I did find out, after finally seeing the lactation specialist, that she had a posterior tongue tie. We had the "snipping" procedure done a few days ago and she is still somewhat off her schedule, or maybe just changed it, as newborns do. They indicated that the reason why she was nursing the way she was (strong good latch and suck for 5 minutes, then "lazy" or complacent sucking, then just tonguing the nipple) was caused by this tongue tie. It was extremely difficult for me to have the procedure done. I had to get to the farthest corner of this children's dentist office so I couldn't hear her cry. The first night, she was clearly in pain. But by day 2, she seemed to be doing ok. I am meeting with the lactation specialist again this week to see how to get her to relearn how to suck.
I have personally not had an "ideal" recovery postpartum (and please forgive TMI--my blog is nothing if not honest!). At 5 weeks out, I am still bleeding and will have to get a blood test and ultrasound in a week if it continues. I have had some further level of organ prolapse (an issue I already struggled with) and will need to do physical therapy to try and get everything back in place. Sleeping is still an issue for me--even if she is asleep doesn't mean that I can. And I have yet to find any really comfortable position to nurse in, which is huge, because I am uncomfortable most of the day because of it. I feel very weak still and my back is hurting most of the time. I keep trying to find an appropriate chair but they are expensive and I want to make sure I've made the right choice in buying one. On the plus side, I weigh within 3-4 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight, although I've lost most of my muscle tone and don't fit into my regular clothes. I did not get diastasis recti and I guess I am mostly sane?
I think an important aspect of postpartum life that is not really discussed, is that you are just home. You and the baby. So whatever your life looked like before, it's mostly gone. After your initial help leaves, if you were lucky enough to have that additional support (get all the help you can for the early weeks!), it's just you and the baby. Wearing clothes is mostly pointless--there's so much leaking and getting spit up on, that it's easier to just be topless. And as an extrovert, it is very isolating to be at home all day. Even when she was 3 and 4 weeks old, I made a commitment to either get out of the house every day (return all that stuff to Babies R Us or visit people at the office) or do something for me every day (like baking raspberry bread--delicious! or finally planting my baby tomato plants, no matter how tired I was). People may say that taking care of the baby is the most important thing, but taking care of yourself is just as vital. You need to put your own oxygen mask first.
So all in all, I feel like I had this amazing pregnancy and birth experience, and so far, postpartum, has been a mixed bag. I know I have a lot more challenging issues than most. As a not-very-nice doctor told me last week, in terms of managing my still not normal bowels, and organ prolapse: "You're 41 years old, and you just had a baby. What did you think was going to happen?" I also know that I have been blessed with this gorgeous, healthy baby, who is both versatile and good-natured. I look forward to regaining my strength and muscle tone, and watching this baby grow. It's so bittersweet, knowing that she's doing her job of becoming a big girl and knowing that she won't stay this small forever. Soon enough, I expect to rejoin the world and spend maybe a little less time in Baby Land, and enjoy this summer from someplace other than on the sofa, in front of the TV, nursing. Being a new mom is exhausting, overwhelming, and extremely special. I am so glad to have finally had this opportunity and to find new ways to love this little baby every day. I've had to create a whole new category of love for her. I'll check back in in a month!