Baby-boy is now more than a week old, and already he's changing. The changes are subtle but there nonetheless. His umbilical cord fell off several days ago, so we've moved from disposable diapers to cloth diapers. This was not an easy transition. The cloth diapers are bulky and their external covers even bulkier. We ended up going to a baby store in town to buy different covers that are very thin and they work a lot better. Even so, at night we've reverted to disposables because the baby seems to feel the "wetness" less in these and therefore sleep longer. No use in being woken up every hour or so.
The first week has been tough. No doubt about it. If I thought recovering in the hospital for 2 days was hard, it only got harder at home - here I have no nurses to ask for help when I freak out about something "weird" the baby is doing, like choking while feeding, or having odd breathing patterns. Of course, these things are probably normal, but when you're coming down off a huge hormonal high and crashing into a dark pitt, these little fears give way to an intense anxiety like I've never experienced in my life. Days 3-7 postpartum therefore proved very challenging. I think I cried every day, maybe several times a day. I barely recognized myself.
By now, day 10 or so, I'm feeling much better and am starting to cope with the new routine. We've figured out some little tricks like using our stroller indoors to put baby-boy in so that we can eat together, hands-free of baby. Our nights can still be somewhat challenging but I've been taking naps during the day when hubby stays with baby-boy who sometimes can be very awake, and practices "tummy time" with him - every day should have a couple of these sessions to strengthen his arms and neck muscles. He seems massively frustrated by the entire thing, but it's necessary.
I'm also getting more used to the breast feeding although the initial latching on remains a painful experience. I think baby-boy tends to be overly enthusiastic in the first minute or so of feeding. The good news is that he fills his diapers every time, evidence that milk is going in at least (and coming out).
The recovery period in the hospital is mostly a blur to me. I was in some discomfort. Not least because of the stitches and all that goes with it, but also, I was unable to move my arms. This sounds weird, I know, but because they asked me to hold on to handle bars for the pushing, I went my usual physical route of never doing things by half. In other words, I pulled way to hard probably with too much enthusiasm, and ended up with MASSIVE muscle soreness. To the point where I couldn't straighten either arm, or lift a toothbrush to my face, let alone make the movements to actually brush my teeth. This proved enormously frustrating for the first week postpartum, as it took at least that long to heal itself and still I feel pain when I stretch out my arms.
The good news is that having overcome much of this first week pain and hormonal upheaval, I'm now finally starting to feel like myself again. My old self. Pre-pregnancy, without the hormones, the bloating, the pelvic pains, the PUPPP, etc. Oh sure, I have other stuff going on - my neck is sore from holding baby-boy to breast feed (still haven't worked out the perfect position for that one), and I'm somewhat sleep deprived of course, never managing more than about 2 hours max at a time. But at least now I'm beginning to enjoy baby boy and his peculiarities. Slowly, we'll bond.