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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