Tag Archives: recovery

She Says… No More Babies (For Now)

Disclaimer: This post discusses my ladyparts and is for those who are interested in TMI posts about fertility stuff. If you read for the cute baby pics, sit this one out.

I remember at my 6 week postpartum visit after Owen was born, my doctor asked me what I was planning for birth control. BIRTH CONTROL?! I scoffed. Thinking about sex was kind of the last thing on my mind. All I could think about were my nipples that burned and felt like someone was jabbing them with a knife whenever I dared put a shirt on them. Or how many minutes it had been since I last nursed and how many minutes I had to go pee before I had to nurse again. Or if I walked out the door in my pajama pants. Again. Birth control seemed like a lifetime away.

And yet, it’s vitally important, especially if you really aren’t ready for an oops baby.

So last time I was too paralyzed with new motherhood to make a decision about what kind of birth control I wanted to use. The comments on this post were extremely helpful, but I just couldn’t make myself make the appointment to get a sharp thing stuck in my vagina after that big slippery thing had just come out. As I said in that post, I am anti-hormone, given my infertility issues in the past, and I wasn’t ready for an IUD (mentally), so I chose not to choose.

This time, I was ready.

Even before I had Emmett, I talked with my midwife about ParaGard, the hormone-free IUD. I wanted to be held accountable so someone would make me do it. We had to reschedule the insertion date due to my extra-long postpartum recovery and then unexpected surgery a few weeks ago, but yesterday I put on my big girl pants and just did it. I had a lot of anxiety around this process, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I couldn’t find very many candid blog posts about what it actually feels like. So, here you go internet, here’s the real deal about getting an IUD inserted (for me — everyone is different, obvs).

My doctor advised me to take a bunch of Motrin 30 minutes prior to the appointment to dull the pain. Umm, thanks. That made me about a million times more nervous than I would have been if they’d said, “It’s no big deal. Just come in”. Once I got there I saw piles of cotton balls and some brown goopy stuff and tools and those sealed bags of medical accoutrements sitting on the counter. Ew. I waited an uncharacteristically long amount of time for my doctor, which made the anticipation mount even more. Once she arrived and the pleasantries were out of the way, she had me spread ’em and put in the speculum. She prodded around figuring out where exactly my uterus was, which way it was tipping, etc. This was actually the surgeon who had just done my hysteroscopy, so she was intimately familiar with my uterus (score!). She swabbed the area with soap, which just felt like a dull pressure, not pain. Then she told me to take deep breaths while she inserted the little copper T. It was kind of like when you get a shot and they have to squeeze the medicine into your arm. The shot part is a quick sting, then the liquid going in doesn’t exactly hurt, but it feels all hot and weird and it gives me the willies to think about what they’re doing. So I felt a pinch, and then a hot, cramping feeling. Not terrible at all… just… strange. Like a really minor contraction or a medium-grade period cramp. It lasted maybe 30 seconds to a minute while she inserted it and positioned it. I yoga-breathed and stared at the ceiling. Then she cut the string to the right length (there is a string so it can be pulled out when I want), which I couldn’t feel at all, and we were done.

Not comfortable, but nothing compared to the other things my uterus has had done to it recently.

I mentioned in my other post that I had heard people say their partner could feel the string of their IUD during sex. Ew. She said that she has heard this complaint with Mirena (the hormone-releasing IUD), but never with ParaGard. Apparently the strings are made from different materials and the ParaGard one is preferable. Phew.

Since then I’ve had some minor cramping, like a period (not that I remember what THAT feels like!), but really nothing to complain about. The thing is good for up to 10 years if I want it, and the whole thing was covered entirely by my insurance. Hooray.

So glad it’s over, and it really wasn’t that bad. This was definitely the right contraception choice for us, and I look forward to condomless and baby-free sex.

 

P.S. If any friends or family members are still reading, I’m sorry. And I told you so.

Advertisements

She Says… On Pause

We’re sort of on pause over here in the This Place is Now a Home home. Treading water, if you will. There’s a lot going on.

Following my doozy of a day last week, the weekend was equally as busy and full of calamity (generally amusing calamity, but calamity nonetheless). On Saturday we packed the car and headed out bright and early for our first and last beach day of the summer. Unfortunately our day was cut short by an unexpected SOAKING rainstorm that caught us off guard and not-yet-packed-up, which meant we had to run to the car blinded by raindrops and dragging blankets (and children) through the muddy parking lot. If it had just been Benjamin and I, I would have found the situation hilarious and maybe even a little bit romantic. With a screaming newborn and confused and frustrated 3 year old? Not so much. Blog post to come on that.

