Giving birth was a breathtaking, amazing experience. The time after–healing–is not the most pleasant time. If you are a lady and have never (vaginally) given birth before, imagine your lady parts bulging out down there as if they were a whole seperate entity. I never realized that I’d be seeing all layers of my labia when looking at my bottom. And that they would look huge! Like a giant’s labia. And that it would feel like there was flesh hanging down between my legs when I walk…. because… there was flesh… Ok, Mr., you can stop smiling now–it does feel weird for a woman. Apart from feeling strange, there was nothing much too bad about it. It didn’t hurt, really. I used frozen witch hazel pads, which we had prepared ahead of time. I was supposed to keep my legs together. Following my midwife’s medical advice is probably the reason I healed so well and so fast. The really painful part was my bones. Oh my gosh, my tailbone was worse than ever! And my butt joined right in with the pain. I had to stay in bed the first few days to help my body heal quicker, but oh my bones did not like that at all. I sat on a heating pad, which gave only some relief. I had minor cramps, but not for long. I had almost stopped bleeding six days postpartum, but it picked up again afterwards.
My medical team has been so supportive during this time of healing, giving me all the advice and natural remedies I needed, including a sitzbath and a bottle with herbal water to spray at my lady parts during each bathroom visit. The coolness of that really eased the burning sensation when doing my business. I was given Arnica pills, some special honey to help heal the little nick, was provided with drinks and food and pillows. I was really well cared for by everyone, including my dear husband and my mom once she arrived Oct. 20. And having my baby in bed with me, in my arms almost 24/7 was of course my special treat.
Nursing proved to be a challenge in the early days. Savina wouldn’t latch on right and my nipples got sooooo sore! To the point where they got blood-red and rough looking. My midwife brought a lactation consultant to one of our postpartum visits, which I’m so thankful for! At first she scared me a little bit, putting pressure on me that the baby needs to gain weight, and if we can’t make it work I may have to supplement. I felt horrible not being able to feed my baby! Apart from Savina not latching right, my colostrum didn’t flow well. I was just not getting a lot. We tried pumping but I was lucky to get 2 or 3 drops. Also, pumping really hurt bad! I tried hand extraction too, but nothing would come out. The LC brought a feeding cup for Savina, and when my milk finally came in, I was able to pump very little amounts to cup feed her. I got like half an ounce in 20 minutes of pumping, ignoring the pain, so my little girl could have some nourishment! At first it was a challenge to cup feed her, careful not to pour the milk in and have her choke on it. She had to lick it out of the cup herself–quite the challenge indeed. I had to hold the cup just right so that she could get at the milk but I wouldn’t be pouring it into her mouth. We only cup-fed her twice because I just couldn’t take the pain of pumping anymore. The Tommy Tippee double electric pump has a silicone horn, which I now believe was the problem. I’d continued having painful and swollen and reddened nipples when using the pump even after I’d started doing well nursing Savina. They finally sent us a manual pump, where the horn is not silicone, and that seems to work much better for me. So, since I couldn’t pump, the LC came again and brought nipple shields. Thank god for the invention of those miraculous little things! I’ve been able to nurse her with those shields just fine. She started latching well, and by now I can even feed her well without–she latches just fine without them. It’s still painful if I nurse her without the shields several times a day, and I have to usually give it a rest for a few days after that, but we’re slowly getting there. Yay.
Motherhood has been very wonderful, rewarding, amazing so far, but also a challenge in the first few days. I had no idea of the trials to come in the following weeks…
My “yay” of today: I finally fit in one of my pre-pregnancy pants again! 🙂