Girl Tries Baby: Week 1 Postpartum

Happy New Year, folks.


I’m convinced it’s going to be a good one. I’m also convinced that a huge part of that is in attitude. Only I can choose how I react to what is thrown at me. Postpartum being one of the things I’m dealing with, for now, I’m considering doing weekly summary posts. Who knows how long these will last, but they’re a good way for me to capture what’s been going on in the life of Girl Tries Life.

birth story

Baby’s First Christmas

We got home from the hospital on Christmas Eve, so Christmas Day was our first morning and full day with Jack. The public health nurse did her visit around lunchtime. I’m so impressed at the health care system here and how they even visit on Christmas Day. She was very thorough, never made us feel rushed, and Jack passed with flying colours. It helped that he’d pooped four times in a row.

My Mum and her friend came over in the afternoon and cooked us the most delightful meal ever. We just had a relaxing afternoon, ate, cuddled with the baby and I was able to have my first can of cider (I split it with David!) in months. Sigh… life was good.

The Great Flood

Okay, so maybe the title is a bit dramatic, but on Boxing Day morning around 10 a.m. we were taken aback by the noise coming from our fire stairwell. It was like a river. That couldn’t be right, could it? Um… yes. A pipe had burst and water was flooding the stair well. My neighbour and I immediately started mopping what we could, emptying buckets, while David took care of the baby.

Then I heard, “Victoria! It’s in the bathroom!” Back into the apartment and water was flooding through our bathroom ceiling, into the lights down the wall and thankfully into the bathtub.

Then it came in the kitchen through all the baseboards, under our built-in desks and the chaos set in. Visitors had just arrived, phone calls were going back and forth and it was just mayhem. THAT was not fun with a newborn in tow. Within an hour the condo had called a company to assess each unit and with them they brought three massive dehumidifiers which have been making us go crazy with the noise for three days since. By the evening of the 28th, we were able to pull the plug on the epic fans and our eardrums thanked us. We were starting to get so dehydrated ourselves, so I hate to think about what kind of effect it had for Jack. He’s been eating so much more than normal, so I assume the poor kid was as thirsty as we were!

postpartum week one

So… I didn’t need an ambulance, but you get the picture. Photo Credit

Hospital Visit

Just after midnight on the 27th my milk came in. Boy, did it ever come in. I woke up in severe pain feeling rocks on my chest. To date I’d had zero luck with breastfeeding. Jack just isn’t interested. Both the lactation consultant at the hospital and the public health nurse who did the home visit all agreed that I had a good technique, but he just won’t latch. Physiologically, we’ll just say that I don’t think my ‘shape’ is right for Jack.

Regardless, the milk was in and I was unable to get rid of it. Pumping wasn’t working, I couldn’t hand express, and heat only made it worse. I tried cold packs on my chest all day long, but the relief was only temporary. With the pain as it was, I hadn’t slept in almost twenty-four hours, not properly. By 10 p.m. I’d called the Health Link number twice and they told me to go to emerg.

Here’s what… some nurses need sensitivity training. By the time I was seen at midnight, the very young nurse is assessing me, taking my information, and says to me, “Maybe you’re just doing it wrong.” The ‘it’ being breastfeeding. Okay, lady… step off. I was already in tears when I walked into that exam room, so did she really think that telling me I was breastfeeding incorrectly, when she couldn’t possibly know if I was or wasn’t, was helpful? My Mum looked at me when the nurse said this, wide-eyed and enraged, but neither of us felt saying something was helpful in that moment. The nurse left, I sobbed my heart out feeling a failure, and luckily the doctor came back. He was the complete opposite: empathetic, understanding and all he wanted to do was help take my pain away. I love that man. He gave me strong painkillers, left me to sleep for an hour to see how they kicked in, and gave me more of the happy pills to take home with me. Bliss.

Body and Depression

Even without breastfeeding, I’m super jazzed that weight loss is already happening. Getting home from the hospital and stepping on the scale was humbling. Sure, I knew that I wasn’t going to have lost half my baby weight, but considering I had a 7 lb baby… I had only lost 10 lbs in total. I guess placenta and blood doesn’t actually weigh all that much. I haven’t been dieting AT ALL since being home (hello Christmas chocolate!), but have already lost a few pounds, which gives me hope that I will slowly get this body back in shape. To be honest, looking in the mirror, it’s not nearly as bad as what I’d expected. Even if the number on the scale will take some time to work off, I’m pleased with how I look. Vain, I know, but it’s the small things.

Depression… so, I’ve struggled with depression for years. I always knew that it meant postpartum depression was even more likely. I would say what I’m experiencing right now is probably just an influx of hormones, not necessarily postpartum depression, but it’s still an adjustment. I cry at the drop of a hat. I cry for good things, I cry if the baby cries, I cry when my milk hurts… I just cry. I know this will pass, in time, but I’m definitely drinking more water to make up for the liquid coming out of my face! As my mother reminds me, tears contain cortisol, a stress hormone, so crying actually physically removes stress from your body. Crying can be good.

