the adorable but light weight of 6 pounds, 1 ounce, we had to see our pediatrician a little bit more frequently than is typical. On Friday the 25th the pediatrician weighed her at 6 pounds 1 ounce. On Tuesday March 28th, the lactation consultant was really proud of us for trying to increase my ability to feed (nips couldn’t do it alone, so I had been pumping to keep supply up and Margaret took a spoon okay, but nipple shields were our saving grace. Nips were starting to look a bit worse for wear (and not in the good way) and I had been drinking a little bit of milkmaid tea to keep things going in the early first days due to the feeding issue. Anyway, Caycee the LC told us that (1) my latch was awesome… so clearly it was the nips themselves not a latch issue and (2) Margaret had gained more than 1 ounce a day since our previous appointment which was amazing! So on 3/28/17 Margaret weighed 6 pounds 5 ounces. On the 30th (Thursday) the umbilical cord stump came off – which honestly was GREAT as that thing was both fascinating from a science standpoint but also really weird? and inconvenient location (in the postpartum life). So that was a big development that day, haha!
We gave Margaret her first bath on Friday, March 31:
Heading into April was such a blur! Margaret typically had me feeding her around midnight, then 4ish AM then 7/8AM, 10AM, 2/3PM, 4PM, 6/7PM, 8PM, 10PM, 11PM. Sometimes it was for an hour at a time (both sides). Due to my PCOS, my Doctor has had me stay on Metformin as I breastfeed. Staying on this medication has prevented me from losing supply. It has been such a relief to feed Margaret as needed and while it’s been tiresome her output and growth (head circumference and length have always changed the most over weight gain) have been great so I haven’t cared over wanting our girl to thrive! (Don’t get me wrong, I definitely on occasion would say “already?!” as I was tired and adjusting and dealing with hormones!) Her two week appointment on Wednesday April 5th was great, too. We started Margaret on Vitamin D drops and she didn’t fight us too hard on them. She continued to gain weight while I exclusively breastfed. I would pump and put them in our deep freezer… eventually enabling me to donate some milk when I could. During her second bath ever she peed on me as I pulled her out to wrap her in a towel. That was hysterical and happy for me… better than poop, right? When we got to one month of age, we started her on a bottle. We did this typically only as her last feeding for the night and/or when I would leave to have some “mommy free time.” At her one month appointment she was already up to 8 pounds and 22″.
Some get real thoughts:
1. If I hadn’t had an amazing nurse (Nancy!) during delivery, I probably wouldn’t have had such an amazing gluten free dinner of chicken caesar salad and 2 servings of french fries. She was my hero in making sure I got the right nourishment to recover my body. Each AM I had like 3 hard boiled eggs, too, just to make sure I had plenty of protein! Make sure your nurse helps you feed solids again ASAP during recovery. It’s so important and it will totally help your mood, too!
2. The nurse who has the honor of helping you go from wheelchair to bed or bed to wheelchair to toilet is a G-D saint. Then there is your postpartum lady bits ensemble to ease pain – the mesh panties are a real thing, as are kinda stretchy biker shorts, ice pads, Dermoplast spray around your parts, witch hazel pre-moistened pads (the ones for hemorrhoids are heaven all over the lower half), adult diapers (that are like underwear so actually perfect under your sweats/yoga pants) and that isn’t including the pain killers and stool softeners. NEVER turn away the stool softeners. Seriously.
3. Don’t go up and down stairs. Just don’t. I missed that part on our paperwork until like 2+ weeks later and it didn’t help with my postpartum bleeding. At least I know this information for next time. Hopefully by that point we will have a main level master bedroom or something slightly more convenient?
4. Nothing is supposed to make sense and life shouldn’t feel normal. Don’t put on appearances. Truly. Just try to relax your mind and don’t be afraid to cry and be whatever or whoever you need to be as your mind/body/self heals.
5. Nipple shields are not something to be ashamed of. Some of us are just not built to breastfeed without them as we’re not equipped with adjustable nipples like other women. And that’s ok. She’s still getting your milk, dammit, so who cares!? No shame, baby gets fed through the shield which is great, nips are only happy when you pump, and you figure it all out!
6. Amazon Prime is SO helpful. So are local shops that may have classes or provide advice. We really were grateful I over prepared as we honestly think it was why I didn’t have that typical postpartum anxiety. If you love to read and are a fan of learning the good and the bad without getting wrapped up in hypotheticals, you may be like me and always have options A, B, C, D, E, F etc. etc.!
I hope if anyone reading this post has any questions, they know I am happy to answer anything at all! I’m an open book on my experiences.