Snapshots from 28 days Post-Partum: Our First Few Weeks at Home

Our new normal...
Here is my second post about my post-partum recovery. Click here for the first...

Home. Some women want to stay at the hospital for as long as possible and I can see why. Meals and pain meds appear magically and help is available at the push of a button. But I was anxious to get home. Going home meant no more nights interrupted by nurses and doctors, but more so it meant comfort and getting to see Kiara and beginning to settle in to the new normal of life as a family of four.

Days 3-5: My sister, Yukiko, and Dad stayed with us for these first few days which was an incredible help. Yukiko cooked and cleaned and held baby. Dad held baby too and although having him there reminded me of the loss and absence of Mom, his presence also reminded me of the preciousness of this time together. In terms of healing, I alternated taking ibuprofen and NorCo every three hours. I continued bleeding but not very heavily. My incision area felt numb but there was no bleeding. It was a challenge lifting myself out of bed or up from the couch with no abdominal strength, but I somehow figured out how to roll out of bed for late-night feedings. Baby-boy had his first check-up on day 5 and was putting on weight so we were looking good.

Kiko: best post-partum-helper ever!!!
Days 6-7: That first weekend home, exhaustion and possible postpartum depression started to seep in around the edges of my recovery. Lots of visitors, very little sleep, and nipple soreness had me cranky and wanting to be left alone. Nursing was easier the second time around only in that I knew what it required. It was still painful, particularly those first moments getting latched, but I knew i just had to get through this part and it would get easier. I started moving a little more efficiently with my compromised abs and at some point in here I weighed myself: 22 pounds heavier than I was when I got pregnant. Ugh.

Day 8: Baby-boy turned one week old and things quieted down a little. My sister and Dad flew back to Portland leaving David home to help. Kiara spent her days at daycare so I was able to get lots of rest which helped me feel less overwhelmed. After days of stool-softener and coffee the pipes moved! I can't say they were flowing freely, but we had movement that clogged the toilet.

Day 9: I walked half-a-block to get coffee on day nine and although I have no idea if there was a connection, I started bleeding from my incision that afternoon along with heavier bleeding (which had subsided to nearly nothing the previous two days). I called a nurse for advice and she wasn't too concerned but she told me if I developed a fever or redness and worsening to go to the ER.

Day 10: The next morning the bleeding was worse so I called the nurse back and scheduled an appointment to see an ObGyn that afternoon. The doctor checked out the incision, removed the surgical tape that remained and irrigated the wound. He collected a sample for the lab and sent me on my way.

Days 11-13: I tried to take it easy for the next couple of days to let the incision heal. I finished the NorCo and the ibuprofen alone was fine for pain management.

Day 14: After a nice walk to the farmer's market in the morning and feeling like I was doing better, my doctor called to let me know I had an infection and started me on antibiotics. Booooo.

Days 15-17: My incision was still bleeding and I still had some bleeding (last of the lochia?) but finally things started clearing up. Finally! Thankfully breastfeeding was going well and was less painful or I would have been a mess. David went back to work so Gabe and I settled into quiet days at home, nursing and binge-watching tv. I tried to write and read a little each day, but sleep usually won out over creativity.

Day 18-25: I tried to continue to take it easy even though I was feeling restless. Nursing sessions started stretching to two-hours apart and Baby-boy started sleeping more at night. I finished the antibiotics and figured I was back on track.

Day 26: Mysterious itchiness! I hadn't eaten anything different or used any new products but that night I started itching. It started at my knees, belly, and back. Itchy, itchy all night and the next day it got worse. I figured it was just hormone changes but who knows. The worse came when these hives hit my mouth and I looked like I'd had bad botox. I was convinced this baby had ruined my body and I'd be itchy for the rest of my life.

Day 27-28: The hives continued through the next day, but by evening my face returned to normal and the itching subsided. I was no longer bleeding. From anywhere. Yay! My milk production was good and Gabe started taking a bottle when needed so pumping allowed me to get a break from being the sole provider of nutrition which was a big relief.

So, after four weeks, I finally felt like I had my body back. Although it seemed like forever with that infection and a touch of the baby blues, overall my recovery was smooth but it only feels that way because it's over.

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