Welcome back to another episode of the days of our lives featuring Mel and J man. We have made it to the end of the third trimester….12 weeks baby! I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel like many, many moons longer than that but hey I live my life in hours these days. If you haven’t read Part 1 I highly suggest you do that now otherwise today’s post will seem far less dramatic. You have to know where we started to appreciate just how far we’ve come! First things first, an adorable photo of J man.
I AM SO GLAD THOSE FIRST SIX WEEKS ARE IN THE PAST.
They were the most challenging weeks of my entire life. Everyone talks a lot about “strength”, let me tell you: I don’t need to be one ounce stronger. I would prefer to have had far less adversity and subsequently a lot more weakness if it meant skipping the infection and breastfeeding struggles. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger they say. Hmmm…I’d say what doesn’t kill you leaves you pretty pissed off with a lot of resentment towards the past. But hey, I’m a cynic. Unfortunately, I am still struggling to ‘let go’ and move on from those first six weeks. It was pretty traumatic for me. Even though I am putting distance between myself and that dark time one day at a time it doesn’t feel far enough away. I can still conjure up pretty stressful memories every time I close my eyes. It takes real effort to push those thoughts away and focus on the present. I am working on it. Alas, we shall not dwell on that period any longer.
No more appointments.
That’s right. After we soldiered through 21 in the first six weeks, we tapered right down to the bare minimum. We had John’s 8 week ‘well baby’ appointment where he got his first shots (ughhhhhh) and I went to see the lactation consultant a few more times but that was it. No crazy specialist appointments, no fevered weigh in appointments, just a lot more time at home with zero pressure to leave. I can’t tell you how much of a relief that was. I think about how much energy I have now (which is actually not a lot) and I can’t really explain how I managed to get out with a 2, 3 or even 4 week old to all those appointments. Call it pure mom adrenaline I guess. I was running on absolute fumes. Six weeks later and I am getting way more sleep, we have feeding figured out (more on that below), and I feel like a different person. Mike and I have a great ‘routine’ down and it helps both of us get more rest. Generally things are a lot better now.
JOHN WEIGHS 13LBS
Since I wrote the Part 1 post, he has put on three pounds! Three glorious pounds. He is quite the turkey man now. His thighs are juicy and his knees have dimples. I could cry. There was a time when his little chicken legs were so skinny I was worried he’d never bulk up. Yes to some extent all babies are skinny when they are born but given how much difficulty we were having feeding him I felt personally responsible for his lack of chubbiness. Now, nothing makes me happier than cleaning between his neck rolls at bath time. It’s funny, when I wrote Part 1 I had tears in my eyes. Now, as I write Part 2, I am grinning ear to ear. I am SO damn proud of the progress we have made it’s insane.
John is 100% breastfed
This is something I am still in shock about. For the last three weeks, John has been 100% breastfed. I never really got the hang of breastfeeding but I am able to pump enough breastmilk for him to feed out of a bottle that we stopped supplementing with formula. This was such a major accomplishment I can’t even put it into words. I am still going to dedicate an entire post to breastfeeding given how dramatic our journey has been but I will say that I never though we’d make it to where we are now. Pumping is not for everyone, hell I loathed it a few weeks ago when I was only getting 1-2 ounces at MOST. For perspective, John takes about four ounces every feed so I’d need to pump twice as often as he would feed to make enough…..shoot me. Thanks to some magical supplements and dogged persistence my supply increased. Slowly but surely I was producing more milk, nearly four ounces per pump! My motivation sky rocketed. I kept at it, diligently pumping every few hours and slowly we reduced the amount of formula we needed to top up. Now in the middle of the night I can get as much as 8 ounces (one time I even got 11 ounces!). Let me tell you, pumping is a lot more tolerable when you are actually able to feed your kid from what you pump. So it’s been three weeks that John has had breastmilk with no formula. Quick side note: I am not against formula AT ALL. We used it for weeks. Without formula I would have never been able to get ahead on my pumping. I am just really proud that I stuck it out this long to get to this point. At the four week mark I was ready to quit. At six weeks things started to turn around and I made the goal of making it to 8 weeks. At the 8 week mark we were barely using formula and I made the goal of making it to 12 weeks. Well HERE WE ARE BABY! Can’t believe it. John is growing like a weed, he’s even sprouting more fuzz on his head. Is it the breastmilk? Well it certainly aint Maybelline. Getting to the point that John is exclusively breastfed has been the biggest most hard fought challenge of my life to date. Dramatic? Maybe. But that’s what it feels like.
