Thursday, January 26, 2006

The 6 week post-partum checkup

Today I had my 6 week post-partum checkup: urine, blood, blood pressure, internal, and frank discussion. Happily, everything is great.
I had a pulled groin ligament since the delivery. According to my GP, the ligament loosening hormones of pregnancy persist for a few months after the birth of the baby. I could easily have injured the ligament during delivery. Strengthening my abdominal muscles should help. She recommended Pilates - so I am borrowing a Pilates tape to try at home.
My weight loss is considered very good. Thirty gone, twenty left.
Unfortunately for me, I already have my period back - despite the fact that I am breastfeeding. This is about as early as menstruation can resume. Sometimes breastfeeding women don't start their cycle for over a year. This also means resumption of taking the pill. Combination estrogen/progesterone contraceptives interfere with milk supply in breastfeeding mothers, so I have to get a prescription for progesterone-only pills (called Micronor). They are in "discreet" packaging (why?!?!), and therefore, the box looks like a package of nicorettes. The effectiveness of progesterone-only pills is 1% less than regular pills - but that still leaves things at virtually 99%, so I am not concerned.
I also obtained a prescription for Nifedipine to treat my Raynaud's phenomenon of the nipple. To explain: once I managed to have Rebecca virtually exclusively breastfeeding (and occasionally cup-feeding), I started to have pain. I attributed this to the pain of less-than perfect latching and her occasional chomping. I thought the degree of pain I was experiencing was normal. Then it got to be that I was taking tylenol or ibuprofen every day. I still thought this was normal. Then Rebecca's initial latch on would be so painful that I would cry and break out in a sweat. At the same time, I needed the room to be sweltering because the cold was excruciating for me. I still thought it was my technique. I didn't even wear a shirt in the house anymore because I couldn't bear the touch of the fabric, and every time I picked Rebecca up, I had to be careful that I placed her dead centre on my chest. I was getting truly despairing. It was hard to imagine that she would learn and that things would improve. I had remarked that after feedings, the nipple would turn white, then purple then bright red. Ultimately, I looked online. It was either Raynaud's or a yeast infection. Based on the symptoms, it seemed obvious it was Raynauds. On Wednesday I went to a breastfeeding clinic at my community health centre and a nurse concurred about the Raynauds. The treatment - Nifedipine is actually an angina drug - but is routinely used to treat the pain of Raynauds - a microvascular compression disorder (don't worry - not that common). Anyhow, I have only taken one pill so far, but I already notice a difference. I am free! If I hadn't been able to receive a treatment for the pain, it would have been time to give up on breastfeeding - but now, I can keep trying to perfect things. If only I had known how irregular my experience was. When the baby smacks and clicks at the breast, it is symptomatic of a less-than-perfect latch. Well - when I spoke to my Mom, she said that I was always a noisy feeder. So obviously, someone can breastfeed with a less-than-perfect latch and never experience torment. It was then that I realized I should have gone to the breastfeeding clinic weeks ago - it would have been obvious just from observing the other Moms that my experience was NOT normal. So... the moral of the story is - while you can have some pain during breastfeeding, suffering is not normal.
I had Rebecca weighed at the breastfeeding clinic and her new weight is 10lbs 6.5oz.!

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