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Hello Fourth Trimester

Wow, it’s already been two months since I gave birth to our sweet little peanut! What?! Colton Charles, how are you two months old already?! They always tell you time flies but I didn’t know it would fly this fast. You can see our one month and two month milestone pics over on my Instagram!

I really wish I came back to this blog a little sooner so that I could’ve shared updates from each trimester. I found comfort and education in reading other’s posts about their experiences through each trimester. Honestly, each of them were so different for me. My first trimester I was always so tired. I didn’t have much sickness, just frequent headaches and fatigue. I was lucky enough to not have the throwing up sickness. My second trimester was like a big wave of energy and I wanted to do ALL THE THINGS. Then, my third trimester hit me like brick. Pain, fatigue, lack of an appetite, swelling, etc. And let’s not even bring up the last two weeks of pregnancy. Every morning I’d roll over in bed, “Ok, this has to be the day he wants to come out,” I’d tell myself. HA! If only I knew I’d have to wait until 41.5 weeks to meet him.

Now, I am getting a lot of questions about how I’m adjusting and how life as a family of three is. (Well, five if you count our pups, which duh, we do!)  Since we’re two months in, I think the fog has finally cleared and I’m ready to open up about the fourth trimester. The fourth trimester (or postpartum) is from the day your baby is born until about three months old. The term is used to describe a period of great change and development in your newborn, as they adjust to the new world outside. I honestly feel like it’s more change and adjusting for you as a mother though. So many things are happening in your body and world.

Healing After Birth

Obviously, healing after you give birth is one of the most traumatic experiences during the fourth trimester. In fact, I didn’t know anything about after-birth side effects. I know, naive. I thought I would like it better that way, but truth is I was really just avoiding. (Live and learn, right?) All I have to say is, expect basically having your period for up to six weeks, plus pain and soreness in that area on top of that. My biggest suggestion is STOCK UP on all the supplies your hospital will send you home with. Our nurses were great with this. If you have to have a repair after birth, be prepared for the pain and soreness to be worse. Dermoplast was basically my best friend.

A lot of women also struggle with breastfeeding and the pain that comes with it during the fourth trimester. If you read my post about my breastfeeding journey, you probably know we are not breastfeeding. I can’t speak for most women since I only breastfed for a week. So — the other thing I want to address in healing after birth is the mental aspect. Postpartum Depression is like this far out concept, that you never think will touch you with a ten foot pole. Especially me. I had wanted to be a mother ever since I was a young girl babysitting. But guess what, it doesn’t discriminate. And most of the time, you don’t even know you have it.

In these photos, Colton was about two weeks. I couldn’t tell you any specific details, because the first two weeks were such a blur. The one day that sticks out was my 25th birthday. Colton was exactly a week old. I wanted to do all sorts of fun things, so Harrison and I planned the day and took Colton along with us. It was a great day. But after dinner with my family, I got back to my moms house and begged her to let me take a hot shower. I curled into fetal position and cried for about 25 minutes. Why? I have absolutely no idea. It was the most out of body, uncontrollable sadness. I remember my mom saying to me how she wish she knew how to help me because she just didn’t know what was going on with me. (This was during the come down of my breastfeeding journey. Looking back I now know this is why.)

Anyway, my point is that postpartum depression can happen to any of us. It doesn’t mean we love our baby any less then the mother next to us. I came out of mine once my hormones leveled out a bit from the end of breastfeeding. I can’t even imagine how I’d be feeling today if I was still going through this. Just know, it really isn’t something to be ashamed of! It isn’t something to be scared to ask for help for! And know, there is a light at the end of the dark tunnel. I promise.

The First Two Weeks Are The Hardest

Like I said, they are truly a blur. But every second after this just gets better and better. You get to learn your baby more, they get to learn you. Plus, every ounce of personality that develops is just the most cutest thing in this world. My heart melts every time Colton smiles, giggles, etc. I’d definitely reference this past post I wrote for all of the things that helped make those two weeks a little easier!

