Monday, September 9, 2013

"Uh Oh... Now What?" Postpartum Beginnings

When I graduated high school my mom thought it would be appropriate to put this on my cake: "Uh Oh.. Now What?"

Funny, right?!?

It didn't really pertain to me at the time though, I had a plan... Of course that plan changed (like all my "plans"), but in that moment; that moment I had the "what next" figured out.

Fast forward 9 years to August 14th, 2012 at 2:14pm and that cake would have been the perfect postpartum gift.

The thing about your life experiences up until the birth of your first child...
THEY IN NO WAY PREPARE YOU FOR MOTHERHOOD. I don't think anything can prepare you for how much your life changes in a split second. It doesn't matter how many classes you take, how many books you read, how many siblings you helped raise; all of that goes out the window (as well as your brain, sleep, sanity, free-time, etc.) when your first born comes into this world. 

The first couple of weeks we survived on instinct, other moms' advise, and what little I had somehow managed to remember from the stacks of books, endless web pages, and mommy blogs I read while pregnant. Even now, looking back, I don't know how I did it; how I knew what to do (or tried my best at knowing what to do). 

Our story last ended with Myles entering the world on August 14th, 2012 at 2:14pm.

As soon as Myles broke out of his captivity, the nurses took him, cleaned him up, weighed him, clamped his cord, etc. When he was finished they gave him to Mark to bring to me. So Mark got to see him first and touch him first. But after that, it was all about the momma!
I'm not going to lie, holding him for the first time was scary. I don't think I have ever held that new of a newborn and I was nervous. He was finally here and healthy... I did not want anything to happen to him!!

Me holding Myles for the first time!

After he was passed around to family that was there, we had our first try at breastfeeding.  He wasn't really having it, but he was only like an hour old so I wasn't worried. They took him away for his bath, tests, and such while I got transferred to a recovery room. 

This was when postpartum reality set in. Now mind you, I had been off work since the beginning of June for summer break (perk of being a teacher!) A lot of this time off was spent reading and researching the new job position I was about to accept. I read so much, I was surprised my head didn't explode (I mean seriously that's how much I read)... The point... I read NOTHING about postpartum recovery. Why does nobody talk about this!?!?! I guess it's common sense; I don't know why I didn't think I might be in pain for a while after essentially pushing a bowling ball out of my nether region. I just never thought about it, never crossed my mind, never read about it. 

I had a minor tear needing a couple stitches, but everything else about my labor was completely normal. I guess I was expecting to be ballroom dancing down the halls by the morning... HA! Boy was I in for a rude awakening. What a mess I was. I felt like I had absolutely no control over anything my body was doing. Swollen, bleeding, and pounding in my area, then hot flashes, nausea, and excruciating back pain. As soon as I was moved to the postpartum room, I started to have this really horrible back pain; it felt like all my nerves were being pinched throughout my whole back. At this point, so much had just happened to my body over the last 24 hours that I really did not want to take any more medicine. So of course the logical thing to do was.. go into the bathroom and cry and cry and cry! This pain was worse than anything I had experienced during labor and was unrelenting. My doctor came back to see how I was and he insisted that I take some pain meds. He reassured me that I would be okay. Thankfully I did as told ;) and the meds worked wonders on my back.  I'm sure most of what I dealt with was totally normal, but I was not in the least bit prepared for it, so it was harsh.  

Honestly the next 24 hours was quite a blur for me. I was on about 30 hours of no sleep and the pain in my birthing hole was excruciating. After he was cleaned and tested, little man came back and spent the rest of the day and night with us. I remember a couple diaper changes made by Mark, a couple breastfeeding sessions, and a whole lot of anxious energy from me. I once again did not sleep one single minute that night, so by morning I was on 48 hours of no sleep. I wasn't surprised though, I have never been able to sleep in an unfamiliar place. At this point, all I wanted to do was go home. I knew I would never get any sleep in the hospital and Myles was doing great. And so began Mission: Get Us Out of The Hospital. It started with a desperate pleading to my doctor; which turned out to be the easy part. In the morning, he gave the okay for me to go as soon as we hit the 24 mark, which would be around 2pm. After I was cleared, the real work began :) Getting Myles ready to leave was a little more complicated. 
First picture with his eyes open... heart melting..

1. Circumcision: I know this is a pretty controversial topic (one that I do not want to get into), so I will be keeping it short and simple. We decided fairly early on to get this done. Mark was very adamant and honestly I didn't have strong feelings either way. I see positives for both sides, so I just let Mark take the reigns with this one. 

So in the early afternoon, Dr. Cunningham took Myles to trim up his winky. Since everyone was gone then, it seemed as though I would actually get some rest...  Oh wait.. we are speaking about my life, so of course that WOULDN'T happen. Apparently, the hospital thought it was the perfect time to remodel the room next to mine; you know the one that I share a wall with... Literally the whole time Myles was gone my room was shaking from drill and hammer usage. Honestly, I should have complained. But instead I just laid there with not even enough strength to care.   

