anchored in light

A lifestyle blog about finding light in every avenue of life

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Fourth Trimester

I remember hearing about the “fourth trimester” in an ad for maternity leggings when I was pregnant with Everly. I feel like it’s something that is talked about a lot more now, but still isn’t talked about enough. 

With Everly, the 4th Trimester for me (the 3 months after giving birth) was nowhere near the horror stories that I had heard about after having a baby. Sure, I cried every day, but that was to be expected. And I wasn’t sad, so it didn’t really matter. I didn’t bleed as heavily or as long as I had been told I probably would. I was down 10 pounds past my prepregnancy weight without trying. I was honestly so blissful that I was already planning my next baby. I remember going out for a drive with my best friend during that time and telling her that I was so stupidly happy that I was kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop, but also, that I was so stupidly happy that I couldn’t bring myself to care that it would probably drop eventually. 

That’s not to say it wasn’t hard, but it wasn’t as hard as I had thought it would be. I remember looking back after things had settled down and my hormones weren’t making me emotional all the time and thinking that it was a lot worse than I had thought it was during the time I was living it. 

I was not looking forward to the “4th trimester” with Greyson. I was looking forward to the newborn baby snuggles and that was about it. 

These past months have been some of the hardest of my whole life. I started my first weeks home with a lot of family around, which was so helpful for Everly. I really think it eased the transition for her to have so many people around that she loved and that she knew that loved her. 

For me, it was difficult. I was in a lot more pain from my episiotomy this time. Partially because they don’t hand out hard drugs like they used to for post-labor. Partially because I did not get any time to rest after Greyson was born. With Everly, I couldn’t really walk after labor due to a dislocated pelvis. I didn’t dislocate my pelvis this time so things got a lot more irritated as I walked around and tried to look after both of my babies. Added to the fact that I rarely had access to my own bathroom. All those nice things that they send home from the hospital, the tucks pads, the sprays, the gels, the peri bottle, even the pads… were generally on the other side of a locked door where people were showering. I went into my 6-week checkup more than a week past my 6-week mark and my doctor told me that my stitches weren’t fully healed. There was one point while I was waiting for my checkup that I was somewhat convinced that my stitches weren’t healing right and I asked for a blessing from Brian. 

This time I was in tears because I was sad. I was in pain. I was overwhelmed. I sent many texts to Brian at work telling him that I wasn’t sure I was cut out to be a mom of two babies. I was so tired from pumping and feeding Greyson through the night. I was tired of taking care of him and Everly. Especially since Everly had a particularly rough time adjusting to the new baby. There were many times when both of them were in tears and I joined them. I thought that adding another baby would increase my workload by maybe 30%. After all, I already had some systems in place! However, my workload more than doubled. Between diapers and taking care of them and attempting to take care of myself, there wasn’t a moment during the day that I didn’t have to be doing something. If I wasn’t, it was because I was putting it off, doubling my workload for later so that I could have a few minutes of rest now. 

Waiting for my appointment was particularly difficult. I knew that working out would help me mentally. At the time while I was waiting I was having a hard time working through my feelings about not being taken care of after Greyson was born. It was a very busy time, with Christmas and Brian’s sister was getting married. That was the focus, which I understood. The family was there mainly for that, it was just a happy accident that Greyson was also brand new at the time. But I couldn’t get over the fact that I hadn’t had access to my own bathroom after my body had gone through this big trauma of birth. I couldn’t let go of the fact that despite there being so many adults around the house I got a grand total of two naps during the weeks where we had so much extra help around. 

It was one of those things that I didn’t like when it was happening, but didn’t really bother me until it was all over and rolling around in my brain. 

When I finally did get the chance to work out I felt so much better about life. Even though I was having to fit it in after lunch, during Everly’s nap when Greyson also happened to be sleeping. That worked for about a week. It’s hard to fit it in every day. During my pregnancy, there was about a month that I was going to the gym 3 times a week at 5:30 in the morning. I feel like that would probably be the ideal time now, but at the moment I do not have the energy to get up at 5:30 when I’ve been getting up through the night with Greyson.

These three months have made me let go of all my routines. It has reminded me that you have to be flexible about things when you have babies and even more flexible when they are brand new. Greyson is still getting his routines down. He doesn’t have set times for his naps (Everly didn’t have set nap times until she was over a year old…). He doesn’t even have a set bedtime yet. He’s just now getting to a point where he’s starting to sleep around 12 hours with only getting up to nurse.

