—By Maria DavidDFO864August 1979
1. I THINK I WOULD HAVE REALLY ENJOYED MY HOSPITAL experience if I hadn't been so tired. After all, I was learning a lot, & the people were friendly & helpful. I was fairly comfortable with nice surroundings, had it not been for the fact that after that first day I became desperately tired & began to feel exhausted & irritable because of lack of sleep.
2. DURING THE DAY there were innumerable nurses' trips into the room to clean, check-ups, serving meals, caring for baby‚ etc., & during the night, the baby woke. By the time we got her back to sleep I was already too much awake, & by the time I had gotten back to sleep an hour or two later, she was ready to wake again.
3. I WAS READY TO LEAVE the clinic after that first day, & I longed to get back home where I knew I could get some good sleep! But the normal hospital stay there was five days, & the doctor let me know he was definitely doing me a favor to let me out after three! He did tell me that he could have let me go sooner, except that with the effect of the anaesthesia they always preferred to have a longer check to see if the patient was recovering satisfactorily. I put up a very weak argument, but from his point of view, he was doing well to check me out after three days. So I felt it was better to comply cheerfully.
4. FOR THE ENTIRE TIME in the hospital I was too exhausted to do much more than make my needed trips to the toilet & occasionally nurse the baby for several minutes as long as I could stand it, as my breasts grew sorer with each feeding. I'd greet some members of the Family for a few minutes when they came during the day, make a call or two to Dad each day & talk quietly to the girls about the baby.
5. I HAD THE FEELING that the hospital personnel thought that, with so much full-time help‚ I certainly should be able to be up & around & even walking down the hall, but I never once went out of the room. Nether did I feel like I ever once slept, but of course I did get a few short cat naps here & there. Every time a nurse would come into the room, I would be lying there with my eyes closed.
6. I BEGAN TO FEEL WORSE & WORSE until I was really desperate for some sleep, although in every other way I was progressing fine. My temperature‚ which they took in the morning & then again at night, was normal. My uterus was contracting well. My stitches were doing fine‚ & everything was great, except that I was exhausted!
7. I STARTED THINKING OF ALL OUR POOR LITTLE MOTHERS IN THE FAMILY that had no help, or at least no full-time help. Maybe no one had understood their need for lots of rest & someone to care full-time for the baby, their husband, their children, their Home & everything for at least the first few days, if not a week or two. I couldn't even get very interested in the baby or hold her except to nurse her, & I couldn't walk around or sit up, as my bottom was too sore.
8. BUT IT CERTAINLY GAVE ME A VERY DEEP CONCERN & compassion for our mothers worldwide & a desire to try to explain to some of you who don't understand, that a new mother is much more in need of understanding & help even after the baby is born than before. Having a baby should certainly be a family affair, & each one in the Home should be prepared along with the mother to make certain sacrifices after the baby is born, especially in the first few weeks sacrifices of their time & sleep to care for mother, baby & the rest of the household, & take over almost completely the chores that mother used to do.
9. I WANTED TO JUST FORGET EVERYTHING & SLEEP‚ which I knew I would be able to do when I got home with my dear David & in his arms. Every member of our Home was so precious, putting aside all other desires & duties in preference to mine & the baby's needs. They took shifts with Daddy, shifts with me & shifts with the baby, which was enough to involve almost our whole household!
10. EVEN MOST SECULAR BOOKS ON BABY CARE advise that a woman certainly, if at all possible, should hire outside help for a week or two after the birth to take care of all housework, meals‚ etc.—all other household duties except the care of the baby, which it is preferred that the mother herself take care of. But when the mother herself can't sit up because of the soreness of her bottom, & can't stand up for more than a minute or two at a time, or walk around because her bottom feels like it is falling out because of the pressure of her organs on her weakened pelvic floor, she is too tired to hardly think.
11. SHE MAY EVEN STILL BE HAVING SOME SEVERE PAIN if she has undergone a cesarean‚ or even pain from her uterus contracting after the birth, making it difficult to think about caring for a crying baby, changing, bathing, rocking, bouncing, bottling & giving all the constant attention that a newborn needs.
12. I JUST MARVELED WHEN I THOUGHT OF OUR MOTHERS who so bravely care for newborns & two or three other small children, a husband, a Home, etc., etc., so shortly after giving birth! My heart really went out to them, because it is no easy task! If a mother can have sufficient help & rest during the first couple of weeks or a month after the birth, she will be in much better condition—physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually—everything!—to delve into her multitudinous tasks, both old & new with energy & enthusiasm. But first her body needs a chance to rest & regain its strength‚ recover with proper rest, food & freedom from worries.
13. HAVING HER OUT OF COMMISSION for two weeks, or even a month, while she fully recovers to full strength & health, is a small sacrifice to make for having a loving, cheerful, happy, healthy wife & mother & new baby! Otherwise, you may be sorry, because her weakened health in subsequent months may be a result of lack of concern, care & rest during the first month after the birth of the baby.