2. Hearing test: easy enough, passed with flying colors!

3.  Breastfeeding: I really had not a clue when it came to breastfeeding Myles. I just figured it would come naturally as soon as he was born. We tried latching him on within 10 minutes of him coming out, but he didn't seem to want to try just yet. I figured it was normal; nobody else seemed too concerned, so I just waited to try again when he was cleaned up, tested, and brought back to me. Throughout the first 24 hours, I practiced breastfeeding several times. Whenever he cried, I changed him and then would try to feed him. We tried different positions on both sides to find the best way to get him to latch. I am very grateful for the nurses and lactation consultant at the hospital. Without them I don't know if I would have been able to figure it out. They showed me exactly what to do and made me feel very comfortable. I wasn't sure we were doing it right, but I figured the more we practiced the better we would get. I didn't know if he was actually getting anything out of my breasts, but I was pretty sure we was latching correctly. I could definitely tell he was on the nipple and sucking, so I felt like maybe it was working. The lactation consultant came by in the afternoon on Wednesday to see how we were doing. Of course, Myles wasn't interested in eating at the time, so she told me to have her paged when I was going to try again. The next time Myles ate, she came by to check us out. She seemed very surprised at Myles' ability to latch and eat. She said she didn't want me to leave based on previous 'exams', but that this time she could tell that he was eating and was now very confident in his breastfeeding.
(Check out my Breastfeeding posts to learn more about our breastfeeding journey.)

4. Birth Certificate: The last thing needed to be done was finalizing the birth certificate. Everything else was done around 5:00pm on Wednesday (so about 27 hours after the birth). The woman who wrote out the birth certificates had to come back three times before we were ready to finish it. The problem: our baby had no NAME! We still hadn't made a final decision in regards to his name. Picking a name for my child is a huge responsibility; and one that I did not take lightly. It was a long and arduous process, but completely worth all the fuss, as I am so happy with our name choice. *Read the detailed version here: What's Your Name? 

5. Check Out: Everything was taken care of and we finally left around 7:00pm Wednesday, August 15th (29 hours after birth). Besides the remodeling fiasco, I had a very pleasant experience at the hospital and am very happy with my choice of doctor/hospital. I would 100% recommend them.
Cousin Lexi holding Myles for the first time

At the hospital, Myles met wonderful family and friends for the first time:

His grandma Trina and grandpa Dave, his grandpa Jerry, his uncle Chris and aunt Jamie, his great aunts Patty and Sue, his aunt Melissa, his aunt Katie and cousin Lexi, his great Uncles Dan and Doug, and cousin Rudy.

Myles all packed up and ready to go!
Myles' first car ride!

On the way home, we stopped to get some food. When we arrived at the house, we were greeted by grandma and grandpa Krueger with their awesome homemade signs :)
They offered to watch Myles so that I could take a nap since I was now on 59 hours of no sleep. Unfortunately, after only about a half an hour, Myles decided he was hungry. So the no sleep saga raged on... I once again stayed up all night with Myles, struggling to figure out what he needed and why he was crying. (More on that in an upcoming Breastfeeding Journey post). The next day our parents came over to help out and watch Myles and I finally got a couple hours of sleep after being up for 72 hours straight! Of course I woke up in a huge puddle of hormone sweat and nervous panic... Which I would soon find out would be my life for the next several months...

Bringing home your first baby is such a bizarre feeling; the last time I was home, I was my regular Julia-self, and in the matter of hours, I was home as a completely different person: Mom Julia. As I type this a year later, I don't know how I made it this far. Nothing in the world can prepare you for becoming a mother. Within one second of having your child, your life changes forever. Looking back I am amazed at what I did in the past year; all that I have accomplished as a mother so far. I am proud of the relationship I have with my son and how I have evolved from Julia to Mom, but the road to get here was a really rough one for me. I want to be completely honest and open about my postpartum journey, so be prepared for some heavy stuff coming your way in the near future

How was immediate postpartum for you? what was it like bringing baby home for the first time?
Check back soon for my upcoming posts on my postpartum journey, Myles updates, and our breastfeeding story!


  1. Postpartum recovery seems SO long ago...
    I had a scheduled c-section, so I was pretty drugged up. After my little man was born the next few hours are kind of groggy. I do remember having to finally ask if *I* could hold my son. It seemed as if everyone and their dog had held my son before me.
    But, I love my doctor, and I love the hospital we delivered in!

    1. Of course I secretly wish I could have held h first. I guess I should have made that a part of my birth plan. Some women actually help pull their baby out!! Then you would for sure be the first one lol. I thought a vaginal birth was a hard recovery, I can't imagine a c-section!!


I LOVE that you are taking the time to read and comment on my blog! I always comment back either through email or as a reply on your comment :) Thanks for coming by!