Postpartum Diaries: 12 Weeks

family photos

Here we are.  The end of the “fourth trimester.”  I want to start by saying THANK YOU to all of you who have followed along on this journey.  I’m so grateful that I’m able to share my story and relate to other women. This has been the second most challenging time of my entire life, second only to when Lily was a newborn.  There were real moments that I feared for my and my husband’s sanity.  I have been absolutely crushed by how often I’m taken away from Lily and worst of all, I had to watch my son suffer in pain for much longer than he should have.

I was caught off guard this time.  Although I all I knew was tough babies, I didn’t think for one second I would have another baby who screamed all day.  I also didn’t think that our part-time nanny would have to leave the day he was born. I don’t think I ever told you guys about this but my nanny was about 22 weeks pregnant with her 5th child when I went into labor with Maverick.  She is in her mid-forties and this baby was not expected.  She was very nervous and had to see several specialists throughout the pregnancy. Unfortunately, the day we had Maverick she was admitted to the hospital with high blood pressure.  She was diagnosed with preeclampsia and her baby had an enlarged heart and had stopped growing.  About two weeks after she entered the hospital she had to have an emergency C section and her sweet little girl didn’t make it.  It was absolutely devastating for all of us.  As horrible as we felt for her, we were also going through a really challenging time ourselves.

We had no family or friends to lend a hand.  Andy was still going to physical therapy for his triceps and Lily still needed to get to her activities.  We thought we would have help in the mornings and when Maverick started screaming all day, Andy was thrown into full-time parenting and it really threw him for a loop. Now, before you roll your eyes (I get it, trust me) this wasn’t him complaining about having to be a dad.  He is a great dad.  This is him going from working full-time to taking care of hyper toddler all day and then needing listen to a screaming baby all day.  That would be a tough transition for anyone. It was difficult for me because when Lily was little if I needed a minute at the end of the day I could hand her over.  This time, Andy was busy so there were no breaks for me. I was caring for Maverick all day and all night long and in the few moments I had when he would nap I would run to Lily to get any time I could with her.  We were beyond overwhelmed.  Our nanny came back when Maverick was around 9 weeks old.  We were happy to have her but I was in much the same predicament.  Instead of sharing the Maverick duties with Andy, Andy would leave and go to physical therapy and started working out again.  So, I basically had the same amount of time with a screaming baby but less time with the toddler I was desperate to bond with.  Eventually, we had a postpartum doula come help us with Mav 3 days a week for 3 hours which was nice but between feeding him, talking with her and caring for Lily I still didn’t get much time for myself.  She has since left for another job so I’m mostly on my own with Mav again.  Luckily Andy has been able to help out a little more lately.

While we were extremely lucky to have found out what was going on with Maverick and even luckier to have fixed it, he still isn’t an “easy” baby.  There is still quite a bit of fussing and he almost never falls asleep without tears.  I think if we had fixed the lactose overload sooner we may have been able to keep Maverick’s happy personality.  I don’t know if he just got used to screaming or if there is residual inflammation from all his belly has had these last few months.  On top of that, I do believe he has some reflux.  He will cough and scrunch up his face combined with little gags from time to time and spits up A LOT.  Reflux usually peaks at 5 months and then starts to get better. Two months is a long time but it’s nothing compared to what we dealt with the first three months.  Overall things are much better with him and I’m enjoying his smiles and our little conversations.  I can finally say I enjoy having a baby.  It’s not always great but I am able to bond with him so much more now that he is actually happy.

Lily loves Maverick. She was really great from the get-go. It wasn’t until recently she started going through a rough patch.  She is incredibly rebellious now and is having tantrums like I’ve never seen. Lily is a really sweet and incredibly smart girl.  It breaks my heart to watch her struggle and it also irritates me to the core.  I try to remember that her testing our boundaries is a normal, healthy part of development but lately she has started getting rough with our dog and being reckless around Maverick.  It is what it is and I know she’ll grow out of it.  We are holding firm with our punishments and have a united front when it comes to discipline.  We always follow through and right now she’s learning the cause and effect relationship when it comes to her actions. Even though punishments are necessary I’m always careful to give her grace, talk her through it and let her know I love her.

Physically I’m doing pretty well.  I’m still up 10 pounds which I wasn’t really expecting.  Because I worked out so hard during my pregnancy, I figured the weight would kind of fall off.  I planned on being much more active than I’ve been able to be and I’m sure that has a lot to do with it.  My pelvic floor physical therapist, Merci, has wanted me to wait for intense exercise and I’m still not cleared for heavy lifting, jumping, or running but even if I was trying to find an hour to get to the gym is hard.  I’ve started riding my Peloton bike 2/3 times a week and I use the small amount of workout equipment we have upstairs when I can.  Working out became a major priority for me before I had Maverick but it is just HARD now.  When I get a second, I want to work on my blog, catch up on my to-do list, take a shower, eat or just SIT DOWN.  I’m hoping Maverick’s naps and overnights will start to run on a more consistent schedule in the next couple of weeks so I can maybe get one of his hour-long naps to get a workout in.  I started back on a mostly plant-based diet and I’m hoping I can get down another 5 pounds within the next couple months.  I’m not going to freak out if I don’t get to my pre-pregnancy weight for right now.  It’s common for your body to keep on an extra layer of fat while breastfeeding and I’m sure I’m carrying some with my oversupply.  My diastasis recti is closed which is great news!  My pelvic floor muscles are getting less and less tight the more I visit Merci.  The prolapse I have is still a work in progress but it has gotten a little better over time.  It still scares me but I’m working hard on my pelvic floor exercises and am not pushing the physical activity too much.  Sex is still a little painful because of the prolapse but it isn’t enough for me to not want to do it.  

My relationship with Andy is getting much better.  Now that there is less stress overall in the house we’re able to really see and hear each other again.  We’re spending small moments to re-connect and once Maverick starts sleeping through the night we’ll start going on our date nights again.  I’m grateful for him.  A lot of men would mentally check out if their kids were this difficult but as hard as it got, he stayed the course.

Overall, the last 12 weeks were really difficult.  I certainly wouldn’t want to do them again but it hasn’t changed my mind about having another baby.  Things are only going to continue to get better and the more independence Mav has, the more independence I will get back.  The rest of my life will be full of ups and downs, highs and lows, and good times and bad.  I am not an expert at this and sometimes I just need to give myself grace.  In the worst of times, I reminded myself how wonderful Lily was once she came out of the first year.  There’s no magic switch that makes everything better but now that the fourth trimester is over, I can look forward to happier times ahead.  It really is just one day at a time and it is truly amazing how quickly things change in the life of a newborn!

Thanks again for tuning in and I’m looking forward to more specialized posts now that these diaries are over!


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