Wow. Has it seriously been two weeks since I gave birth to Harper!? It's been a whirlwind to say the least. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that I'm actually a Mom. That Harper is my daughter. Most days, it still feels like a dream. I wanted to give my take on the last two week of being a new Mom....some observations, some tips as well as a few tears and even more laughs.
As far as postpartum care goes...from the start of my recovery immediately after delivery until I was discharged two days later I used an icepack with my pad. Not to get too gruesome or "tmi", but I only had a very small tear and only pushed 30 minutes, so I didn't think I really needed an icepack. However, a wonderful nurse insisted I use one, and I am so grateful! It made such a huge difference. In addition to the icepacks, the Dermoplast spray and Tucks pads were very soothing as well (hemorrhoids or not). 800mg of Ibuprofien is also your best friend. OH and the little plastic "peri-bottles" you get in the hospital are wonderful! Grab two or three if you can. I'm still using that bad boy!
The lochia (aka period or bleeding) is more annoying than anything. Just when I think I might be done...BOOM, not quite yet. It's mother natures evil payback for going nine months without a period.
Breastfeeding is going well. I am so grateful that Harper is a great nurser, and that I have a good supply to give her. However, on postpartum day two, I was NOT prepared for what I woke up to. My breasts had more than doubled in size. And were rock hard. I now know, this is engorgement. Whoa buddy. I found relief with heat packs before I nursed her and icepacks afterwords. I nurse Harper at least every three hours throughout the day. I've also started pumping once a day, more so to start storing a supply. It took about a week for things to normalize, but I think Harper and my breasts have found a good balance of supply and demand now. Just be careful with the heat packs and pumping as this can INCREASE your supply, making engorgement worse.
I must say, I was very surprised how quickly those annoying things I had during my pregnancy disappeared. For example, the nausea and vomiting have completely subsided. I threw up right after I delivered (because I chugged an apple juice that didn't sit well and came right back up). I have not thrown up since then nor have I really felt nauseated. No gaging either! I'm also starting to like the things I could not stand while I was pregnant. I truly thought I would never be able to eat cottage cheese again or love apples the way I used to. However, I have eaten these things this week and so far so good. I haven't chewed gum yet though....really hoping I enjoy that again too!
Probably the most annoying symptom I still have is this damn carpel tunnel syndrome. Apparently for most women, after delivery, this usually subsides almost instantly. But not for me. The pain isn't so bad, but the numbness in my fingers has gotten worse. It's worse in my right hand, and I have a hard time writing, pinching things or picking things up. Basically anything fine motor I struggle with. I really hope it starts to get better as I think I'll be needing to write some notes once school starts in two weeks.
I'm not surprised how much I truly miss being pregnant. I miss that bond of no matter where I was or what I was doing, I was never ever alone. I miss feeling her inside me. I miss my baby bump. I just miss being pregnant. Don't tell Phil, but I'm already looking forward to being pregnant again!
Postpartum hormones are no joke. More than anything I find myself crying over silly Johnson & Johnson commercials, listening to music or when I read cards that people have sent us. I also find the amount I cry is directly related to the amount of sleep I have. I left the hospital having slept a total of probably 5-6 hours, and that first evening at home I was a mess. After resting though, I tend to feel much better. I'm lucky to have such a good support system and help around me which makes such a huge difference.
As for Harper, she is just so precious. Everyday there are little things I want to ingrain into my memory. The sweet little noises she makes when she nurses. Those big yawns. The funny faces she makes. Her little hands and feet. The way she falls asleep on my chest. How she constantly holds her hands by her face. Her milk-drunk faces she makes after she eats. The way she stretches so big after I unswaddler her and when I nurse her. In two weeks she has changed so much. She is much more awake and alert. Her cord fell off today and she now has a belly button. Her farts are so loud they can rival those of any grown man.
Harper had her two week old doctor appointment this morning. The goal was to have her back at her birth weight, 7 pounds 4 ounces. After peeing all over the table, we put her on the scale....7 pounds 6 ounces! She was such a good baby and didn't cry once while the doctor and nurse messed with her. The doctor said she was perfect!
Over the past two weeks, there have been a few things that have proven to be life savers as new parents and a new Mom. Here are six of my favorite things:
- The Mamaroo - Harper absolutely LOVES this and will sleep up to six hours straight at night in it! This thing is worth every single penny!
- Summer Swaddle Me blankets - These things are amazing! Harper is so strong, so keeping her swaddled in regular blankets can be tough. But these blankets have velcro, which keeps her snug and swaddled all night (or nap) long.
- Boppy pillow - this thing really helps with nursing. It's also a nice pillow just for Harper to relax in. Plus the pottery barn cover is super soft and adorable.
- Medela Breast Pump - I'm lucky to have insurance that covered my breast pump 100%. I've only been pumping once a day at this point, but I love it already. Easy to use and gets the job done.
- Bob stroller - I LOVE my Bob stroller! I bought the car seat adapter so our Chicco Key Fit 30 car seat clicks right in the stroller. I've been walking Harper everyday for about a week now and she really seems to enjoy it - and by enjoy I mean she sleeps the entire time. I haven't gone for a run yet but did jog home from a walk for about 10 minutes and the stroller is so smooth and pretty lightweight. I'm looking forward to getting out there for a nice run here in the next week or so. Also looking forward to cooler weather - this Florida heat is ridiculous!
- Baby k'Tan - This baby wrap was recommended by a coworker of mine who is also a new Mom. I love it! When Harper is really fussy and wanting to be held, but I have things I need to do around that house, I can put her in this and she falls right to sleep. Its comfortable and easy to use. It's also nice because at this age, she curls up into the fetal position and I feel like I can replicate being a pregnant for a little while.
Overall, I'm really enjoying new motherhood and embracing all the ups and downs. More than anything, I'm really trying to make every effort to savor every single moment of every single day. I'm well aware of how fast time goes by and how she'll be walking and talking before I know it. So for the time being, I'm enjoying all the simple pleasures having a newborn brings.