The weeks immediately following the birth of each of my babies has always been a struggle for me. I walk around in a foggy, altered state, trying to figure out this new existence. It’s confusing and frustrating – physically no longer pregnant but not back to what I once was either, and emotionally all over the place. In the beginning, there’s euphoria . . . and as the days go on, the blues always set in to some degree. My hormones are wreaking havoc on me; the night sweats, the tears out of nowhere, the pining for a pregnancy that no longer is – pining because the realization hits, once again, that caring for a baby while it’s inside is much easier than when it’s outside. There’s a sense of letdown after spending all those months in excited anticipation – and now it’s over and here I am with a baby who cries almost all the time, and six other kids who are being largely neglected by me because I’m tied to the rocking chair with the baby for hours at a stretch.
I’m trying to figure Scarlett out. Does she prefer to be swaddled tight, as I thought at first, or not so much? She’s one of those babies – so far, anyway – who doesn’t want to be put down. Wearing her in a sling would solve some of this, of course, but the sciatic pain I developed over the last few weeks of pregnancy has only gotten worse since she was born. So I pop ibuprofen and sit against a heating pad as much as I can, and hobble around the rest of the time. She hates being in her carseat, and the couple of times Michael and I have ventured out with her to run errands, she’s screamed the entire time.
My blood pressure has been screwy still, too. The first couple of days following Scarlett’s birth, it dropped so low that I constantly felt woozy and on the verge of fainting. I lowered the dosage (I had started taking a higher dosage towards the end of my pregnancy), and it would go down for a few hours and then shoot back up pretty high. I tried all the things my midwife suggested, but in the end I finally called my doctor and explained the situation to him and he prescribed an additional medication to take with the one I’m already taking. Both are deemed safe to take while nursing, but both do pass into breastmilk, and I hate it that Scarlett is getting any of it, but I have to do what I can to stay healthy, too, right? Ahh, the dilemmas and guilt of a nursing mother with a chronic condition.
Michael goes back to work tomorrow. He’s been off this past week – or, I should say home, but working from home every day – but tomorrow he has to go back to the office. I dread it. I don’t know how I’m going to cope. Although he’s been working from home, it’s still been nice to have another set of hands here to deal with the other kids. Plus, he’s really the only one who understands my tears and mood swings. Friends have stopped by, to bring meals and to see the new baby, and as grateful as I am for these things, there’s a feeling of having to be “on” for other people, which I just don’t have the energy for right now.
Anyway, I’ll adjust, we’ll all adjust, I know we will. It’s a tough time right now; it’s a little overwhelming.