Postpartum Update: 3 Weeks

Hello, friends! I hope you’re all having an excellent week so far. Here’s the latest in my postpartum updates.

Physical Stuff
I had a 2 week postpartum checkup about 18 days after giving birth. The midwife said that my stitches look good and are healing well, which was a relief. TMI alert, the stitches are really itchy right now, so I’ve been pretty uncomfortable for a few days, and was worried I might have an infection; I don’t, but it sucks regardless. They also took my weight, and in spite of my resolution NOT to look at the numbers on the scale from last week’s post, I couldn’t help myself. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I’ve lost 20 pounds already, leaving me with only 10 to go to get back to pre-baby weight. Again, I don’t want to place too much weight (pun intended!) on the numbers, but it was nice to see nonetheless. I’m definitely a lot squishier around the middle and I’ve lost a lot of muscle tone, but I know I can get it back when I’m ready.

The midwife approved me for easy walking, but I’m still not supposed to do any vigorous exercise. She warned against going too hard even though I might feel pretty good, and advised me to continue to think of this as a recovery period. Again, TMI alert, but sweating makes the itching worse, so I’ve been reluctant to get moving too much. She also said I’m allowed to go to postnatal yoga as soon as my bleeding stops, which I’m looking forward to. I’m still taking OTC pain meds a few times a day, but I’d say I’m dealing more with discomfort rather than pain at this point.

I’ve finally reached the stage where I’m feeling like wearing “real” clothes again versus just hanging out in a bathrobe or PJs all day. I can squeeze into plenty of pre-pregnancy bottoms, and I bought myself a bunch of new nursing tops to wear, since we are exclusively breastfeeding. It’s nice to actually get dressed, put on some jewelry, and be a normal person again. I’m planning to pack up my maternity clothes this week, which I’m actually pretty psyched about. I need the space in my closet/drawers.

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Pre-pregnancy leggings, yay!

Ben and I are both still pretty sleep-deprived, but it’s getting better every day. All I can say is, I’m glad neither of us are working right now. We still don’t have any kind of routine, but we’re managing to get about 6 hours of sleep each night in various chunks. It’s amazing what feels like “enough” sleep these days.

Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is still going well! I’m still a little sore when Vera first latches on, but otherwise it’s great. We feed on demand, which is usually every 2 or so hours, so I spend a lot of time sitting on my butt with a baby attached to me. As she gets older, feedings should space out more, which will allow me to do more. We will also be having a follow up visit with the lactation consultant this coming week to go over pumping, milk storage, and stuff like that, which will mean that Ben can help out with some feedings, allowing me more freedom. Yay!

Emotional Stuff
My hormones seem to be equalizing a bit, although I’m definitely still more weepy than usual. I don’t have “baby blues” or anything like that, I just feel things more strongly. We watched Coco on Saturday and I spent most of it crying, haha! So far I’ve been adjusting to motherhood well. Being sleep deprived is hard, and being so home bound is hard, but it’s all worth it when I look at her sweet face. The love I have for this little baby is hard to describe. Even when she wakes me up crying for the umpteenth time a night, I only want to love her and help her. Motherhood is a trip, ya’ll.

Miscellaneous
Ben and I are emerging from the “newborn bubble” a bit, which is nice. We’ve had friends over, we’ve gone to friends’ houses, we went to a free play group at my yoga studio, and we even went out to breakfast, which felt like such an accomplishment! As I said in my Weekend Update post, we’ve realized that we need to be leaving the house more for our mental health.

In order to get out more, I purchased a set of disc golf discs. I know, Vermont hippie much? Anyway, Ben already had a set, so with my discs, we can now plop Vera in her baby tent while we throw discs at made up “holes” around our yard. Vera loves being outside as much as we do, and it’s so good for our brains and bodies to see outside once in a while!

Mamas out there, did you experience itchy stitches? Any tips for relieving discomfort?

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Weekend Update – Out and About

Happy Monday, friends! In an effort to get back to a semi-regular blogging schedule, I’m re-instituting Weekend Update posts. Eventually, I’d love to get back to Manic Monday training recaps, but since I’m still recovering from childbirth, this is what we’ve got. Enjoy!

