An Open Letter To My Daughter’s Teacher

Tomorrow is the last day of school before summer break begins. I can imagine that the last few weeks of school are rough. The kids are restless and eager for all of the fun, end-of-year activities and then summer. The parents are anxiously awaiting that last test, asking for that last conference to see if little Timmy or Sally will be moving on to the next grade. Your days must be spent corralling and calming children and parents alike.  Continue reading “An Open Letter To My Daughter’s Teacher”

More Eva

Today, Eva had a talent show at school. Her profound talent she wanted to share with the school is hula hooping. More precisely, hula hooping around her neck.

As we were getting ready this morning, she made sure I knew which one of us was to be the star today.  Continue reading “More Eva”

Postpartum: My Breastfeeding Experience

As I have mentioned before, I’m not a fan of breastfeeding. It wasn’t something that conjured warm, fuzzy feelings for me. My plan was to pump and then bottle feed my son. Feeding directly from the tap (the boobies) was something I was prepared to do long enough to establish my milk supply, but that’s it. I do not have any desire to breastfeed.

That being said, my plans have changed. I still do not remotely enjoy breastfeeding, but I can’t pump enough milk to meet my son’s needs. So, from the tap it shall be!  Continue reading “Postpartum: My Breastfeeding Experience”

Postpartum: My Physical Experience

Warning: This post is going to be a bit gross and personal as I discuss things like postpartum bleeding. If you aren’t up for that, stop reading now.

My obstetrician lied to me. She was very confident that I would only bleed for two weeks, maximum. I told her about last time with Eva (my 7-year-old daughter); I bled for a full six weeks. She looked at me with one raised eyebrow and then moved on. Well, like I said, she lied.

I bled for a bit over four weeks.

Then I started a period.

Lord, help me.

What happened to my PCOS and all of my really random, spaced out periods? What is this? Does this mean things are working a bit better than before?

Cue unexplained weight gain of 10 pounds in four days.

Whaa? Huh? Color me clueless.

I started pregnancy at 217 lbs. The day before I delivered, I weighed 223.6 lbs. Two weeks postpartum, I was at 208 lbs. So, in fairness to all the women trying to shed baby weight I guess the universe decided I needed those 10 lbs back. 218 lbs now.

Cue a small meltdown. I know, I’m ridiculous.

But the point I was getting to is this:

Could this sudden weight gain be a sign that my PCOS is indeed back in high gear already? Did that period somehow trigger it?

At my six week appointment, my obstetrician didn’t know what to say about the 10 lbs, but she was confident it wasn’t a result of PCOS coming back with a vengeance. At least she has faith things will be better on the PCOS front for a bit. I’m certainly not in the least bit confident. She was also confident that I am probably ovulating all on my own these days for at least the next couple of months (she said 6 months but I hate to be that optimistic).

So what do I do about birth control? Do I even want birth control? I am game for another baby.

Yes, I should probably see a psychiatrist to get my head examined.

I haven’t managed to bring myself to terms with taking any form of birth control that will screw with my hormones. They have been screwed with enough. I also don’t want any sort of device either.

I asked my husband if he would like to get a vasectomy. His response: “Only if they will knock me out completely to do it.”

I explained to him that, sadly, they do not “knock you out” and most of the time they do it in the doctor’s office with some lidocaine. Needless to say, he wasn’t interested in this scenario. He was suddenly completely fine with having another child.

After having to work so hard to conceive this baby, it is so weird talking about ways to PREVENT pregnancy. I just haven’t been able to commit to anything yet. I even have a filled prescription for birth control pills sitting at the pharmacy waiting for pick up. The pills are even free, for crying out loud. I just can’t yet.

Getting back to the point of this post (supposed to be talking about the physical, not the mental), I have had the best c-section recovery ever. I have had very little pain (AH-mazing). I was walking around Costco (giant store), baby strapped into his baby carrier seven days after his birth. And I was fine!

There is no way I could have done that that soon after my c-section with Eva. I think the hard labor we went through made a big difference in recovery for me. I wonder if it doesn’t have something to do with all the extra hormones that were released naturally by my body this time. Last time, I was induced and I never dilated past a four.

I did need frequent naps the first couple of weeks. The more we did, the longer the nap.

As for my recovery from the epidural, things have been much better this time around as well. I haven’t had any severe back pain. No weird numbness or tingling either. I have felt some weakness in my legs on a couple of occasions, but nothing serious.

The bleeding I did for four weeks wasn’t too extreme, either. No large clots, thankfully. I also noticed a direct correlation between bleeding and activity. The more active I was, the more I bled.

For the two weeks my husband was home, I didn’t do anything except take care of the baby and myself. He cooked, cleaned, did the laundry, refilled my ice water a million times and kept Eva entertained and on time for school every morning. I didn’t bleed that heavily at all until he went back to work. Then I wised up and decided the dishes, trash, laundry and dinner could wait on days that things were flowing more intensely.

Now, my main complaint is tired, tense muscles from carrying my now 10 pound baby around day and night.

The gestational diabetes behaved exactly as advertised. It was POOF! gone immediately following delivery. There haven’t been any lasting effects.

As far as recoveries go, I’m doing great! Except for breastfeeding, but that’s a post soon to be written.

