Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The First 6 Weeks

In some ways, it's hard to believe it's been 6 weeks.

Then again, the last 6 weeks have really just felt like one long day, so time markers seem a bit irrelevant. I don't plan to write monthly baby updates on the blog, since that's what Noah's baby book is for. But since this blog is still our family record, and writing is how I seem to solidify and process things, I want the record to show that 6 weeks postpartum is when I finally felt like I got my head above water.

That's not to say I have things figured out (ha!) but simply to say that I'm starting to feel a little more comfortable in this new role. I'm also starting to feel a little more like myself again, as evidenced by the fact that I'm blogging again, for one. But also by the fact that the desire to eat more vegetables and less sugar is creeping in, as well as the desire to exercise again for sanity purposes!

One of my tasks as postpartum nurse at the Birth Center this past year has been to administer the postpartum depression screen at 2 weeks and at 6 weeks, so I'm fairly comfortable saying that I don't have postpartum depression. Anxiety, on the other hand, has been out of control!

More random thoughts on the past 6 weeks since it's been hard to form a coherent post these days:

...I thought having a baby during my favorite season-- summer-- would be awesome! Don't get me wrong, it's great that it's not freezing and gray outside, and that we can take morning or evening walks, and that we don't have to worry about icy roads. But last I looked it was spring, and now suddenly it's mid-July and I've spent most of summer indoors! This is usually the time I intensively refill my sunshine reservoir by spending lots of time working out outside, reading books outside, and swimming. I need summer to fill that bank so it can last me through the long, dark winters. I'm hoping to get outside more, soon!

...If labor brought out my quiet, meditative side, postpartum has absolutely brought out my socially anxious side. The desire to eat, sleep, and breathe baby and hide away as a family of three has been incredibly high. The amount of distress I felt having to get out to (what felt like daily) appointments in the first few weeks was ridiculous. Granted, we've had a lot of appointments: pediatrician visits, numerous weight checks, lactation consultations, OB visits, chiropractic appointments, etc. But when your baby doesn't breastfeed well you really don't want to sit down for an hour in a strange environment while they try to eat, so everything felt so rushed and time was at a premium.

...Speaking of breastfeeding, it seemed to be going fairly well, albeit exhausting, in the first 2-3 weeks. He ate often, and long. I easily spent 10 hours a day sitting and feeding him. His wet and dirty diapers were always on track, yet his weight was not. I wish I'd written more during those weeks because they're already fuzzy! I know I didn't sleep when the baby slept... I think I used his one long nap of the day to make food for myself haha! But if I thought I didn't have a lot of free time then, it shrank drastically during the third week when I had to start pumping and supplementing with bottles of pumped milk to get Noah back to birth weight. It worked! But to the incredible detriment of my sleep and my sanity. If you asked me how I was doing at 2 weeks out, I was really okay. Incredibly anxious, a little tired, but mostly happy. Things were going how I expected them to go at 2 weeks out. But by 3 weeks, I was an exhausted mess with really just an hour of free time between rounds of feeding, supplementing, and pumping. We're just now starting to back off on pumping and slowly dropping a bottle every few days. Oh and don't forget the thrush.

...I unfortunately have a list of regrets from Noah's first few weeks and I feel like between visitors and my own anxiety, I missed so much of his sleepy newborn days. It's something I've really been struggling with and all I can do is pray that God softens those regrets, helps me focus on the sweet times we have together now, and helps me remember to do things a little differently the next time around.

...I never got to nest, the house isn't finished, and while I'm more okay with that than I was before labor started, it's still pretty stressful. I sit here 6 weeks postpartum having watched Ross and my parents do every single bit of "nesting" around the house as I feed this baby. Half of our belongings are still in boxes. I don't know where most of my non-maternity clothes are (although it's not like I could fit into them anyway). Really, I don't know where anything is.   **That being said, my parents did an incredible amount of work while they were here visiting and Ross and I simply couldn't have come home from the hospital to a live-able house without their help. Thank you!!!**

...Kudos to the c-section moms. Post-partum recovery has been really difficult for me, and I cannot fathom recovering from major surgery while taking care of a baby.

...The best things you can say to someone post-delivery are, "good job Mama!" and "You look amazing!"

...If you're visiting a mom with a new baby, please bring food. Seriously. It feels selfish to say that but wow, procuring food for myself during that first week was really difficult and we couldn't have done it without the generosity of others.

All this being said, I think I've had 8 jobs since graduating college 7 years ago (most of the time working more than one job at a time) but this is by far the best job, with the best boss, that I ever could've asked for. I sincerely love motherhood even more than I thought I would and I'm so grateful for this time!

1 comment:

  1. Oh sweet, sweet friend. Let go of those regrets. I promise you, as quickly as it seems the newborn phase ends there are still soooo many oppourtunities of quiet reflections as you snuggle your baby. I promise you will be caught off guard at times while watching or playing with Noah. It will sometimes be overwhelming how protective you feel for him or in awe, and other times you'll be frustrated by your tears yet will be okay with them too.

    Motherhood is confusing most of the time but as long as you're trying and taking it day by day, you'll never fail or be bad at it.

    All that to say that your now 6wks in and doing great and looking great too Momma. Give yourself a break and enjoy the little things.