Parenthood and the first week postpartum
I'm seven days postpartum today and what a crazy week it's been. It still doesn't seem real that I'm someone's parent and I've surprised myself with how naturally being a mom is coming to me. For someone who was convinced she was lacking any kind of maternal gene and was terrified to be a mom to anyone other than a fur kid, this is quite a pleasant surprise.
Our little family is adjusting well and Baby B fits right in! (We've even discussed the possibility of a second child - craziness - and that could also be the first week with the novelty of a newborn talking...or the pain killers.) So anyway, enough crazy talk because I'm definitely not ready to be pregnant again for a very long, long time (if ever), but here are a few of my thoughts and experiences over the past week:
Labor and delivery
Overall, I got the relatively easy labor and delivery I was hoping for. I did have to be induced at 40 weeks, 3 days because of dangerously low amniotic fluid. I was hoping that Baby B would come on his own without prompting, but that's just not the way it worked out. After being in labor for 10 hours and making endless laps around the maternity ward to avoid the second round of induction medication as long as possible, I finally caved and got the epidural along with the pitocin to continue the labor process. Originally, I was undecided about whether to get the epidural, but the pain just got the best of me. After the epidural, I had six more hours of totally painless labor followed by 45 minutes of pushing and then Baby B made his debut.
How I'm feeling
Pretty great, considering I'm only seven days postpartum. I feel mostly back to normal with the exception of healing from some significant tearing. Baby B was small (just 7 pounds, 5 ounces at birth), but he was also face up, which can (and did) cause a little more injury than a face down baby. But despite the injuries, I'm able to be up and about, running short errands to places like Target or the grocery store, and walking at least one mile a day since day five postpartum, either around the neighborhood or at the beach (and of course, the dogs, D and B come along for some family bonding time).
How I'm looking
After everything I've read and heard about how pregnancy ruins your body and the fear it struck in my heart, I can't say that I feel that way. When I look in the mirror, I don't see some foreign body staring back. I look like me, and everything is slowly shifting back into place, the pounds are coming off, and I don't look pregnant like I expected to after giving birth. I feel mostly like myself with just a few extra pounds, but my overall proportions haven't changed with the exception of a little larger assets on top (is that really such a bad thing?).
I realize it's not like this for everyone and I feel incredibly lucky to be recovering so well and so quickly. And while I'm feeling great and anxious to get back to running, I know I need to let myself recover completely before attempting that. Hopefully within the next few weeks, I'll be cleared.
How are the dogs
One of my biggest concerns was how the dogs were going to react to this new little person. After all, they were my babies first. But they have been awesome. They've been very curious, but gentle and nice, and they've easily returned to their regular routines of napping, eating, sunning themselves in the yard, and licking their butts. Maybe it's been so easy for them because we have four dogs, so they're used to new additions and no one dog is the center of attention. I think this makes an excellent case for more beagles! (Although, D may disagree.)
I was initially concerned that the dogs would be bothered by Baby B's crying and that he'd be bothered by their barking, but so far, no one cares. Of course, that could change as Baby B becomes more aware of his surroundings.
Probably the most unexpected thing with the dogs is that the beagles suddenly feel like they weigh as much as a baby elephant. I used to think they were small, but compared to my little baby, picking up a 20 to 25 pound dog feels like lifting a bag of rocks.
Things I've learned in week one
- Multitasking is an art that motherhood perfects - Breastfeeding while blog posting? I can do that. Carrying a baby around while trying to get breakfast together. Yep, done. Cleaning up dog vomit while consoling a tired infant? Sure, no problem. I've got a long way to go with mastering multitasking, but I'm sure I'll get more proficient as we go along.
- Breastfeeding is hard(and it also feels like full-time job) - Everyone makes it sound like the most natural thing in the world, but it's challenging. I had some serious supply issues that resulted in a scary weight loss for Baby B. It was so severe that both my lactation consultant and Baby B's pediatrician told me I had to supplement with formula, which really upset me. But we're on the end of that now as my supply has started to increase and he clearly prefers breast milk to formula, so overall I don't think this affected him too much. I was so scared I wouldn't be able to breastfeed him exclusively, but thankfully, this seems to be improving every day.
- I need to learn to relax - I have this long list of things I want/need to do every day (that multitasking thing), but this is my maternity leave and I'll never get this time with Baby B back, so I need to take advantage of it because I'll be back at work way too soon. The crazy multitasking can wait.
- I like buying things as much (if not more) for Baby B as for myself - Cute little onsie or a new necklace? I'll probably go for the onsie. Baby clothes are so freaking cute and he looks so adorable in them!
Things that I missed during pregnancy that I'm glad to have back
- Bending over, touching my toes, easily shaving my legs, stretching into a seated forward bend, and generally being flexible and having a full range of motion again
- Breathing easily no matter what kind of activity I'm doing (like walking)
- Sleeping on my stomach
- Drinking beer (although I haven't had any yet because of said milk supply issue. I want to get that under control before I go wasting liquid gold on a dark chocolate porter).
Whew! That was a long post, but hey, I've had a major life change over the past week and this sweet little boy makes me really happy!