We are a month into Silas’ life and I love being his momma. He is such a happy and content baby, and I feel so grateful for that. He only cries during some of his diaper changes (especially with Daddy’s rough work hands) and when he is super hungry. He is more awake each day and likes to look around, especially at light.
The dogs adore him and give him kisses on his head or come into the nursery during a changing, and show their concern if he is crying. They are extra protective when visitors come and warn off any walkers or bikers that pass by our house.
What I didn’t realize is that I would be the one struggling the most. The Fourth Trimester, or the first three months after birth, has been the hardest season for me.
It’s not just the lack of sleep or change in routine. It has been a combination of many things that I never really anticipated.
The first few days after I delivered Silas, I felt like I was in someone else’s body. Everything was stretched out and loose and I didn’t feel like myself. It was hard to get up out of the hospital bed and move around.
When I asked my discharge nurse if I could have a wheelchair to get down to my car, a big smile came on her face. She told me that in her home village in Africa, after a mother gives birth, they have to walk 10 miles to get home.
No wheelchair for me. It was time to suck it up and ride the elevator on my own two feet.
For the first few days at home, I feared bedtime. I feared it because I knew that after I changed, fed, burped and finally laid down my son, I would have to be doing it all over again within an hour or two.
I also feared mornings. Once Seth was back at work, I was on my own to wake up with the baby and try to manage feeding and changing him, while feeding and letting out the dogs, making myself breakfast and maybe squeezing in a bathroom trip for myself.
My needs definitely come second now.
Time has been speeding by and I can’t quite figure out how or why it goes so fast. Each day is done within an instant. I am scared that the rest of his childhood will be like this, so I am doing my best to take in all of the little moments and cherish them.
I have also managed to develop mastitis two times in the last month. Mastitis happens when a duct in your breast becomes clogged and eventually turns into an infection.
The first infection happened the week Seth had to go back to work. I noticed aches in my legs that eventually spread to my entire body. I developed a fever, complete with night sweats and chills. I also had a hard lump in my breast that would not go away.
I called my doctor and was prescribed antibiotics, and had to go to a lactation consultant to help me get rid of the clogged duct. You quickly learn that once you have a child, your body becomes fair game for touching and prodding and it begins the moment they are born. Pretty soon, whipping a boob out of your shirt for examination is nothing.
The lactation consultant showed me a few techniques to get rid of the clogged duct and gave me a list of remedies to try at home, which included putting a cabbage leaf on my breast.
Eventually, I was able to clear the duct and within ten days, I was done taking the antibiotics and feeling better.
When I noticed body aches earlier this week, I quickly acted and went to urgent care. I thought that maybe I had an infection from my stitches and requested to have my lady parts examined.
Just my luck, a very handsome male doctor walked in to my room. I was mortified, knowing that I hadn’t paid much, if any, attention to my girl parts for the last few weeks, and didn’t know what he would see. He confirmed that everything looked okay in that region and after feeling my breasts, believed I developed mastitis again.
He prescribed a different antibiotic, which I began taking that day. Unfortunately for me, the new antibiotic had different side effects, including me going to the bathroom every hour or so. So on top of pumping extra milk after each feeding, I was running to the bathroom and feeling very uncomfortable.
I called my clinic and told them how miserable I felt, and they prescribed the antibiotic I took the first time.
I am now feeling a little better, but am at a loss as to how to prevent the mastitis from coming again. I am going to try some other tricks to avoid getting into this situation a third time, but if it happens, I might have to face the fact that breastfeeding is not in my cards.
I am doing my best to look on the bright side of things and stay positive. Silas slept for almost six hours straight last night and is very healthy. He is a happy, growing boy and for that, I am grateful.