I also wanted to note, the only thing I wore during this time were loose cozy joggers. I was expecting to be living in leggings (like always), but they were way too tight. Personally, I didn’t want anything that close on my skin. Even my comfiest, loosest pair I owned I wanted nothing to do with. I own these joggers and live in them. Target’s brand Stars Above is my go-to. Z Supply is also worth noting — they are a highly coveted loungewear brand because of how soft the fabric is to the skin. I’m linking some of my favorite loungewear pants below! Just make sure they’re loose around your stomach, and maybe have a drawstring so you can adjust as your stomach starts to flatten. The not pretty fact as well: they disguise those lovely mesh undies way better then leggings do. 😉

Don’t forget to take care of yourself during this time too. If it gets to be too much, hand baby off and take a quiet shower. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. I think it’s the only thing that helped me keep my sanity. And my last piece advise for the first two weeks, don’t forget to ask for help from your loved ones if you need it! My cousin came over and sat with Colton just so Harrison and I could shower and get a nap in. It meant the world. My mom brought us groceries. My aunt meal prepped for us the week before his arrival. Harrison’s parents washed and folded our laundry. It really does take a village and we can’t be more thankful for ours!

Are We Sleeping?

Ha! Everyone wants to know these last two questions. Although I’m not quite sure if it’s any of everyone else’s business, I’m happy to share anyway. For sleeping I’d say we’re doing pretty good! We’ve had three nights so far (not consecutively) he’s slept through the night. Our schedule is somewhat as follows: Somewhere between 5 AM – 7 AM: Wakes up demanding food. Burp and go back to sleep. 2(ish) Hour Nap Following. Wakes up and ready to eat again. This is when we usually try to keep him awake, play on his activity mat, read a book, something along these lines. 2-3 Hour Nap Following. This brings us to anywhere between 5 – 7 PM. Since Harrison and I are both home at this time, this is when we spend some time together, if one of us has had him all day we swap and shower, eat. etc. We have found that nights we keep him up until 10 ish are the nights he’s slept through the night. Oh, and all three nights he was wearing his Ollie Swaddle. More coming on this soon but just thought I’d mention it.

None of this is the “right” way to do it. We are just doing what works for us right now. I did just sign up for Taking Cara Babies sleep training course though. I’ve heard tons of good things from everyone from local friends to big bloggers online. Since he’s two months old now I figure it’s the best time to start trying to set up a routine and stick to it.

How’s He Eating?

He might be tiny but he is mighty! Constantly wanting to eat and trust me, he will drink it down to the last drop. We have had a few issues with gas, constipation and reflux, but these are unfortunately things that happen to every baby to different degrees. First we switched formulas, and now we just started him on a probiotic. Hopefully this helps because momma hurts every time that poor boy hurts. We did have a traumatic experience on Christmas Eve with the Frida Baby Windi — although absolutely disgustingly messy, it worked! Instant happy baby again seconds afterwards! We had had a full week of a very fussy, uncomfortable baby due to gas and constipation and didn’t know how to help him. Another mom friend recommended I look into it. After using it, I would highly recommend for baby. However — if mommy or daddy are squeamish regarding bodily functions do not attempt. The brand also makes a ton of other products that are great! We purchased the Baby Basics Kit and are extremely happy with everything it includes. (Makes a GREAT shower gift too!) The hospital bag essentials kit seems like a no-brainer!

Last thought, or maybe I should say rant… Let’s stop defining if we have “good babies” by how our child is eating and sleeping. Or comparing our eating and sleeping journeys to the moms beside us on Instagram. Each baby is different! And no baby is bad! So how dare you call one “a good baby” and not the next. Ok, I’ll hop off my soapbox now.

And that is about it for my thoughts on postpartum! It’s truly a seesaw. But, I think that describes motherhood in general, not just the fourth trimester. My saving grace was the large community of fellow moms that I would be able to find on social media. Close friends, strangers, long-lost acquaintances from growing up, you name it… We’ve all been able to connect as we navigate this time together. I am so grateful for each and every one of you! Getting to swap stories and tips and tricks via my DM’s is a blessing I won’t forget about!

Photos by Leah Adkins

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