Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Postpartum Journey

The last three weeks have been the hardest I have ever experienced in my life. The most amazing thing to ever happen to me has become the biggest challenge. And not because of my son; I did everything wrong.

When they tell you to rest after your birth, DO IT. They aren't joking and you aren't weak if you take it seriously. I started by running errands as soon as I was discharged. Due to Hudson being a month early, we needed some necessities. The night we came home I made dinner and cleaned. I was on two hours of sleep. Bad idea.

Everything went well and normal the first few days- except that our house is on the market and we had showings. So I had to clean the house and be out with my week old.

We got home on Thursday, and by Tuesday morning I wasn't feeling so well. 2am feeding came and my stomach wasn't feeling so great. The 5am feeding came and I was feeling worse. By 8am I was hugging the toilet and throwing up out of both ends. Food poisoning. I was so weak and thankful that my little angel was sleeping soundly until I was done in the bathroom. I had someone tell me that what ever bad food you ate went into your milk. I just fed him. Hysterical mess. I thought I had just poisoned my baby. Thankfully we called the peds and he was safe.

I was trying to think of anyone that didn't work during the day to help me. My mom had headed back home the day before, and it was my husband's first day back home. Finally, I gave in and asked my husband to come home. When he got there my chills kicked in. I slept until the home care nurse came. I woke in a sweat.

She checked him over- he had gained an ounce in a day! He hadn't gained any weight over the weekend when they checked him on Monday, which was exciting. It was my turn. I had a fever and every excuse in the book as to why I had it. Denied any illness. Lindsay came and helped the rest of the afternoon- Thanks! I just got worse throughout the day and my mom that night drove up from Rochester to be up with Hudson in the night so I could sleep. Godsend. I called the midwife since I had a few questionable symptoms to look out for from my discharge papers. There was talk of a uterine infection and I had to alternate Tylenol and Ibuprofen. I felt all better in the morning to go off to Hudson's circumcision. (Can I not have another boy?! so sad!) I finished the week feeling just fine.

Then the next Tuesday came around. I woke up at 1am with terrible chills. Fever up to 101.3. Thank God for Ibuprofen and everything it helps with. I called the midwife again when it was time to wake up and she had me make an appointment for the next day. I suffered from fever, chills and exhaustion. I went in and had no sign of infection. I had these symptoms continually from Tuesday to Saturday with lots of tears and frustration- and screaming prayers. All I wanted to do was adjust to life with my newborn and only have the normal sleep deprivation. This illness made it so difficult to take care of my baby, but at times couldn't even move. It is so hard to feel so helpless. I know I cried more during that time than I ever have.

I finally stated feeling better and I got a cold sore. Yes, minor, but not even being able to kiss my son was just icing on the cake.

Now for a whole other story. Nursing.

Since they gave him a bottle right away tin the hospital,  and throughout the next day until I could pump enough, it made it next to impossible to have him latch on the real thing. The first time I tried, he latched right away... for a second and then not again. The nurse that was in the NICU was also a lactation consultant and taught me how to properly nurse, but I had to use a shield since he wouldn't work for anything else. At least I was breastfeeding.

I would nurse and pump the entire time in the hospital and my milk supply was wonderful. Abundant! Blessed. Then We came home and I got sick. The first Tuesday I was sick I had two bites of toast and a couple carrots the whole day. I tried to drink water. I hardly pumped and didn't nurse. Thankfully I had a good reserve so Hudson could have bottles. I tried recovering my milk from that for a while. Then the next week when I got sick, I would say my milk went down about 80%. I wasn't even pumping enough at a time for him to be full. I am so thankful I had frozen a lot of what I had pumped.

On top of being so sick, I started having blocked ducts in my left side on Thursday. I tried everything to unclog them and slowly they started to unclog. This past Wednesday I was feeling pretty good from being sick, but woke up with mastitis on my right side with no warning.

I cried more that morning than I ever have. I was so sore I was about to throw in the towel on breastfeeding- not to mention my freezer supply was gone, my nips were raw, and I was barely pumping an ounce and Hudson started eating 3. The idea of formula made me so upset but I felt it was the only option and I was going to throw in the towel. Kyle, being such a great support, tried to set up an appointment with a lactation consultant. She wouldn't see me because of the mastitis. We then called the midwife and I broke down on the phone with her. She wrote me a prescription and immediately got me in touch with another lactation consultant. I told her I was about to give up and she just knew at the bottom of it, I really didn't want to. That day I met with the lactation consultant and she gave me such hope. She reassured me about timing on weaning off the shield and that it was okay that Hudson needed one. That he may be ready in  a month, four months, or be a part of the 5% that just can't. I had thought that a lot of my problems were due to using that shield. She sent me off with some quality "milk-help" vitamins and some great cream. I finally had hope again.

I had cried, no sobbed, that day for 5 hours non-stop. I don't know if I have ever done that before. Call it overtired, call it hormones, I am just glad it is over. I finally feel human now, My illness is gone, my antibiotics are kicking in, my supply is on the mend, and night times are getting easier.

Being a mom is finally everything I had hoped it would be. I can care for my son. It just took 3 and a half weeks. I now feel like "been there, done that" and can easily empathize or sympathize. Being a new mom is hard with everything that is going on in your body. Always remember you are not alone and there is someone out there that has or is going through what your are. Ask questions. Get help. Don't feel embarrassed. Don't give up.

I have some amazing mother friends that have supported, encouraged, gave me hope, prayed for me, and helped me through this time. I couldn't have done it without you- Thank you. It may not seem like much written down, but the hours and days I have in this valley have made it the most difficult time in my life. I am so thankful it's uphill from here and I can handle what comes my way.



  1. Oh my gosh he is adorable and I love all your pictures! Hope you keep getting better and congratulations! He's adorable!

  2. You are an incredibly strong woman. I'm so proud of you, and so incredibly blessed to call you my friend. You are a wonderful mother too! Hudson is just a dream!

    P.S. That prick picture of his tiny foot breaks my heart. But every single other one warms it :) I love you and him and Kyle!