Thursday, December 15, 2011

4 Weeks Postpartum

I gave birth 29 days ago. For the first two weeks, I did absolutely nothing but sit on the couch, hold and feed Ada, try to feed myself, hang with Stephen, and attempt to get some light walking in. Sleep was especially rough, as I was camped out on Ada's nursery floor.

Week three was much better. We got out of the house and went to walk around the mall. We visited my parents. We had a few friends over. Ada was more awake, too. Physically in week 3, I started to feel like myself again.

Now in week 4 (with the exception of my squishy stomach) I can hardly remember what it felt like to be pregnant. I have trouble believing that I gave birth already -- without drugs, for that matter (which was an event I had fretted about for MONTHS, mind you . . . years, even!). But what isn't so great this week is the exhaustion.

I'm dead tired. Is anyone surprised by that? I know it's just part of the territory.

What isn't normal is that I've experienced three episodes of what I think might be sleep paralysis. It started in week two. I was asleep, but all of a sudden, I was completely aware of everything around me. My body was heavy and felt like it was buzzing. I couldn't move a single muscle, though. I tried desperately to yell out for Stephen, but nothing came out of my mouth. It only lasted ten seconds or so, but it was scary. To the point where I thought the entire thing was just a nightmare. It happened twice that first night . . . and then again once a week later.

Has anyone else experienced anything like this? The only reason I bring it up now is because I was thinking about it last night . . . how it might not have been a dream . . . and searched the symptoms and causes. It seems like it can happen whenever sleep patterns are disrupted (CHECK!) or there's lack of sleep (CHECK!). Thankfully, when those changes to sleep patterns are rectified, it clears up -- no need for treatment. Ada is sleeping better these days, so I'm hoping my episodes will stay behind me.


Which brings me to breastfeeding. I'm getting more used to the whole process. Overall, it's been far more demanding than I ever thought it could be. Ada is such a fantastic latcher and has been since birth. She hasn't been phased by pacifier and bottle nipples. She's a good and relatively quick eater, too. Still, there are times where she's searching for the boob in the evening, particularly if she's cluster-feeding, and I start weeping because I want my life back. I have read that feedings space out as babies grow, so I'm looking forward to those days.

I started pumping in week three. Just a 2 to 3 ounce bottle daily. I use the Medela Harmony hand pump and can get the small bottle done in about 10 minutes. I figure a fancier pump would be overkill since I plan to be home for the next 6 months. Last night we gave Ada a bottle for the first time (a Tommee Tippee, but we also have some Born Free to try). She took to it wonderfully, but when she was done she seemed entirely dissatisfied/cranky and cried for an hour but wouldn't suck on me or anything else. We're going to try again tonight. I'll write more about how it goes in her 4 week post.

Otherwise, I'm quite dismayed that if I'd like to sleep through the night . . . I can't. I keep reading that even if Stephen gives her a bottle, I need to wake at the same time and pump as if Ada is feeding to keep up my supply. Quite frankly, even if I wanted to try and sleep through a single feeding, I doubt I could. The boobs get overly full and painful if she waits even an hour longer than normal to eat. There's no winning this game!


As I wrote last week, exercise is going extremely well. I started walking one week after Ada was born (on Thanksgiving Day, actually). That first time, I went one mile. Crazy slow. I felt sore and tired, too. But from there, almost overnight my walks got much, much easier. I increased the distance because it felt so good to get out in the sun and fresh air. Walking also seemed to make my physical symptoms get better. Then at 2-1/2 weeks postpartum, I went for my first walk-jog around the neighborhood. It just felt right. I'd jog a block then walk one. Then I'd jog 2, walk 1. Etc. Three miles total.

I kept up walk-jogging for a few days until I felt comfortable slogging around for three miles at a slow clip. I'm not planning to go farther than three miles until January. I don't want to risk injury -- if you've read our blog long enough, you know I'm prone -- since in the last months of pregnancy I was running three miles at a time, max. And in those last couple weeks, I walked, usually 4 miles or so. What's funny is that I did a walk-jog the day before Ada was born! Anyway, my legs remember three miles . . . those miles feel longer than ever, but I'm loving every minute of it.

Return to exercise isn't easy, but it's much easier than I thought it would be. I'm not nearly as slow as I thought I would be. Not nearly as winded or tired. I can feel that all that hard work I did during pregnancy is paying off. Taking off 22 pounds sure helps, too. And to all your preggos out there: The upper-body work, push-ups and the minimal lifting prompted by prenatal DVDs, has helped the most of all. Lifting that car seat is tough. Ada is getting heavier by the day as well!


Since this is my first week without Stephen's help, I'm having a hard time figuring out how to get anything done during the day. My parents were kind enough to spend a good chunk of Monday through Wednesday with me. They played and rocked her while I did dishes and laundry. They watched her while I went for jogs. My mom even helped me fold s.e.v.e.r.a.l loads of laundry that have been on our guest bedroom floor for over two weeks.

Today I'm on my own. Ada is refusing to take her usual morning nap. We're running the hair dryer quite a bit (enough to make me Google: "How much does it cost to run a hair dryer for 2 hours a day?" -- the answer, by the way, is roughly 6 dollars a week). So, that's all from me for now.

Note: You can totally tell I wrote this post early in the day and am desperately trying to get it done by tonight. Also, the lack of photos is also due to just not having time!

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