Finn has been a little fussy today but I found that feeding him, burping him and then getting him in the Baby K’Tan and vacuuming the house seemed to do the trick to get him relaxed and sleeping. Apparently the movement is good for both calming babies and also helping with gas…which I think he might be dealing with. 🙁
I appreciate all of the positive feedback on my Fourth Trimester: Week One post. Both the kindness of the words I received as well as the encouragement to continue sharing openly and vulnerably touched my heart. So thank you.
THE FOURTH TRIMESTER: WEEK TWO
Body changes: I’ve felt like a new person since all of the swelling and puffiness left my body around one week postpartum. While things are definitely not “back to normal,” I feel good in my body. I lost a lot of muscle mass while I was pregnant and a lot of it was replaced by extra body fat but I am at peace with that. Most of my friends have shared that their bodies held onto 5-10 pounds and a little extra body fat until they were done breast feeding so I don’t have an unrealistic expectation around weight or muscle loss/gain nor am I stressing about it.
I also wanted to quickly share that I’m not going to be posting a ton of postpartum progress pictures like I did baby bump photos. I think that postpartum is a very vulnerable time for a woman in her body and I’d like to respect that we all heal and recover at different rates and there is no right and wrong or specific timeline.
Breastfeeding: after the hiccup we experienced in week one, things seem to be back on track after seeing the lactation consultant. That said, breastfeeding is NOT EASY…AT ALL! I spend a ton of time doing it and sometimes it’s frustrating for me and for Finn but we are slowly finding our groove. We still struggle with the latch sometimes but mostly when he is fussy, feeding for comfort or cluster feeding. Luckily, the nipple discomfort I experienced in the first week postpartum has subsided.
I am feeding on demand and he seems to want to eat every 1.5-3 hours during the day (longer stretch if he’s napping) and every 2-4 hours at night. He has started spitting up more frequently and sometimes seems gassy/uncomfortable so I’ll ask the pediatrician about that when we see him in a few days.
I’ve been using my Brest Friend pillow for almost all of my daytime feeds and at night I do a mixture of propping myself up in bed with pillows or laid back feeding, which is super relaxing for both me and him when we can get it right.
Sleep: sleep is okay so far. Like I mentioned last week, a big bonus of maternity leave and being home with a baby is that I can sleep in until 8-9 so if I get in bed around 10-11, I can usually cobble together 7 hours of sleep or so.
The past two nights I’ve actually felt like reading for a few minutes after his last feeding so that’s been nice to get back to (doesn’t last long before my eyes are closing, but still!). At first I would try to close my eyes and go to sleep as fast as possible when he went down. Haha.
He’s typically down from 11-2 or 3 and then I’m up again sometime between 5-6 and then we sleep until 8 or 9. These times are approximate and subject to change any night!
- Night sweats. Still dealing with these. All I can do is keep a towel by the bed as well as a change of PJs. I change the sheets every two days now!
- Bleeding. Bleeding has been hit or miss. It slows down and then picks up. I’m trying to be mindful of my bleeding because I’ve heard that an increase in bleeding likely means you’ve overdone it. It’s nowhere near what it was in the first week postpartum but definitely still lingering.
- Pain relief. I didn’t take anything during week two postpartum. Today was the first day since week one that I’ve had to take an Ibuprofen. My incision and abdomen was just really sore overnight last night and I didn’t feel great waking up this morning. Since I’ve been up and moving around, I’ve felt much better.
- C-section recovery: I took the steri-strips off at 13 days postpartum and my incision seems to be healing well. I had a doctor friend look at it on Friday and she assured me that it was healing really well. I’m NOWHERE near healed/recovered and still dealing with incision pain and general soreness of my abdomen. One thing that surprised me about the incision is that it’s still really swollen, especially above it, but my friend said that it’s very normal. I’m generally moving around better but not anywhere close to full speed. I’m the slowest walker ever these days!
- Appetite: Last week I shared that my appetite was off in the week after my c-section but all seems to be regulating now. I’m eating really well and trying to stay super aware of getting enough calories in to support my body’s breastfeeding needs. Friends have been bringing all sorts of yummy food so that’s been pretty easy!
- Headaches: I wanted to share that I had REALLY bad headaches every day in the second week postpartum. I tended to get them in the evenings and most nights I had to go get in bed because my head was just killing me. They have gotten so much better in the last couple of days. I’m not sure what the culprit was but I’m guessing a combination of hormones, dehydration and my body regulating after all the fluids/saline I received in the hospital. They started once my swelling subsided so I think my body just had to get back on track.
- Upper back/neck pain: Greenapple Sports and Wellness breastfeeding is KILLING my upper back and neck. A lot of times when I feed I have to scoot my butt forward and kind of slump down so that Finn doesn’t get such a strong letdown. It is not good for my posture! On top of that, there’s the adjustment of having extra weight up top due to my breasts, carrying a baby and sitting tons more than my body is used to. I went to see Dr. Bradberry at last Thursday and it was so helpful. He did a mixture of treatments and also adjusted my upper back and neck. I felt so much better when I left. I’ll try to see him weekly for the foreseeable future.
Emotional well-being: I cried basically all day, every day until 10 days postpartum and then things started to improve. I’m still super emotional but I can have friends stop by to visit or call my mom without breaking down into a crying mess now.
I feel better now that I’m not crying so much but now that we’re two weeks in, the reality of everything is really setting in. I’m in this space of survival and also creating a new normal…and feeling like “what the hell will normal every look like with a baby!?” Still wrapping my head around that I’m a MOM and have a SON. It’s just the craziest thing even though I wanted it so badly and I love him so much. There is such an identity shift that takes place with birth and I suspect it will be something that will take a while to move fully into and understand.
I started seeing my therapist again last week. I’ve been seeing her regularly for 6+ years and I knew that continuing to talk to her would be an important part of my postpartum care. There is so much to unpack and work through and I feel grateful for her support and guidance. I took Finn with me so I’m getting him started on taking care of his mental health early. 😉
Workouts/activity: there will be no workouts for many weeks to come but I have started walking a little longer and further. Like I mentioned earlier, I am so freaking slow but I feel like a new person after I do it. I’m quite a sight to see strolling through the neighborhood with a baby and two golden retrievers. Haha.
Newborn photos: I hired Amanda James to take newborn photos. She came to my home and brought a mini studio setup. She took a ton of photos of Finn wrapped up and also in a white onesie, a diaper and naked. She also took a few lifestyle photos of me and Finn. Thankfully, Finn slept through all of it and was a dream baby. We wrapped the shoot in about 2.5 hours. While juggling newborn photos with a 11 day old seemed overwhelming, I knew I would be really happy that I had them.
Overall, I can’t believe how fast it’s going already. It’s simultaneously the fastest and slowest period of my life…if that makes any sense. I am really trying to soak up Finn and all of the sweet cuddles and holding that I can get in while he’s so sleepy and new. He’s already starting to have longer periods of alertness and I feel like he changes so much every single day!
Until next week…
Tips for breastfeeding and back pain?
How long did it take for your c-section incision to be smooth/not swollen? I’ve heard to start massaging it soon.
Baby wearing tips/advice?