Those First Few Weeks

The first weeks after having Kate were such a blur.  It was an exhilarating, emotional, over-the-moon with happiness time!

5 days old!

5 days old!

Now…I will be very honest, and people would hate me if I announced this to the world, but – I wasn’t as tired as I thought I would be!  I mean, yes, there were some days when I was absolutely, insanely, exhausted.  Twice when I woke up I almost was paralyzed because I was so confused.  (One of these times Brian was waking me up…he had no clue what was going on!  He woke me up in bed to feed Kate and I just stared at him for about a minute before speaking – ha.  Another time I was napping at my mom’s when it happened.)  But honestly….I guess I was expecting to feel that way every single day – at least for awhile.  It felt like I was on such an emotional high.

First trip to Target at 9 days old!

First trip to Target at 9 days old!

Nursing was hard, at first.  Thankfully she latched on quickly – way to go, Kate!  But man…..it hurt.  When it was time for her to eat for the first 2-3 weeks of her life, I would curl my toes in pain as she latched on.  At one point, my nipples bled for a couple of days.  But like everyone says….it got SO MUCH EASIER as time went on.  I can absolutely see why some people would turn to formula/bottles.  However, this is one time my stubbornness came in handy.  I was NOT going to stop trying.  (I even went to a breastfeeding support group at our hospital when Kate was 5 days old!  I got to speak to a lactation consultant and she helped assure me that Kate’s latch was strong and I was doing everything as I should).  I cannot express how happy I am that I/we stuck with it. I absolutely love nursing her, and I’m already sad thinking about when it will come to an end.  (And I NEVER thought I’d say that!)

One thing that really surprised me with recovery after childbirth was how long and uncomfortable the healing process is.  I mean, I knew it took time to heal.  But I bled for much longer than I thought (about 5 weeks).  My father-in-law purchased a “donut” for me to sit on while they were here, and it was a life saver!  Truly.  I used it all the time.  I mean…you are sitting on your butt nursing all the time in the beginning, but sitting was the last thing I wanted to do!  It helped out a lot.

Also, and this is probably TMI: it felt uncomfortable to go to the bathroom for awhile, too.  Not painful, just…uncomfortable.  My friends were right…the water bottle they give you in the hospital is a life saver!  So is the gel and spray for pain.

When I had my 6 week check up, I guess I expected to feel back to normal by then. Nope!  Not even.  But thankfully by about 8 weeks I noticed that I was back to walking and sitting “normally” with no pain.  The doctor said, “Let’s do this again next year, huh?!”  Ha!  I just love that man.

Oh heeeeey

Oh heeeeey

Emotionally, I started to feel like myself right at about 3 weeks after Kate was born.  I, for one, was terrified I would have postpartum depression. I’ve struggled with depression on/off for years (as well as anxiety), which can make you more susceptible to have PPD.  Brian, I think, was more scared than I was.  And the first few weeks, I definitely cried a LOT.  I would just cry in the shower thinking about what I would do if something would ever happen to Kate – I just don’t think I could live.  But then that went away slowly but surely.

Now, one thing I’d realized in my research was that there is PPD, and then there are “baby blues.”  Most women get the baby blues.  (Basically being more weepy and emotional than usual).  It’s your hormones crashing, so it kind of makes sense. However, that should go away by 2-3 weeks postpartum. Thankfully mine did, and I can’t say how happy I felt to feel like my “normal” self again.

All in all, I would do everything all over again tomorrow if I could.  I think being prepared and knowing what the first few weeks after child birth are like…that was key for me.  In my case, I prepped myself for the absolute worst and was pleasantly surprised.

In any event, this little peanut was sure worth every second.

 

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The First Month

I was told everything would be a blur with a newborn, and it most certainly was.  I can’t believe how quickly the first few weeks passed!  Every week in the first month brought new changes, and I thought I’d break them down by week to remember the timeline of things.

