This week has been an absolute blur. I gave birth, I moved to Florida, I've had total breakdowns, and I've never been more happy in my entire life. I wanted to share a few thoughts and surprise realizations I've had over these last few days as a new mom. Normally I have a "Fitness Friday" post today but the only workout I've done this week is 18 hours of labor! I definitely plan to continue talking about my fitness goals and progress on Fridays and am excited to share my postpartum physical recovery. I don't have any expectations of how long it will take to lose the baby weight, or when I'll be able to run or workout like I used to, but I'm excited to get back into a healthy lifestyle I love and hopefully be a good example to my son as he is growing up.
I wasn't sure if I'd like breastfeeding. I've never been overly passionate about doing it, but I knew I wanted to at least try and see how it goes. Honestly, the thought of it was kind of weird to me before. I wasn't sure how comfortable I'd be with it. While breastfeeding has presented me with quite a few challenges overall I absolutely love it.
The surge of hormones I get from feeding my son is unbelievable. It makes me feel calm, centered, and totally head over heels in love. It also forces me to stop and slow down for 20-30 minutes every 2ish hours throughout the day. I love getting something fun to snack on, grabbing some lemon and mint infused water, and just snuggling up to babe and ignoring the rest of the world. My sole role in life at that time is to devote myself completely to my son. I never imagined feeling as strongly as I do about it!
As I said though - it hasn't all been positive. My boobs hurt. I was fortunate to have a relatively great natural latcher but sometimes he doesn't latch on right and we both get frustrated trying to get him on correctly so I just give in and let him nurse with a shallow latch. I'm paying the price for it now. I'm bleeding, blistered, cracked and sore (this Motherlove cream has been a lifesaver!) It does hurt when he first starts for about 30 seconds but then it goes away and all those lovely hormones take over.
Every day I wake up and I'm not sure how I will feel. I felt horrible on Tuesday, amazing on Wednesday, and in a lot of pain again on Thursday. Now that I'm 5 days postpartum my main issue is continued swelling/water retention and the 2nd degree tear. I finally took my first bath on Thursday right after Travis arrived and relieved me from my parental duties for an hour. It felt amazing, but the rest of the day I felt tight and itchy down there as the stitches must have been irritated from the hot water. Walking is difficult, going to the bathroom is frightening, and sitting down is very painful.
The other primary physical issue I'm dealing with is extreme fatigue. The kind of tired where you can fall asleep sitting up while talking to someone else. I haven't slept more than 3 hours at a night, usually in 30-60 minute spurts, since Friday. Sleep deprivation makes everything else I'm going through feel 100x more difficult. Thankfully now that Travis is here I should be able to get at least 5-6 hours a night.
I took this photo after getting 3 hours of sleep in two segments. It felt like heaven.
Given my history of anxiety I was pretty paranoid I'd have a hard time with postpartum hormones. I still may have some issues, but so far I've felt pretty good. I have my moments of breaking down and crying; usually at 4 a.m. after I've been up all night with a baby who refuses to sleep on his back and has to be held/fed non-stop for hours on end. He's just a normal baby doing normal baby things, and I get that, but man is it emotionally exhausting. Especially on the nights I've been doing it alone.
Some Fun 'Firsts' From the Week
Baby had his first car ride on Tuesday. We drove 45 minutes from the hospital to our old house at Fort Rucker, and then 2.5 hours to Florida. We had to stop once on the way so I could feed/change the baby. Overall it went better than I expected.
Our three cats finally got to really meet the baby. Rudy wants to be his BFF, Salem growls at him, and Smokey is just ambivalent.
We had our first pediatrician appointment. I found a guy who was highly recommended and he is amazing! I'm SO bummed we will only see him for 6-8 weeks before we move to Alaska. He answered all of my questions, gave me some great advice, and was able to calm babe down in an instant. Baby has lost more weight since being discharged on Tuesday so he told me to try to feed him hourly during the day. That's quite the order! I'm doing well with it so far now that my milk has come in. Everyone keeps telling me to enjoy this time as it will go by in a flash. I know it will and I try to relish every baby coo, cuddle and facial expression. Travis has been an amazing Dad and I love watching them interact. He must take about 100 photos a day, and he is such a natural with him. Having him here, our three cats, and being at my parents house makes me feel like everything I need is all under one roof. I'm trying to cherish this time as much as possible as I can't imagine ever having such a perfect set-up again.
How was your first week as a parent?
What are your plans this weekend?