Tag Archives: postlabour

Baby is over a month old

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I’ve successfully carried my child in my belly for 41 weeks, got him out, and got home from hospital. Now what? Now is a process of learning how to co-exist with this little new life, our bundle of joy and how to take care of him the best way possible while not forgetting about your own needs.

The very beginning seemed to be quite hard yet manageable. He slept for about 2-3 hours, woke up, got his diaper changed, got fed, and went back to sleep again. The difficult part in this was the every 3 hours bit, because that means that I can’t get a good night’s sleep of 8 hours straight. However, me and my partner did manage to play around this. Since we both stay at home and take care of the baby, he has as much time and energy as I do. So we basically slept in shifts, and I pumped my chesticles dry before I went to sleep every night so my partner can have some bonding time bottle feeding the little nugget during his night shift and I could have about 5-6 hours of sleep until I woke up from the feels of explosive boobs.

Now that he’s a month old, his sleeping patterns have changed – he is actually being awake more. Therefore, he needs our attention more, so now it is much harder than in the very beginning. He can now be awake most part of the day, and then sleep-eat-sleep-eat at night. Now I have learned that I really need to sleep whenever he sleeps at night. I can no longer afford to use it asΒ “me time”, otherwise I’ll regret it later when I’m in zombie mode due to not being able to shut my eyes for a minute.

The level of hardness, I guess, is proportionate to how poorly I’ve been feeling. Namely, the more I’ve recovered and able to do more, the harder and energy-consuming everything gets.

Life also wasn’t too bad until the baby started having tummy troubles. He would have lots of gas, or he would seem to be constipated or just have tummy ache, trying to push something out, contorting and writhing, kicking and punching the air, his face red from pushing. All these troubles started when he was about two weeks old and they have stayed with us since, with some good days here and there too. Every time he lands a nice juicy poo in his diaper is a gleeful moment because that means that all that pushing and effort has a result now, and even if it’s just for a moment – the baby feels relieved and is not in pain. Although, I don’t really understand how he can start the pushing process again right away – he just does it all the time, whether there is something to push out or not. Being careful and concerned parents, we have combed the internet and Youtube to find the best remedies for baby tummy troubles. The things that help are: 1) massaging the tummy in circular clockwise motion, 2) pushing baby’s knees into his tummy to let the mean farts out and doing bicycles with his legs 3) bouncing on a fitness ball or bouncy-walking. I was very happy when I got the fitness ball – it is a miracle and seems to solve any problem. Just bounce on it with the baby and he’ll calm down, stop pushing and very likely fall asleep, even if it’s for only a moment. The ball is a must-have for every new parent. For tummy troubles we are also giving him simeticone drops, which seem to help too.

Before I gave birth, I was very determined to try and do without a pacifier. Ironically, we have 4 pacifiers at home, even we haven’t bought any ourselves. Two of them were gifts from grandparents, one was a gift from maternity hospital, and one came in a free package of samples from a pharmacy. I thought that giving child a pacifier is like cheating him and it’s only a mute button to make a lazy parent’s life easier. Also giving a pacifier could cause nipple confusion for the child and result in him chewing my nipples instead of sucking. However, my determination lasted three weeks until I gave up. The pacifier is a big help in helping a tired baby fall asleep and keeping him asleep when he starts tossing and turning, waking himself up. It helps him calm down when diaper needs to be changed because that is a tragedy for the kid 90% of the times. My partner’s theory is also that it actually helps with the pushing by relaxing the child because sometimes that’s all it takes for the stuff to come out. Mostly it just calms him down and satisfies the sucking reflex. I do at least try to use the pacifier only when it is actually necessary, rather than just sticking it in baby’s mouth whenever.

The other problem is that he spits up a lot of food, wasting my good precious milk. However, this is what my partner is more concerned about. For me it is just a bit annoying that I have to clean him or myself up. My partner thinks he has reflux desease. I think he spits up excessively when he does all the pushing, and that’s the reason it all comes up. Sometimes he’ll be perfect and not spit up at all, or it will be the normal teaspoon amount of spit-up, but then other times there is so much of it that I wonder if there is anything left in his tummy at all. But because the baby doesn’t seem to be too bothered by this himself and does keep gaining weight, I think he’s alright.

We have been a bit lazy parents when it comes to bathing him and going on walks. He is not that dirty and the bathing process ir a bit too much to do it every day, so we just make sure that his eyes, ears, face and all the crevices are clean and dry by using cotton and warm clean water. As to taking walks, I wasn’t up to carrying the pram cot downstairs, since I shouldn’t lift anything heavier than the baby while I’m still healing. Plus the weather isn’t always nice. Plus we both are just tired and busy with baby and it’s at the bottom of our list of priorities. We have only lately started going out on walks with the baby more.

