Monday, March 31, 2008

The Road to Postpartum Recovery: Week 2

Tuesday I noticed that my belly pouch was a lot smaller. Still a pouch, mind you, but so much smaller than a week ago.

Wednesday morning, I was back down to the weight when I got pregnant. The lochia was a little bit lighter, and Cale went on a nursing binge starting at 2 AM in fact yawn. I couldn't set Cale down for any length of time because he wanted to nurse again. And again. Going to the bathroom was challenging, and I didn't get to eat lunch until 2:15 PM (so hypoglycemic!) when he finally decided to nap. I even wondered if he were starting his two-weeks-old growth spurt early.

On Thursday, lochia was definitely lighter. Cale slept almost seven hours that night, so I used the breast pump Thursday morning: about 4.5 ounces in 10 minutes. This after how he nursed yesterday? Cale didn't nurse nearly as much today, so he probably hasn't started that growth spurt yet (or he did it all in one day).

Friday I had another round with the breast pump for my own comfort and leak prevention, and almost 5.5 ounces in 10 minutes! Cale's not sleeping quite as much at night now compared to when he was younger, but I hope this is just a temporary fluke. Sleeping children are wonderful news! After a weekend of good nursing, I also pumped again Monday evening, 5.5 ounces in 8 minutes.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Pump

I had wondered when to start using the breastpump ("once breastfeeding is well established"). I got my answer without further research, though: this morning. Cale slept soundly last night, from 11 PM until 5:50 AM, when he only nursed for a short time before falling sound asleep again. I had to relieve the pressure somehow because I was in pain! Cale even waited until I had more milk before waking up!

I'm just not used to a child who sleeps well, especially one who is ten days old and just 8.5 pounds. Metabolically, he should be 11 pounds before he's capable of sleeping more than 3 hours without feeding, but I guess his cluster feedings are powerful.

I may have to get up to pump at night while he sleeps! How bizarre!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Postpartum references: an overview (but skip crunches in the exercise section because that can make a diastasis worse!), a week-by-week view, and a guide to postpartum exercise.

Monday, March 24, 2008

No More Heartburn

Besides the obvious (no longer huge, meeting the new kid), one nice thing about the post-partum is no more heartburn. Whew! I had been dreading dinner for a while, but no longer! I even had spicy marinara sauce (on ravioli) last night because I could. When pregnant, the tomatoes, garlic, and spiciness are all heartburn triggers. I like eating my own regular cooking again.

The Road To Postpartum Recovery: Week 1

Cale was born at 2:55 AM on Tuesday. Obviously we were very tired Tuesday since we only slept from 5 AM until 7:30 AM; then we woke up because it was that time when we're always awake. I had stitches, so I was sore, but ice helped for a while, and then I requested painkillers. The secondary highlight Tuesday was after dinner, when I got to see my toddler Karston (yay!) with both of his grandmothers. Groggy, owwie, happy, and very little energy.

Wednesday I kept thinking I felt OK, then I'd try to walk around, and then I'd need painkillers again. I'm not good at taking it easy. Cale's poops started changing to the breastfed color, so my milk was coming in. Karston did not handle a different schedule well at all, so I asked if Cale and I could be discharged. Given the new rooming-in policy (baby not often in nursery), hospital and home didn't seem too different. We left when Cale was about 36 hours old. I took it easy at home.

Thursday was a low point. I ached everywhere, especially on the back of my left wrist (IV injection), my entire lower back (epidural that was too weak to dull labor, but was kicked up too far for delivery so that I couldn't move my legs), and of course my perineal stitches. Lots of pain, very little energy, and very heavy lochia (enough so that I looked up the guidelines for when to see a doctor). This was a day to cling to life, survive, and feel better another day. I could feel milk coming in.

Friday I felt better but I still had no stamina. The fun point in the day was lunch with Jen who brought yummy take-out and held Cale so I could walk on my own. I was glad to have company and not to have to go anywhere for it. Of course ice packs and gel pads helped a lot too! I had chills overnight (Fri-Sat), which is a danger sign, but no fever so I bundled up.

Saturday my mother and my grandparents came over. I felt about the same. Every once in a while I was sure I had lighter lochia, so I must be recovering.

Sunday we had Easter lunch with extended family. Actually it was not so bad to leave the house and see people, so the sense of recovery was real. Milk really came in! I felt engorged, but at least then it's easy to tell which side is next for nursing.

Monday morning chills again (Sun-Mon overnight, no fever again), but otherwise I felt fine given the same litany: wrist bruise, back sore if I don't watch my posture, stitches sore, but not the whole area. One week!

