It’s been over a week now and I’m settling into my new life with the new little man. Sometimes I look over at the pack n’ play, see him sleeping and think to myself that is my baby! He is still perfect, already developing the specific noises, gazes and movements that signal hunger, poopy, just hold me. It’s funny how quick they start to take shape.
No matter how ready you are or how cute the baby is, the entrance of another human into your household is sure to shake things up and leave you wondering…
WHAT HAVE I DONE!?
What have I done to my quiet, carefree, happy go lucky, come as I please, leave as I wish, no excess baggage, low key, low maintenance lifestyle. Since when did leaving the house require 10 minutes of packing? Or is it just me or once you have a kid does it seem like the rest of the world is just moving too slow and is in your way? I’ve got a ticking baby bomb here that will go off in exactly 1 hour – get moving!
It’s true what they say. The minute you have a child you find yourself wondering how you ever didn’t have time to do something in your life without a child. Or find yourself wondering at those who don’t have children and say I didn’t have time. You have no idea how much time you really have! It’s not that Chris and I have been running out of time. It’s that every minute of your time becomes that much more streamlined and efficient. Give me 60 minutes and I’ll give you vacuumed floors, a bathed baby/dog/self, a breakfast eaten, two feedings with the baby and a load of laundry started.
Aside from settling into life as mommy and milk machine, I’m also settling into life with a new body. I do believe that one day I will recover my old body but it’s been so long since I’ve seen it I’m not sure I would recognize it now! You hear a lot about how your body changes during pregnancy but very little is said about how it changes after pregnancy. It’s almost like a taboo topic, don’t talk about what you see/feel/think. Just deal with it.
The days after giving birth I was pretty mortified. I remember looking down and seeing what looked like a 6-month pregnant belly. That alone wasn’t frightening it was the fact that every time I moved, that same belly shook like jelly. Disgusting! I remember telling myself not to worry or look too far ahead. Give it time – it will go away! In the meantime, the doctor gave me a “belly binder”. I highly suggest this. It helps to hold everything in and made me feel much better about looking down. After being overstretched for 40 weeks your uterus and abdominal muscles can use the support. Plus it was a lot less painful to walk around wearing the binder than without it.
When I left the hospital I had full blown thankles. Even my grandmother in law who is 90 years old asked me what was wrong with my legs. I just had 10 IVs pumped into them – that’s what! It took about 5 days before I lost all that water weight. When I did, my legs looked totally normal again. I’m not sure if I peed it all out or sweated it out in the series of night sweats that now signal the hormones are dropping. I’m just glad to see my legs again.
I gained 36 or more pounds in pregnancy. I stopped keeping track. By one week later, 20 pounds were gone. I never did eat a lot of crap when pregnant and didn’t work for only 6 days throughout the entire thing. Yes, I gained a lot of weight but maybe it was mostly water retention and baby stuff – not loads of junk food cravings (the only unusual cravings I had were diet pop and bacon). I suspect the last 10 pounds will be the most difficult to get rid of but I’ve got time. And, with all the time I spend feeding the baby, I can barely get food into my own mouth so that should help!
I had 20 staples for my incision but they were removed the day I left the hospital. I’ve got paper staples now which should fall off in a few days. The incision is still puffy but healing nicely. Because they cut two major nerves during the surgery, I have a very little sensation in that part of my belly. The doctor told me the nerves would heal but I might lose some feeling there for awhile.
Since a c-section is major surgery, I was told not to workout for 6 weeks. It’s funny because before birth when I thought about that it sounded horrible. I couldn’t imagine 6 weeks of doing nothing. Up until birth, I was still riding my bike up to 20 miles, walking up to 6 miles and swimming up to 4000 meters. I wasn’t unfit, I was just huge! To go from that to doing nothing for 6 weeks sounded like a death sentence. But now I see that it’s not long in the big picture. What’s another 6 weeks when I’ve waited over 39? Life goes on. I’m not willing to risk a hernia or infection of the incision so I don’t want to rush back into things. I have been walking every day. By 3 days post-surgery I was walking 30 minutes, now I’m up to an hour. Not fast, not purposeful, just walking with the stroller.
