What day is it? I have officially lost all concept of time. I'm living in this alternate reality where day and night blend together and the numbers on the clock have lost all meaning except to track how long it's been since the Boob Monster last devoured a meal. My heart lives, breaths, and poops outside of my body and my hormones have lost all sense of subtlety. Living with a newborn has been an experience.
3 1/2 weeks after birth, and I feel like I'm finally reaching a level of sorta-functioning. Life up until now as been extremely challenging - the best - but super hard. The difficulties pretty much began right after labor. I'm gonna get real honest with you in this post. Did you know that using the bathroom becomes a task so treacherous that it makes walking into Mordor look simple?
My first attempt I was still partially numb from the epidural and my bladder was SO FULL. I remember telling the nurse I felt like I had downed 7 tequila shots and now had to pee something fierce [you know the feeling]. Problem: Although I could feel my bladder, none of the moving parts were functioning yet. I tried, and waited, and tried, and nothing happened. Even worse I could not fathom walking all the way back to the bed with such a full bladder. So my nurse got to test her catheter skills right there in the bathroom. I think she was pretty proud of herself.
But that was right after birth and my body was still reeling from the experience and the meds, right? Peeing will be so much easier next time! Nope. Just no. It took weeks before I could pee comfortably again (don't get me started on pooping!). Everything is sore, there are stitches to contend with, and a whole bunch of extra fluids...Oh the fluids.... So, so many fluids.
Lemme tell you about these fluids. First, there is a lot of blood. Apparently that extra 40% has to go somewhere. While I was in the hospital it was pretty much everywhere, I just couldn't get away from it and didn't even try. There is a reason for the giant mesh hospital panties with liners that could double as sandbags in a flood. But did you know those sexy undergarments have a built in ice pack, are lined with witch hazel pads, and covered liberally with numbing spray? I gotta say when paired with a gorilla's dose of ibuprofen you have yourself a winning combination for pain relief.
Luckily I had upgraded to giant almost-diapers without all the add-ons before leaving the hospital, but that doesn't mean I was done with the fluids! No sirree, as soon as we got home the night sweats and boob leakage started. Thanks hormones! I've never felt soggier.
The fun doesn't stop there! The first few days all of my muscles were sore, especially my arms of all things. *Pro tip to preggie ladies: Do a couple of arm exercises before Junior arrives, then after birth when you can still reach your back without crying, pat it. I had used them to brace myself while pushing, but I might as well have been bench pressing twice my body weight for how sore they were the following week.
So I'm constantly damp, exhausted and sore. In the short amount of time our son has been living with us we have also battled days of no pooping to projectile pooping, impressively far reaching streams of urine during diaper changes, jaundice, one traumatic doctors appointment, the putrid stank of the umbilical cord before it fell off, a blocked tear duct, and the insane schedule that is "on demand" breast feeding. You would think we would be ready to take advantage of the 30 day money-back guarantee, but that's just the thing, all the sickeningly sweet cliches are 100% true in my case.
I would trade every hour of my sleep to know that my son feels warm and safe. I would handle painfully engorged, leaky breasts for as long as necessary if it ensures my son has a full belly and is growing well. There is nothing I wouldn't give to make sure he is happy and feels loved. Watching him gaze around the room as he tries to make sense of the world fills my heart to the brim, and should he happen to smile, it overflows. There really is no love like being responsible for the life of someone so small, vulnerable, and unknowing.
The only greater pleasure has been sharing the experience. Troy has been a fun and loving father, and an incredible husband. If my needs have come in second, his have come third. When the inevitable meltdowns (both mine and the baby's) occur he stays calm and supportive. He cleans up after us, brings me food, keeps me hydrated, and always has a listening ear when I need to announce that I can't possibly STILL be bleeding. He is my confidante, and the only person who truly understands how this sublime change has affected our lives. Despite the stained bra that I have worn for 3 days in a row, the baggy sweat pants, the extra weight in my thighs, the soft tummy, the dark circles under my eyes, and stretch marks on my boobs, he tells me I'm beautiful. I can tell by the sincere twinkle in his eye that got us into this mess in the first place that he means it. I couldn't ask for a better partner.
This has been my postpartum party so far. I know each week will continue to get a little easier, and that pretty soon I'll look up and my precious infant will be a toddler, then a kid, and then a man. I'm savoring all the best parts, but holy hell it's been hard. Wish me luck that I never have to go through this again. I think I got it right the first time. ;)