postpartum recovery

well, i’ve mentioned before that i was a wreck the first two weeks of brian’s life.  i seriously thought i may be dying.  i barely slept, and when i tried, i just laid in bed shaking.  eating was a chore.  so much so that i lost a ton of weight and was already back down to my pre-pregnancy weight 1.5 weeks after delivery {i did only gain 16 lbs, but the weight loss was still too fast and pretty scary when trying to make milk for a baby}.  after living off smoothies and protein bars for longer than i desired, my appetite finally improved.  the positive to rapid weight loss is that i was able to wear my non-maternity jeans 3 weeks after delivery.  although i definitely still have a pocket of flab on my belly – i’m assuming from my skin being stretched for a 7 lb baby or maybe my insides getting rearranged.

i was also sore for a solid 2-3 weeks post delivery.  sore muscles, sore back, sore vagina, just sore.  for the record, stairs and recovering lady parts don’t mix.  too much activity the first few weeks made me think my lady parts were going to fall out.  also, apparently itching is part of the recovery process – who knew.  of course there was bleeding {6+ weeks of fun}.  i already mentioned the golf ball-sized clot i had early on.  i was certain my uterus fell out or that i was hemorrhaging.  then at my postpartum appointment, my doctor removed another clot that was hanging out of my cervix.  light bleeding continued for about a week after that.

breastfeeding {pumping} has some interesting side effects.  for instance, night sweats.  really, i should call them sleep sweats as they happened anytime i’d try to sleep.  i would wake up totally drenched, hair matted and shirt all stuck to my chest.  gross.  i started sleeping in a tank top instead of a t-shirt and with the fan on to try to alleviate the issue.  i hate to type this as i know the sweats will return again, but they seem to be on the decrease now.  also noteworthy, breastfeeding makes my appetite out of control.  like ravenous.  i’m confident that i eat more than hubby these days.  kind of embarrassing, but oh well.  final breastfeeding comment… my boobs are ugly.  real ugly.  crazy stretch marks.  i hear they get real flat after weaning too, so i look forward to that.  flat, zebra boobs sounds awesome.

aside from being ravenous, my appetite has returned to that of my pre-pregnancy days – too many carbohydrates and too much sugar and chocolate.  i’m trying to choose healthy snacks with protein and to limit myself to two junky dessert snacks a day {after lunch and dinner only.  believe me, i would demolish a brownie at 10 am if someone told me it was ok}.  also noteworthy on the eating front, apparently my body hates high fat dairy products like cheese and ice cream now.  sucks because i like cheese and ice cream.

emotionally, i think i’m doing well overall.  no depression, but a few drama queen moments.  one of them being over the realization that i live in running shorts, old t-shirts, and sports bras everyday.  i just feel very blah.  even if i get out of the house, my outfit is exactly as listed above.  jeans are a special treat, but it’s way too hot for those now.  if i have to go somewhere requiring better attire, i have a mini meltdown thinking about what in the world to wear.  my main issue centers around bras.  the one bra i have that fits is not conducive to pumping, even though it’s a nursing bra.  and as long as i’m pumping every 3 hours, getting dressed in anything requiring that nursing bra can only be temporary… and needing to change outfits that fast gives me anxiety.  thus, living in running shorts and old t-shirts is just easier.

sleep could improve.  brian can’t go more than 5 hours between feedings at night, usually he only makes it 4.  that means i get maybe 3-3.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep for the first stint.  then usually just 2 hours for the second stint of sleep before i have to get up to pump and eat breakfast before his morning feeding.  eventually he will sleep longer, right?

well, that’s all i have for now.

lab results update

thank you to anyone who said a prayer.  i heard back from my doctor, and the mass he removed was only a clot.  i’m so thankful and relieved.  i’m fairly confident that there is a bit more that needs to work its way out.  i’ve only seen a few small pieces of what could be clot and things still feel ‘corked.’  if the remainder doesn’t work it’s way out by next week, i’ll have a repeat pelvic exam.

we are still waiting for the pap results, hopefully early next week.

something a little entertaining – when looking at the details of my postpartum appointment in my doctor’s online system, he diagnosed me with fatigue.  i laughed out loud when i saw this.  does he give every new mom with a 6 week old this diagnosis?  certainly i’m not alone.

postpartum recovery post to come soon {or eventually}.

postpartum appointment

i had a post in draft discussing my postpartum recovery experience so far.  it was detailed and, as usual, a little sarcastic.  then i went to my OB yesterday {exactly 6 weeks after delivery} for my postpartum appointment, and i have something a little more pressing to write about.

