POSTPARTUM WEEK 1
We spent about 26 hours in the postpartum recovery room at Kaiser before being released. We spent the first day nursing, napping, and being visited by the postpartum care team: lactation consultant, nurse, and midwife. I was administered tylenol and IB Profen every six hours. I was expecting the cramping, which comes as your uterus starts contracting back into place, and is often encouraged with nursing, to be bad because I was told it gets worse with each birth, and my first two were pretty painful, but it actually was not so bad! I’m not sure the cause of this, but my whole body in general felt a lot better than it had after both of my other births! I didn’t tear (Hallelujah!) but I didn’t with Ella either and with Anders I had just a minimal tear that didn’t require any stitches. With Ella the hemorrhoids were the worst part of my postpartum healing. This time I’m not dealing with that either.
Day one postpartum is always so blissful for me, which is weird because it’s in a hospital., b
ut it feels like this lovely sanctuary with your precious new one finally by your side. The kicker this time was that Luc was dealing with a gout flare up. He had been experiencing it mildly a few days prior, and then, probably due to the stress, labor really intensified it. Gout is very painful and usually brings him to tears when he has a flare up, so I know it’s not to be taken lightly, but ya know, obviously shitty timing. Luckily we were in the hospital and he was able to make a same day appointment with a doctor to get some prescribed medicine. He was barely able to walk because of the pain, but he hobbled his way to his appointment.
While he was gone I ordered Door Dash from a Vietnamese restaurant and watched Indian Matchmaker on Netflix from my laptop. Dinner was delicious! I got a beef Pho soup that was exactly what my body and soul needed. I slurped the whole thing down! Luc was in tears when he got back from his appointment because he had had to walk all over the hospital to track the food down. And that’s how our next few days went unfortunately. Luc was dealing with a lot of pain, and I was trying not but we both knew that I NEEDED to rest.
The first night of sleep with Kaia didn’t go very well. With both our other kids we had allowed the night nurses to take them during the night so that we could sleep. I was hoping to not do that this time, but the dang kid wouldn’t sleep! After two hours of nursing and rocking, we called a nurse to take her at 11:30 pm. We hadn’t slept but a couple of hours in forty-eight hours, so I felt good about giving into that decision. They brought her in about four hours later when she wanted to eat again, and then took her back to sleep (let us sleep), and repeated that again until we were all ready to be awake at about 7:30 am.
At 6:30 am, my friend, and midwife at Kaiser, Bekah came into our room to do my dismissal visit. It was a memorable visit, not only because she is a friend (her son and mine are in the same class at school, but also because it was in the dark, she awoke me from my sleep, Luc was sleeping on the other side of the room, and Bekah was crouched down by my bedside. She asked me a number of questions: how I was feeling physically and mentally, how my previous postpartum experiences had been, encouraging me to ask others for help. Something she said that really stuck with me was when she asked me how I felt about my labor. My response was, “I feel good, like it was an accomplishment.” She said that she was glad I felt that way because often with labors that go that fast it can feel like the mind doesn’t have a chance to catch up with the body. This was memorable for me because after getting home and processing my birth a bit more I realized that that’s exactly how it felt for me.
Anyways, after all the dismissal work was done: birth certificate clearance, redoing her hearing test which she failed again at in the right ear, a visit from the pediatrician who told us they detected a heart murmur but that it was common to have and then clear up quickly. We finally got out of there at 10:30 am. I was excited to get home and sad that I was leaving my last fresh postpartum experience. Those first hours are some of my favorite memories ever. Laying eyes and hands and heart on your baby for the first time is just about unbeatable.
They wheeled me out to the car- treating me like I was disabled even though I didn’t feel that way. It was on the car ride home that I realized how good I felt. I really wasn’t sore down there like I had been before. I felt pretty dang good!
We pulled up to the house and my mom, Anders, Ella and Julian were all waiting anxiously outside for us. And on the garage door was a huge butcher paper sign with painted letters and hearts, “Welcome home Kaia!” I later learned that this was also how our neighbors learned of Kaia’s arrival. The kids were so cute and excited to meet baby Kaia, especially Ella. Ella just wanted to hold her, touch her, dress her, and even nap with her. We have a picture of Ella during Kaia’s first nap at home. Ella came to me and said, “mom can I nap next to Kaia? I won’t sleep with her, just on the floor next to her?” So cute.
The next few days were just dreamy. I mean, sleep with a newborn sucks, but who even cares? You have the most precious thing life could ever deliver you. She is so stinking cute. Like seriously. She’s precious. She has the most perfect little symmetrical nose with these tiny dimples on the sides, and her eyebrows furrow all the time in concern or whatever it is she’s experiencing. And the little baby cuddles- they’re so good at cuddling at this age.
She has taken some work to get to sleep sometimes. If she doesn’t go right back to sleep after nursing then she needs some coercing to get her back to sleep. Coercing= walking around until her eyes close and then holding her for about 20 minutes before setting her down. I do hate this part. It ends up taking up so much of my day. Why can’t I get one of those babies who just falls asleep on her own?! Well I never have and looks like I never will. But it’s totally worth it, and I’m not accumulating the stress of it (yet, at least) like I did with my first two. I definitely still have stressful moments, but not to the degree that I use to.. I think the difference is that all the work feels so worth it to me this time, and I know how quickly it all passes. With that being said, we’ll see how I do when Luc and I both go back to work, and I’m doing much more than managing a newborn and trying to watch my favorite Netflix shows all day long.