(written yesterday) Today has been a big win for me. I got dressed in something more than underwear for the first time since giving birth a week ago. This is bloody exciting.
Rose and I walked to the park with our daughter. I got to feel grass under my feet, sun on my face, the stitch in my side, pain in my yoni, so on and so forth. Post-partum recovery is a bitch. I hadn’t realised how much being in hospital was doing my head in until getting out. I felt actually human being outside. Leaving the hospital the other night, I wept standing outside in the night, the first time out daughter had been outside in her life.
When we got home I walked inside with our daughter, slumped against a wall and sobbed with relief. Bringing her home felt like the finish line of a marathon. Home and safe and back in the real world, my own daughter to love and nurture and protect. My milk has come in, and in a big way. I expressed 70mls today for Rose to use to give me a sleep!
I have the emotional stability of a three year old at Christmas. Hysteria is one second away, as is intense happiness. Rose has been a champion at supporting me and baby girl.
Breastfeeding has been insanely difficult and very painful. I’m learning, and getting more feeds that don’t hurt happening, but I’ve had to stop everything else and really focus to do it. My whole world has revolved around it. All the skills I learned about feeding or daughter back when she was constantly underfed and hungry are redundant once my milk finally came in. She has had to figure out how to feed differently too, otherwise I drown her in milk. The whole two steps forward, one step back dance is emotionally wrenching. Breastfeeding is super easy for some people (and I hate of all them at the moment) but for me it’s been a crazy steep learning curve so I’ve done everything I can to make that curve less steep. I focused on learning only one position (football hold) in one location (bed) with one set of needed supplies (two pillows, burp cloth, moo goo, rolled up face washer, water bottle) and focused on getting a latch that didn’t hurt too much. It takes both hands, I need Rose there to feed or water me, and there’s often pain to manage in the way of chafed nipples and sitting on stitches, as well as muscle aches from days spent on bed hunched into weird positions tense and stressed. I don’t wear a top but live in a bra with soft nipples pads, and I swap a bracelet from wrist to wrist to remind me which side I fed on last time. I break a bad latch over and over to get a not too bad one or occasionally a really good one that doesn’t hurt at all. And I don’t try anything else until I’ve got this.
Once I’ve started getting it consistently, I add in a new challenge, like being able to do it in low light at night, or being able to sustain the latch using only one hand so I can feed myself at the same time. Keeping that learning curve small as possible though because I need all the success I can get. It was a shock to get home from hospital the other day and realise I couldn’t attend my GP appt because I currently can only breastfeed at all in one way and one location, some of the time. I’m working on it!
Our midwife visited recently and I was in a bad state, I’d been crying hysterically for most of the morning, the lack of sleep was shattering me, nightmares were incredibly distressing, and I’d found that I was starting to get out daughter confused with Tamlorn in my mind, which was scary and sad. My pain levels were intense and I was trembling with misery. She offered to debrief the birth and words just poured out of me, the good and the bad, tears and fear and stress. The jumbled confusion of experiences that were at once both amazing and terrible, surreal, sublime, and traumatic. The relief of being able to talk about it in the past tense, happened not happening, to start to sift and name and find words for it all was like having the weight of a house removed from my body. I had thought that the pain and exhaustion was physiological – hormones, sleep deprivation, fibro, post surgery pain. But a debrief took so much darkness out of my world. ❤