It has been hard because I have felt the full weight of needing to be everything for this little babe. He doesn’t like to take a bottle. I’m not even sure I’ll ever be able to use my freezer stash because he won’t drink it. It’s all on me. To be here, to feed him. I couldn’t hand over the job to anyone else if I wanted to. And I’ve wanted to. 

That being said, there have been so many things that have been good about this time around. 
I’ve been able to walk.
I’ve had at least one other person around to lend a hand most of the time. The times that I’ve been alone, I’ve known that I wasn’t going to have to do it for long.
I’ve been able to produce more milk this time around. To the point where I am not really concerned about supply. I’ve learned to trust my body and that it’s capable of making what my baby needs.

These three months have been a big beautiful watercolor picture, with the dark moments bleeding into the light ones. There haven’t been any days where I haven’t seen the light in the day. The moments where I feel so fulfilled that I know that this is the role that I want to fulfill for my whole life. They’re all mixed in. 

What was your experience post-labor? Thanks again for reading!

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Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Poems of Motherhood | February 2020

As I went through this month's poems it was interesting to me to see the themes. Things that I didn't notice when I was writing them. Certainly, I knew that I was struggling a little bit with loving my postpartum body, but I didn't realize how many times it had cropped up. Looking at them all together I can see a great yearning to capture the little moments. Writing is like that for me. I write because I don't always quite see the forest through the trees. Looking back at what I've written I can see myself more clearly than the moment when I write it.

For Greyson

I was looking at my phone
Something I try not to do when you and Everly are awake
But I did

Then I looked down at you and you smiled
A big smile
Like you were just waiting for me to look at you

So I put my phone away
Remembered for the hundredth time that it all goes too fast
And soaked up those smiles

For Greyson

At night
When you’re all bundled up 
Hat on your head
Swaddled from the neck down

I try to make sure to touch your skin
To leave my hand on your cheek as I put you in your bassinet
To let you know that the skin you lived in 
is nearby
That you are safe

For Brian

I fell asleep to the silhouette of you
Swinging our baby in his bassinet so he would fall asleep
My heart swelled a little in me
Even as my breathing slowed into sleep
Because I knew that he was safe in your hands
That it was my husband standing there with him

For Greyson

I let you fall asleep in my arms
Watched you settle against me
It’s always a fight to get you down
Usually I make you fight it out on your own

But every once in a while
It’s nice to let you surrender in my arms

For Everly

Today daddy stayed home
Because of the snow
It piled in layers like sedimentary rocks against the screen in the window

You loved it
Chose him over me over and over again
And surprisingly I loved it

I love the bond that you two have forged
From nights up late together
From mornings spent eating oatmeal

It had me praying for more snow days than I ever wished for as a child

For Greyson 

You smiled at me today
In a way that seemed to say
That’s my Momma

It’s little things like that 
That tie you to me
That my arms are the ones that soothe you best
That my face is the one that makes you smile
That you know
I am your Momma


For Everly

We said goodbye to Daddy today
Sent him on his first business trip since you’ve been born
He was supposed to go during your nap

I wish you could have seen the way he cried silently 
held onto me in the hallway just outside your door after we put you down
He loves you so much 

We both smiled though as we heard you through the door saying 

Daddy comes home

For Brian

It has been long days without you
Not bad days
But long days

Watching Everly ask after you
To have to tell her “Monday”
Makes me dread anything that might make me have to say something more permanent

I fear that almost as much as losing you
For Everly to lose her Daddy
For Greyson to never know what a great daddy you are

So stay with me
Be my partner through this life

I pray it all the time. 


For Greyson

We slept curled together last night. 
Your cold made you lonely
So I pulled you from your bassinet
Placed your head in the crook of my shoulder

And laid awake for awhile
While you slept
Knowing that you felt safe with me there

It’s not the first time
But it still means so much to me
That this skinny little body
Whom I’ve had my share of complaints with
Is home for you


For Everly

Every little thing 

The way you jump with only one foot leaving the ground
The way you say orange juice “Oran goose”
The way you answer every clarifying question with “ok” giving yourself permission when we’re just trying to understand you
Your love of pudding and fruit snacks
The way you can talk to yourself for hours in your crib
The way you hold your arms out for your bear
The way that bright things make you duck your head

All of it

For Greyson

Today you raged against the dying of the light
I couldn’t say that I really minded it
Though my back did

