Weeks 4-5 Postpartum Journal
"The more room you give yourself to express your true thoughts and feelings, the more room there is for your wisdom to emerge"
─ Marianne Williamson
Emotionally I'm feeling...
I’ve had a couple nights where I’ve managed to get 3-4 hrs uninterrupted sleep (woohoo!) and the next day I feel like I’m in such a good mood and it makes me realize what a zombie state I’ve been in. On the days where I'm very sleep deprived I feel more weepy, and I find it difficult to ask for help and communicate my emotions. In the mornings after a few hours of sleep I feed good but later in the day I start to feel more irritable (just like a newborn) and I am extra sensitive to bright lights or loud sounds (also like a newborn haha). I’m trying to remind myself this sleepless phase really is not forever, even though it can feel never ending.
/I feel like I am still getting to know my new postpartum body and it is continuing to change/
Physically I'm feeling...
I feel so much more healed. I've slowly been getting more active, but still trying to follow the first forty days and give myself permission to rest as much as possible. I’ve had cramping after walking and my legs feel sore which I think is my body's way of telling me to take it easy but other than that I am feeling great. I have stopped bleeding and the inflammation around my stomach has gone down a lot since the birth. My stomach still feels soft and my linea nigra is starting to fade. I noticed I have some stretch marks in the same place my Mom and my Grandma got them, just under my ribs…on my body they look like wrinkle lines and I feel like they are visual reminders of the journey my body has been on to bring Harry into the world. I feel like I am still getting to know my new postpartum body and it is continuing to change. I’m starting to get more color in my face but I still notice the giant dark circles under my eyes (probably here to stay now hehe). I feel depleted from breastfeeding, like I am constantly trying to refill my body with nutrients and supplements. My back and shoulders have been feeling sore from my posture when breastfeeding and from carrying him in the wrap carrier. I've been applying heat with the electric heating pad and taking baths when I can which helps.
/I think my adrenals are in overdrive and this anxiety is a symptom of the sleep deprivation cycle/
Most Challenging Moment...
I've been experiencing nap anxiety! When Harry naps I try to nap and I feel tired and wired...sometimes I also feel nauseous from exhaustion and then I can't fall asleep which makes me feel anxious that I’m wasting precious sleep time, or I think about all of the other things I could be getting done. I think my adrenals are in overdrive and this anxiety is a symptom of the sleep deprivation cycle. I've been putting in ear plugs or putting on a podcast or guided meditation which sometimes helps.
The transition of Greg being back at work is hard. It feels like our little babymoon with the 3 of us is over and he has had to shift right back into his fast paced job while I am still practicing my slow 40 days of recovery. He works crazy hours, sometimes coming home at 3 or 6am so it can feel a bit like we are passing ships in the night, so we are trying to make the most of our weekends together. When he took time off he was so incredibly supportive bringing me meals, taking care of me, and taking over the domestic duties which gave me the opportunity to just focus on Harry. Now that he's back at work my Mom is still helping but its one less set of hands. Greg and I had a talk to figure out ways he can still support me even when he can’t be home and it felt great to talk about our ever-evolving relationship and put everything on the table so there is no resentment. Communication is so essential. It’s interesting how in the beginning of postpartum you can find yourself in these old school traditional roles of husband and wife especially when baby is so mama dependent while breastfeeding exclusively right now, so talking about it has allowed us to figure out what feels good and what doesn’t.
/I felt overcome with immense pride and gratitude for my little family/
I'm feeling grateful for...
On Saturday our family (dog included) stayed in bed all morning for one big cuddle. Then we walked to the beach and got pain au chocolat and tea and sat on a park bench and took in the view. When I looked over and saw Greg with our dog next to him and Harry bundled in the stroller I felt overcome with immense pride and gratitude for my little family. I can remember conversations Greg and I had about having a family one day when we first started dating and now here we are…I keep having to pinch myself over these beautiful simple moments.
My Dad, Step Mom and sister came over to visit Harry again on the weekend. My Dad always wanted to have a boy but ended up having 4 girls so he is absolutely delighted to have a grandson! He is a big hockey fan and brought Harry onesies of his favorite team and he wore his matching jersey, it was adorable. My youngest sister held him for the first time and they fell in love with each other! It’s pretty amazing how a baby can bring the whole family even closer together.
/It's comforting to feel like we are in the thick of it together/
It may sound small but showers and baths! I've been getting into a routine of bringing Harry into the shower and bath with me and it is the sweetest thing. He gets all bright eyed and opens his mouth to taste the water in the shower. He is definitely a water baby and will probably a little surfer like his Dad. Having a warm soak really helps to relax my body and mind and I love that this has become a self care ritual I can do with him.