Week 1 – They say the first week is the hardest, don’t they?  Well, for us this was one of those things that was just not true!  In the hospital she slept pretty much for the first 24 hours.  The lactation consultant had told us that babies “wake up” after 24 hours, and often times will NOT sleep at all that night.  Yep, that definitely happened!  The nurses came to get her for a checkup in the middle of the night, and then kept her in the nursery after that.  Brian and I were able to get some much needed sleep (about 2 hours), which felt amaaaaazing.

Anyway, the second night was rough, but really by the time we got home it was better.  She had her days and nights mixed up, but I knew that was really common.  Also, I had noooo trouble sleeping when she slept during the day – at least for a little bit.

KateHospital1

KateHospital2

On Tuesday all of the nieces and nephews came to meet Miss Kate!  I have to say, this was one of my favorite memories.  The girls, in particular, were pretty taken with this little girl.

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We had a “birthday party” for her Wednesday evening in the hospital, which was too cute!  This was something my sisters had always done with their kiddos, and I loved it.  The hospital gives you two small cakes to celebrate.

Her first Birthday Cake :)

Her first Birthday Cake 🙂

All the girls <3

All the girls ❤

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Kate was the biggest baby born while we were there!

Kate was the biggest baby born while we were there!

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Goin' home!

Goin’ home!

I cannot say enough positive things about our hospital stay.  The nurses and doctors were absolutely FANTASTIC.  It almost made me sad to leave!

Brian’s parents and sister were able to come on Friday, July 4th, and they stayed through Sunday.  I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to have them here.  Not just to meet Kate (I was SO excited for that!), but to spend time with them.  Also, they helped out so much while they were here – with meals, holding Kate, and just keeping me company during her feedings.  I bawled liked a baby when they left…but thankfully we got to see them for almost a week during Katie’s wedding weekend!

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Watchin' the World Cup!

Watchin’ the World Cup!

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I went to a breastfeeding support group when Kate was 5 days old to speak to their lactation consultant.  I am so glad I did!  Not only was I able to weigh her (she weighed 8.1 oz at 5 days old), but I was able to weigh her after I fed her from one side to see that she had taken 1 oz.  It made me feel so much better knowing that she was getting enough milk!  The main reason I went was to speak to the LC about Kate’s latch on the left side.  It hurt pretty badly (think toe curling pain while she fed), but the LC watched her latch and ensured me she was doing it correctly.  As time went on, the pain lessened…and by about week 3 or 4 there was very little pain when she fed from that side.

At her one week appointment she weighed 8 lbs, 5 oz.  To make sure all was going okay, the doctor wanted us to come back at 2 weeks just to get weighed and make sure she was back up to her birth weight.

Admittedly newborns are pretty much cute “blobs” for a little while. 🙂  However, it completely took me by surprise when Kate started smiling in the first week!  And I know “they say” it’s gas when they smile that early…but it would happen when I got all up in her face (I’m sure she loved it) and talked to her excitedly.  I have witnesses, too!

Week 2 -We headed back to the doctor to make sure she was at her birth weight.  She weighed in at 8 lbs, 11 oz. (oh so close!) but the doctor felt good about that.  She instructed us to keep doing what we were doing!

The first 2 weeks she was eating pretty much every 1.5-2 hours.  Generally she was pretty content unless she was hungry or sleepy.  I was tired, but honestly, not exhausted like I was expecting.  (I don’t want that to sound braggy at ALL…maybe I just prepared myself for the absolute worst).  I think the first week I was going on adrenaline alone, since I was maybe getting 4-5 hours of sleep (combined) at night.  The second week I was more tired and remember going to my mom’s and my sister’s houses (on different days) 😉 and napping while Kate slept.  She was really good with sleeping during the day.  In fact, the first few times we went to my parents’ house (and sisters), that is what she did for most of the time while we were there.

And then something wonderful happened – from about 2.5 weeks to 4 weeks, she slept from 5-6 hours STRAIGHT during the night.  I mean…I couldn’t believe it!  My first thought was, should I be waking her up to eat if she’s going that long without feeding?  But my mom had a good point – she was a big baby and eating regularly during the day, so just let her sleep.  So I did.  And it was heaven!

