Since so little about life is truly linear, please understand that these posts may go a little wonky in their order when it comes to storytelling. I still need to explain what all happened with Wonder Wilson’s health and our transport here, but as it has been brought to my attention in several ways, my experience with this delivery and reintroduction to mamahood are necessary to document as well.
We’ve been in Omaha since 8:00 Wednesday morning and while I maybe know what day it is now, time has been a very loose concept in my frazzled mama brain since Wilson’s arrival. I’ve never been one to sleep well after a baby’s birth and I guess that is good in this case, because literally four hours after she came out, I was walking out of the hospital to rush home to grab stuff for being gone for a few days, and approximately five hours after she came out, I was taking a turn driving down the interstate because Ben was too exhausted to drive anymore.
My drive time also happened to land at the 24 hours of being awake mark since Tuesday morning.
Yeah. Probably not the best call we’ve ever made in terms of safety, but our baby was headed to Omaha and by God, so were we (and I did get an hour-ish nap in the car after Ben took his while I was driving, so there’s that).
Upon getting here, though, rest was short in supply as we spent the morning getting settled at Children’s and working our way through the whirlwind of tasks and phone calls and messages and meeting doctors and nurses while waiting to see exactly what was happening with Wilson. We tried at one point to nap once we got into our lodging place (more on that later, too) but nope – nerves and hormones and being fried just didn’t let me konk out at all. Knowing that your baby is non-emergent is a huge blessing, but that doesn’t change the fact that being dropped into this situation was still a huge shock or that stress was running big time.
I may have been calm during my labor and even when they were first telling us that Wilson needed to be transported, but I pretty well lost my shit after that and would continue to do so at various times over the next two days. My under eye circles have been dark for ages but I don’t know that my face has ever hurt so much or been so puffy, or if my eyes have ever looked quite so much like I got sucker punched, as I have appeared while here in Omaha. And while how I look is clearly at the bottom of my concerns list, I mention it only because it has been crazy to see photos that have been taken only to realize just how much of that exhaustion has been visible.
Both Wednesday and Thursday night were rough. The first was my first attempt at sleep post-birth and included, of course, timers to get up and pump, AND pre-surgery jitters, so not a great combo. Then Thursday night had an unresolved feeling to it because she still didn’t have a PIC line in yet, and oh my gosh, sleep evaded me again. And while lack of sleep is normal for me in early days, nothing else about this has been, so I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated the gentle reminders that have been coming in from people to also take care of myself in the midst of being here for Wilson.
Thankfully friends and family have been checking in constantly during this experience, but it wasn’t until I got the first “Hey, how are you??” that it really sunk in that this is not my normal postpartum experience. I mean, leaving the hospital five hours after checking in (and pushing out a baby in that time?), yep totally not normal. But it has been everything since then that has really compounded that fact.
Not being able to stay in bed for a couple days and just let me body heal a bit before getting out and about is a huge difference. Of course my care team didn’t let me leave Hastings without knowing that I was OK to do just that, but the rate at which one gets caught up in NICU patient care and can easily dismiss their own care is remarkably fast. Fortunately besides the exhaustion and gnarly swelling that came in my ankles and feet on Thursday, I’ve been great. Bleeding is oddly better than it has been after previous deliveries and even handling the changes with pumping is going fine.
And yet, I am still so grateful for these reminders. After hardly sleeping in a 48 (OK, 72) hour time span, I was a wreck. Clearly I needed to kept being told to also care for me. That’s why I’m not actually surprised that last night, when I was solo for the first time (B had to go home to do sub plans for the coming week), I slept straight through my phone alarm to get up and pump (for two full hours). So my body heard you all loud and clear, and for that I thank you.
As we continue to make progress with Wilson, I hope the self-care will get easier to do as well. It is important to keep in mind that we are still in for a different recovery process here, both of us; thank goodness we have so many people looking out for us and keeping us accountable for being kind and patient with ourselves along the way.