Friday, March 21, 2008


I had forgotten: one of the enjoyable touches in the Maternity ward is 8 oz cans of Caffeine Free Shasta Cola. As a flavor, it's ranked 4th after Shasta's Cherry Cola, Black Cherry, and Tiki Punch.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Hydration, Weight Gain, and Pregnancy

I have this theory, based mostly just on my personal experience with pregnancy, that a lot of the avoidable problems and discomforts of pregnancy are related to excess weight gain or to dehydration.

Heartburn is a good example. When my week-to-week gain has been very high, I've been particularly bothered by heartburn. My two friends who gained 40 and 60 pounds while pregnant had a lot more heartburn. So while I certainly don't mind gaining weight while pregnant, I think pregnancy weight gain needs to be moderate for my non-heartburn comfort. I know not to eat less while pregnant (or nursing), but I'll go for another walk or otherwise add more light exercise.

One suggestion to stop preterm labor is to drink 2-3 glasses of water or juice. (The other tip is to lie down on your left side.) Pre-eclampsia (dangerous high blood pressure while pregnant, often resolved by delivering early) could also be related to hydration. My friend who delivered her first son when her prenatal appointment indicated pre-eclampsia said, Yes, actually, she was thirsty when she got to this appointment, and no, the hospital didn't offer her water while waiting to see if her blood pressure would go down. When I got the "we don't like your blood pressure" routine, I made myself much more comfortable (I went to the bathroom, then I drank 3 glasses of water and went again), sat still a few minutes more, and my blood pressure dropped dramatically. I'm sure all of what I did helped, but I think drinking water is the most overlooked simple resolution for blood pressure issues.

I also notice that I'm more likely to have heartburn or swelling when I'm dehydrated. So drink some more water already!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Prenatal Visit

Another quick and easy prenatal appointment! I was late since Karston needed many extra cuddles (hard to resist!), but I still didn't have to wait long for my (8 AM) appointment. Blood pressure 94/62 (no pre-eclampsia here! I was putting my water bottle to good use too), and The Bump measures 37.5 (still growing, no worries, but the classic would be to measure 39 at 39 weeks).

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Upside of Pregnancy

I'm not that good at being pregnant; morning sickness takes me down for the first trimester to first half. Then, after an all-too-short respite, I'm bulky with the large complaints of pregnancy like heartburn. Despite that, there are a few nice things. It's atypical, but my skin clears up and my face breaks out less. My thick hair gets softer and less unruly. (My hair also gets much darker and straighter, so I go from dark blonde and wavy to brown and straight.) For some odd reason, since I would expect the relaxin and imbalance of pregnancy would not mix well with my benign hypermobility, my joints hurt less. Yes, my feet and knees ache from carrying extra weight when I stand a lot. Sure, my lower back is aware of that big belly. But I ache less overall if I exercise sensibly, and that's a pleasant surprise. People, even strangers, are exceptionally considerate. So it's not all a miserable waddle to the finish. Plus this baby rarely kicks, although he moves a lot, so I'm less uncomfortable this time.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Three Types of Exercise

Exercise can fit in one (or more) of three categories.

  1. Flexibility or stretching: this can be static stretching like touching your toes, or active flexibility like yoga or dance.
  2. Strength Training: this can be lifting weights, or using resistance like your own body weight in a push-up.
  3. Cardiovascular or aerobic exercise: this is where you get yourheart pumping and pop a sweat!

You need all three types, each several times a week. To get started, aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day. Once you've started, exercise 60 minutes a day for best health. Luckily, you don't need to do your exercise all at once; you can do 10 minutes here and there. In fact, interval training (periods of heavy and light exertion, or exertion and rest) is very effective and burns a lot of calories.

I do 10 minutes of free weights in the morning, and 20 minutes of (static) stretching before bed. I need to work on cardio!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Facebook. Icky.

I always knew Facebook made my don't-do-it sensor itch. I thought it was the lack of import and export (two of my most favorite things for good software). But it sounds like Facebook has more shady doings than that. Glad I never fell in love with it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Buddi and Import QIF

I downloaded the Import QIF plugin for Buddi, but then I had a terrible time importing the data I just exported from Quicken Deluxe 2002 for Macintosh (OS X).

  1. Export each account one at a time. (Pain.) Do not check any export options, just a single account with no categories or budgets or anything else. I don't think I needed to convert line endings (tr '\r' '\n'), but I did anyway.
  2. Delete all lines before the date of the first transaction (with the account information).
  3. Now I could import that modified QIF into Buddi without ERROR: java.text.ParseException: Date could not be parsed:

In retrospect, that doesn't sound too bad, but I sure did spend a lot of time modifying date stamps before I tried this!

The good news is, I moved my data, and if I'm lucky, I won't go back to Quicken and Intuit's terrible customer service!

Monday, March 3, 2008