Have you seen that movie Bad Neighbours with Zac Efron? You know that scene where Rose Byrne is crying in agony because she’s been breastfeeding and her boobs are full – they show her boobs as these giant, throbbing alien like purple things on the front of her in a comical manner and everyone laughs. But what I know now is that a woman, a mum even, wrote that scene because that is 100% what it feels like when your milk has come in and your boobs are full – Hell, I can tell it’s time for Evie to feed before she even does, because my boobs feel like they’re going to explode and they start leaking.
When I was pregnant, and going through the motions of back ache and heartburn and all of the lovely other things that change in your body, giving birth was the light at the end of the tunnel. I knew obviously my body wouldn’t whip immediately back into shape, but I sure as hell wasn’t prepared for everything I am feeling and dealing with now, 9 days post emergency cesar.
The birth for one wasn’t what I imagined – Though I’m sure it’s not for many women, especially first time Mums. Mother Nature decided that because I write this parenting website, that she would be extra nice to me and let me experience both ways of giving birth – After being induced I went through labor until 8cm dilated, without an epidural, and had a last minute emergency cesar when Evie wasn’t coping with contractions.
A cesar was certainly not planned, and I didn’t know much about them. The aftermath is pretty rubbish. It’s major abdominal surgery, where they go in to obviously remove the baby but I guess the easiest way to describe the operation is the response I got from the doctor as I asked him how long it would take – “To get the baby out, 10 minutes. To put you back together, 45 minutes”. I never got to have the immediate skin to skin contact with Evie, Chris saw her before I did, and I was laying almost spread eagled on an operating table with both arms out to the side with drips in that I couldn’t even hug her properly. Plus, my whole body was numb from the spinal tap, and I was so drugged up on Pethidine that there are bits I swear I’ve forgotten already.
Then there is the breastfeeding – If you’re a mum, you’d know that your milk doesn’t come in for around 4 days after giving birth, so you’re feeding your baby what’s called colostrum which is only produced in small amounts. I also have a baby with not only a small mouth, but a huge appetite, so breast feeding hurts. She grabs onto the nipple and sucks for dear life and I’ve spent many a time crying. Day 3 I was in so much pain I wanted to run out and go straight to the nearest pharmacy for formula. But honestly, I didn’t want to feel like a failure parent, given that I felt like I couldn’t even give birth to her ‘normally’, so I stuck with it. And you know what, my milk came in, I could feed her way more food, and even though she still has a teeny tiny mouth, after the first latch, the feeding is so much easier. So if you’re feeding a 3 day old right now and crying, I can honestly tell you what everyone else probably already is, it will get better. You’ll probably still cry a lot though, because your body has 50,3476 emotions running through it right now and your hormones are dancing around like girls at Coachella, and thats OK. When I sobbed into my boyfriends pillow and he was asking me what was wrong, all I could say was ‘I don’t know’ – And some hugs, and a solid 4 hour sleep made me feel better for the day.
As for the sleep thing – instead of water boarding terror suspects, I think they should just give them a newborn for a few days, because sleep deprivation and exhaustion is a REAL THING, and if you don’t have a tired migraine, and forget to eat lunch, and try to take day naps when your newborn does but spend more time looking at the monitor to make sure they’re breathing then I take my hat off to you new mumma, because you’re kicking parenting goals! If you’re like me though, and even with a ‘good’ newborn who sometimes sleeps 5 hour blocks, feeds for half an hour and goes straight back down, the broken sleep, and the times when she doesn’t want to go back to bed and you have to sit up in your rocking chair staring at her listening to the rain and silently willing her to sleep, then again I’m here to tell you its OK. You know why? Because today she only woke twice in a 13 hour block, fed quickly, fell back asleep quickly and even though I’m not crazy enough to say ‘hallelujah we’ve turned a corner!’, it’s one day at a time. And today, I showered without a newborn in her rocker in the bathroom with me, and I washed my hair, and I put on a nice nighty instead of my giant trackies that sit under my boobs so they don’t touch my cesar cut and I am typing this while she still sleeps.
A cesar also leaves you completely immobile. Since Chris has gone back to work, and both my Mum and my best friend have got such bad colds they haven’t been able to visit Evie and I since we came home from hospital, I sit at home everyday with no ability to go for a walk with the pram (like I thought I would be able to), or take a quick trip across town to my favourite coffee hangs to show her off (like I thought I would be able to), or even take my own washing off the line because I can’t reach up. Yesterday, I had to wait for Chris to get home to change the bin liner because it was too heavy for me. I am getting the sorest back from spending my time sitting, and getting up awkwardly as to try not to aggravate my stomach. Did you know everything you’ll ever do in life engages your core muscles? Okay, maybe not that dramatic, but when you’ve had a cesar, it sure feels like it.
So while this blog doesn’t connect you to anything in the Geelong region, it hopefully will connect you with me, and with each other. Because some days I wish I was still back in hospital which I thought was a very strange emotion to feel, but if you think about it, it’s the one place that I was safe, with people all around me to make sure I was doing a good job. And when Chris come home from work, I should feel relieved but often it’s when I feel most vulnerable and cry, because I guess subconsciously I know that in a few more hours, we’ll eat dinner, watch TV and then go to bed, where I’ll spend the night getting up to a baby who keeps spitting out her dummy for the first hour of being put down. Oh yeah, and I use a dummy for her at nighttime sometimes, which also puts me in the bad mother category.
There is a lot you don’t expect when having a newborn, but at the end of the day (or the middle of the night), when she’s sleep smiling at me, and doing the most hilariously loud farts for such a tiny human, I’m still so grateful that I have the opportunity to love her, and care for her, and am ever grateful for having the most insanely capable, loving and caring partner to do it all with. And mostly, it just feels good to be able to acknowledge all of these feelings, and know that even in a few weeks time, I’ll probably have forgotten them all.