8 Days Later

Weird things happen after the baby is born. My blood sugars have gone hypo again, possibly due to breastfeeding. Certainly, this is better than high sugars, but it has required a change of strategy to manage it.

The boob fairy paid me a visit on the second night. I woke to find myself a 38D milk factory. I was hoping this was couple-of-days temporary. But my mother tells me, breezily “they’ll probably go back to a smaller size in a few months.” Now I’m glad she sent me those ridiculously large bras I thought would never in a million years fit me. They’re the right size now.

The first week was totally exhausting. And I was hardly getting out of bed. It’s hard to get used to napping when the baby naps, and he doesn’t sleep much at night. The last couple of days we have finally worked up the willpower to start putting him in his own bed to sleep. I would love to do the co-sleeping thing, but there are a couple of insurmountable problems with it:

A) Our bed isn’t safe, and we can’t get a new one or put the mattress on the floor.

B) Our bed really isn’t big enough for three of us: just a full, not a queen or anything.

C) Nighttime hot flashes. I had them during pregnancy some, and I’m having them a lot now. With a baby in the bed, here’s how that works out: 2am, nurse the baby half-asleep, put him down in the exact middle of the bed, sleeping sweetly, and scoot back to my own edge to sleep. 2:30am: baby has oozed over next to me to hug my boob in his sleep, and plaster his little body on my midsection. It’s adorable. 2:35am: suddenly it is hotter than a glass furnace in here, I am drenched in sweat, and here’s this little heat-seeking radiator child who wants to sleep glued to my side. AAAHHHHHH! Getoffme!  Too hot!

Breastfeeding has not been a walk in the park.  The advocates are right, of course, that it’s best for all, but I now understand why so many opt out. There is a steep learning curve to it. The first few days were like nursing a shark. And he wants to nurse constantly.  After a whole week of frantic research and constant work on getting a good latch, I can finally say it’s getting better. Positioning made the latch less painful, and just today the babe seems to have had a breakthrough:  he found some better way of sucking tht gets him more milk for his effort. Now instead of sucksucksucksucksucksucksucksuckgulp, it’s sometimes suckgulpsuckgulp. Nursing sessions are still very, very frequent, and last anywhere from ten minutes to an hour. Sometimes the latch is great and everything’s peachy, but sometimes it’s still painful, and no matter how many times I un-latch him and try again, we can’t seem to get it quite right. But we’ll keep trying. Whatever we are doing is at least working: the boy has gained a whole pound in the last week!

Getting up in the night to feed and change the kid is hard. Really hard. Like, after the third time up, when you haven’t had a chance to go back to sleep since the second time, and the baby is making that squeaky noise that says “I’ll be ravenous in twenty seconds, come get me”…   someday you’ll roll your eyes and joke about this with other parents, but right now you’re saying “(*^%!!@ not again!”  And in those first few days, when I was still in a lot of pain– chafed nipples, swollen girly bits, pulling stitches, and hip bones that almost grind against each other every time I move– I admit I cried some.  No need to blame that on the hormones.  I’m still hurting, just not quite as badly now. Each day is a little improvement that I appreciate and look forward to.

One of the really nice things about being here, and about the particular midwife we signed up with, is that for my postpartum checkup today, the midwife/doctora came to our apartment– I didn’t have to get in a cab or ride the buses anywhere, which would have been horrible, given that I can’t sit in chairs yet.

The boy is gorgeous.  He gets just a little bit more awake-time each day. He makes little animal noises– kitten squeaks and bear growls and piggy grunts. He’s still trying to figure out how to hold up his head. He flails his arms in his sleep. He tends to look horrified when he poops, as though it wasn’t something he did, but rather something inexplicably done to him. When he has nursed his fill, and falls unconscious from the breast, he dreams. Sometimes it looks like his brain is running through a facial expressions test, firing the nerves for mouth, eyebrows, eyelids, cheeks…   sometimes he dreams about nursing: his chin bobs up and down three or four times, and then he grins broadly.

 

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