Can’t believe it’s already been one week since WZW joined us outside the uterus. There’s so much I’ve experienced and learned in this short week.
It’s been great for me to go through the whole pregnancy, birth, and now parenting experience for myself since there’s a lot one learns from going through the process themselves as opposed to taking care of patients going through it. For one, I anticipated that postpartum I’d have pain from my perineal sutures. Patients generally complain of pain from the laceration repair, hemorrhoids, and/or uterine cramping. And of course the C-section patients have their postoperative pain. Some women get headaches, or have low back pain from the epidural site.
What I didn’t anticipate was that my whole pelvis would hurt. My pubic symphysis hurt the last week of my pregnancy, and during my labor I felt pain there even in between contractions. My pelvic bones were separating in preparation for the delivery. What I didn’t realize was that I’d still have significant pain after, since I’ve never had patients complain about it. For me, the pubic symphysis, as well as areas adjacent to my tailbone were sore after my delivery and I found it hard to find a comfortable position to sit.
I will also from now on always prescribe a stool softener for my patients as part of their hospital discharge medications. Previously, I only ordered it if they were going to be taking iron or a narcotic medication for pain, since those tend to constipate. Or if they had a 3rd or 4th degree perineal laceration (involving the anal sphincter), then I’d definitely order it for them. What I learned the hard way is that even with a 2nd degree laceration and unfortunately hemorrhoids from the pushing during my delivery, a stool softener is very helpful in these early days, since everything hurts down there. Since they didn’t order any of the Colace (docusate) for me postpartum, I bought some over-the-counter and was surprised that a package of 60 capsules was $28! For most patients, if I prescribe it for them, their co-pay should be much cheaper than that.
We are experiencing the normal sleepless nights that all new parents do. I think it helps a lot that after working countless overnight call shifts, I’m familiar with the feeling of being sleep-deprived. Normally, it’s a challenge to feel so tired and still try to do my job as a physician (ie function at a high level not make any major mistakes). So in comparison, being tired but having the primary job of breastfeeding is doable. Granted, it’s like being on call every single night.
I knew breastfeeding wasn’t going to be easy, but now I’ve learned from personal experience. Initially, my nipples were so sore from initiating the feedings and having them be so frequent. It’s definitely tough to be feeding WZW constantly. At his 3 day visit, they gave me a nipple shield to use, and that has helped tremendously so that it doesn’t hurt as much. Also, I think my breasts are healing and getting used to it. I’m very motivated to breastfeed given the benefits, but I can see how many women would throw in the towel.
The first couple nights at home were the toughest. There would be times when WZW was fed, his diaper was dry, and we’d do all of the baby soothing techniques, and he’d still be crying and crying. They tell us he was just getting used to life outside the uterus. We try to take it in stride, knowing that sometimes no matter what we do, we can’t make him calm down. We try to keep a sense of humor about it. We took one video of him while he was raging- arms flailing as he was crying out of control, with the Outkast song ATLiens (“Throw your hands in the air, and wave them like you just don’t care.”) in the background. We joke about how our little guy thinks of us as his servants- at his beck and call 24/7, scrambling to have his needs met as soon as he starts to fuss. The episodes of uncontrollable crying are less frequent as we get used to things and he gets used to life outside the womb, but they still occur sometimes, like last night. And sometimes I’m so tired that I can’t keep a sense of humor and just need to cry tears of frustration and fatigue.
Ultimately, though, we are enamored by our little guy and all of his expressions and actions. Everything he does is the cutest. What parent can resist a face like this?