So it's been two weeks now and today is the first day I am home by myself with the boys. The first week we came home my mom stayed with us and then last week Mike took Monday through Wednesday off and this his mom took off Thursday and Friday to help me. Mike was going to take off Monday through Wednesday this week but his boss needed him to run an errand in Omaha today so instead he's taking Tuesday through Thursday and then we'll be on our own again Friday.
So far it hasn't been too bad. The most difficult thing is feeling like I'm neglecting one child while tending to another. For instance, I can't do much for Elijah if I'm sitting for thirty minutes at a time nursing Simon. And when he's not nursing, Simon has been spending a lot of time sleeping in the froggy vibrating chair (which, by the way, is probably the best baby item we have--Elijah loved it when he was this small and now Simon loves it, too) so that I can still spend time playing with Elijah--or at least keep him from clobbering the dog. It's making me wonder if it's even possible to have two children without feeling like you're neglecting one of them.
Simon sleeps decently most nights. It's both a good and a bad thing. When he sleeps enough that I manage to get at least 6-7 hours (even if it's non-consecutive) then I can't seem to make myself nap in the afternoon simply because I can't fall asleep. But by the end of the day I am totally exhausted and, of course, can't look forward to 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. But that's the nature of the beast, of course. Last night was pretty good because he would sleep for 3-hour intervals. That I can do gladly. The longer the interval of sleep, the less tired I am. But of course it doesn't always work like that. Mike seems to think it's no big deal but then he gets up for five minutes to change a diaper. I have to be up for 20-30 minutes at a time to nurse him. It's a little different.
Speaking of nursing, the booger was giving me such fits at first with the latching that I broke down and started using the nipple shields again. At the hospital they got him to latch well a few times but then I couldn't seem to recreate it at home. I mean, I am fairly certain I was doing it correctly, but he was so frantically hungry that he wouldn't cooperate. So I gave in and started using the shields again. I don't want to have to use them as long this time as I did with Elijah but I think I'll just resign myself to my prosthetic nipple until we get a better rhythm and routine down. When I was fighting him so much to get him to latch, it was not only making him crazy and probably causing him to burn more calories than he was consuming, but it was making me insane, too. Plus, I would fight him so long that once he got latched I would just let him nurse even if it was a bad latch and then wind up with bleeding and bruised nipples. So those are my excuses for taking the easy way out. *sigh*
On a high note, though, I feel like I have pretty much recovered physically from the birth, at least 95%. This may not seem like a big deal to many people, but 2 weeks to recover is phenomenal to me when last time I don't think I felt this physically better for like 3-4 months. It makes me want to shout the praises of VBAC (and vaginal birth in general) from the mountaintops, but there are no mountains around where I live (the best I could do is the Flint Hills) and I'm sure even if there were mountains, people would think me insane. So instead I'll just blog about the massive advantages I see in vaginal birth over caesarian since I have experienced both.
Aside from the massively decreased recovery time, I also was able to lift both children within the first week after the birth. When I had Elijah, I couldn't even pick up his little 8-poiund body for weeks. I had to have someone hand him to me. This time I could even lift Elijah as he is now (which is, I'm guessing, around 25-30 pounds). Also, when I had the C, I was on heavy duty painkillers, which I really believe got into my milk and made Elijah a lot more sleepy at first which was why he lost so much weight in the hospital despite my efforts to get him to eat. Simon isn't perfect with nursing (as I've mentioned) but he at least has stayed awake enough to keep his weight up because I haven't had to take anything stronger than ibuprofen and I'm not even taking that anymore because I don't need it.
Additionally, when I had Elijah, I had to wait like a day or so before I could even get out of bed and use the bathroom because when they do the C, they give you a permanent catheter, whereas when I did the VBAC, I had an epidural but they only cathed me like once or twice during labor to relieve my bladder, so it wasn't still in me when the birth was over. I just had to wait until I could feel my legs again well enough to walk to the bathroom. Another thing is when I first got to shower after the birth, with Elijah I couldn't bend over to dry my legs so I had to have my mom come in to help me with that. With Simon I was able to dry and dress my entire body.
Now I don't want anyone to think I'm judging anyone who has their children by c-section (that would be absurd since I had to have one with my first kiddo), even multiple c-sections or elective c-sections. Each woman should choose whatever works best for your family and situation. I just think that people should make informed choices and since I happen to have experienced both ways of giving birth, I highly suggest vaginal delivery if you're able to get there. I wasn't able to my first time so I know it isn't always possible even if you do everything the "right" way. Sometimes things just don't go as you plan--and when it comes to labor, you should probably assume that nothing will go according to plan (it's a preparation for parenting, I think). As long as you wind up with a healthy baby and mother then it's a success.