It’s been a little over 2 weeks since Little Miss made her grand appearance.
In prepping for the event, I searched extensively for blogs or accounts of surrogates’ emotions after the birth and found them to be fairly scarce. When she was born, LM didn’t look anything like my babies and I found myself feeling no attachment whatsoever. Immediately after her birth, as everyone focused on this perfect little person, I felt like an outsider, an empty vessel whose job was complete and who no longer belonged there. Although there was a lot of love coming my way, I felt completely lost, not knowing what to do or say. Not wanting to interrupt. Not wanting to interfere. Don’t get me wrong, I felt a lot of love for her and for/from Mom and Dad, but I didn’t feel like I’d just had a baby at all! Even as I dealt with the immediate postpartum glamour, it was more like I was visiting a friend who had just delivered. I think that knowing that she was never ours to begin with made the transition way easier. Walking out of the hospital without a baby was a little surreal but again, with all the preparation time, it wasn’t bad. There have been times where I feel as though I feel people staring at my tubby gut and I just want to yell that “I just had a baby 2 weeks ago!” Instead I just feel flabby and a little gross/embarrassed. Schmoopy assures me that you “almost can’t even tell,” but I can. Logically, I know that the pressure that I feel from myself to bounce back is pretty unreasonable, but irrational me replies that I can do better. I’m trying to learn to adjust expectations and be kind to myself, but it’s not going all that well.
Otherwise, my emotional state is pretty ok. Except that… I’m lonely. I could have gone back to work the day after delivery but I’m going to take the time to which I’m entitled. The littles go to school and daycare, and our friends all work, so I’m mostly alone all day but I feel as though I’ve been running around like a crazy person ever since the day after delivery! I did get pretty worn out at the standard 3-day mark and spend a couple days lounging and lazing…aaaaand doing all our Christmas shopping online. And tidying the house. Ok, ok, I TRIED to lounge and laze, and that has to count for something. Otherwise, I’m preparing for Christmas, tidying the house, doing yardwork, catching up on all my administrative stuff, like paperwork etc, planning a mini getaway next month but… mostly all of this has been done alone. It’s a little sad and I’m definitely feeling some blues but once all the running is done, I plan to take a photography course and to put some time in at the gym, so brighter days are coming. I also try to remind myself that this time will pass quickly and that there are a lot of “me” things I can do, things that would otherwise never happen. Self-growth will be refreshing.
Physically, the recovery has been easier than I expected. I could have walked right out of the operating room, but was required to ride…lame. I felt shaky and hungry, but after a shower and some food, that faded quickly. I was pleased to find that I didn’t require any repair work, when I was sure that stitches would have been a guarantee given baby’s position! It was a pleasant surprise. After my own babies, my -ahem- crotchal region was comparable to the first 6 minutes of Saving Private Ryan for at least a week, but this time? Not even a hint of swelling or discomfort! I don’t know how it happened, but I chalk it up to good deed karma. I was able to leave the hospital (walking unassisted) about 3 hours post-delivery and was out and about the next morning. My biggest complaints, now that we’re two weeks out, have been the hideous self-inflicted scratches all over my body from the antibiotics, their assorted delightful side effects which are being managed with probiotics. Oh, and the pain from 2 BLOWN veins and the epi. The bruising and discomfort were actually surprisingly intense where my poor tiny veins were blown, and my back was unhappy for about 8-9 days, almost as though I’d been punched in the spine. While I never expected that from an epidural (and I would NEVER NEVER choose to have one)… If that’s the biggest complaint, really it’s not so bad, right? I weighed myself 10 days after delivery and am 10 pounds exactly above my starting weight, which admittedly was a smidge “fluffy,” so I have about 30 lbs to drop. I couldn’t get our midwife to agree to starting gym time today, but she said after 3 weeks, she’d reluctantly agree. Good enough, I suppose.
I hate pumping. HATE it. After a few days, my poor nipples were swollen, cracked, blistered, and painful, but thankfully it ended after about 3 days of misery. I breastfed my littles for about 2 years each and avoided pumping as much as possible, only busting out the pump if absolutely necessary. Since I have an abundant supply, however, pumping was kind of an absolute necessity to prevent my nightmare: mastitis. I had it with each of our kidlets twice and wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy (if I HAD a worst enemy, that is). I’m trying to not increase production, so I’m aiming to minimize how often the pump comes out. I hit it every 3 hours for FIVE minutes between 730 am and 1030pm, and we’ve given Mom, Dad and LM over 600 ounces in 2 weeks! I feel decidedly bovine. MOOOOO! There’s no official plan as to how long this will go on, but unofficially I’m thinking 6-8 weeks. That will give LM a great start, and hopefully stock the freezer for a few weeks too!
Our contact with Mom and Dad has decreased as expected while they are busy adapting to this new little person! I miss connecting as regularly, but of course I understand. Schmoopy and Dad see each other a couple times a week for the “milk run” but otherwise it’s mostly the occasional text. I may pop down to see the girls briefly after an (unrelated) doctor’s appointment tomorrow but I am truly scared of interfering. I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to visit – and I hope I made that clear to Mom when I asked. I’m just not sure how to navigate our new normal. I feel very apprehensive and unsure of how to handle things. This is kind of a mix of expected and not… If only there were an established etiquette. For now, the goal is to be present but not intrusive and to stay connected without annoying. I hope we’re succeeding.
It’s been a huge adjustment, but overall, not a difficult one. My heart is full of love and appreciation for both my own little family and theirs. My head is full of beautiful memories of the whole experience. I feel like I could explode from all the feels. Very, VERY soon, I will have to finish the letter I’ve drafted for the little person formerly known as Squiggle and maybe I’ll post it here, since it outlines those feels in a way that almost makes sense! For now, it’s back to organizing the cupboards and closets.