To follow up on the Birth Story that I posted yesterday, here are my retrospective thoughts:
On The First Week:
Our first night home from the hospital was a living hell. I’m not going to gloss it over for you. When I checked out from the hospital, they switched my pain meds from Percocet to Vicodin, and within hours, it was obvious that the Vicodin was not helping AT ALL. At about 6pm that night, I called the doctor on call, begging for a prescription of Percocet. I was told if the pain was that bad, I should just go to the ER.
Now really, I had just left the hospital, and the last place me and my new baby needed to be was the ER, so I decided to tough it out. That meant that basically any movement caused me sheering pain in my abdomen. I couldn’t get out of bed by myself. Getting INTO bed hurt. I couldn’t turn in bed at all. Add to this a screaming baby that wants to be fed about every 45 minutes, and maybe now you can understand why I call it a living hell. Madelynn would cry, JB would pick her up, and I would struggle to sit up and try to get into position to nurse. Once she was done, I couldn’t move to put her back in the bassinet. I actually got trapped in a chair that night, as I couldn’t get back up when Madelynn finally went back to sleep, and I couldn’t rouse JB from a deep sleep. About halfway through that night, I broke down crying, saying that I wished I had stayed in the hospital longer.
The next day, I luckily got my prescription for Percocet, after calling and talking to a nurse. I was crying as I begged her for the prescription, having dealt with the pain for over 12 hours. Things started to look up once I had better pain management, but the second night was still very rough. Luckily, it got better from there, and I started to get a rhythm to things. I actually slept on the couch that first week because it was easier to get onto and out of.
On C-section Recovery:
I knew that recovering from a c-section sucked. I just didn’t know how painful that first week would be. Imagine trying to sit down, lay down, or get up without using your abs at all. It’s hard, and every time you do engage your abs, it is a searing pain. My doctor had told me that I would be “up and walking around the day after surgery”. What she didn’t mention is that I’d actually be hunched over, clutching an IV pole, and barely able to shuffle 50 feet down the hall. When I first came home, I was able to walk about 50 yards down our street. I was slowly able to increase that to about 30 minute walks over the next two weeks, but I had to take it slow. I’m not used to taking it slow. I couldn’t even pick up my baby in her car seat, or climb the stairs in our house (I had been warned that my uterus could fall into my vagina, which would neccessitate a hysterectomy — YIKES!)
After about two weeks, I started to feel more normal. I was walking more and more, and by four weeks, I felt good enough to try kick boxing, which is when I managed to split open my incision. OK, so that was a bad move. At my six week post operative appointment, I received clearance to do any and all physical activity. I have been lifting weights, swimming, walking, running and doing aerobics. I feel pretty good, but REALLY out of shape. It has amazed me how much strength and endurance I lost, despite the fact that I worked out up until the day I checked into the hospital.
So, now that it has been two and a half months, I feel good, and am actually kind of thankful that my nether regions didn’t get torn to bits.
My Thoughts On My Birth Experience:
At my two week post operative appointment, my doctor told me that Madelynn was too big for me. She never dropped down into the birth canal, and that is why I never dialated past 3cm. The doctor said that when she made the incision, Madelynn’s head was right there, proving that she never dropped.
I guess I have to trust her on that analysis. In retrospect, I don’t think I would have induced labor. I did the induction mainly to have my doctor present, and I didn’t see her all day, until she actually performed the surgery. So out of about 14 hours, I saw her for 45 minutes. I probably would have had to have a c-section anyways, but at least I wouldn’t have been confined to bed for so long.
On Pain Medications:
I was on Demerol and an epidural, and still the pain was intense and horrible. I cannot imagine doing this au natural, and if you are one of those women who could do that, hats off to you. I’m all for the epidural. In fact, I was restraining from telling my anaesthesiologist that I loved him by the end of the day. I did tell him that he did a wonderful job, as I was never denied an increased dosage when I complained of being in pain.
On Maternity Leave:
I cannot believe how fast two and a half months have flown by. The days are gone in a flash, and I’m trying to come to terms with having to put Madelynn in daycare in the very near future. While on leave, my number one priority is her. I make sure to hold her, take naps with her, and when she is alert and happy, I drop everything to sit by her and enjoy her. This means that getting things done around the house is a challenge, which has caused some friction around here, but I’m willing to deal with that. I will only have this uninterrupted time with her once, so I’m going to make the most out of it.
I think it is a shame that Americans don’t stand up and insist that mothers get longer maternity leaves, as they do in other countries.
One luxury I have enjoyed while on leave is my gym, which accepts babies in their daycare at six weeks. It is great to get one hour a day to myself to workout, and then afterwards, I am treated to a long, uninterrupted shower.
Well, my number one priority is now demanding attention. I’ll continue my thoughts later.