Saturday
On Saturday morning, we decided to get up and at ’em early to go out to breakfast. The first week and change at home, we were quite happy to simply sit in the house and stare at our baby. But cabin fever began to set in a bit and we realized that we need to leave the house sometimes. We’ve definitely gone out for stuff like doctor appointments and groceries, but doing something just for fun felt really good. We’re lucky to have a great breakfast spot not five minutes from our house, so it was a really “safe” first attempt at eating out with a baby.

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Within five minutes she started fussing, but I was able to nurse her right there in our booth, after which she passed out in my lap for the remainder of our meal. I had some next-level Grand Marnier and vanilla bean french toast that was basically the equivalent of an entire baguette, while Ben had a big fat omelet and home fries. And of course, lots of coffee for both of us. #newparents

The rest of the morning was spent giving Vera a sponge bath, feeding, napping, and watching Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. In the afternoon, we headed over to my in-laws so Ben could put a new muffler on the truck, and then we stayed for supper, which was very much appreciated. Any time we can get a meal cooked for us is a big help right now. We ended up being at my in-laws’ for almost 8 hours, by the end of which I was absolutely fried and more than ready to be home. I fed Vera, took a shower, and went straight to bed.

Sunday
Sunday was another early morning for me. I like to be up early with Vera to give Ben a chance to get a few more hours of uninterrupted sleep. I fed her and put her in the Rock n Play to nap while I made coffee and breakfast and cleaned up the kitchen a bit.

Ben was up for the day around 9:30, and we hung out for a while, sipping coffee, watching Coco, and snuggling the baby. In the early afternoon, we decided we should get out of the house and do something productive, so we made a meal plan and grocery list for the week, then headed off to the store.

It was dreary sort of day, so we decided to just surrender to inertia and spent the rest of the day watching YouTube videos, blogging, eating, and other miscellany. We had leftovers for dinner, thanks to my in-laws, and not having to cook for a third night in a row was such a luxury.

Vera was a bit gassy and fussy, so it was a later night than I would have liked. Once she went down though, she slept for one 3 hour chunk and then another 2.5 hour chunk immediately following, which felt like such a win. But then of course, she was up for the day at 5:30 am. Happy Monday to me!

Have you gone out to breakfast recently? What did you have?

 

Post-Partum Update: The First Two Weeks

Hi, friends! Sorry I disappeared there for a bit, but with a newborn to care for, blogging is a bit less of a priority at the moment. As she gets bigger and we can go longer stretches between feedings, I hope to get back on a more regular Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule. But for now, I’ll just be popping in where I can. As promised, I will be doing regular(ish) updates on how I’m healing and adapting post-baby. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Physical Stuff
My delivery was fairly straightforward, and I only had minor tearing, so physically I’ve been feeling remarkably good. I’m honestly WAY less sore than I expected to be. There’s also been a lot less bleeding than I anticipated, which is a nice surprise. I’ve been feeling so good, in fact, that it’s easy to forget the grueling physical trial I just went through and overdo it. I have to keep reminding myself that I need to take it easy and rest.

For the first 5 or 6 days, my feet and ankles were still VERY swollen from being pumped full of IV fluids during labor. Thankfully, they’re now back to normal, but it was a very uncomfortable few days, and even my Crocs were too tight!

My pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel is slowly improving. I’m honestly disappointed with how numb my fingers still are. I really had hoped that having the baby would bring immediate relief, but not so much. Still, some improvement is better than none. But my fingers are also still just swollen enough that I haven’t been able to get my rings back on, which makes me sad.

I made the mistake of hopping on the bathroom scale at 5 days postpartum and seeing that I’d only lost 6 of the 30 pounds I gained. My immediate reaction was shock and disbelief. Seriously? After getting the baby, placenta, and amniotic fluid out I only lost 6 freaking pounds?? And then I gave myself a strong reality check. Five days postpartum is nothing. I have all the time in the world to lose baby weight, and that’s so not my focus right now. I REALLY don’t want to obsess over numbers, and it’s way too early to worry about that anyway, so I’m planning to avoid the scale entirely until I’m at least 6 weeks out, and go from there.

