Thursday, January 13, 2011

The days after: at home

Your comments are so so nice, I don't know what I would do without you all. Thanks so much.

And so we came home. I was already feeling a little blue when I was in the hospital and coming home seemed to make it worse. All was perfect, Oliver was healthy and really good (read sleeping and feeding), mom was here and so was my sister, our dream came true. And yet. I had this sadness which was overwhelming, in the evening especially I just had to cry.
I cried thinking of the bleeding. I cried even more when I kept reliving all the events that brought to the early arrival of Oliver, how it felt to me so so coincidental that I did go to the hospital when I wasn't really concerned, how they kept me in just because they thought I had been through a lot in the past, how the dr had the portable scanner in the morning which prompted a more accurate scan that same day. And I knew rationally it didn't make any sense to say to myself "imagine if I hadn't gone to the hospital" "imagine if they didn't scan me" etc as I DID go to the hospital and everything was well in the end. I kept imagining what would have happened if I had stayed at home, if I had started bleeding at home...I felt like all this joy (which in a very strange mix was sadness too) was pure luck and it could have been a very different outcome.
At least I slept much better knowing we had the monitor checking his breathing. It was something.
Oliver was still on formula, I tried latching him on at every feed but I had nothing at all coming out and he got frustrated after a short time. Add this to the list of things that upset me in those early days. I bought an electric pump to express milk. I saw the first few drops of milk around day 5, it increased a bit only to diminish again. I don't think I ever collected more than a few mLs. I never felt the "engorgement" people talk about, the sense of fullness. My breasts have been very soft most of the time. The midwives and nurses that came along (it's a great home visiting scheme they have up and running here) were fantastic, very encouraging that what I was doing with Oliver was just perfect as he was thriving so to try not to get too upset about breastfeeding. Again, my physical recovery was a matter of conversation, they've never seen anything like it. At one point I also mentioned my emotions and how I felt I was loosing control. Again they were very reassuring, apparently it becomes worrying if it doesn't go away after two-three weeks but in the early days is totally normal to feel all over the place. I said how I felt I never was pregnant (I still feel the same way) and they said the shock of the birth is just taking over all the space in my memory and that eventually it will come back.

I started feeling much better almost a week after I came home. I think the thought that made me turn the corner was the realization I would have met Dr. Wonderful on the 31st in any case as it was my scheduled appointment. So suddenly it sunk in that I would have been scanned by the same amazing doctor and that there was going to be no real risk as he would have made the same call. Strange how I had forgotten about it.

When Oliver was 5 days old I got Mike to drive us into work and I proudly showed him off. They all loved him. One funny thing to mention was that I was chatting to my secretary and when I told her the birth story she....passed out!! Honestly, she dropped on the floor! The poor thing, I felt terrible of course, having been a paramedic for 6 years made me less susceptible to medical drama, but I have to remember it's not everybody's cup of tea!

Let's chat also about how the dad is doing. Mike is fantastic, I think he feels a little uncertain when he handles Oliver, but he is very helpful. He managed to take the full first week off work and went back last monday. I dreaded being at home with mom only (for whom I was putting on a brave face) but it went really well.

Oliver has changed so much already, I changed my banner too and you can see how much more alert he is! We brought him to the paediatrician today for a 2-weeks check up (12 days really) and he passed with flying colours! He's already regained his full birth weight and more (2.66 kg!) which is great. hearing and eyes tests went perfect. We are delighted.
He cries very little, only if he's hungry and we have no milk ready he gets very upset, but then you give him a finger to chew on and he quietens down immediately. We had a few issues with pee escaping from the nappy...tried it all.. in the end we changed brand and it made a major difference. We are still adamant to invest in the reusable nappy, I'll make the order in the next few days.

One final thing on breastfeeding. I haven't given up at all yet. I got a hospital-grade pump and will express as much as possible for the next week and see if it improves. The paed today said that I may really never have a proper milk supply (it's 12 days after c-section already) but to give it a go if I feel I can do it. So we'll see.

I'll post here another couple of pics of our little miracle! I just have to show you his feet (huge!) and how much he has grown already!


  1. Love your new blog design:) he is precious!

  2. Oh that picture of you and him at the bottom totally made me tear up! So happy for you!

    Love the new header/design!

    Glad to hear you are feeling better bit by bit. I hope everything is up from here :)

  3. not only are you allowed to feel both happiness and sadness right now, it is normal. The birth you had was not what you had planned and some pieces of the story sound very traumatic. Given what you have been through it only makes sense that you would be holding on to pieces of it. I know your thrilled that Oliver is here and filled with happiness, but also give yourself permission to talk to people about how you feel so you can eventually heal from it. The picture of you and him is so gorgeous and you made all the right decisions to get him here, I couldn't be more proud or happy for you!

  4. Just absolutely adorable!!! Give yourself time, my dear. And don't beat yourself up for anything - just enjoy that little one!

