February 24, 2017

One Month Postpartum Update

I can't believe it's been one month since Gabriel was born. Time flies when you're not paying attention to it. This past month had been pretty tough. There's the struggle with hormonal changes which literally makes your emotions go every which way, breastfeeding that leaves you physically and emotionally drained, and there's the most obvious, lack of sleep. Some nights I don't even realize how hard its been until I find myself crying in the shower, and having to lie through my teeth when family and friends call and text to see how things are going. Now don't get me wrong. It's been hard and the emotions are all so real, but we wouldn't change it for the world.

Well, maybe there is one thing we probably could of dealt without... jaundice! Gabriel passed all his tests before he was released from the hospital, however his jaundice level spiked within a few days of coming home. If you are not familiar with jaundice, it's when your baby's body has more bilirubin than it can get rid of because his liver is brand new and/or not fully developed to get rid of the "waste", which leaves the baby's skin and white part of his eyes with a yellow tint. We're familiar with it since Jayden (our firstborn) had it too although his was not as bad. We came home from the hospital on a Friday, and that following Monday, we went in for a followup in which the doctor had ordered a blood test to check his bilirubin levels because he was really yellow, even his eyes. The blood is drawn from pricking the heel of his foot and I'll just tell you, the blood drips sooo slow. The nurse would have to squeeze his tiny feet to get each drop out. He had this done 4x that week! Yes, we went to the clinic everyday that week. Instead of being admitted to the hospital for light therapy, he was put on the biliblanket so we could do phototherapy in the comfort of our own home, all day and night. What we expected to be just a couple of days actually lasted for 3 weeks. This is what a biliblanket is. 
It reminds me of a vacuum because it needs to be plugged into an outlet to operate and you can only go so far with the baby when he's using it, so yeah, we pretty much hate it. Plus when I'm breastfeeding him every 2-3 hours, the damn cord was in the way. 

I'm exclusively breastfeeding. It's going really well! He latched on right away. My milk production came in about day 3. I totally forgot how painful it is in the beginning, I almost gave up! It was like no matter how often or how long he fed, it never gave me relief. Once my milk production adjusted to his feedings, they were less engorged and painful. And because he's breastfed, he's more gassy and he would cry all the time! In additional to the gas, he has acid reflux and would spit up and/or choke, even when he's not laying down. It was like a never-ending battle, one thing after another.  

Chicken diet.
Being Hmong, it's important for women to take postpartum care seriously, this includes being on a strict diet that consists of only eating warm rice and boiled chicken with herbs. I meant to stick to this diet, and I started out great. I enjoyed this dish even when I wasn't pregnant or had just given birth. A week into it, I was like "Screw this. I'm adding to my diet." I didn't cut out the chicken, in fact I did eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, however I just added other food items to my diet. Apparently,  I lost a lot of blood while giving birth and I remember the nurse asking me if I was going to strictly be on the chicken diet and I told her yes and I can see that she didn't really agree with my decision. She recommended I also eat food high in iron, including red meat and vegetables. So, I did what she recommended, just a week later. I was feeling lightheaded and really fatigue and I thought that since I'm breastfeeding, I should up my strength and nutrition in order to feed the baby so I started to include red meat and vegetables, and fish and avocados that are high in fat. I started incorporating eggs also, but due to his gas and fussiness, I decided to cut out dairy and noticed he's doing much better. I also cut out coffee (I know, can you believe it?!) from my diet. 

We've had a few visitors come by throughout the month. At first it was a little overwhelming just because we were still adjusting and sleep deprived, but I appreciated each visit because it was so nice to sit down and have a  real conversation with other people. I have to admit, I didn't want them to leave. ha!

My husband went back to work two weeks ago. I remember the first week he went back to work, I cried. Just a few weeks before the baby came, we had a conversation and decided that it would be best if I left my job to stay home with the kids, just on a temporary basis, until Jayden goes to kindergarten this fall then I can return to work. I was hesitant because I love my job and what I do, and as supportive as everyone was about my decision to leave, I still took an emotional hit. 

Without focusing on the days of the month, it really flew by! Things aren't easy but it's easier. Gabriel is no longer using the biliblanket and we've found ways to ease his gas and reflux so he isn't so colicky. I think overall, we just had to adjust, find our patience, and sleep when possible!

We've started taking him out more often, to the store and on walks when the weather permits. Most days I'm in my pjs and the hairdo I wake up in. Some days, instead of napping when the baby naps and in between entertaining my 4-year-old, I get ready and put on real clothes. Which I've come to appreciate because when you spend most of the day in dirty clothes covered in spit up, it feels sooo amazing and refreshing to be out of them. I've also learned that it's okay to take time to yourself and leave the house (when the husband gets home) to reenergize.

*I've been writing this post over a few days and trying to make the most sense of it, but in the end it may make no sense at all :) 

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