Like Falling Off a Bicycle
I can honestly say that I was TOTALLY UNPREPARED for life with a newborn – mostly because apparently my first child wasn’t a human baby at all but some sort of puking, crying, fussing, alien monster who refused to nurse, stressed us out like crazy with jaundice, and generally made life miserable for at least his first four months of life. Looking back now, E and I are both going “Wow, we REALLY should have complained more to the doctor about that puking thing because obviously we were clueless about normal human babies”.
(Although honestly, we mentioned it ALL THE TIME and all we got was “Meh, some babies throw up a lot“, even from my lactation consultant. Clearly it wasn’t normal but since he was gaining weight no one cared how miserable it made everything in regards to our home life. If I hadn’t spent so much time doing frickin’ laundry the first time around maybe I would have gotten more sleep and not been quite so…well, horrible to everyone. Especially E. It was really sucky y’all.)
THIS baby is an angel. I would take a dozen of these babies. She spends all her time sleeping, only waking herself up with hilariously loud poops to get a new diaper, nurse for a while and then cuddle with anyone who holds her. She falls asleep again without any complicated shushing/swaddling/burping/dancing/begging/crying rituals in her swing or the (broken so it doesn’t actually bounce) bouncy seat or the co-sleeper or lying on the floor. She only requires one outfit a day and 90% of the laundry is a result of my overactive milk ducts and their ability to soak through anything in .43 seconds and not projectile baby puke. When the baby nurse came to visit last week Caroline had already gained back all but 4 oz of her birth weight and I’m going to go ahead an predict by her 2 week checkup she’s already closer to 10 lbs than 8.
In further attempts to be absolutely nothing like her brother, Caroline has perhaps the world’s strongest latch and no doubts about using it to suck on pretty much anything (I’m hoping this is a good omen when it comes time to introduce a bottle). I’ve had to drag out my old nipple shield to deal with the tenderness and bruising – nothing serious or horrifying, but when she cluster feeds for two hours straight the pinching gets to toe-curling levels of painful. It’s not anyone’s fault – I don’t need a link to “how-to-get-a-better-latch” videos or whatever – just a result of her mouth being small and my engorgement being massive and a few lazy nursing sessions that did a little damage. Fortunately, my body remembered it WASN’T feeding a whole litter of babies this time around and I’m already back to normal nursing sized boobs instead of GIANT PORN STAR WHO STAPLED THESE BASKETBALLS TO MY CHEST??? sized boobs.
ALSO: I have a tip for sore nipples that doesn’t involve buying those super expensive gel pads I loved so much last time. Tea bags. Seriously. The baby nurse suggested it (she’s also an LC) and it’s amazing. Just steep two tea bags in hot water, let them cool off and stick them on your nipples. The tannic acid in the tea combined with the coolness helps soothe the bruising and pinching. The internet backs me up on this with science but my nipples back me up even more with “OMG THANK YOU”.
MORE ALSO: In the debate between “No, breastfeeding should NEVER hurt” and “A little nipple soreness can be normal while you’re adjusting” I am officially in the later camp. I know the difference between a good latch and a bad latch and even when we have it PERFECT I get a little sore after 30+ minutes of constant nursing. It’s definitely improving though, and I bet in 2 weeks I don’t even remember what I was complaining about.
As for the rest of my I-just-had-a-baby recovery, I can barely tell I just had a baby. I hesitate to say that I am AWESOME at giving birth (because someone awesome at giving birth could probably do it naturally in a wheat field at sunset instead of with an epidural) but my BODY is certainly prepared for labor and delivery pushing out an 8+ lbs baby, even if my brain is not prepared for that kind of pain. Like I said in my birth story, even my above average baby didn’t do any damage. She did so LITTLE damage in fact that I don’t even pee my pants when I sneeze anymore, something I was doing at 9 months pregnant. I KNOW. IT’S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE. The worst part of my recovery was actually the stupid Tdap booster they gave me in the hospital that made my left arm practically useless for two full days and the rhogam shot I got in my left hip that hurt almost as much. That soreness combined with my milk coming in made me want to just hide under the covers and not let anyone touch me ever again – especially a toddler who thinks “jump on mommy” is the best game ever.
Oh but THEN I got another kidney infection, less than 24 hours after being discharged. I spiked a fever in the evening and another in the middle of the night but held off on calling the doctor until office hours and then talked them into letting me do outpatient lab work to confirm (although REALLY? I know what a kidney infection feels like by now. Swearies) and calling in antibiotics to my pharmacy rather than possibly readmitting me. I did NOT want to go back to the hospital, especially with a newborn nursling. I feel infinitely better after almost a week of antibiotics. But this probably means I should reschedule my March kidney stone removal appointment to some time sooner or the infections might keep happening and that doesn’t seem fun.
And now that I’ve told you how well everything is going, don’t be surprised when I take it ALL BACK next week. It’s the first law of blogging and I just broke it. I hope you’re happy internet.