the appointment was a hot mess.  after waiting for 45 minutes {even though i was supposed to be the first appointment after lunch}, my doctor finally graced me with his presence.  i needed a repeat pap due to having abnormal pap smears while pregnant {apparently not all that uncommon}, but as he began his exam he handed the nurse something that was large and in a sterile wrapper.  i instantly knew that was not needed for the pap and just about the time i started to focus on the instrument, he says “amber, there is something coming out of your cervix here.  it is either placenta or a clot.  and if it’s placenta, we need to know about it to make sure you don’t have a condition called placenta percreta.”  i said gross and didn’t think too much about it as he dug a little bit of the mass out and then performed the pap – both tests to be sent to the lab.  he didn’t talk too much more about the mystery mass other than mentioning surgery might be required.  after that, i moved to asking him the 1,000 questions i had been saving for 6 weeks, which he answered.  the appointment felt a bit rushed as he was late from the OR and had a backlog of patients, so there was no further talk about the possible placenta issue, whether my reproductive system is healed, and birth control.  did i mention that my appointment was a hot mess?

mother-in-law was watching brian as he napped, and i needed to get home to pump, so i was very focused on getting out without thinking too much further about the placenta issue or the fact that we barely covered anything other than my 1,000 questions during the appointment.  i honestly thought surgery would be something like a d&c – would stink, but very manageable.

several hours later, i finally googled placenta percreta, and i was not prepared to find what i did.  essentially this is where the placenta attaches itself too firmly to the uterus.  in my case, even though {most of} the placenta was delivered, there could be a portion that is leftover and embedded in my uterus.  treatment looks pretty grim, as surgery is not usually successful at removing the leftover placenta due to the risk of bleeding to death, and a hysterectomy is often needed.  i should’ve known something was up when i had an excessively large clot {oversized golf ball} 5-6 days after delivery.  here’s the thing, the clot wasn’t all clot looking… part of it seemed to be grainy, dried up tissue.  while i’m not gushing blood, bleeding hasn’t ceased for me either.  and the last couple of weeks, when things should be mostly healed, i get weird uterus cramps and a sensation like something is stuck inside me/moving down my vaginal canal every once in a while {although i never see anything large coming out}.

here is where i have to assume the worst.  if it is a clot, wouldn’t it simply detach itself and come free?  i’m a fairly active person – take walks or use the elliptical almost every day.  i go up and down stairs probably 100 times a day at home {i should really count this one day}.  i would think all of that activity should jiggle a clot right out.

i am now an emotional wreck.  my cervix feels like something is jammed in it – probably more of whatever the OB pulled out yesterday.  or maybe the sensation is more in my vaginal canal.  anyway, it will be about a week before the results are back {and next monday is a holiday, so maybe longer}.  because the first couple of weeks of brian’s life were so challenging for me, hubby and i joked on multiple occasions that brian may be our only child.  now that there is a risk that i may need to have a hysterectomy, i wish i would’ve never been so extreme with joking.  deep down, i know that i’d like to have at least one more child for brian to have a sibling and immediate family other than mom and dad.  not to mention, a hysterectomy at the age of 26 doesn’t sound ideal.  but at the same time, i’m thankful for brian’s life and know that my health and safety is extremely important too.

i’m asking for prayer if you follow along.  i have several friends and prayer warriors already on the job, but the more prayers sent up, the better.  two passages come to mind – the first about the importance of others’ prayers and faith for you, and the second is the verse that carried me through IVF and pregnancy.  God is a mighty God, and i’m praying that if it’s His will, whatever my doctor discovered yesterday is non-issue or is treatable.

some men came, bringing to Him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralyzed man, “son, your sins are forgiven.” now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves,  “why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! who can forgive sins but God alone?” immediately Jesus knew in His spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and He said to them, “why are you thinking these things? which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘get up, take your mat and walk’? but I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” so He said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” he got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. this amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “we have never seen anything like this!” {Mark 2:3-12}

ah, Lord God! behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. there is nothing too hard for You.{Jeremiah 32:17}

a visit to the {in}fertility clinic

i brought baby brian to dr. w’s office today for a quick visit.  and quick it was.  we chatted with nurse denise the most, spoke to dr. w for maybe three minutes, and nurse mary for even less time.  it was good to see them now that i’m on the other side, and they seemed to enjoy seeing the result of their work.  nurse mary and dr. w both immediately said that brian looks like hubby.  if several friends didn’t already mention this, i would think they were coached to say that to make IVF patients feel confident with IVF {i’m having a harder and harder time determining who brian looks like, although i did think hubby at first}.

