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.
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!
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?