Breastfeeding
I am so, so happy to report that breastfeeding seems to be going well. We are blessed in that the Mother-Baby nurses at UVM Medical Center are all well-versed in breastfeeding, and we saw not one, but TWO lactation consultants while we were at the hospital. We also had a follow up home visit on our first Sunday at home and Vera was already up from her birth weight, which is fairly rare; breastfed babies usually lose weight in the first week or so while mom and baby figure stuff out.

I was very sore the first few days, but once my milk came in it got much better. Vera has a good latch and good suck and I have an abundant supply, so it’s going as well as it possibly could. It’s endlessly amazing to me that my body can produce food for my baby! As a very well-endowed woman, I’ve always had such mixed feelings about my breasts, and it’s so nice to feel like they have a purpose other than as sexual objects.

Also, I have already become pretty fearless about pulling out a breast and feeding wherever and whenever necessary, which is pretty freeing. If I can BF in front of my dad and father in law, I can do it anywhere, haha! The process of giving birth really broke down the remainder of my modesty, which as a theatre person, was pretty low to begin with!

Emotional Stuff
Thankfully, my emotions/hormones haven’t been running too, too wild. The first few nights home from the hospital were very difficult. I basically went without more than an hour or two of sleep per night from Monday through Friday, and between the hormones and exhaustion, I had a couple of small meltdowns. Thankfully, Ben has the patience and calm of a saint, so he was able to continue caring for Vera while I pulled my stuff together.

I’m definitely more prone to crying now than I was during pregnancy. I played Billy Joel’s “Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel)” for Vera before going to bed recently and I started to cry thinking about how I used to listen to that song with my parents when I was little. Also, we’ve been watching season six of Game of Thrones, and I’m finding I’m a lot less tolerant of violence than I used to be, particularly when children are involved. I spent a lot of time with my eyes averted from the screen.

Relationship Stuff
Bringing a baby into a relationship will undeniably change things, and I think most expecting parents worry about how things will be between them once the baby arrives. Ben and I weren’t worried at all, and so far, we’re proving ourselves right.

If anything, we have become infinitely more appreciative of each other since bringing Vera home. Every day, multiple times a day, we verbally express our love and appreciation for each other. Ben is an amazing partner and dad. He does the majority of diaper changes, and is a swaddling champ. He has taken over a lot of the household stuff so that I can sit and rest and feed the baby as needed.

Watching him interact with our baby girl with so much love, kindness, and patience is almost overwhelming sometimes. I feel so lucky to have him for a partner and co-parent.

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Kitties
I was very curious/nervous about how the kitties would react when we brought Vera home. Before leaving the hospital, we had my in-laws drop off the hat Vera wore immediately after she was born, so that they could smell her scent and get used to it a bit.

Thus far, the cats have been cautiously curious about her, Rocket more so than Creemee. Rocket spends a lot of time sleeping by my side when I’m nursing or cuddling Vera, and will stare intently at us and meow if she starts crying. He also will sleep by my feet at night. Creemee will approach her bassinet and sniff her, but has taken to sleeping outside our bedroom. I think she finds the constant up and down at night with feeding and changing disruptive.

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Miscellaneous
My sister helped organize a Meal Train website for us, so we’ve been receiving semi-regular deliveries of delicious food from friends and family. This is a HUGE help, as Vera is still very needy, and naps infinitely better while being held, so it can be difficult for one or both of us to get in the kitchen and make food. To say that we are grateful for our wonderful support network would be an understatement. We are also incredibly lucky to have my in-laws living only 15 or so minutes away. They’ve stopped by several times with food, drinks, and gifts for Vera, including a set of Beatrix Potter books, which we LOVE!

Care to share any quick and easy recipes for busy new parents?

 

Welcome to the World, Vera Katherine!

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I know most of you already got the news via Instagram, but for those who don’t follow me, here it is!

We welcomed baby Vera at 1:07 pm on July 3, 2018. Even though I was a week past due, she only weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces, and was 19.25 inches long. We are absolutely, over-the-moon in love with our little peanut.