today provided a sense of closure for me.  last night i gathered up some leftover {but new} fertility medicine that i didn’t need so i could donate it to the practice {the staff uses medication like this to help patients whose insurance may not cover fertility drugs}.  i also threw away my old sharps container and almost empty vials of progesterone in oil and lupron.  then today, i walked in dr. w’s office as a parent instead of multi-year patient.  even if i need treatment to conceive a future child {if i can forget about how hard the first two weeks of brian’s life were and dare to embark again}, i will already be a mommy.  something about that reality just changes things.  beyond the mental closure, there was a physical sense of closure for me too.  the office was undergoing renovations when i was sent back to my OB last fall, and it looked totally different now.  it was not the place i was accustomed to.  if i do need treatment in the future, i’ll be walking into a “new” clinic with less reminders about all that went wrong {or not my way} in the years leading to brian.

finally, i hoped to ask dr. w’s thoughts on birth control as i have my postpartum appointment with my OB next week and know birth control will come up, but i didn’t have the opportunity to do this is our three minute conversation.  i have two thoughts: 1) birth control just seems wrong after all i’ve been through to have brian, and 2) i’m not sure hormonal birth control is the right option since i have PCOS.  on one hand, it would help prevents cysts, but on the other, it may aid the mess that my hormones are with PCOS.  apparently there is a small window when my cycles will be normal after weaning, and i may want to capitalize on this to try to conceive naturally.  seems like i should not use hormonal birth control then.  anyway, i ended up sending dr. w an email with my question, so i hope he replies.

that’s all for now.  i hope to blog about my postpartum recovery soon.

happy 1 month

baby brian,

today you are one month old.  i can’t believe it, time is certainly flying.  you already look so different to me – you are growing and changing so fast.  you are a chubby little guy – already 9 lb at 3 weeks old.  i can’t wait to see how big you are at your one month check up tomorrow.  so many of our family and friends say you look like daddy, but daddy says you look like me {only because your skin is a little on the pale side}.  i see both of us in you, which is the way it should be!

your daddy and i have already seen you roll over from tummy to back (april 25th), and it looks like you will be rolling from back to tummy soon!  i’ve even seen you scoot forward during tummy time (may 5th), which you’re not so fond of by the way {mommy makes you do tummy time anyway because it will help you build strong muscles}.  during your first month i’ve also seen a single tear from your right eye (april 30th), and it almost made me cry {guess i’ll have to get over that as many more tears are surely on the way}.  you share little smiles almost everyday – usually just as you look around or sometimes after you sneeze.  mommy may have gotten a smile meant for her this morning, but it’s hard to tell.

you are a hungry little fella, you eat 4 oz of milk almost every feeding.  mommy is very type a and loves to have a schedule, so i try to feed you every 3 hours beginning at 7 am.  after your 10 pm feeding though, daddy and i let you sleep as long as you can.  you usually make it until 2:30 am.  the past two days you’ve whimpered a little bit starting around 6 am, but you’ve been able to snooze in your crib until about 7 am {speaking of crib, we’ve had you in your room for a couple of weeks now.  it was hard for me only because it is recommended that you sleep in our room, but we all seem to sleep better with you in your room.  we do have a really good monitor, and sometimes i just walk down the hall and watch you sleep}.  occasionally you through me a curve ball and decide you want to eat before the next shift – i think it’s the 3-4 week growth spurt.  the 7 pm feeding is hard.  mommy is trying to finish a 6:30 pm pump, get dinner ready for me and daddy, and make sure we eat before we start your routine.  it can be stressful with you crying in the background, but the evening is your fussy time.  after your 7 pm bottle comes bath time {you used to cry during sponge baths, but you love immersion baths now that your belly button is totally healed}, a book or two, and then prayers – all with mommy and daddy.

you used to be good at napping in your car seat during the day if mommy needed to take you somewhere or if we went on a walk, but the past week or so haven’t been so successful with car seat naps.  i love to take walks with you {not to mention, pushing that stroller is great exercise}, so i hope you go back to snoozing just about anywhere soon.

medically, in your first month of life, you were circumcised (april 8th) and you had a frenulectomy (april 20th).  you also had several impromptu visits with the pediatrician.  two visits for your umbilical cord stump/belly button not drying up quick enough and one for reflux.  you’re on zantac now for the reflux.  now that we’ve figured out how to give it to you {daddy discovered it was best to sneak it in while you are drinking your bottle}, you seem to cough and arch your back less during feedings.  we also had a visit with the urologist because your circumcision didn’t heal quite right.

my love for you grows deeper every day.  i love to hold you and gaze into your blue eyes as i try to ingrain in my memory what 1 month old brian looks like.  you are so precious to me and your daddy, but also to our Heavenly Father.  our prayers for you are that you develop normally {sacral dimple doesn’t amount to any significance}, that you are healthy and happy, and that your reflux improves.  as you grow up, we pray that you desire to follow Christ and that mommy and daddy do a good job introducing you to and teaching you about Him.  we also pray that you are strong, smart, courageous, a leader, but also compassionate and caring.

i love you baby buddy/bubby/bitty/bid,

mommy