Postpartum: My Emotional Experience

Well, it has been about six weeks since my little bundle of joy arrived. It seems impossible that he was born that long ago, but it also seems impossible that is has only been six weeks. That was as clear as mud. Time alternately stands still and rapidly accelerates several times a day.

My time is measured much differently these days. I used to plan out my weeks, plotting which days would be devoted to errands and which days would be devoted to my current writing contracts. I would plan my late afternoons and evenings around Eva’s needs and dinner with my husband and Eva.

Now, my days are planned out hour by hour. There is an adorable, often screaming, little dictator in my life whose needs supersede all others’. His needs, whether it be a diaper change or a nap, are met immediately. I now prioritize my days based on what is most important to me at the moment I get him down for a long nap.

I choose between showering, taking a nap myself, eating, or working. On good days, I manage to shower and take him somewhere. Sometimes, I even arrive at scheduled events on time. Sometimes.

Today, I’m choosing writing. This means my shower will have to wait until this evening most likely. Eating lunch will happen around 3:00 pm. Working will happen sometime in the middle of the night. Once Eva is home from school, I will spend some time doing none of these things while we do homework, ignoring everything but the baby’s needs and my need to sometimes urinate (thank God for a strategically placed bouncy seat or bassinet for the moments in which I have to pee NOW).

My guilt in putting this little being’s needs ahead of Eva’s was grossly overwhelming initially. She has been my first priority for so long (over seven years now), it was a heart-hurting transition. I cried repeatedly in the first 48 hours home from the hospital because of my guilt.

Her needs are still being met, but now it’s primarily her Bubba (my husband) meeting her needs. For the first two weeks, all of her meals were prepared by my mother or my husband. All of her snuggling with me came in short spurts and she had to come to me. I couldn’t pick her up and hold her or swing her around. I wasn’t even the one taking her to school anymore, nor did I pick her up from school for two weeks.

Amazing how much upheaval comes with a c-section. Not being able to physically pick her up made the biggest impact on me. Soon, though, I will be picking all 50 pounds of her up again.

Surprisingly, Eva has transitioned to being a big sister with grace and love. I thought having a baby screaming so loud she couldn’t hear that episode of Pound Puppies or Wild Kratts she has already watched twelve times would annoy her. I thought that having to share me with her brother would frustrate her. Instead, she responds to his needs. When he cries, she tries to soothe him. When I need to sit for forty minutes to breastfeed him, interrupting time that was meant to be spent playing outside, she will bring me a drink of water and wait patiently. She will ask if I want one of her snacks. She will inform me from his cries what she thinks he wants. She spends time every afternoon trying to convince him to say her name.

I couldn’t be more proud of her loving care toward her brother.

She expects to hold him every evening. If he starts crying while she’s holding him, she gets annoyed with me if I take him away to soothe him. She feels fully capable of soothing him herself. If he’s screaming but I need to set him down, she will gladly hold him repeating “It’s ok, it’s ok” to him as I complete whatever task that required two hands.

As for the crazy postpartum hormones that are so famous…well, week two was the most intense. I cried if my husband displayed even a moment of frustration or impatience. I cried every time I breast fed (because it was pretty awful, like worse than the pain from my c-section). I cried the day my husband went back to work, too. We were fine without him, but the last two weeks had been so nice being all together. I still occasionally cry if we are having a long night without much sleep. Overall, though, I am doing really well emotionally, I think. Compared to last time with Eva, it is like night and day.

Breastfeeding has been the biggest emotional drain out of it all. By the second night in the hospital, my milk came in. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to satisfy my little man. He was starving! He had a perfect latch from birth, luckily, but it doesn’t really matter how great the latch when your baby is sucking you dry every hour of every day. I cried when the nurse suggested we supplement with formula.

My tears were tears of relief. I didn’t feel a moment of disappointment or inadequacy, which is exactly how I expected to feel when introducing formula. He only gets 1-2 bottles of formula every day now (I pump and freeze during those feedings typically), and I could quit giving him formula completely because my supply is sufficient. But, I keep giving him the formula. I like having a stash of breast milk in the freezer. I like sharing the feeding responsibilities with Eva (she likes to give him a bottle every once in a while) or my husband. Mostly, I like being able to give my poor nipples and boobs a break.

My plan to pump and feed almost exclusively from bottles is out the window. I can’t get enough pumping to completely replace the amount he gets from me when he breastfeeds. So, that isn’t really going to work out for me.

I didn’t get my VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). I was disappointed, of course, but I feel that there wasn’t really any other option. He was trying to some out face first. It wasn’t just a brow presentation, it was nose, eyes and chin. The obstetrician tried to manually reposition him, but he wouldn’t have any part of it. The backward bend to his cervical spine on the ultrasound when the obstetrician was evaluating the situation was scary. I know babies are bendy and their bones aren’t solid yet, but oh man! The bend to his neck looked incredibly painful.

It has taken me four days to write this post. I’m hoping things even out soon with him learning to be a bit more content on his own in the next few weeks. I am a believer of crying it out, but I think the baby has to be old enough first. Right now, I feel like we are still establishing trust. I need him to trust that his cried will be answered and his needs met. I don’t think it is possible to spoil him at this stage. So, to try to foster a bit of independence, I put him in a bouncer or bassinet or his crib as often as possible. Fingers crossed that this approach buys me a bit more time for things like showering or writing or cooking.