Unanticipated postpartum pain

It’s been almost three weeks since I gave birth to Kaia and came home with her. In that time, while I was anticipating postpartum pain such as uterus contractions during breastfeeding, difficulties peeing and pooping given my postpartum pelvic floor, and related vaginal burning and itching given the stitches I got, one thing I was not actively thinking about was the re-emergence of my carpal/cubital tunnel pain, or pain in my thumbs.

It makes sense that your ulnar nerve via your cubital tunnel and your median nerve via your carpal tunnel would be aggravated with a newborn at home: You will always be picking up and putting down and holding your baby, and you need those nerves to do those actions. In addition, if you are hand expressing breast milk, as I do in preparation for pumping milk with my breast pump, you may end up with sore thumbs at the base of your palm from that repetitive motion. So any constant, repetitive motion using any nerve or limb will inevitably act up as a result, especially if you are like me and had previously battled carpal/cubital tunnel problems. I actually had my carpal/cubital tunnel pain under control since March/April 2020, so right around the time of the embryo transfer. I achieved that via doing more voice-to-text, getting a more ergonomic setup for my work station, and resting and icing my hands/elbows more. But towards the end of pregnancy, I realized the pain was coming back again, likely due to pregnancy hormones (pregnancy carpal tunnel is really a thing, and for many women, it lasts even past their 4th trimester!). And now with the demands of caring for Kaia, the pain and burning are flaring up again, whether it’s from cradling her, bottle feeding her, or doing breast compressions during pumping and hand expression. I have less time to ice and pretty much no time to rest at all. I try to ice sometimes while I pump. When I am not caring for her or pumping, I am cleaning things up or cooking because I refuse to eat all delivery/takeout food, nor do I want nasty living spaces.

Chris suggested I look into a better PT or medical help than last time, but I honestly don’t think it will help: the number 1 thing you need with issues like this is REST. And that’s pretty much impossible. They also tell you to stop doing the activities that aggravate it, but that’s also unrealistic: what, I’m not supposed to care for my baby or pump milk for her…?!

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