Friday, December 18, 2009

Take it easy...are you kidding me?

I've said before:  I'm not recovering from the c-section very well...

I had a c-section with Zev as well.  He was frank breech (butt down, feet in his face) for my whole pregnancy.  I tried to get him to flip:  I would lay down with my feet in the air and my head down, I would put ice packs on my upper uterus, I would play music toward the bottom of my uterus, I even did a hypno-therapy session to try to convince him to turn over.  Didn't work.  However, I refused to schedule a c-section and insisted on going into labor on my own.  And I did, at 39 weeks 5 days.  The c-section was quick and my recovery was also pretty quick.  I was sent home with a prescription for percocet, which I actually didn't end up needing.  I still have the bottle and there are still pills in it.

So I was expecting something similar this time.  To say it has been much worse would be an understatement.

It started the same:  they make you walk by the second day, as walking encourages healing.  I was taking the percocet every 4 hours and motrin (for inflammation) every 6 hours.  And I was discharged with that regimen.  I only had 30 pills of percocet, so I tried to wean myself down to 1 pill every 4 hours.  That was a bad idea.  I went back up to 2 every 4 hours...and ran out of pills.  I called and got another prescription, and was again given 30 pills.  I was still also taking Motrin, and also occasionally two extra-strength Tylenol (after my oral surgery I found it helped with that particular swelling and pain).  Even with all of those pills, I was still in pain.  I have yet to be pain-free.  I still feel like I'm 3 days post surgery.

Today I realized I was running low on the percocet and only had one full day left...after all, 30 pills doesn't last long if you're taking 2 pills every 4 hours around the clock.   I tried again with just 1 pill.  Nope, not a good idea.  I can get around ok with the 2 pills + motrin etc.  As soon as I cut back, I can't walk.

Remember I am not sleeping more than 2 hours at a time given the fact that I am pumping every 3 hours around the clock.  Each pumping takes about 30-45 minutes when you include pumping + washing the pump parts.  This usually ends up being on a schedule of 6am, 9am, 12 pm, etc., until 6am the following day.  However, I also make sure I am up around 8am rather than 9am to see Zev before he leaves for the day (he leaves with Nicole by 9 usually).  So, despite the fact that I pump at 6am and am back in bed by 6:30, I get up for good around 8.   I spend some time with Nicole and Zev, pump by 9-9:30, and then Jason and I decide when we are going to the hospital.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  Sleep....when?

And not 'resting' either.  I want to see the girls every day, and have to time it for one of their care sessions, which occur every 3 hours.  For Tzelia, that is 8am, 11am, 2pm, etc.  For Meorah, it is 9am, 12pm, etc.  If I miss one of those times, I can't take them out until the next one.  I have a pump at the hospital and at home, so I usually hold one of the girls, pump, maybe chat with a doctor or nurse, and then finish up (or pump again if it has been long enough).  On a long day, I'll be there for 5 hours.  On a short day, at least 3 hours.  I need to be home by 5:30 if I want to see Zev when he comes home, and I try to do my 6pm pumping session at home as well.

No sleep, no rest.  Obviously my recovery isn't going as quickly as it had for Zev.  With him, I spent my days on the couch breastfeeding.  That was it.

Which is why when Jason came into my room around 11am (I decided to try to rest after my 9am pumping) this morning, he said I looked like I needed a blood transfusion:  I was white as a ghost.  My feet were still very swollen, and I had to laugh when he poked my foot and the indentation took a good five seconds to resolve.  Laughing hurt my abdomen, of course.  He made me call the doctor to see if I could go in for an appointment.  At first, the doc wasn't concerned, as edema is really common after surgery, and it can take awhile for the pain to go away.  But when I told her how often I was taking the pills, she decided that that was concerning, especially considering my size (since I'm so small, I should need less meds than someone who is bigger).  She agreed I needed to come in and we made an appointment for 4pm so I could make the girls' 3pm care session.

As soon as I got into the exam room, I started to cry and I don't think I stopped the entire time I was there.  The midwife said I looked exhausted and both she and a doctor looked at my incision.  They are concerned that there might be an infection...there is some redness that is a little concerning, and I am very tender to the touch.  But, they don't want to give me antibiotics unless they are sure, so I'm supposed to be looked at on Sunday and on Wed.  The midwife took a Sharpie pen and circled the 'red' area to be able to note any progression between now and then (how technical, no?).  And I got a prescription for a stronger pain medication since what I have obviously isn't working for me.

I was also told to take a day and do nothing.  Back to bed rest for me.  While the midwife was very very sympathetic, she said I needed a day of "comfy pyjamas", and that even 24 hours could make a huge difference in my recovery.  I'm not supposed to do anything except pump, eat, and sleep.  No leaving the house, no playing with Zev, and obviously no seeing the girls.  I'm even supposed to cut back on the pumping a little bit.

Excuse me?  My girls are in the NICU and you're telling me I can't go?  I know they are doing fine, and I know they are under the best of care.  I'm not worried about that.  But you're going to tell a hormonal post-partum mother that she can't see her kids?  And that she should cut back on the pumping in order to rest...right in the middle of when the milk supply is building and missing even one session can negatively affect future output?

You're kidding me, right?  Do you really want to make me crazy?

Of course I'll do it.  Even if I wanted to ignore her advice, Jason would never let me.  He even wants me to take more than one day (as if).  I can compromise on one day, and lucky for me even the midwife said one day was sufficient.  I think one day + the better pain meds will make a difference.  If not...well, I'll re-evaluate.  But even one day without seeing the girls and without doing much interaction with Zev is going to be hard enough.

At least the girls are doing ok.  Better than ok, in fact.  All the doctors tell me how great a job I did keeping them inside for so long, and how fantastically they are doing.  But they have never been the has always been me and my body that is the problem.  And once again, that seems to be the case.

And once again, I just have to take one minute at a time.  What doesn't kill you.....well, damn, at the end of all this I'm going to be strong enough to be able to lift a locomotive.


  1. I'm sorry to hear that you're not recovering as well from this C as you did your first. I hope your 'day off' really does the trick. This may be a naive question, but is it possible for you to go 4 hours between pumping at night so you can get a little more sleep? Both my boys were sleeping around 4-5 hour stretches at night just a few days after getting home and my supply didn't seem to suffer.. I have no idea if it's different with preemies... just want you to be able to get some sleep! xo

  2. Hi Nic,

    Yes, four hours was suggested...but only if I can go every two during the day. And honestly, going two during the day just to do four at night would stress me out even more than going three hours around the clock. At least this way I can nap here and there throughout the day; the other way I wouldn't be able to do that at all.

    I'm sort of compromising and doing around 2.5-3 during the day and 3-3.5 at night. So far that is working ok...

    The stronger drugs should help. Unfortunately they make me itch (morphine derivative) but I can take an anti-histamine for that.

    Hopefully the worst is over. Depending on how I feel tomorrow I may take Sunday off as well.