  5. You poor thing! It's so hard, it is!
    I went through the same thing second guessing what would have happened if I hadn't called the midwife and hadn't gone in to the hospital!
    I know pumping is a big pain but if you want to give it a go, my advice is to just do it kind of mindlessly. Don't get caught up in the whole ounces game.
    You can always freeze it in a ziplock and save it for later or add it to formula.
    Just keep doing it for a week and see how you do. And think about your sweet baby while you pump!
    He is just so sweet and gorgeous looking!
    Don't be afraid to cry ( preferably not while you are alone). There is real relief in letting go.
    Having a baby is a huge deal - esp when you weren't expecting any action for a while. All that is traumatic for you even if you are healing well physically. I don't know any woman who didn't cry and feel strange after having a baby!
    You both look so cute together. Just be kind to yourself! And for me it took time for me to fall in love with my little one. Intellectually I knew she was a miracle and beautiful but it was hard to take in and it takes time to really bond.
    Hang on there and don't worry about asking for help!
    Lots of love to you all! Xoxo

  6. Love the pics! And so glad you're feeling better after what sounds like a rough time. You had gone through so much! I can totally imagine how the shock of it all just hit you as you came home. Can't wait to see more pics as Oliver grows!

  7. Fran he is so perfect. I love him so much! I am so happy for you. Trust me the worrying and emotions never stop. Even not having a pregnancy and bringing home baby B I still feel crazy at times. I love the name (although Elvis would have been great :) and I am so happy for you both. Enjoy.

  8. oh, he is so cute! hang in there. i hope the breastfeeding gets better, but if not, don't beat yourself up about it.
    oliver is precious!

  9. I am sorry that you've been feeling a bit out of sorts. I am sending you lots of loving and calming thoughts.

    Oliver is adorable! He is so lucky to have you as a mother!

  10. Hi there,

    I was wondering if you would be interested in the new post I added to my blog, please stop by and have a look

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  11. What a sweetie pie:) You look great too...but so differnt with long hair...both really look great on you!

    Thanks for your encourging words to me all your comments really help and make me feel better:)

  12. gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!!

  13. Such a beautiful picture! So glad to see you are both home now - sounds like you are getting some great help. Thinking of you. xx

  14. Oh so precious! You have a darling of a son!

    I cried for probably the first two weeks... the blues will pass, just make sure it is not really depression.

    About breastfeeding. I know how difficult it can be. But keep at it! PUMP PUMP PUMP! It takes 6 weeks for your body to establish milk supply. You need to pump every 3 hrs. Stimulate for atleast 15 minutes past the last drop of milk that you produce. Whatever you produce and whatever more you make is very precious. Don't be dissappointed, try your best. Your lil boy will cherish the liquid gold you are giving him inspite of all that you went through. You loosing so much blood can also affect your milk supply!

    If you really want to talk about this I can call you! Also, have you tried any herbs (fenugreek etc)? It might help! See if you can get your hands on this book: This is really a bibble!

  15. Oh Fran, he is so beautiful.

    The early days are crazy, plain and simple. Even if everything goes perfectly, the hormones are like nothing else. But when everything doesn't go perfectly, it's that much more complicated.

    I hear you on the imaginings, but thankfully this is the outcome that you ended up with.

    When the doctors finally controlled my hemorrhaging and were stitching me up, they told me that if I'd had a vaginal birth instead of c-section I would definitely have died. Even though I never wanted a c-section, thank goodness that's what I ended up with (because one baby was breach).

    Pumping was my obsession for 6 months; you can benefit from my lunacy.

    The book that BB suggested is great if you are able to get it. If not, the author has a website that I found helpful:

    As you'll see in my posts, no matter what I tried it's likely that my milk supply would never have been adequate (esp. for twins), with the hemorrhage likely being the biggest culprit. Every doctor and lactation consultant said what your paed did, I might not ever produce enough milk but keep trying. Only after 4 months did someone give me permission to stop when I was ready.

    It is absolutely worth trying, but sometimes biology has other ideas, so please don't destroy yourself for the sake of milk as I did. Go enjoy that beautiful baby.

  16. Precious baby. He is so worth it.

  17. he is gorgeous! i hear yo on the bf issues. i have had togo straight to formula. We are both much happirr this way.

  18. Lovely Oliver:) I'm glad things have stabilized and that you're feeling brighter, Fran. I don't think it's surprising at all...imagine the mad rush of hormones running through you before, during and after the delivery. Not to mention the stress surrounding it. Just so glad that everything went well, and wishing you a lot of luck with the breast feeding (no advice to give, just sending good thoughts).

  19. What an emotional roller coaster. It almost sounds like post traumatic stress! No wonder your co-worker passed out LOL.

    The little guy is so adorable - give him a big hug and a kiss!

  20. He is so precious!

    Baby blues are totally normal. I remember the day I left the hospital. As my husband was getting the car, I was sitting in the wheelchair looking at my baby in her car seat and I started to cry because it would be her first ride in the car not in my tummy. Then when we got home, all I could do was cry that I wasn't pregnant anymore. But then the next day I started to cry because she was already growing up. All of those postpartum hormones are insane. It does get better though. I promise. Don't worry about it unless your doctor tells you to.


  21. Fran, he is too precious, and you sound like you are starting to come back to yourself. I am glad for your honesty - it preps me.

    I'm so glad he's doing well. And that you have so much support! It's so much more than what we get here in the States. Oh, mama, you are doing fantastically :)


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