After I give birth, my legs and hands swell up.  It happens in the week after and seems to last for days. Each time it has happened,  I worry, I call the doctor and I wonder if it's normal.  My ankles are non existent and it hurts to step on my feet.  My shoes don't fit.  Then, suddenly, I start going pee constantly and wake up in the night drenched with sweat and after a few days I'm back to normal.

Well, this has happened emotionally for me recently.  I think I've been in a kind of survival mode which has kept me emotionally in a holding pattern. I haven't been able to write.  I haven't been taking pictures.  I'm feeling buried.  Then, suddenly, last week or so, I just felt a huge release.  I was able to move beyond my decision to stop pumping.  I started to clean our house.  I have been going through our stuff and giving it away. I'm working in the yard. I've been playing the guitar. I'm realizing i can't do everything and that's okay.  It's a great feeling.

Life with Lula is amazing. I don't think I can write about it without gushing.  We are in love.  I am so happy.  When I pick her up after she's been sleeping and her little body stretches, when she's asleep on my chest, when she smiles at me in the middle of the night, I just swell up with happiness.  She is a blessing.  She's also a good sleeper.  This is our first experience with a newborn sleeping well at night and I have to say, I really like it.  Sometimes, if she eats late enough, she sleeps through the night.  Most of the time she's just up once.  Every now and again she wants to eat twice.  It's so doable and has helped Willie and I immensely.  Hank and Wyatt shower attention on her and are so happy to see her when she wakes up or when Wyatt gets home from school.  They are such good big brothers.

No Go on Breastfeeding

We've had a few bumps along the way.  I stopped pumping which was a very hard decision for me.  I could not get Lula to breastfeed exclusively, which meant I had to keep pumping to keep my milk supply. I just thought I could get her to switch over from the bottle.  I had done it with Hank and Wyatt.  It just didnt 'work this time. I know there are people that have pumped for a year and I know that that would be best for her nutrition, but adding pumping into my days made it so I wasn't pumping enough and on the verge of mastitis constantly.

Finally after trying to get her to exclusively breastfeed one day by just trying to fly solo without supplementing with a bottle of breastmilk, we ended up in another situation where she was so hungry and would not nurse or take the bottle form me or Willie. It was so stressful.  On that day, I ended up with double mastitis again because she could not latch well enough to drain my breast. This time instead of building up my milk supply again after being sick, I decided to wean from the pump.   It has been a real loss for me, but I feel like i made the right choice.  Breastfeeding is something I really love about being a mom.  Pumping, not so much.  It was really hard to let go of the chance of her breastfeeding exclusively and I've felt guilty about it. I've worried about what other people think.  As I write that I can't believe I care, but I do. I'm afraid someone would think I chose to not breastfeed on purpose because I'm selfish.  It's one more thing that keeps me out of the natural/earthy mom club (which I've always really wanted to be in).  Issues, I know.

I found a great article about bottle nursing and it has helped a lot.  All is not lost as far as the bonding and snuggling go.  This article talks about making bottle feeding as much like breastfeeding as possible.  I hold her close to me or snuggle up on the bed.  We have a water warmer so her bottles are 98 degrees.  I make sure it's quiet and I try to be present (not doing something else).  I was remembering how much I loved nursing Hank on my bed and Wyatt would be there too snuggling up with Hank and hanging out.  We had a similar experience recently when I was feeding Lula on the bed.  We were snuggled up and Wyatt and Hank were there too cooing over her and talking with us. It was that great bonding feeling.

Hospital Stay

As a lot of you know Lula had a high fever and i brought her to the emergency room and they admitted her for three days. It ended up being a urinary tract infection (thank goodness) but with a 6 week old baby and a fever, the fear is meningitis.  I'm so glad they were able to confirm the UTI because she didn't have to have a spinal tap.  They did a nasal swab, a chest X-ray, blood test, etc.  In the emergency room the nurse that took Lula's urine sample told me that she couldn't say for sure but it looked like she had a UTI.  I'm so glad she said that since it helped keep my worries under control.

Our hospital stay was sleepless and an inconvenience but the fact that they knew what was wrong and they were treating it, made for an easier time.  Wyatt's hospitalization after his birth has affected me forever.  I can't go into a hospital without remembering and the smells and sounds bring back a lot of emotions.  I was really glad Lula is healthy and is going to be fine.  For the most part Willie and I just traded off letteing her sleep on our chests for three days while nurses and doctors came in and out.  I missed the holding part after we got home.

Depression

The great news is that my post-pardum depression has not been a burden.  I started on medication the night Lula was born and though it usually takes 6 weeks to take full affect, I felt like it started working faster. I've had a few moments of major crying and mostly related to breastfeeding drama, but it didn't last for too long.  I have felt emotional, but myself.  I am functioning well. I'm happy but not numb.  the first month after her birth, I felt a general sadness sweep over me from time to time but it would lift and it wouldn't leave me hopeless.  I have to say that I am really thankful for medication that is effective, affordable and void of side effects (except not being sad). If I lived in the old days, I would not have faired so well.  Getting decent sleep and having Willie, who is a very involved father, and two great other kids has helped so much.

Weight Loss

I gained 50 lbs and have lost 32.  18 to go and my trainer, Laurie, is working me hard, weighing me and checking up on what I eat.  What and how much I eat will be the key to getting back in shape.  I miss sweets but I'm enjoying eating healthy.  Willie has been eating clean too which really helps. I'm enjoying getting back into vigorous exercise. It feels so good and I love having a group of people to work out with that I like and look forward to seeing.

Well that's a lot of writing when I should really be posting unheard of amounts of pictures of Lula.  Here are a few.  More to come.  I'm just starting to pick up my cameras again.












6 Comments:

  1. Sarah said...
    I love this! It's so nice to hear how well you are doing. Don't worry about the nursing thing. With Simon I was devastated that breastfeeding didn't work for us. I cried for a couple of weeks. I thought I ruined him. It didn't take long to realize he was just fine. With Ellen I didn't even try and it was great. With Charlotte I was determined because it was my last baby. I did it, but it was hard and painful the whole time. I'd have to prop her up on pillows so when it hurt so bad I fainted, I wouldn't drop her. Really, they all three turned out fine and whether I nursed or not seems to have turned out to be irrelevant.

    She is going to be happy and love her family and do what she needs and wants to do with her life no matter if you nurse her longer or not.

    I'm glad you are enjoying her. She's so beautiful and your boys look so sweet with her. :)
    Anonymous said...
    Sally, you are amazing! Loved reading this and am excited to get to know you and your sweet family more.
    Angela
    Photo Amy said...
    Great post! I'm so glad you are feeling better and Lula is beautiful. No surprise there.
    Heidi said...
    Thanks for writing! I love your openness and honesty. You are an amazingly strong woman and Lula is lucky to have you as her example. And she is beyond adorable!!!
    YMM Positive Outcomes said...
    love your story, your writing style and your photography....Now you need to update your blog blurb to "stay at home mom of 3"
    Melynne said...
    loved the update. sounds like you are fairing really well! lula is so, so darling i can't stand it! hope to meet her one day. xo

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