Then, remember how I mentioned I hadn’t exactly healed yet since having Emmett? Well the bleeding I have been experiencing for the last 7 weeks started to increase during beach day and continued on Sunday. So much so that my doctor almost recommended I head to the ER (emergencies on holiday weekends are the best, right?). I hemmed and hawed about spending hours in the ER to have them tell me, “Yeah, you just had a baby, your body is healing” and the bleeding fluctuated enough that I told myself it was normal and I could wait until the weekday to see my regular doctor. Surprise! Not normal. A visit to the doc yesterday prompted an ultrasound that showed a mass/polyp/fibroid/something in my uterus making it impossible for it to shrink down to its proper size.

Apparently fibroids (which is the doctor’s best guess as to what this is) are relatively normal and not generally a big deal, but given that it is impeding my postpartum healing and causing a lot of bleeding, they want to remove it immediately. So I’m headed for surgery next Monday.

Sigh.

And, in the midst of that, one of my oldest friends who I have known since I was Owen’s age came to visit us and meet Emmett. We had a blast hanging out and gossiping like middle schoolers. She was the perfect distraction to thinking about what could be going on in my uterus.

BUT all of the fun we’ve been having means little time for blogging. I have lots of pictures to share and posts half-written in my head, so stay tuned for more. And in the meantime, send me your happy thoughts for surgery on Monday and share any positive stories of fibroid surgery (if they exist)?!

She Says… A Doozy

Yesterday was a doozy, folks.

The night time was a bit rough (shorter stretches between feeding Emmett than we’ve had for the last few days), but that was the least of my worries. Benjamin said goodbye in the morning and headed out to drop Owen at school before leaving for work. Upon leaving and seeing our neighbors’ trash cans, he texted me to say that it was trash day and could I put the trash out? No problem, I thought. After I fed Emmett I put him on his activity mat, collected the trash and went outside to put our trash out.

We keep our trash in our garage, right outside the door from our hallway off the kitchen. That makes it super easy to take the kitchen trash out… and makes what I’m about to tell you even more disgusting.

I guess we had put a bag of kitchen trash out there a few days ago without securing it in the trash bin. And since it’s been so hot there have been a lot of flies around. I’m sure you can see where this is going… when I moved the trash bag to put it in the bin, MAGGOTS POURED OUT. And I don’t just mean a few. I mean hundreds. Thousands. It was like that scene from Indiana Jones with the snakes. They were crawling out of the bag and hitting the floor and scattering ALL OVER OUR GARAGE. I was, stupidly, wearing only flip flops (thank goodness I at least had those on… often I do this task barefoot. ::Shudder::) and I do not do well with massive amounts of bugs. Sure, give me a spider or centipede or something. I can handle it. But thousands of tiny maggots that looked like rice pouring out of my trash and into an extension of my house? I freaked.

I full-body shuddered uncontrollably and tried not to throw up as I threw the bag across the garage (aiming for the open door, but my throw didn’t go nearly far enough, so all I succeeded in doing was moving the maggot-spewing bag into a different part of the garage.

Gag.

I peered into our trash can and saw them crawling in and out of every bag in there. Up the side of the can. Falling off the side. Gag gag gag.

I kicked off my flip flops and jumped inside, unsure of what to do next. Just ignore them? Probably not wise. So I suited up with rain boots and rubber gloves and went to work. I stomped them and vacuumed them. I got up the courage to roll the trash can outside and kicked it over, dumping the maggots unto a corner of our garden. Gag gag gag.

Long story not-so-short, I got rid of the maggots. (Aka I am superwoman). I went back into the house completely skeeved out and feeling like bugs were crawling all over me only to find my sweet baby had passed out on his activity mat in front of the Today Show. Parenting fail.

After a long, scalding hot shower to kill the invisible maggots all over me, Emmett and I headed to the grocery store. I remembered the carrier (score!) and he slept peacefully while I shopped. At checkout I was getting my workout squatting with him in the carrier to lift my groceries out of the cart and onto the conveyor belt, and a bottle of salad dressing spontaneously combusted and splattered all over my leg, the magazine rack and the rest of my groceries in the cart.

Clean up in aisle 5!

After driving home with salad dressing all over my leg (and those same flip flops that I wear every day, all the time), it was time to put the groceries away, feed Emmett and head back out for my 6 week postpartum visit with my midwife.

Oh joy. Just what I wanted to do on this doozy of a day… have my still-healing postpartum ladyparts examined. As it turns out, I adore my midwife (almost enough to have another baby so I can see her every week!) so it wasn’t all bad. But still. It didn’t exactly turn the day around. She said I healed beautifully, but I’m still experiencing a lot of bleeding that really should be gone (or majorly tapering) by now. Thankfully looking at old blog posts helped me remember that the same thing happening after I had Owen (still bleeding pretty heavily after 6 weeks postpartum, which prompted us to do bloodwork and some other tests, but then it stopped on its own around 7.5 or 8 weeks), so this time around I’m not worried. Yet.