One of my girlfriends in Sweden had her baby a week after me and we have been txting each other when we are up at night with our littles because with the time difference the other is usually awake and can respond. It's comforting to feel like we are in the thick of it together - experiencing very similar things. Two of my girlfriends from high school in Toronto also had babies within months of me and we have been doing zoom calls every couple weeks since we were pregnant and now our babies join us which is so special. These conversations very much feel like self care for me. I wish we all lived on the same street and could raise our babies together but I'm so grateful that technology allows us all to connect from afar.
/I am ravenous all the time from breastfeeding/
During my pregnancy I was so nauseous in the first trimester I could not stand the smell of any food cooking, and even into my second and third trimester I would get nauseous in the evenings which affected my appetite so planning and cooking dinner was difficult. In postpartum my appetite is definitely back, foods that I can eat with one hand while breastfeeding are key. I am ravenous all the time from breastfeeding, but my love of cooking has still not returned. It's also a learning experience to figure out how to cook with a baby. A couple nights I have put him in the Bjorn bouncer chair or in his stroller and he's enjoyed watching me cook so I will keep trying that. This week I started meal planning which will hopefully help with my lack of inspiration in the kitchen.
Ginger Fried rice (recipe from the First Forty Days book),
Smoothies with peanut butter, almond milk, hemp seeds, flax seeds, ghee butter.
Bone broth & chicken soup
Snacks: Carrot Muffins, Apples, Cheese, muesli with yogurt
Chia seed pudding with almond milk, raspberries, and maple syrup
Sushi (yayyy finally!)
/baby wearing has allowed me to be hands free and do more things around the house while he is totally comforted sleeping on my chest listening to my heartbeat/
Whats New with baby...
This week Harry is starting his first 'leap'. We have been using the Wonder Weeks app which guides you through the 10 different developmental leaps a baby takes within its first years. We have noticed he likes to be held a little more instead of being in his bassinet so baby wearing has allowed me to be hands free and do more things around the house while he is totally comforted sleeping on my chest listening to my heartbeat - it's wonderful bonding time. I also figured out how to breastfeed with him in the carrier which allows me to be hands free and eat at the same time and it keeps him in a nice upright position which seems to be helpful for avoiding reflux.
He’s napping lots during the day and nursing well (his cheeks are filling out and he now has an adorable double chin). He is about 10 or 11 lbs now. We are feeding on demand and I find he has been cluster feeding from around 4-9pm which my midwife explained is baby's way of stocking up on calories before the night ahead...I think this has helped him to go for longer stretches without getting hungry at night. He is now sleeping sound from about 10pm to 12:30am or 1am, and then waking around 3:30am, and then more frequently until the morning (every 1.5-2 hrs). Fortunately right now after he nurses at 6am he still goes back to sleep until about 8 or 9am. Around 6am Greg takes him while I sleep until he goes to work.
We gave Harry his first bottle of pumped breastmilk this week. His Dad gave it to him and he took to it so well. I wanted to wait a while until I felt like breastfeeding was very well established to avoid nipple confusion, but I also didn't want to wait too long in case he wouldn't take a bottle. This way if I need to get a few more hours of uninterrupted sleep Greg can give him a bottle and it will give me more freedom. I felt intimidated to try pumping but it ended up being fine, in hindsight I think I could have started pumping around 2 weeks just to stock up on milk for the freezer because my supply was so big in the beginning.
Harry had 2 milestones on the same day! He smiled at me in the middle of the night twice in a row after I fed him (not gas smiles real smiles!) and the next morning he rolled over after tummy time!
/I'm amazed at all the choices there are to make and the polarizing opinions that come along with them/
We have been living in a furnished rental home and I really miss our home in Los Angeles. I think I’ve been mourning the fact that we didn’t get to spend this special time in our own space with our own things. Ultimately I wouldn't change a thing because the birth experience here was such a dream, and having the blessing of my Mom, Dad, and extended family here to meet Harry has been so special. The saying 'home is where the heart' is may be cheesy but it's definitely true.
I cannot believe my little man is one month old! I can't imagine life without him yet it feels like yesterday that I looked down and laid my eyes on him for the first time. I still cry tears pf joy whenever I look at the photos from the birth, and I'm still in disbelief of how beautiful that night was. I've been reflecting on the last 10 months and the changes my body has been through. When I think about how fast I am healing and how quickly the uterus is able to shrink back down to its previous size, it is crazy. The female body is unbelievable.
I'm amazed at all the choices there are to make and the polarizing opinions that come along with them. If/when to pump, introduce the bottle, pacifier etc... and then there is listening to your baby's cues and discovering what he does or doesn't like. I found asking friends about their experiences to be helpful, and doing a little research online, but I also had to be conscious not to get lost in the google vortex, or unsolicited advice. During labour I was so tuned into my intuition and that is something I am trying to apply to my decision making process in Motherhood. If I really stop and listen, my intuition knows what feels good.