The thing that I am enjoying the most post pregnancy is not the boobs, it is having my sense of thermoregulation back! About 2 days after birth, I remember telling Chris that I felt cold in the hospital room. He looked at me with shock in his eyes. Did you say you were cold? It had been so long since I felt cold! I now can sweat again and don’t feel suffocated in my own body heat. Though the night sweats are pretty uncomfortable.
Oh, and the uncontrollable urge to pee every 20 minutes goes completely away. Gone. Amen. I will also say that all those late night wakings to take a pee – only serve as practice for getting up with baby. It’s true. I can feel totally refreshed right now on 5 hours of sleep considering I’ve been woken up every 3 hours since last November!
As for sleeping, I’ve been sleeping 6 to 8 hours (collectively) every night. We’re pretty lucky because the little man likes to sleep in blocks of 2 to 3 hours at a time. Except the occasional cluster feeding attack where he feeds every 40 minutes for 2 to 3 hours straight. I go to bed early and get up with him through the night then fall back to sleep. He gets up for good around 6 am which is when I like my day to begin too. It’s still too early for him to have any set routines, which makes planning anything very difficult, but I do see a morning nap from 9 to 11:30 am happening every day so that’s reassuring.
There are already a few things I cannot live without. So, all the expectant moms, here’s my list….
1 – Graco Pack n’ Play; we love this thing. It is set up by our kitchen table. Max naps in it during the day because I wanted him to get used to the sounds of daily life. It also has a changing table on it which makes life a lot easier. You do not want to be walking up and down stairs every time you change a diaper – they poop a lot!
2 – Chicco Key Fit Stroller & Car Seat; this stroller ROCKS. It is lightweight and maneuverable. Max falls asleep in it within minutes.
3 – Halo Sleep Sack. Swaddling with blankets is not always effective because the little arms flail so much and then break free. When the arms break free, you get tears and a baby who wakes up. At bedtime, you can put the baby in the sleep sack or swaddle them into it with a Velcro piece. Get the cotton one – newborns sweat like grown men and anything fleece will overcook them.
4 – Soother. We have a giraffe. It makes a sound like being in the womb. Combined with the sleep sack, this is very powerful cannot fight sleep weaponry.
5 – Diapers. LOTS. Copious, ridiculous amounts. I bought the Earth’s Best newborn diapers. They work well. The Swaddlers fit better but I read a lot of not so good things about them causing allergic reactions on the baby’s skin. Earth’s Best are a little more expensive but don’t contain all the dyes and junk.
6 – Boppy. The Boppy is like hands-free calling. You put the baby on the Boppy, the boob into the baby and you have two free hands to do whatever else you can manage while breastfeeding.
7 – Skip Hop diaper bag. Forget those froo froo diaper bags. Your husband will never carry it. I got a messenger style bag that doesn’t shout I HOLD DIAPERS and it actually looks cool on Chris. Which then makes him more inclined to carry it.
8 – Carter’s blankets. If you do have to swaddle outside of bedtime, these blankets are the right size and tightness.
9 – Dresses. FOR YOU! You will get a lot of advice to just let yourself and your hygiene go to pot after baby because you won’t have time for it anyways. I BEG TO DIFFER. First, Max loves being in the bathroom with the sound of the vent or hairdryer (sounds like the womb). He falls asleep to it which gives plenty of time to shower. Second, the last thing you want to do after spending weeks in frumpy clothes is to spend another year in frumpy clothes with added bedhead! Get yourself some cute clothes, take a shower and at least play the part of looking sexy for a few weeks. You’ve got the boobs for it – might as well.
10 - Pacifiers. Screw nipple confusion, it doesn’t exist. This kid will hen peck any chest to try to latch on to anything that is even close to nipple territory. Aveno pacifiers have prevented a few meltdowns when feeding time gets close or when he just needs to fall asleep already.
In case you weren’t already convinced, here is a picture of my kid to show you just how adorable he is! This is his poopy face. He has a whole series of arm and eye movements that he makes before dropping anchor. Yeah, I might also become one of those people who puts this picture as my laptop screen saver. Call me "one of them" or just call me amazed that over a week ago, that little human was living in my belly. I'm so glad he's out!