It is amazing how quickly he is growing. At the 1 month GP visit he was weighed and has gained 1.2 kilograms since being discharged from hospital. He has grown longer too, he barely fits into most of the new-born size clothes, which initially looked like loose sacks on him with dangly leg parts. He’s learning something new every day, for example a new sound that he makes, or noticing and observing toys. The best new skill of all – smiling. It just melts my heart when he smiles, even if it’s for a split second. I’m so happy to see him just hanging out in his pram cot, having a good time, being a happy baby, making cooing sounds. Still, the times when he’s asleep are the best anyway, because that means I can actually use the toilet, shower, and maybe even eat something.

Even though me and my partner are mostly tired (I’m actually good half the time because I’m being wiser as to when I sleep now), we are both mostly covered in puke, pee and poo, and me – leaking milk from my breasts, being new parents is the best experience, and it’s so rewarding. We have a little continuation of ourselves, something that we grew from a little dot, a cell. It is especially rewarding in the funny moments. For example, the baby was laying in my lap and suddenly an atomic poosplosion happened in his diaper, and I could literally feel the warm goodness on my legs. Later it turned out that the goodness was actually poo that had leaked out of his diaper and onto me. And that shit is like turmeric – it does not wash out. I’ll forever have yellow poop stains on my fairly new pajamas. πŸ˜€ LOL!

Another time he had fallen asleep in my arms but needed to be put in his crib. That is always dangerous – one wrong move and he wakes up and you can start over again, making him fall asleep, waiting long enough and then attempting to transfer him to bed. It’s like handling a bomb. πŸ˜€ So, I was already at the crib, ready to lay him down when I couldn’t help but sneeze. The terrified “about-to-cry” face on the awoken baby was so priceless, so funny. So he was looking at me like I’m the most evil creature in the world, curling his lip downwards, while I was uncontrollably chuckling about it. πŸ˜€

And then just little moments, like him continuing sucking the pacifier when there is no pacifier in his mouth, or him coughing or sneezing in my face. πŸ˜€ Or his face when I’m washing is bum under the warm stream of water.

As to myself healing from the childbirth process – now, five weeks after I feel OK and healed. Warning – gross stuff coming up! :p I still have to see what my gynecologist says when I see him in a week. I haven’t dared to look at myself down there, even though I probably wouldn’t see anything too awful, I just don’t feel the need to look anyway. Hopefully my tears have healed now and stitches have come out. I did get a bit of a scare two weeks after labour. The bleeding had started to lessen, which I was happy about. But then the flow increased again, and one day when we were out on a walk I felt a big lump falling out of there – that was a blood clot, about the size of a peach. In addition to that, my crotch felt like it’s been smacked with a bat. I freaked out about that a bit, called my doctor, and got an answer that blood clots like that are normal, and unless I feel dizzy and weak and get high temperature, I shouldn’t worry. Then, a week later it happened again, only this time the clot was twice as big. Ew! But now that all is behind me and after using up about three packs of pads and a big pack of panty liners I only have a bit of spotting going on. Can’t wait to have a nice soak in a bath – haven’t been able to have one in the healing process. Also, the one thing I’m looking forward to and afraid of at the same time is making love. If there is a lot of sensitive scar tissue down there, it might not feel nice. The only thing to do, I guess, is to wait and see.

Post-labour days at maternity hospital

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After giving birth to my amazing little ray of sunshine, my life has changed. Now that we have been home for almost a month, again, I finally have a spare moment and am in the mood for writing about the three days spent at the maternity hospital after the baby was born.

Before I got pregnant, I never knew how not easy pregnancy is and only then I realised what my friends with kids have gone through. Now I have a whole new appreciation for that. The same I can say about labour and the time after giving birth – I didn’t realise how hard it would be physically to be in labour and give birth, and also – what I would feel like post labour. And oh my, it is hard.

Whilst I was exhausted from labour and birth process, felt physically weak and poorly, I still had to attend to my new-born baby and feed it every three hours. The first night and day with the baby were quite difficult, and thank god I was lucky enough to have my partner with me, helping me with everything. Because of the pain in my lower back and bum it was a challenge getting up from the bed, as I couldn’t sit, not even on my side. Next challenge was undressing and dressing, and showering (with the goal of having the first pee after birthing – that was successful). With all of these things my partner helped me – he dressed me and was next to me in case I’m unable to stand on my own or get dizzy and faint. I didn’t get dizzy or faint though, luckily. But I was so weak that it was a challenge even stepping into the shower, I couldn’t bend over or squat down to pick something up from the floor, I couldn’t dry myself after the shower. Good thing I was able to pee, otherwise they would have put in a catheter down there, which I believe is not very pleasant.

After showering and peeing I got a few hours of much needed sleep. My partner stayed that night and day, but left in the evening of the first day, so that we wouldn’t have to pay extra for him staying and he could bring unnecessary things home, as well as get some rest at home too. So the rest of the days he came during visiting hours. In the three days I was there I didn’t get much sleep at all because at night the baby was fussy, having his first tummy aches. You would think that I could then compensate during the day, especially when my partner was there, but no – every day was busy, not only caring for the baby, but also going to see children’s doctor, gynecologist and getting my blood pressure measured every day. On the second day I also had to go and get an x-ray done for my lungs. In addition to these errands, people would just pop in my room to either examine me or the baby, the janitors came already around 7 or 8 AM to clean up the room and mop the floors, as well as food was brought to the room three times a day. So with all these activities – no sleep for me.Β On the third day a nurse came at 6AM and just took away the baby to have blood drawn from his hand for some tests. Well, no aspect of that is normal.