But to hold you
My tiny bundle
And rest my cheek against you cheek
Let my heartbeat against your chest to lull you to sleep

You didn’t sleep
But it was still sweet

Something to remember 

For Brian

Today my heart beat and sank in my chest
It fought against the pull down to my stomach
It felt like each beat weighted it with fear

Tonight you pulled me into your lap for couples prayer 
Whispered so softly that I couldn’t quite hear all the words
But it made me feel safe
To be curled in your lap
To hear you praying for us


For Greyson

Your first Valentines
All these firsts that you’ll never remember 
It’s weird how this part of your life
Is more for me than for you

I’ll remember
Your first smiles
You under the tree in a Moses basket
You falling asleep on my legs while Daddy and I watched a movie tonight

I’ll remember your firsts
When you are remembering my lasts

For Brian

This postpartum time has been especially sweet
Watching you with both our babies
Feeling the way that you love me

It’s like we’re new all over again

I love falling 
Head over heels
Again and again
With you 


For Greyson 

Today I held you
Looked down at you asleep in my arms
Felt so much for you that I felt the tears start to well up
I almost cried then and there
In front of your Ama and Grandpa
Your Auntie and her friend

It was the moment I had been waiting for 

To say that I hadn’t loved you before would be a lie
To say I hadn’t felt attached to you before would be a lie

But this was a bond moment
One that tied me to you by millions of strings we’ll never see
To you it was just another moment
But to me it was everything 

For Everly

You looked lost 
As I said goodbye to you in nursery
I almost didn’t walk out the door

My mind was all wrapped up in attachment styles
Wondering if me leaving you there was causing some wound you’ll be talking about in therapy someday

I have a feeling I’ll remember that look for a long time
The way your lips were slightly parted
The way your eyes weren’t quite focused on anything
The way your hands were slightly raised and open,
Waiting for something

I left anyway
Even though my heart said ‘no’

For Brian

Both our babies were sleeping
So we went to our bed
Laid on top of the covers and held each other for a few minutes 

I used to come cuddle you every morning
After I woke up
Before work

There’s no time for luxuries like that now
I wake up with Greyson in my arms
And Everly singing in the next room

So it was special
Those moments together

For Greyson

I held you up against my shoulder
Tried to inhale the newborn scent of you
The one everyone is always talking about

Instead I felt the brush of your hair against my cheek
Felt the curl of your hand around my poppy necklace

I can’t smell it
I can’t smell the newness of you 
And part of me breaks at the thought that I’ll never know what that means
To smell the top of my baby’s head and know that this scent is unique to this short time of life

Part of me is glad that I won’t miss it once it’s gone. 


For Everly

This morning you said your new signature phrase
Daddy Work
Daddy goes to work
And you sing for him all day long
Daddy is at work

Today when he picked you up for prayers
You added to your phrase
Work, too?

And it just about broke both daddy and I
To send him away
And keep you here
When you wanted to go


For me

Today I looked down and thought my body ruined
There are more marks this time
More lasting changes it seems

Peace with my body is a treaty I have to remake every day
When shots are fired 
we start over 

For Brian

Today I felt run ragged
Between the diapers
And the spilled milk and cereal
And the children

We watched too much TV 
I spent too long on Instagram 

I wrung myself out over and over and over

Then you came home
I took a bath
Breathed breaths that weren’t centered around the needs of anyone else

You happily let me have that time
I needed it more than I knew. 

For Greyson

I held you while you slept
Every now and then you would wake
Eyes still closed tight
Your bottom lip would push out
The corners of your mouth turn down
Like your heart was fit to break

I told you that you were safe
That I was there
Your Mama

It didn’t seem to help
But I held you anyway

Sometimes motherhood is so helpless

I don’t know what made you look so sad
But I will always be right here behind you
Beside you


For Everly

I got you up from your nap
Held you bundled in my arms
Your small arms wrapped around “bear” and “banket”
I stroked your cheek
You just stayed there
In my arms
Leaning into the strokes while we waited for you to warm up enough from your nap to interact with Grandma who had come to visit 

I could have stayed there all day
Holding you while you’re still small

That’s the hardest about 2
The never getting the endless moments anymore
They have to end now
And it makes me sad

Thanks for reading! I'd love to hear if you are in motherhood, what your season is looking like. Or, if not, what life looks like for you right now.
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