I’ve been a mom now for three months. Has it been the greatest life changing experience of all time? Life changing for sure. And some moments have been quite wonderful. If you haven’t read Rowan’s sweet birth story, you can here. That was the sugarcoated version I will tell her when she is older. I’ll spare her the details about how I was absolutely panicked and so drugged up from the epidural that I hardly remember her first few hours of her life. Maybe I’ll share that reality for when she is expecting a little one of her own.
I can share the sweetened highlights of these past three months, but how about just an update on what’s actually been going on with our new family of three.
C-Section Recovery: I was not prepared for this as I had only found out 16 hours before my water broke that Rowan was breech and I would likely need a c-section. I didn’t have time to do all the googling. When the epidural wore off and I was finally able to stand up, it felt like my insides were on fire and going to fall out. Like my abs had been ripped open and I was terrified to sneeze, cough, laugh, move, breath. Everything was painful. I relied on my leg strength so much because I had no core. Although it eventually got easier, it was a solid two weeks before the soreness wore off. And when you are nursing a newborn every two hours, there is a lot of sitting up and core movement. I was miserable.
Allergic Reaction: As they were prepping me for the c-section they asked if I was allergic to surgical tape. I said no. Apparently this was incorrect. I am severely allergic to surgical tape. And after 24 hours of this tape burning my skin, I finally realized something was wrong and it wasn’t my incision causing this horrific feeling. I will spare you gory details, but I’ll leave it at blisters and open wounds all on my stomach surrounding my incision. Now I have scars from this. No stretch marks, but scars from that stupid tape. Honestly, my skin hurt worse than the incision and surgery. I mean, imagine the worse blister on your foot after a marathon, but put that all over your stomach. Everything that touched it hurt and showering was brutal. I cringe just writing about it.
Nursing: We have been exclusively breastfeeding and I am beyond grateful this has worked for us. However, we had a very rough start. The first two weeks were absolutely painful and miserable. I cried almost every time she nursed. I dreaded the two hour mark when I had to feed again. We also battled with Rowan preferring one side for a few days so that side never got a break to heal. Around the 5/6 week mark, I realized I had an oversupply. Not a good thing! So then we had to work through that. Finally at two months, I felt like I knew what I was doing and it’s been decently easy since then.
Between the raw skin on my stomach and pain from breastfeeding, I basically spent two weeks unclothed in my house. The beauty of motherhood…
Sleep: We are blessed. Praise the Lord we have a baby that is a good sleeper. From day one, she has slept in her bassinet with no problems. We lay her down, and she goes to sleep. Even now she can put herself to sleep. At first I had to wake her every 3 hours to feed because she was so little and not gaining weight quickly enough, but by 5 weeks she was able to sleep 4 hours, then a few weeks later 5-6, and now we can get 9 hour stretches pretty regularly.
Napping: Rowan was a napping champion at the beginning. I thought I hit the jackpot. I could put her in her swing and she would nap away. I would even have to wake her to feed. I got so much done. I could clean the house, make dinner, lay on the couch and try to nap myself, really anything I wanted. That all changed at two months. Now Rowan
prefers insists on napping in my arms or in the front carrier snuggled up next to me. I am not complaining. I love snuggling with her and house chores can wait. But it can get tiresome. She also isn’t the greatest napper anymore so we deal with an overtired baby every few days.
Milestones: I hate milestones. I hate getting those emails that say, “your baby is 8 weeks old, they should be smiling at you.” Well my baby didn’t smile at me. Then I had a huge crying meltdown because it had to be my fault she wasn’t smiling. I hadn’t bought her one of those expensive activity mats. So I walked through Target, crying, to buy an activity mat. My husband talked some sense into me. I returned the mat and three days later Rowan smiled… at Andrew. That is one example of how having a baby makes you irrational. Just like every pregnancy is different, so is every baby. And I have to remember that she is premature and adjust for that.
Diapers: We’re cloth diapering and it’s awesome! I have spent less than $400 and have enough diapers and supplies to get me to her potty training years. If you’re considering going the cloth route, do it! It’s intimidating and there isa learning curve but it’s so easy and cheap once you get the hang of it. Check out fluffloveuniversity.com for an overwhelming amount of information.
Weightloss: I gained 25 pounds during pregnancy and lost them all by my 5 week appointment when I was released for exercise. It was easy and I didn’t have to do anything to lose them. I assumed when I started running and exercising more weight would just pour off my body. I gained 10-15 pounds while I was trying to get pregnant so I do feel like I have more weight to lose. Since I started running 9 weeks ago, I have lost 0 pounds. So I am putting my scale away, continuing to exercise, continuing to eat nourishing foods for my health and for Rowan since she eats what I eat. I grew a human and most days don’t care about my weight. But some days I do care and try not to. I can’t believe I was ever self-concious when I was at my smallest.
Running: My first run was May 13th. I ran one mile without stopping then walked and ran the next two for three miles total. It was hard but manageable. Every run since then I have been able to run without walking. I run about 3-4 days/week. Most are on the treadmill since I am not running with Rowan in her stroller yet. I have been able to log 4-7 miles outside on Saturday mornings, but the rest have been either been easy runs or speed work on the treadmill. I use the term “speed work” loosely as it’s not like I am doing sprints. I am just running a little quicker than a comfortable pace for short distances. It has helped the time on the treadmill go by much faster and since I have a short amount of time until Rowan wakes up, I have to get in the most effective workout. I don’t have any goals but I do get discouraged at times. Mentally I feel like my old self, but my body can’t keep up.
Other workouts: I have been doing light core work to help reengage the muscles that were cut apart. With a c-section, the literally make a vertical incision to separate your abs. I also do some strength training 2-3 times/week with handweights. On our stroller walks, I will do some walking lunges and squats. Rowan loves to sit in her stroller and watch me jump around.
Dogs: Our dogs are great with Rowan. They have shown no agression towards her. Our boxer acts like a big sister and our chihuahua couldn’t care less. However, they have driven me absolutely insane. I mean
almost to the point of tears. It’s all my fault. I spoiled them rotten. They were my babies before I had a baby. I know I can’t expect them to change overnight, but they have made having a baby so much more challenging. Aside from the barking that Rowan can no longer sleep through, they basically walk around our house searching for things to get into – trash cans, laundry, diapers, everything. No they are not rebelling. They just have more opporunities to do what they always did now that I am home all the time. I do love them, but gosh they make it hard.
All in all, it’s been an amazingly challenging three months. We’ve had our highs and lows but it’s a huge adjustment. Maybe other moms go through this, but the adrenaline of being a new mom has started to wear off. At first everything was new and now I’m adjusting to this being my life now. I don’t FEEL like I just had a baby and I don’t be FEEL like I did before I had a baby. I’m learning what this new me ‘feels’ like.