When I did have to go to doctors and other errands, that was not easy again. Because all the intestines were kind of loose in my tummy without a baby in it, it was hard to breathe when I was standing up or walking, my diaphragm was sort of misplaced. For this reason I couldn’t even stand straight with shoulders back. Whenever I went to doctors, or to the x-ray, I had to wait in line because they call in many women to the docs at once. I couldn’t sit down to wait and had to stand there, breathless, hunched over. As a law, everyone just had to tell me to sit down, and ask why I can’t sit and I had to explain about my new friends – hemorrhoids. Some other new mummies though didn’t look affected by labour at all, walking around cheery like nothing has happened. I heard one of them say: “oh, not a big deal, I only have given birth, piece of cake!” I envy women like that. But there were some who were worse than me too – I saw a woman who looked extremely exhausted, with terrible bed hair, barely able to stand or walk. Would not want to be her. So I guess I was somewhere in the middle with how I felt.

On the first day I barely ate anything, all I had was some yogurt and maybe a banana or two because I was afraid to go to the toiled with No.2 due to the painful hemorrhoids. On the second day I realised that I don’t have a choice and have to eat, as lack of nutrition was one of the reasons I felt so weak. So I started eating somewhat normal again, and the food that was served was quite nice, I enjoyed it. The one thing I didn’t eat was buckwheat – I hate it. It did happen – I needed to go No.2 soon enough, which was quite an experience, but was not as bad as I feared, I survived. πŸ˜€

Every day I brought the baby to children’s doctor who examined the baby, weighed him, he got his eyes and nose cleaned, as well as his skin crevices. His umbilical cord was attended to as well. In the first day the baby spat up bloody liquid. When the doctor examined him and I told about it, it also happened in her presence. It turned out it was from my breast – colostrum in my right breast came out slightly bloody. So nothing scary, I just had to feed more from the other breast and put compresses on the right one.

In the first days babies lose some of their birth weight through pooping, peeing and just drying out slightly. My baby lost about 200-300 grams, but on the third day showed a little growth in weight, so feeding him was successful. On that day my breasts also swell up and were hard and very sensitive – the real milk was starting to come in. The doctor was so satisfied with all this that she offered me to get discharged that day, even though I wasn’t on the planned list. That was happy news for me – we went home just before Christmas. πŸ™‚

Before leaving we had to run final errands – getting baby’s blood drawn from a toe for testing, he had his TB shot done, I got checked by the gynecologist the last time as well.

Around 4 PM on the third day we left the maternity hospital. Before that we, of course had to pay invoices for the epidural and the rooms that we stayed in. I knew that if you have a Riga public transport card, you can get a discount for the services provided by the maternity hospital. Unfortunately, for that one of the invoices need to be redone, and it was even more stupid because the woman at the reception was extremely upset and grumpy about needing to do that. According to her, you have to tell beforehand that you have the card and want the discount, and now she has to do extra work just before Christmas! She didn’t even end up doing it – she called someone else who came and redid the invoice. Such lack of manners, even though I apologised and told I didn’t know, etc. In the end, the discount only applied to the charge for the room I stayed in after labour. I still had to pay fully for my partner staying over, for the room we stayed at during induction, as well as the epidural. Guess how much I saved – 3 fucking euros. If I knew that it would take all this for only 3 euros I wouldn’t have bothered. But it is so stupid that that is all I could get a discount for. I don’t understand why everything else couldn’t be discounted, especially the epidural. So unfair, Riga!

The woman at the reception did lighten up a little and even wished me merry Christmas when I gave little presents upon leaving. I’m generally not a rude person but I have to say it. Bitch!

What I was also unhappy about is that in the last examination at the children’s doctor, my baby’s umbilical cord got basically torn off, leaving a little stub left on the belly button, which I would then have to clean with an alcohol wipe every day. I expected for them to do the right thing – leave the umbilical cord, so that it would just dry up and fall off on its own. They taped a pad over it, which would protect it from infection, and it had to stay on until next day. However, on the way home the baby had a major poop explosion in his diaper, which resulted in the pad soaking in poop, so we had to take it off as soon as we were home. And later it also got soaked in pee from the diaper. It didn’t look good, the remainder of the umbilical cord was basically raw white stuff that wouldn’t dry up, as it was covered all the time by the skin of the belly button, like a hood. Luckily nothing got infected and it did end up healing well. It did anger us anyway that this is what they did to our baby, it was just not right.

Overall the stay at the hospital was both good and bad, there were things I didn’t like, and some I did appreciate, such as having food served three times a day. Now at home I have to serve myself. :p But being home is always the best, even if it is slightly harder. I feel better and better with each day, and hope to be completely back to normal soon. πŸ™‚