I don’t plan to do a full “birth story” type post, as that’s a little too personal for me to feel comfortable sharing, but here are the highlights that I anticipate people are curious about:

  • I went in for my 41 week check up and due to low levels of amniotic fluid, we decided to move forward with induction
  • Start to finish, the entire ordeal lasted just shy of 24 hours
  • I had an epidural after 14 hours of unmedicated labor
  • Vera was born hale and hearty with no complications

We are all adjusting fairly well to life as a family of three. Sleep is hit or miss, but Vera is eating like a champ and Ben and I are taking care of each other as much as we are taking care of her, which I think will give us a strong base moving forward.

As promised, going forward will my posts about motherhood will be focused on my postpartum recovery and return to normal activity rather than posting details about Vera’s development. While I’m excited to eventually return to running and CrossFit, these sleepy newborn days are very much my pace right now. I’m happy to do nothing at all but gaze at her sweet face and snuggle her for hours on end.

Thank you all for your kind words and support!

37 Week Pregnancy Update

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37 weeks pregnant. We have arrived at that magical point in time where, if I went into labor right now, there would be no attempt to slow or stop it; they would just let baby come. This is all kinds of exciting! Not that I’m wishing time away (it’s going quickly enough on it’s own!), but I’m just so damn excited to meet this kid I can’t help but want her to come sooner. And as I’ve said, I’m feeling very little anxiety or fear over labor and delivery, so whenever it happens is good with me!

We are also now at the point where I have weekly prenatal appointments. This week’s was a bit of a doozy, as it involved an internal exam (never fun) and a swab for Group B Strep. This is a bacteria that many adult women carry in their systems which is mostly harmless for them, but which can infect the baby as it passes through the birth canal and potentially cause problems. Moms who test positive for Group B Strep have to have a constant antibiotic IV drip during labor and delivery, so I’m hoping and praying that I DON’T have the bacteria cause I really don’t want to be continuously hooked up to an IV. Send some good vibes my way for this one!

This was my final week at work, which was of course bittersweet. This job was the second-longest I’ve stayed anywhere in my working career, and I will miss my colleagues and the office culture something fierce. I’ve never worked at a company that valued its employees so highly, and really took the work hard/play hard mentality to heart. I also feel really bad for leaving because I don’t really feel like my replacement is up to snuff, and it sort of seems like I’m leaving my team in the lurch. I know that’s not my fault and not my problem, but it’s still hard.

Preparations are mostly complete at this point. The only nagging thing is getting the car seat installed, but we should be able to get that done this week. Otherwise, hospital bags are packed and waiting by the front door. Her room is mostly a room and less of a storage space. Laundry is done and put away. Diapers and wipes stand at the ready. Of course, there are still a few other little things I’d like to get done (still don’t have curtains or a bookshelf), but they aren’t necessary things. For the first several months she’ll be sleeping in a bassinet in our room anyway, so having a complete and “perfect” nursery just isn’t a top priority for me.

I’m really hoping that I end up having some time to myself before Baby Girl decides to come. I know the general wisdom is that first-time moms go late, but you just never know. She’s still riding really high in my belly and my cervix was still closed up tight at this week’s appointment so I think I’ve got a wait ahead of me, but I don’t want to make any assumptions. My plan for these next two weeks (or however long I get!) is to fill the time with fun stuff I may not get to do for a while. I have a list of friends I want to spend time with, I’d love to get a pedicure, go to yoga as much as possible, and have a date night or two with Ben. I also plan to focus on alone time, as I know it’s one thing that’s about to become pretty scarce. Maybe a solo trip to the movies?

In other news, I finally broke down and bought an ambidextrous wrist brace. The carpal tunnel symptoms were getting so bad, particularly at night, that I pretty much wasn’t sleeping. I was reluctant to spend $30 on a piece of foam and fabric this late in the game, but one of the girls in my yoga class told me it had helped her immensely, and with the ambidextrous brace, I can alternate which wrist I wear it on and get maximum benefit with minimum cost. I am happy to report that since I started wearing the brace at night, I’ve been sleeping SO MUCH BETTER. I’m just pissed that I didn’t get one sooner and save myself a lot of sleepless nights. Oh well. Live and learn.

Mamas, did you take any time for yourself before baby came? What did you do?