DJ slept a lot the first two days. He was still having trouble latching. He would try and then cry and then fall asleep. We just figured that he was still tired from the whole being born thing.
On Monday the postpartum midwife came by. As Darius had suspected earlier that day, DJ was jaundiced. It was all the way down to his navel. Also, when the midwife weighted him, he weighted only 6lbs 5oz. He’d lost 8% of his birth weight. This was not good. It upset me a lot. She said that I was doing everything right, but because he was small, latching can be a problem and he doesn’t have the reserves of energy to keep him going so he’ll just fuss himself to sleep. Also, she was worried about my milk not coming in, but as we got him to nurse, I noticed that it was starting to turn more milky.
So I decided that we were going to make this work. I used an iPhone app to keep track of his feeding and sleeping. We made sure that he was eating every 2-3 hours, with one longer period if he would take it over night. I used the nipple shield because he could latch onto that. I kept him nursing for as long as he would, which lead to some 45 minute nursing sessions. My milk came in on Tuesday, without pumping. My nipples were bruised, but I kept at it. We also opened the shades and spent some time in the sunlight. On Wednesday my breasts were so full that they hurt and I was worried about engorgement. On Wednesday we (and by we, I mean my mother and sister because I ran out of energy) gave DJ a bath, which he loved. Also, my father and stepmother came into town that day as well to meet their grandson.
Somewhere in all of this, I started singing to DJ, “This little prince of mine, I’m gonna let him shine. This little prince of mine, I’m gonna let him shine. This little prince of mine, I’m gonna let him shine, let him shine, let him shine, let him shine.” I also started making up other verses with words that rhyme with shine and randomly calling him “my little prince.” In fact, I call him “little prince” or “my little prince” way more often than I call him anything else. I’ve been thinking about decorating the baby’s room in a “The Little Prince” theme, but I’m not 100% sure yet. So I’m going start calling him Little Prince (or possibly LP for short) on this blog as well.
On Thursday morning my breasts started leaking on their own and the feeling of engorgement died down. We kept at the nursing schedule. The postpartum midwife came by in the afternoon. I was really nervous. However, I didn’t have to be. My little prince weight 6lbs, 15oz! He was up a whole ounce from his birth weight! Also his jaundice was up to his shoulders, which was really good progress. We’d totally done it!
While all of this was going on, I got some bad news about myself. My iron levels were really really low. Not quite to the “you need a blood transfusion” level, but close. No wonder I was so tired all the time and my recovery was going really slowly. I started taking more iron and trying to eat more iron rich foods (no wonder I kept asking for roast beef sandwiches!). At the five day visit from the pp midwife, she took more blood and we found out the next day that my iron count had only improved a little bit. The midwives think, and I agree, that my anemia got worse toward the end of my pregnancy, I was tired all the time and sometimes I’d see shiny floaters, and we didn’t catch it. Probably because I didn’t bring up the whole seeing spots things. So that combined with the normal amount of blood loss during and after labor brought about the anemia. I’m trying not to be bummed out about this. I’m taking my iron pills with orange juice, to help absorption, drinking lots of water, and trying to eat iron rich foods. Every day I feel like I have just a little more energy than the day before.
It was a really hard week, full of ups and downs. I know we could not have gotten through it without the help of our family. Mom and my sister were here from just hours after DJ’s birth until Friday noon. My dad and stepmom were here from Wednesday until Sunday morning. They were amazing – changing diapers, bouncing him to sleep after a feeding, giving him a bath, making food, bringing me food and water, running to the store for items that we needed, taking care of me as I was recovering, taking him when I was so discouraged about everything, and providing moral support. I owe so much of my success with DJ to their help.
Darius was also amazing over the week. He totally started “daddy nesting”, cleaning up the house both inside and out, and working on fixing up his car to make sure it was more reliable for the baby (it started having problems in the middle of the week). He was the best & fastest diaperer when it came to the cloth diapers. And, he is the expert baby swaddler, aka baby burrito maker. I really love watching him interact with his son.
With the first week done, it was time to face the challenges of week 2, our first week alone.