Jul 9, 2015

Back to Me

Disclaimer: this post is about my experience mentally and physically after having my son. These are all pretty "standard" things to feel, but each woman and experience is different, and I did not have any dealings with post-partum depression or "baby blues." If you're continually sad or feel like you just can't snap out of something, please talk to someone!

It's been two and a half months since this little man entered our lives. I knew there would be changes, and hormones, and things I couldn't even anticipate after having a baby, and I knew it would take a little bit to feel like myself again.

Ten weeks. It took ten weeks.

The first three weeks were a blur of tears and hormones. I thought I was good at two weeks out - I remember having a doctor's appointment to have my c-section incision checked and telling the doctor other than being tired I felt great. The next day Ben was at work and Parker wouldn't settle in the evening (this was before we realized he had a dairy issue), and I was panic texting my mother-in-law - when she came over I just started sobbing.

The next three weeks were me trying not to over do it; I was off all the pain medicine they gave me at the hospital and I was so excited that I felt well enough to stand and do a few things, but then I'd regret it later when I started bleeding more, or was monumentally exhausted. I was frustrated that I couldn't do more. The mantra of this time was "you are a patient for six weeks."

At six weeks I got the "all clear" - no more restrictions for exercise or limit the amount of times I could climb the stairs during the day. I went walking in the mall with P and my Dad later that week and was amazed at how wiped I was afterwards. The hormones were getting better, but there were still times when I would be so frustrated, or tired, all I could do was cry.

I went to a restorative yoga class with the intention of honoring my body - for years I felt like it told me no, and it finally did this amazing thing. The class was wonderful, but I was surprised at how much my mind strayed during it, wondering if Parker was okay, if he was fussing, if I left enough milk (Ben was at work so he was with my Dad for the hour or so I was in class). Turns out he slept most of the time for my Dad and then screamed for me all the way home. (Well played kiddo).

When I was first home from the hospital, I was pumping every two hours. I slept in the glider in our living room for a solid three weeks - Parker was downstairs in the pack and play, all the pump stuff was downstairs, and I couldn't climb the stairs as many times as I would need to when I was pumping that often. After a few weeks I pumped every three hours - this meant multiple times during the night, and if I did go out during the day, it was for a very short period of time in between pumping sessions. When I got to about seven or eight weeks post partum I went to four hours between pumping sessions and it felt like a vacation! Just now at 10 weeks have I gone to five hours apart (in order to help me adjust before I go back to work), and only now do I feel like I have time to get things done other than washing bottles, sterilizing pumping parts, and taking care of Parks.

I've always been a slow healer, but I am amazed at how my body has recovered - I really credit that to all the round-the-clock care we had the first six weeks of his life. My mom, my mother-in-law, family members, friends - they brought food, spent the night, washed bottles, and pretty much did everything so all we had to do was take care of the baby. This was amazing, so incredibly needed, and I will be forever grateful.

Ben's been so encouraging, especially these past few weeks as I'm getting ready to go back to work, telling me how great I look and how proud he is of me. I believed him of course, but I never really gave my weight pre-pregnancy much thought, and I'm not especially worried about it now. However, I remember the day when I didn't have to move my stomach to see my feet, and passing myself in the mirror and thinking "wow, I look kind of skinny!" (Side note: if you have a friend who is a new mom, even if you think she knows it, she can't hear "you look great," or "you're doing a great job," enough).
10.5 weeks post-partum; when I think I look big I'm going to remind myself of this picture - ha!
Parker is just now starting to really sleep in longer stretches, and since I adjusted my pumping schedule I've actually had a few nights of five hours of uninterrupted sleep - the longest stretch I've had since he's been born!

I don't feel like I'm doing a good job of explaining all the different things I've felt, but I also think that's indicative of the roller coaster of emotions you experience.

At the end of the day it's worth it, but some of the moments getting there are doozies.
Good thing you're cute, buddy!
I know there is still healing happening, but I'm so glad to say I finally feel like I'm "back to me."


Unknown said...

Yay! That's so great that you are feeling like yourself again. I always get baby blues - not PPD but a little bit of anxiety and I'm always SO emotional. Anyway, you seem really self-aware and grounded. Let me know if you need to talk about going back to work! I went back with both of mine when they were 8-9 weeks. It was tough but all is well. :)

ruthpclark said...

Girl! You truly do look amazing!! And I love how proud you are -- you deserve to be :) Parker is so lucky to have YOU for his mom!

Erin said...

You look beautiful! So glad things are getting back to "normal," even though I'm sure it's a new kind of normal for you!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I think you look amazing! And even more importantly, you, Ben and your family have done an amazing job of introducing little Parker into this world! I am so glad you've felt so much support and love as you've started this new journey of your life. Doesn't it make you wonder how those who have kids without any family in the area do it??

I hope that you guys have a great weekend and get lots of time to soak up time together before you start to return to work next week. I will be thinking of you and sending you so many hugs!

Nora said...

Girl, you are rockin' it; hot momma!

Thank you for sharing your journey, your story and keeping us in the loop. there are so many facets to life that we don't all talk about as openly as we maybe should, so posts like this are a breath of fresh air.

You will be on my mind next week as you head back to work. Always here for you! <3

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I'm so glad you are getting more sleep as you transition back to work. Good luck! I'll be thinking of you!

Stephany said...

I just want to echo what everyone else is saying: you look amazing!!!

Thanks for giving us a peek into your world postpartum. It's such an emotional time, I'm sure, and I'm glad you are feeling more like yourself. I'll be thinking and praying for you tomorrow! Hugs!

Katelin said...

You are looking fab mama! xo

And seriously, postpartum is so hard to even begin to explain and you do it well. I know our recoveries are so different but I'm so glad you're feeling like you again.

Sue Seibert said...

You look great. Thanks for sharing. It's been too long for me...my oldest will be 50 in November!

Amber said...

You DO look amazing! I'm so glad you're feeling more like yourself as you get ready to transition back to work. I obviously don't have firsthand experience but lots of friends have started to have babies recently and I definitely have heard time and time again how HARD those first 6 - 10 weeks are. It's that brand new normal you have to adjust to and your body just did something major! I'm just so glad you're feeling good (better) now and also that you and Ben and Parker had such an amazing support system surrounding you!

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