Brian gave her her first bottle at the end of this week, too.  I wasn’t sure at what point to let her try it – you here ALL different things from people.  In the end, she had a strong latch with breastfeeding so I thought we’d give it a shot.  He said she took it down like a champ!

Tryin' tummy time

Tryin’ tummy time

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Week 3 – Kate’s stretches of sleep were regularly 5-6 hours at night, and then she’d go back down after a feeding for another couple of hours.  Even though her “bedtime” was really late (like 1 or 2 a.m.), it was getting earlier little by little.  I know by the time I go back to work it’ll have to be MUCH earlier than that. 🙂  Her little personality is emerging more and more, and she seems to be eating about every 2 hours (on average) during the day.  Breastfeeding has gotten so much more comfortable!  Grandma Linda even watched Kate while I went sailing with Brian, my dad, Chris, and Megan.  We had a failed attempt on Saturday (I didn’t bring enough milk…rookie mistake), so I had to abort the mission.  But we went out again on Sunday and she slept all but the last 5 minutes while we were gone – success!  It was so nice (although, a little strange) to get out after being cooped up for so long.

Boating

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Week 4 – This week we went to Michigan with my family, and I was pretty nervous about how Kate would do.  Not only for the 6 hour car ride (more like 7-8 with a nursing newborn), but sleeping at night while we were there.  On the car ride up, she did pretty well – much better than I expected.  We stopped 3 times to feed her and she slept a little bit.  She did fuss a few times when it was time for her to eat and we couldn’t pull over yet, and again when she was sleepy.  But overall, she did well for a 4 week old!  The week we were there, she really started her “witching hour” routine (where she would get fussy for a couple of hours in the evening).  I know that this can be very common with young babies, but it’s still hard when they are crying and you don’t know what to do.  My family was SO helpful this week with her!  If I’d been home, I know it would have stressed me out on my own (and Brian, too).  But each night my mom and sisters (and dad!) would scoop her up and walk her around, bouncing her and shhhh!ing her.  We started calling Aunt Kristy “the Baby Whisperer” because she has that special touch!  Which means we will be coming to her house every evening between 6 and 9 p.m.

On the drive up....silly girl :)

On the drive up….silly girl 🙂

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Goin' up the ski lift with Reesie

Goin’ up the ski lift with Reesie

Hike up Boyne Mountain!

Hike up Boyne Mountain!

On Macinac Island with Grandpa

On Macinac Island with Grandpa

Girlies on the island

Girlies on the island

One month old today!

One month old today!

On the ferry

On the ferry

On the way home from Michigan, Miss Kate was a rock star! She slept until the halfway point (about 3 hours), and after that we just stopped once to feed her.  When we got home, we were SO excited to see Brian.  He’d lost his phone so we had really missed him all week.  He swears she changed even while we were gone!

Post-partum Recovery:  I wasn’t sure what to expect (as with everything) in terms of recovery from labor/delivery.  Honestly, it was not horrible – just mostly uncomfortable for a few weeks.  Sitting wasn’t very fun for about 2-3 weeks, but my sweet father-in-law bought me a donut to sit on at home.  It.was.awesome.  Also (TMI), I was verrrrry nervous about going to the bathroom after tearing during delivery.  I wouldn’t say it’s been pain free, but after about 4 weeks there is no pain along with that, either.  I’d say the most painful part since L/D has been breastfeeding, but only initially.  I am SO GLAD I knew ahead of time that this was normal, and even more glad I pushed through it, because it DOES stop!  Now I cannot imagine not breastfeeding her.  It’s been absolutely wonderful 99% of the time.  I told Brian, the hard part is also the best part for me – I love MOST of the time being needed and spending that time with her. However, it’s also being needed ALL the time that also makes it difficult.  Thankfully my parents and sisters have been so, so helpful in watching her.  I don’t know what I’d do without them!  Probably be the same except a LOT more cranky.