Sydney Mum finding motherhood is totes hectic
Back to the birth experience. Two things made the four days in hospital vastly different from first child’s experience. The midwives and my epidural/ Cesarean recovery.
Have a child on a Friday and you get the weekend shift, the weird and the unwanted. A Monday child gets the balanced clear-eyed nurses. From the first intro all the nurses couldn’t be more friendly, relaxed and prompt to my button pushing. If they ever read this blog, Erin and Lynn were standouts. I felt clumsy and awkward with a newborn and to be witnessed by a team of professionals has me nervous, despite being a mother already, I’m not a newborn expert, they are. To me it’s a built-in comedy routine: day one I dropped a phone on his face, my swaddling is useless and my default personality is to crack jokes, so a dictatorial, overly mumsy nurse puts me of.
I wondered if the new Midwife-friendly doctor in charge had altered all the nurses behaviour. He arrived just around the time of first child, he did my Cesar surgery on child two and did a top job on the scar – nice and thin.
But you are vulnerable in this new mother state. You know you are having a child and there is this new baby and face; it’s unfamiliar yet extremely important. Where did the face come from? you think. How did this mix of DNA become this ? You’ve spent 9 months gestating it, much more thinking and planning for it and now here he is. This is the beginning of it, the whole parenting thing.
Feeding and sleeping are the biggest newborn activities. I’m not going to say I failed to breastfeed my first. You either can or can’t and for me there was no milk. 20 months later, and many blogs, articles, books and information given I wanted to try breast feeding again. I knew some different things which may make a difference.
1. You can start feeding your child, actually take your child into recovery and start breastfeeding there. I didn’t start trying until Day 2 for Child 1. This starts the lactation and is a really nice bonding/ emotionally satisfying thing to do. Recovery is a boring place so having your newborn snuggled with you is delightful. Of course, I cried it was so nice.
2. The milk does take a few days to kick in. My breasts swelled to some porno size and felt like shot puts strapped to me. (I can recommend the Cotton Candy bra from Cake Lingerie – I think I wore it the whole 4 days) The swelling also affects the nipple latch. Your skin is so tight there is nothing soft to get their mouths around. My nipples also cracked and bleed. It’s fun to massage these boulders, rub and dry the nipples and then stick a baby on them. But you keep trying.
3. A baby’s stomach is minuscule. About the size of a golf ball. They don’t need much food in the first few days either as they are ‘full’ at birth.
This all adds up to Day 3. By then your breasts are ready to start milking and baby is now truly hungry. So I stuck him on and waited for the sleepy moment of a full stomach. Little kitten just sucked and sucked and then fell back in exhaustion. Cue a breast pump to see what we could get out.
Back to the same problem. No milk. We took home a super soft pump from the hospital and I pumped all night. I paltry 25mls came out of both breasts. 50 to 60 mls would be a good start but I had nothing and after 2 weeks of this it was better to break open the formula can. (yeah I went to lactation classes, a private consultant etc and lots of other things, so I tried)
I read that my under active thyroid (hypothyroidism) can hinder milk supply.
The physical recovery from the Cesarean surgery was much easier for, I think, several reasons.
I had the surgery earlier in the day, at 9am, and this allowed it to feel more like a normal day. I had lunch, had a rest and enjoyed the lying around and chatting to family about the new baby.
Secondly the recovery was less painful and less disorientating due to the anesthetist. I believe they mix their own epidural formula. It’s not a premixed item. The anesthetist mixes a dose according to your body weight and other factors. So their skills in mixing a suitable dose is important.
By the end of the day I had mobility and could put weight on my legs.
Finally, we are on a parenting roll. I am used to the broken sleep, I accept what I have to do as a parent and have already given up on grooming and dressing up so I just pull on the tracksuit, ponytail up the hair, slap on sunscreen and enjoy the only part of me that is fashionable, my painted toes.