14. SO WE STRONGLY ADVISE that‚ no matter how much you may think the new mother is loafing around & having a vacation, she needs it! And she is nursing also, which takes added strength & nourishment from her body. So if you other Family members have to work extra hard, just remember that your one month of sacrifice will result in a better mother, a better wife‚ a better lover & a better all-round home life in the succeeding months. Sue & Sara waited on me hand & foot in the hospital, even to the sacrifice of their own sleep, as they cared for both me & the baby in shifts
15. WHEN I RETURNED HOME the same week, I virtually stayed totally 100% in bed for the first ten days. I needed it, I felt like it, so I stayed in bed. If I had gotten up any sooner, I wouldn't have been worth much to anybody. But there are lots of constructive things you can do while convalescing in bed: Reading, writing letters, sewing, planning meals, working on children's school materials, & many other projects. Near the end of those ten days‚ I began to sit up, & It was the first time that my bottom felt well enough to sit in a soft chair for a few minutes at a time.
16. AFTER TEN DAYS I took my first walk around the block. I took it slowly & carefully, but I felt very well & strong. My bottom felt good‚ with very little pressure. But when I got home, I had a slight headache. The next day I repeated the same thing, with a headache again. The third day I went around the block again, & each day thereafter, & each day I began to go on longer walks quite easily, except for the fact that almost everyday almost from the beginning of the walk my head would start aching slightly, in an uncomfortable sort of way. We really prayed about this, because in every other respect I felt fine. So I just kept going each day, & eventually the headaches stopped. TTL!
17. DURING THESE FIRST TWO WEEKS after the birth of the baby, I ate light meals as frequently as while pregnant. Usually Sue fixed me liver soup each day for a health–builder, a good food for recovery after operations, etc., & lots of fruit salad, cut-up fruit with yogurt & yeast dressing. Fruit & raw vegetables are very good foods for post-natal diet of the mother, as quite often there is a problem with constipation, but because of stitches‚ the elimination should be easy & the BM's fairly soft. In fact practically every new mother with stitches dreads that first bowel movement! However, the Lord has made it so that you usually do not have one for two or even three days afterwards, while your bottom has a chance to begin to heal.
18. WHEN MY STITCHES BEGAN FALLING OUT the second day after I was home, another on the third & another the fifth, at first I grew quite alarmed & we called the doctor who told us to come in if we felt we needed to. But Sue remembered that in some cases that she had seen, the stitches had fallen out that early after the birth just because the incision was already healed. It certainly looked like that was what was happening, as I was staying together alright & there was no cause for alarm. We just prayed & trusted the Lord & used the disinfectants that the doctor had prescribed, something like a mercurochrome, & I soon healed up just fine! PTL!
19. FOR TWO WEEKS I had to stay behind while David took his daily walk with one of the other girls. But I was so glad to be able to stay home & rest, & that he had someone that could take care of him when I was not there, although I missed going with him. He was always so sweet whenever he was out; he would call in to find out how we were doing, ask about me & the baby, & rush home as soon as possible, because he didn't want to leave us alone too long, although I always had someone stay with me to care for the baby.
20. THOUGH I DEFIANTLY FELT MUCH STRONGER & more energetic during my last months of pregnancy than in the succeeding weeks after the birth I still regained my strength & recovered very well in every respect, thank the Lord! However, when Techi was four months old I had my first period, & about a week after this I began to become very tired during the day, with backaches almost all day & headaches at night. While neither the backaches nor the headaches were severe, they were nagging & bothersome enough, along with my extreme tiredness, to severely decrease my work time.
21. THIS WENT ON FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS, even though we had prayed definitely about it, so I finally decided to see the doctor to see what he had to say. But two days before my appointment‚ I began gulping down huge quantities of yeast: Yeast in my salad, yeast in my juice, yeast in my coffee, yeast in my spaghetti, yeast in everything I could think of! And to my happy surprise, by the end of a day-&-a-half, I could feel a very noticeable difference! PTL! I felt stronger & more energetic & could stay up at night without a headache, although the backache persisted & remained the same.
22. AT THE DOCTOR'S THE NEXT DAY, I had a thorough checkup, at which time he happily informed me that everything looked OK. My organs had gone down to normal, my stitches had healed nicely & that there was nothing physically out of whack with my back. The only suggestion that he could come up with was that, perhaps because I was nursing, my intake of calcium was not enough to match the outgo in the milk that was given to the baby. And when I thought about it, I realised that it was true, that I was not getting much calcium in my diet other than perhaps a little yogurt during the day, or sometimes a cup of coffee with milk.
23. HE SAID THAT THIS LACK OF CALCIUM COULD DEFINITELY BE CAUSING THE BACKACHE‚ because it was taking needed calcium from already weakened back muscles due to the strain of carrying the weight of the baby during pregnancy. In fact, backaches are the bane of many a new mother's existence, although I had experienced very little in those first four months. He told me to try to increase my calcium intake, gave me some 500-milligram calcium tablets, prescribing two each day. After asking us what our religion was‚ if we were Muslims, he proceeded to show us, with a twinkle in his eye, an exercise that we could do, which he said, was like, "Praying to Allah"!—Ha!
24. —TO HELP RELEASE TENSION & STRENGTHEN BACK MUSCLES: Get on your knees sitting with your bottom resting on your heels. Stretch arms straight upward‚ stretching fingertips toward ceiling. Now, with a person behind you, holding firmly to your waist, lean & stretch slowly forward with back straight until your nose & palms of hands touch the floor. Try not to just bend over, but stretch forward so you can feel it. The person holding you is to help you not lift your bottom too far off the floor. (See Page one sketch.)
25. REMAIN IN THE "PRAYING" POSITION a good half-minute. Come up slowly reversing the way you went down. Do this a couple of times a day. (Facing Mecca or Jerusalem (or Hubby!), whichever you prefer Ha! Dad.)