From maggots to salad dressing all over myself and my groceries to an internal exam mere weeks after having a baby. That, my friends, was a doozy.

Before crawling into bed I made sure to do one thing: order a new pair of flip flops.

She Says… Loose Ends

Time to tie up some loose ends. A few recent posts and comments deserved a little review and follow-up.

Post-miscarriage recovery: I’ve gotten some wonderful and thoughtful comments and emails over the last few weeks as I recovered from the miscarriage. First of all, thank you so much to every single person who took the time to write to me. And thank you to those who read my story and silently nodded along with me and sent me happy thoughts. You helped. A lot.

It has been 7 weeks since I miscarried and my hcg levels are still (STILL) not down to 0. A quick Google search tells me this is NOT NORMAL and SEE YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY, but honestly, my doctor is not worried and neither am I. (Lesson of the day: Trust your doctor and your instincts more than the internet). My levels have dropped steadily and the last test, 1.5 weeks ago, was 8. Anything <5 is considered “zero”, but since I was just on the cusp and they need to track you all the way to 0, I need one more blood test, which I will get today. After that, I fully expect to be 100% physically recovered and ready to move on.

Despite my hormone levels dropping a little slower than normal, my cycle has restarted normally. I just about threw a little party when my first post-miscarriage period started. Seriously. I am a crazy person. You would be too if your body had a history of NOT normally doing this on its own without the help of a fertility specialist.

Since I started feeling better I have been eating right and exercising a lot and generally working very hard to get my life back on the happy track. It worked! I feel emotionally recharged and ready to try again. The hardest part for me now is looking at the calendar and realizing how much time was lost. We waited until the perfect time to get pregnant, of course not knowing that we were about to spend the next 4 months tied up in doctor’s appointments and ultrasounds and blood tests. So here we are, thinking about trying again. But now even if we get pregnant the very first cycle we try, Owen and his little brother or sister will be much closer to 3 years apart than the 2 1/2 we had planned. It is amazing how long each setback takes and how much they change the idea of family planning.

Owen’s post-vacation bad attitude: You guys were right. It was a phase. It took a little over a week but I’m happy to report that he is sleeping better and his happy, flexible personality has returned. Hallelujah.

How to teach your kid to swim: One of my best friends, Erin (who is also a swimming rockstar who used to swim with Michael Phelps, a past swimming instructor and mom of an adorable 11 month old), sent me the following tip for helping Owen figure out how to float on his back. I thought I would include it in case others were in the same “I don’t know how to help you learn” predicament:

“Hold Owen with one hand under his chin (awkward at first but it gives you major control) and one under his back. Walk backwards (he is in front of you, head close to you, legs directly out). Tell him to put his belly button up to the sky. Lots of loud “belly ups!” since his ears may be under the water. Do it a lot. Get him to relax.

Slowly start removing your hand under his back. Then your other… BAM! Michael Phelps.
Side note: Michael hated to put his face in, so he learned backstroke first. You never know what’ll work :)”

Happy Wednesday!

She Says… The Road to Recovery

First of all, I cannot thank you all enough for the amazing comments, emails, tweets and thoughts. I have only had a few minutes here and there to be at the computer over the last few days, and your words have melted my heart one by one. It means so much to Benjamin and I to know how many people out there are thinking of us! Little by little I’m coming back to earth, so more blog regular blog posts and tweets (and OF COURSE pictures of our little man!) are on their way 🙂

Since time is scarce when one is breastfeeding at least 12 out of the 24 hours in a day (and trying to eat/sleep/hydrate/possibly shower in the others), let’s cut right to the chase: Labor does a real number on your body. Although I’ve never been through war, I imagine it’s somewhat like that… but from the inside out. There’s pain so extreme you think you might just break into a million pieces and blood and guts like you’ve never seen before. It takes a crazy amount of determination and focus to make it through. But at least with labor, you get this incredible gift at the end. A prize that is undoubtedly worth the pain.

After it’s all over, you are left to pick up the pieces. So that’s where I’ll start. Right after I delivered little Owen, he was whisked away to the other side of the room to be checked out by the docs and cleaned (see the story here if you missed it). I kind of thought my job was over. I had just pushed a baby out! Couldn’t I relax now? Nope, apparently not. I still had to deliver the placenta, and then the rebuilding process began. Owen’s head, although tiny, was a bit bigger than my body could handle, and I tore a bit during the final pushes. After the labor Benjamin asked the doctor (while she was sewing me up) how much I had torn. Before she could answer, I blurted out: “I don’t want to know!”. I just didn’t want to talk about it. I figure I’ll heal the same way whether I know the details or not, and frankly I don’t plan on being one of those women bragging about what degree their tear was. Sidenote: Even with an epidural (albeit, one that had started wearing off awhile before this moment), I was pretty uncomfortable during the stitching. I could feel tugging and pulling, and I couldn’t really shake the idea of what the doctor was doing. Nonetheless, it was over in just a few minutes.

