Postpartum Diaries: 1 week

Maverick Birth Photo

Yay!  He is here! My sweet little boy Maverick arrived one week ago today.  I’m going to be doing a post about his birth story so please check that out to find out all of the details about his delivery…it was a doozy!  I decided I wanted to follow my Pregnancy Diaries with Postpartum Diaries because the first 3 months after having a baby are more challenging than the entire pregnancy, in my opinion.  So, I’ve decided I’ll spend the next 12 weeks sharing my journey through the “fourth trimester” with all of you.  I had an incredibly difficult postpartum period with my first child and I have been terrified of going through it all again. Everyone talks about how you’re doing while you’re pregnant but as soon as the baby is born everything becomes about the baby.  Mothers deserve the same, if not more, attention after their child is born because that is when life gets hard and hormonal shifts are at an all-time high! While I am certainly hoping that I am much better off this time around, I promise to share the good, bad and ugly with you all in hopes that I can help other women navigate this beautiful but challenging time!  These will be a little briefer than my pregnancy diaries because I’d like to get back to writing about specific topics more often in other posts.  I will just check in and tell you about how I’m feeling, what has changed from the week before and what’s going on with the baby/family.  I hope you enjoy!

This week has been chaotic as you can probably imagine.  Maverick was born at 5:35am on Thursday February 7th.  If you’re a mama, you know that you don’t just push a baby out and go to sleep. You get time to bond with your baby then go through all of the post-delivery checks for you and the baby, get any medical attention needed and then get moved up to the postpartum floor.  Once you get to your new room all you want to do is sleep but noooo way, mama.  Now you’ve got new nurses coming in to check on you and the baby and telling you what the rest of your stay will be like.  I was SO tired by the time we got to the postpartum floor that I was begging the nurses to leave us alone for a while.  I had been awake for over 24 hours and my labor was long and difficult. Maverick cried A LOT after he was born, so I just needed him and me to get some much-deserved rest!  We made it through the rest of the day and night despite having almost no sleep.  He was pretty fussy in the hospital, which really had me panicking.  Lily was such a hard baby I just couldn’t bear the thought of doing that all over again.  We left the hospital the following day around 5pm.  I was definitely ready to get home to Lily and sleep in a room without people coming in and out at all hours of the night.  Physically I was pretty worn out and sore when we left.  It was hard to stand up for a long time and my uterine contractions were intense. Apparently your uterine contractions are much more painful with your second, luckily my doula warned me about it!  I never took any Motrin/pain meds after I had Lily but I did take two Motrin a day for the first two days because the cramps were so bad.

Once we got home we were lucky enough to have my mom and dad at our house waiting for us.  I can’t tell you enough how important it is to have help at home, especially if you have another child!  It was so nice to know that Lily was getting plenty of attention while Andy and I navigated having a new baby.  If you’ve kept up with my blog or Instagram, you know that I had breastmilk oversupply with Lily.  I have been terrified that it would happen again with Maverick and unfortunately, it has. My milk came in less than two days after he was born and I was instantly in pain.  My breasts are HUGE and the first 3 days were so painful I was actually in tears.  I had to use cabbage leaves and frozen peas to try to ease some of the discomfort. Maverick slept 4 straight hours the second night we were home but my boobs were so full that I woke up 2 hours in with terrible pain.  I didn’t want to pump because I was terrified of stimulating my breasts resulting in even more milk. I’ll do a post about oversupply soon but I want to assure you that this is not a “good problem to have” like everyone keeps telling me. It is painful and it can cause your child to choke on the breast, have trouble eating, and have a lot of gas pain.

I visited my IBCLC on Sunday who gave me some good tips and reassurance that Maverick was eating well and handling the oversupply much better than Lily.  The biggest difference is him pacing himself.  He does a few gulps then takes a few breaths.  Lily would just chug the milk until she started choking.  Although he is spitting up a lot, getting too much milk, and occasionally chokes, I can tell he is far less gassy than Lily was, thank God! The first few days I had been hand expressing about an ounce of milk before every feed which is a LOT of work.  I just wanted to take the edge off so he could latch without getting a mouthful right away.  I decided to try out my silicone hand pump (HaaKaa is a popular brand).  The pump didn’t do much for me last time but I know every baby/nursing journey is different.  Well, this time it has been LIFE CHANGING.  I suction it on a couple minutes before I’m ready to feed and it does all the work for me hands-free!  Then, if my other breast is really full, I’ll strap the pump on that breast for a few minutes to take the edge off.  It’s wonderful because it doesn’t stimulate the breast the same way an electric pump does, so I don’t have to worry about making a lot more milk because of it. This has made me SO much less stressed out, I honestly can’t even explain.  I am now handling this oversupply like a pro and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Certainly the biggest difference this time around is that I have two babies now. I was wondering what it was going to be like and how my bonds would change. I am happy to report I felt an instant connection with Maverick that continues to grow with each day. With Lily, I feel guilty but not because I added another member of the family, more because she is going through a tough phase right now and I can’t give her my usual 100%. She has been going through the terrible twos for a while now and it used to seem manageable but on less sleep and a sore body, it’s much less so. I find myself getting frustrated with her a lot faster but I have to reign it in and remember that this is an important time to show her how much I love her. I can’t lie, things just feel a little weird but I know I will figure it out. I also have to mention people are not kidding when they tell you how big your toddler will feel after you bring a baby home! I didn’t notice it looking at her or hugging her but I went to change her diaper and I felt like she had the BIGGEST legs! It was sooo weird. I just wanted to say “Wait a minute. You are way too big for diapers!” haha.

Overall, I am feeling much more positive than I was at this stage last time around.  I’ve learned to accept help, sleep when the baby sleeps and perhaps, more importantly, take some time each day to take care of myself. The most important thing I believe a new mother can learn is that YOU matter.  This is a fragile time for you and it’s important that you take time to rest and recover, as difficult as it may be sometimes.  Remember, the dishes can wait, the laundry can wait, emails can wait but your body only has one opportunity to heal!  I can’t tell you how critical this self-care has been for me. Don’t get me wrong I’m still doing more around the house than I should but I’m definitely taking better care of myself than I did last time and it shows. Plus, Maverick sleeping 6 hours a night twice this week doesn’t hurt!

Thanks for reading the first of my postpartum diaries! Be sure to check my Instagram @katielevitre to keep up daily! 

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