The To-Do List

It’s hard to relax and just enjoy time at home when I realize how many things need to be done. We’re moving house, we want to get baby photos done soon (tomorrow, in fact), I have to call EI to update them on the birth, there are doctors appointments to keep, we need to get Jack’s birth registered and sort out his passport for his first trip… the list is endless. I’m trying to think of it the same as I would my epic to-do list before I finished work. Prioritize each day. What one thing needs to be done that day, and what else is just a bonus if it’s done early?

Back to Work

I dread David going back to work. I know, I know it’ll be fine, but I haven’t yet managed to sleep when the baby sleeps. Not properly. I know that him going back to work will force me to do that, I’ll have no choice, but it’ll be weird. I also worry about being on my own when Jack cries inconsolably. How will I react? Will I sob my heart out also? Will I be able to manage? Realistically, I know many have done it before me, and many will after me. I know I need to try not to stress, but it’s hard to avoid.

Worst comes to worst, I’m going to take a leaf out of science (and Grey’s Anatomy). Studies have shown that holding a superhero pose for even five minutes can improve your performance and your confidence. So… even if I don’t feel like Wonder-Mom, I’m going to channel her daily. We can do this!

A lot happens in a week, hey? What have you been up to this week?

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7 Responses to Girl Tries Baby: Week 1 Postpartum

  1. Nicole January 3, 2016 at 11:57 am #

    You managed to blog through all of it too! You are a real live superhero 😘

    • Victoria Smith January 3, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

      Well… some posts were pre-scheduled, and these baby ones get written between the hours of 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. when this kid keeps me up. So… I wouldn’t say superhero. I’d say I’m making the most of sleep deprivation 🙂

  2. Lisa January 3, 2016 at 1:46 pm #

    Hi Victoria. Congratulations on Jack’s arrival. He is nothing short of beautiful. You’ve made one amazing miracle. From one mom to another, let me just say – give yourself a break! You’re not going to do anything wrong. You are Jack’s whole world. When in doubt, hold him and snuggle him close. All the rest will fall in place. While you’ve got a million things going on at once, you’ve said it yourself – you’ve got a great support system. Let other people do things for you. Sleep is important, and sadly, you’ll never sleep the same way again, so grab snippets of it when you can. You’ll be amazed how these first weeks disappear in a blur. I’m glad you’re blogging it so you remember all the moments – good and bad. You’re going to be a fantastic mom. If you ask Jack, you already are! 🙂

    • Victoria Smith January 4, 2016 at 12:54 am #

      Thanks, Lisa. Overall, I think we’re doing okay! I am just amazed at… well… how hard it is! Mothers really downplay it. When he cries, he breaks my heart, but when he smiles it makes it all better. I look forward to his sleep schedule swapping to sleeping more at night vs. the day, but until then, nap time! Hope you’re well.

  3. Amanda January 3, 2016 at 5:35 pm #

    Ah, I’m constantly amazed by your talent for telling it like it is. I love that despite the baby blues, you haven’t lost your sense of humour, that superhero comment seriously made me LOL 😂 Yes, if I were to make an intelligent guess, I’d say you have the baby blues which is completely normal! From what I’ve heard, new mums who experience this are in the majority which doesn’t come as a huge surprise when you consider the hormones that have been surging through your body lately. It happened to me for sure, I cried over everything and nothing and I was a complete bag of nerves. Thankfully the baby blues don’t normally take that long to pass, again, it didn’t for me looking back. Actual postpartum depression usually takes a lot longer to kick in, months normally. I had trouble ‘sleeping when the baby sleeps too’. Some days I really had no choice, I was so wiped. Other days I was thinking, yeah, a nap would be incredible but so would a shower or food…… I was incredibly lucky that we were living at the lodge, working for friends. Another friend replaced me at work shortly before I had Roddy but J got a week off then went back to work. The lucky part: his place of work was a 30 second walk from where we lived so I could take Roddy in to see Daddy whenever I felt like it and he made me food so I could eat without having to figure out how on earth I was going to cook (I realise now the answer to that is Babywearing but we live and learn!) I wonder if the nurse you saw is a mother. Either way, she should STFU! It warms my heart to hear how awesome your mother is. So great you have that support as well as your husband. Sorry about the lack of paragraphs, my phone annoyingly doesn’t give me the option to use them. Anyway, you’re doing a million times better than you think with this motherhood thing. It’s terrifying in the beginning, it really is. Your confidence will grow though. Associate yourself with other Mothers who support you and build you up. Ignore the ones who try to judge or bring you down. None of us are experts, there’s no frickin baby university (sadly).

    • Victoria Smith January 4, 2016 at 12:56 am #

      Thanks, Amanda! It’s funny, on the network of other mothers, so many women have come out of the woodwork offering me support and advice. There really is this community that was underneath the surface that I never noticed before. I’m happy to say that the majority are non-judgemental and just understand how hard it is. They all just want to help one another out. Looking forward to meeting more incredible, strong women as a result of this all.

  4. Amanda January 4, 2016 at 6:25 pm #

    Oh, you will 🙂 I get all emotional when I think about the incredible people I have in my life who I wouldn’t know if I didn’t have my son 🙂

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