CRYING
When the doctor said, “You’re all finished”, my legs turned to jello and began to shake as I realized it was all over. I had done it. I’m pretty sure that’s when the tears started. Well, they had started earlier when the baby finally came out, but at this point the tears were like body heaving sobs that released the tension I had been holding in since we arrived at the hospital. For me, this kind of uncontrollable tears has been a big part of the recovery process for me. Apparently it’s the way my body chooses to deal with the stress and anxiety and tumultuous emotions. Several times in the days right after delivery I found myself sobbing without good reason. I didn’t feel sad, and I certainly don’t think it has anything to do with postpartum depression… it’s just the way my body releases pent up energy.

The first time was when I looked at Owen’s circumcision the day after he was born. After his procedure, the doctor took us into the nursery and showed us how to care for it. A tiny blood vessel had been cut during the circumcision, and so they put this stuff on it to make it stop bleeding. Unfortunately, the stuff turns black and looks horribly scary. Owen was red-faced and crying (I mean really, who wouldn’t be?), and it was the first time I really heard him cry. I took one look into his bassinet and just lost it. I was sobbing my brains out. The nurses were all saying things like, “Oh honey, don’t cry, he was given something to numb the pain” and “He’s ok, he’s just a little stressed out”. The thing was, I’m not sure I was even crying about Owen’s little weenie, I was just crying to cry. Step one on the road to recovery… cry. A lot. Let it out.

BLEEDING
Holy cow. Of course I knew that you bleed a bit after birth. What I didn’t realize is just much you bleed, and for how long. I won’t go into details for the sake of the family and friends who come here just to see cute pics of Owen, but let me just say that it looks like someone committed a murder in the bathroom whenever I go. And for the first few days your lady parts are so swollen and puffy they are completely unrecognizable. And you sit on ice packs because there is a constant, throbbing pain. The reality is, though, that although this is uncomfortable, it completely melts away when you look into your newborn’s eyes. Also, pain like this pales in comparison to the pain you just felt while giving birth, so it seems totally bearable even though it sucks. Step 2 to recovery… bleeding and soreness. My advice? Take time to treat yourself like they treat you in the hospital — use that squirt bottle with warm water, take a sitz bath or two (heaven, I tell you), and don’t be afraid to poop. Coming from someone who was terrified to “push” again, it’s not that bad (umm, provided you take those stool softeners they give you).

HYDRATING
I thought I was thirsty during my pregnancy. But that was nothing! Now I have a water bottle attached to me at all times. Maybe it’s the nursing, maybe it’s the swelling and excess fluids working their way out of my system, I don’t know. All I know is that if I don’t drink anything for about 10 minutes, I am parched. And for me, parched leads to angry and frustrated and that leads to tears. See “Crying”, above. Step 3 to recovery… stay hydrated. Honestly, it helps everything else run its course.

SLEEPING
Last but not least, sleep. One of the first question everyone asks me these days is, “Are you getting any sleep?”. The answer, in comparison to the amount of sleep I got pre-baby, is no. But to tell you the truth, I haven’t really noticed much. I seem to have some magical mommy hormone that is powering me through these long nights of waking up every 2-3 hours to feed Owen. I’m doing my best to nap during the day, but I’m not a very good napper. I have a feeling that’s a skill that I will acquire in the coming weeks and months. We realized very early on that Benjamin does NOT do well when he doesn’t sleep at night, and I seem to do fine with broken sleep periods and some naps during the day. So we’ve worked our “schedule” (and I use that word very loosely) around that. I’ll do another post on our schedule later, but the bottom line is that you have to sleep whenever you can. Everyone says “sleep when the baby sleeps”, and although I haven’t been able to do that successfully yet, I’ve been making a concerted effort to take time to rest. Watch tv, read a book, lay on the couch and stare at the ceiling, whatever quiets your mind. Step 4… sleep. No excuses, just do it. Or you’ll never be able to do the other things.

Amazingly enough, my body seems to be patching itself up pretty well. A mere 6 days after being split open and having my insides on my outside, I am beginning to feel like a normal person again. My swelling is going down (my feet are cute again — hallelujah!), the soreness in my lady parts is less and less each day, the tears are subsiding and even my nipples are surviving the daily biting, twisting and shockingly strong sucking that Owen dishes out. As bad as it seems in those few days right after birth… it passes!