I am not a fan of medication. I will rarely take anything for a cold or headache. I will occasionally take something for allergies, and maybe an alleve for cramps or post yoga soreness, but generally, I prefer to let my body naturally take care of whatever ails it. This does not work for major abdominal surgery.
All the doctors and all the friends who’ve been through this have told me to stay on top of the pain – keep taking the recommended dosage until I’m completely healed – about six weeks. In the hospital, when I was still hooked up to the IV, nurses would come in every so often and give me my “medicine” – some combination of morphine (just on the first day I think) and Toradol. After two days, they switched me to pills – one super-strength motrin and 1-2 Percoset every 3-4 hours. I could choose how many I wanted, so I generally opted for the lower dose.
I only broke from this pattern once. Once you’re off the IV, the nurses won’t automatically bring you meds at the allotted time. You have to keep track of the time yourself and call for it when you’re ready, especially after a shift change. Before I realized this, I waited about an hour and a half too long to take something. I only made that mistake once.
I left the hospital with a prescription for super strength motrin (once every 6 hours) and vicodin (1-2 pills every 3-4 hours as needed). For the first two days, I took the pills religiously. Then I started to wonder if the vicodin was effecting my (or the baby’s) moods. I was feeling especially okay considering the lack of sleep and general overwhelmingness of the situation, and Zeke was blissfully mellow. At our first visit, I asked the pediatrician if she thought the drugs could effect the baby, and while she didn’t think so, she suggested I could ween off the vicodin and just keep taking the motrin. So I did.
The first day off the vicodin was the worst I’ve had. It wasn’t the pain (though that was there too) so much as the emotional nuttiness of the day. I could not stop crying, and I felt all the craziness of our new situation that I seemed completely unaware of the previous two days. Zeke also seemed changed. He was fussier than he’d been before and I felt completely unable to console him, and unable to handle the situation in any logical way. (I would have blamed sleep deprivation, but Zeke had actually slept really well the night before… though I suppose that doesn’t make up for the previous nights of all-night feeding sessions.)
I’m not going to completely blame the meds for this crazy day. I know there are ridiculous hormonal changes going on in my body right now, and our situation IS overwhelming – that is real – for me and Dave – and Dave isn’t taking any opiates (that I’m aware of 🙂 I took one vicodin the night before and morning of the bris (the night before since it’s painful to get up and down to breastfeed at night and in my sleepiness I tend to forget to be careful with my poor destroyed abdomen, and the morning of because I though I could use it).
I haven’t taken one since. And I feel okay. The pain is still there, but it’s fading. And I still feel emotional, but not out of hand. Zeke has his good and bad moments, but he seems just fine overall. And I rather like the idea of having a few extra vicodin on hand for future moments when I feel like I really need it.