I AM EXCLUSIVELY PUMPING
That’s a term I had never heard. EP for short. Basically I pump, and we bottle feed. I do think with a lot of practice John could learn to latch properly but honestly, things started working so well with the bottle feeding that I just got hooked and can’t really see the point in going backwards. Right now, the fridge is full of milk which means anyone, my husband, my in-laws, the mailman literally ANYONE can feed my baby. Do you know what that means? That means more sleep for me, more freedom to enjoy showers, outings, workouts etc without panicking that John won’t get fed. YES I am tied to my pump, but at least with the pump the timing is flexible. I need to pump vaguely every 3-6 hours. That’s not too bad. And I don’t have a baby screaming at me when I do so. EP’ing as they say, is not for everyone. But I love the flexibility and freedom it gives us. PLUS John is getting all the benefits of breastmilk. Good lord I am proud of that. I’m not sure how long I will make it. To breastfeed you are either tied to the pump or tied to the baby. It is such a sacrifice on the part of the mother. Shoutout to breastfeeding Moms everywhere and to every Mom who tried and couldn’t or chose not to, so much love for you as well! Moms rock. Period.
JOHN MORE OR LESS SLEEPS THROUGH THE NIGHT
I say more or less because he usually feeds once and needs to be rocked back to sleep once - both of which take less than 10min. He goes to bed around 9-10 and wakes up promptly at 645am. He usually feeds around 2 or 3am and sometimes needs a little cuddle at 4 or 5am but not always. He sleeps in his bassinet in our room, and Mike helps me with the night feed so I can pump. This is what works for us. We will transition John into this crib at some point, for now we are enjoying sharing our room. We have also really enjoyed the soothing ocean sounds from John’s white noise machine. All in all, we feel like things are starting to make sense again.
I AM WORKING OUT AGAIN!
Yes. Around 8 weeks I started to have enough energy to try some at-home workouts. I think I’ve only been to the actual gym once or twice. Mostly it has been body weight circuits at home and I have made it to the pool twice to swim. The only reason I am able to get to the gym is because of my wonderful in-laws who happily watch John for us. Also, the bottle feeding is essential for this. I can leave the house and not worry one bit about John. That is a huge plus. At first I had very little motivation to workout. Sleep deprivation will do that to you. I encourage you not to feel rushed back into training. The first six weeks are purely survival mode. You and baby are just getting by hour to hour and day by day. There are still days like that at the 12 week mark but more consistently I have energy enough to get out of the house or workout on my own. I have had the most success working out beside John while he plays on his mat. I am soaking up the days of immobility while I can! Soon he will be crawling all over the place. For now, he just lies there like a turtle stuck on his back. Adorable.
WEIGHT LOSS HAS NOT BEEN EASY
After the first 4-6 weeks when you’re body rapidly sheds excess fluid and your uterus shrinks back to its original size, the changes start to slow. At least this has been my personal experience. Sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on your hormones basically making you feel stressed all the time. The stress is compounded by your lack of energy to make healthy nutritional choices - survival mode remember? We had a freezer full of healthy meals which helped but honestly when you have only slept three hours (not consecutively) and baby is screaming sometimes you just want some fckin pizza. So to say I gave zero f*cks about nutrition early on is an understatement. You might be different. This is just my personal experience. Now that I am working out somewhat regularly again, I am noticing small changes week to week. However, there has been no “bouncing back”, there is just slow and steady progress towards a new shape as a mother. Stretch marks, check, Loose skin, check. But you know what? that’s all fine. I haven’t weighed myself since my 6 week check up with my doctor. I really don’t care to. Weight on a scale has never been a positive motivator for me. I prefer to feel how my clothes fit and take measures of my performance in the gym. In the last 7 days I went from barely being able to do one pushup to doing three! That is the kind of progress I like to keep track of. I highly suggest you do the same and ditch the scale entirely. As they say, it took 9 long months to grow the baby, your body needs at least as much time if not more to heal. If you want to follow my training as I forge through post partum it’s best to follow me on Instagram @coachpeachey, I am documenting all of my workouts and body changes there.
The first six weeks were literal hell. Compounded of course by my infection and breastfeeding struggles. Your first six weeks postpartum might be pure bliss. I wouldn’t want that to be your expectation though. It’ll be challenging but you’ll handle it. There is nothing you can’t do as a mother. You are literally a machine sent to earth to conquer. As Moms we bond together knowing we have gone through something no one else will understand. I am still learning new ways to appreciate my own mother every day. Mom friends are easy to make because being a Mom means you have 1 million things in common, most of which are experiences only other Moms can relate to. Point is, every Mom out there is a friend to you. You just have to make contact.
Thanks for following along, I am happy to report a very positive ending to the fourth trimester. Things get better everyday. I am so excited for what the next three months has in store as John continues to grow and explore his world, so too does his Mama.
If you are expecting or are a new Mom and you have burning questions about motherhood (no such thing as TMI for Moms) please message me, I have very limited experience but I sure am happy to help in any way I can! I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of other Mums.
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