Snapshots from 28 days Post-Partum: The Hospital Stay

There is so much out there about birth stories, and pregnancy, and parenting but there is so little about the early days postpartum and the recovery for women. It probably has a little to do with the fact that new mothers are too exhausted, too caught up in day-to-day survival to take note of what those early days are like. And let's be honest, much of it is quite unpleasant to experience so looking back on it is no treat. But, while it's fairly fresh in my mind and body, I thought I'd try to capture my experience this go around. This first post is about the hospital stay and the next will be about those early days at home.

These posts are not for everyone. They will contain descriptions of bodily functions so proceed if you'd like. Here are a few snapshots from the first four weeks after the birth of Baby-boy.

Day 1: The immediate recovery after my early-morning scheduled c-section was all about getting Baby-Boy to latch and regaining feeling below the waist from the spinal anesthesia. Baby seemed to know what to do and latched naturally even though it was awkward to hold him because I couldn't sit up. Thankfully hospital beds prop up.

I was tired, but the adrenaline of the new baby and a steady stream of visitors kept me from sleep.

Initially my legs were completely numb, but feeling returned slowly after a couple of hours starting with tingling and then, suddenly, I could move them again. Nurses applied legs compressors to help with circulation. The IV kept pain meds flowing so I was comfortable and a little groggy.

 I was able to capture this moment from my hospital bed...
before getting sick.  
The rest of the day involved continuing to nurse and waiting for my appetite to return. I started slowly with water and then jello. Nurses took my vitals every two hours and I was able to stay awake and greet friends and family who stopped by to meet the boy.

A lactation consultant came in and gave me the latest advice for getting newborns to latch. Gabe found his way after a while and I was able to nurse in a pretty relaxed position for the rest of the day and night.

Apparantly, I wasn't ready for food. Twice that first day I threw up. The second time I managed to projectile vomit bright red liquid jello all over David (perfectly timed when the room was full of visitors, including Kiara). Awesome.

By the end of the day I was able to hold down crackers and juice. David tried to get some sleep, but with nurses in and out all night and baby-boy nursing most of the night, I was recovering but we were both pretty tired.

Day 2: The next morning a nurse removed the catheter and shortly thereafter I got out of bed for the first time post-op. After my first c-section, when I first stood up, I was caught off guard by the rush of blood. I didn't know anything about lochia shedding. This go around there was no rush of blood like I'd experience before and in general, my bleeding was considerable lighter.

Next, I made my way to the bathroom to start getting all of the water off that they pumped in me for the surgery. The bathroom was stocked with lovely mesh undies, pads, and chucks for me to where to soak up all the blood. I definitely needed all of it last time, but this time, not as much.

That morning the doctor removed the dressing from my incision and inspected the wound. For my first c-section, they'd used staples and this time they used surgical tape. She said things looked good.

For the rest of the day, I continued to nurse and get that skin-to-skin contact with Baby-Boy. My appetite returned and by the end of the day, I was ready to find out what needed to happen to get out of there and head home.

That evening I switched to oral pain relief, ibuprofen to start, and then NorCo which helped me get  some sleep that night.

Days 3: I wanted to get home on that third day and a handy chart on the wall let me know what needed to happen. These steps included things like lactation consult, hearing test, baby physical, and discharge orders. We took care of the paperwork for the baby and I continued on the ibuprofen and Norco for pain management. That morning, David and I walked with baby through the hall.

After a long discharge conversation with a nurse who gave us way more information than we needed about SIDS and baby care in general, we managed to get all of our items checked off. David picked up my prescriptions and transportation wheeled me to the car. My orders: take it easy, take pain meds as needed, don't lift anything heavier than ten pounds, and take care of that baby (which really means keep nursing so he gains weight). With that, I gingerly climbed into our truck and winced over every bump as we made our way home.

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