The Fourth Trimester Recap
Jack is THREE MONTHS OLD. I cannot believe it. Honestly time is going by way too fast. That said – I am loving that stage he is at right now. He’s alert and fun and so stinkin’ sweet and smiley. He’s the most relaxed and chill baby and I am thankful for that. If you didn’t know – the fourth trimester is basically the first three months of your baby’s life and it’s that “adjustment” period. You and your baby are going through MASSIVE changes and learning all about each other. Here is how my “fourth trimester” is going:
The Fourth Trimester Recap
Pain + bleeding (aka: the adult diaper stage)
Honestly – nobody told me just how long I would be bleeding for. I bled post-delivery for five weeks. The entire first month and then some. I found the best way for me to deal with this was to wear depends. They were more comfortable than the giant pads they send you home with from the hospital, and I could wear them with regular clothes and not have to worry about leaking through.
I also didn’t know that every time you breastfeed or pump in the beginning, you cramp. It’s actually a good thing because it helps your uterus contract and get smaller (decreasing the bump you still have postpartum). BUT IT REALLY REALLY HURTS. And you bleed when you contract, too, so it’s a whole messy situation full of bodily fluids.
Luckily, the cramping didn’t last more than 3 weeks, and once the bleeding stopped, I could go back to my normal underwear.
I wrote a full blog post on my journey with breastfeeding HERE! I am still going strong – pumping and breastfeeding Jack. He has been exclusively on breastmilk the whole time because I have an insane overproduction. Like an entire freezer chest in my garage overproduction. It’s a blessing AND a curse (because it puts you more at risk for clogged ducts + mastitis, both of which I’ve had since bring Jack home from the hospital).
Losing the baby weight
I would say I lost most of my baby weight pretty quickly. I gained 40lbs during pregnancy – so I started at 130lbs and went into delivery right at 170lbs. I lost about 15lbs in the hospital post-delivery, and then about 5lbs a week the first month – just from breastfeeding and losing water weight. After six weeks, I still had a little bit of a belly and I was sitting right at about 135-140lbs. I am still hovering about 5lbs above pre-baby weight. My stomach is down mainly back to normal (although I’m unsure if my belly button will EVER recover SOS), and I am back into my pre-pregnancy jeans and dresses. I’m finally back in the gym and eating better again, so hopefully I will be able to lose that last 5lbs and feel back to normal soon!
I feel lucky in the fact that I did not get very many stretch marks. I didn’t get any on my boobs (although they literally doubled in size if not more) – but I DID get huge, angry, red stretch marks on my butt. Apparently, I didn’t really have one before getting pregnant and it could not handle the tiny bit of expansion it did get LOL. I don’t see them every day, though, and Adam couldn’t care less about them, so they don’t really bother me. In the last two weeks of being pregnant (I think I discovered them week 38), I got stretch marks around my belly button area. They were silver and small, but definitely still there. Now that my baby belly is gone, the skin in that area is a lot softer and puckered. I’m having to work really hard not to let that bother me. I would obviously take Jack over a perfect stomach ANY day, but still. It is something I’m struggling with.
Luckily, Jack is a sleep CHAMPION for the most part. He really is a good sleeper. He naps well, and he has slept in 6 hours stretches since about 6-7 weeks old at night. Our daily schedule looks something like this:
4:30/5:30 – Jack gets up to eat. Immediately goes back down.
7:30/8 – Jack gets up from his “night sleep” and nurses. He is usually up for about 1-1.5 hours.
9/9:30 – Jack takes his morning nap. It’s usually between 1.5-2 hours.
11/11:30 – Jack nurses for lunch. He is usually up for a full 2-2.5 hours.
1:30-2:30 – Jack eats and takes a short nap before Adam gets home from work. Usually up for about 1-1.5 hours.
4/5 – Jack nurses for dinner. He is usually up for 2-2.5 hours.
7:30/8 – Jack eats again. He gets a bath and may take a short 30 min nap, or he may be up until bedtime. We kind of let him decide.
9:30/10 – Jack nurses to sleep and is down for the night.
Postpartum hair loss
Ugh. This started happening around 10 weeks postpartum, but really got bad at 11/12 weeks. I am losing hair ALL DAY LONG. Jack constantly has my hair strands in his fist because he likes to grab at my hair now, and it just comes right out. I am trying so hard not to stress about this but I am starting to see bald areas near my hair line and the back of my neck. Hopefully it slows down soon.
Going back to work
Man. This transition has been a LOT tougher than I thought it would be. I love blogging and I love running my small business workshop – but it is a LOT more difficult with a baby at home. I don’t have dedicated childcare, but luckily my mom is mostly available when I need her to be, so I am able to still meet with clients or take some time to just lock myself in my office and check things off of a todo list. I feel a LOT of mom guilt when I have to do that even though I know it’s ok – Jack won’t forget me. It doesn’t mean I’m a bad mom because I’m working. Even though I KNOW THAT in my brain, sometimes my heart still really hurts to leave him. So. I’m taking it one day at a time.
Giving myself grace
Sometimes my laundry piles up on my dresser. Sometimes I don’t even DO laundry for a week. Sometimes I have dishes in my sink, pet hair on my floor, and spit up all over all my shirts. Sometimes my husband gets home from work and I don’t even know what to say because I’m still in my pajamas and the baby is fussy and I didn’t get anything productive done all day. And then Adam reminds me that being a mom IS productive. Keeping our tiny human alive and happy and healthy IS productive. This stage of life is so short and so messy and so beautiful. Thank heavens I have an amazing support system reminding me that I AM ENOUGH. Even if I didn’t get to all my emails. Or I don’t deep clean my house every week. Or my dryer has to be restarted 3 times before I get to folding.
Becoming a parenting team with my husband
It has been amazing becoming a parent with my husband. We have bonded and become more of a team than we were before and it’s so fun to watch. Adam is the BEST dad. He is so in love with our son and even more in love with me for bringing Jack into the world. He and I share all of the tasks when he isn’t at work: diaper changes, feedings (Jack takes a bottle of breastmilk just as easily as nursing), bath time, rocking him when he’s fussy, watching him when the other needs to leave the house for something. When Jack was getting up ever 2 hours at night, we shared the night shifts so one of us could get some sleep while the other fed the baby and put him back down. We split it up and it makes it so much easier to manage without going crazy.
Learning to accept help
Again….another tough one for me. I don’t like asking for help and I do not like accepting it. I didn’t want people to bring us meals after the baby was born (although they did anyways – and I was extremely glad they did), I don’t want to feel like I can’t work and clean and take care of Jack all on my own. I struggle big-time with pride on this kind of stuff. I have always felt that relying on other people meant I was weak. I KNOW that is not true. And having Jack has made it so that I really DO need to accept help where I can. If my mom offers to watch him for a couple hours while I work or clean or shower – I am letting her. If someone wants to help us with meals or mow our lawn or whatever it is they are offering to do: I seriously consider it. If we truly could use the help, I’m learning to say yes. People want to serve and they want to help us. And that is so absolutely wonderful, even if I am not readily accepting of it.
Overall, I would say we did it!! We survived the fourth trimester. I was lucky in the fact that so far, 3 months out, I don’t have any signs of postpartum depression or anxiety and Jack and I are both happy and healthy. We didn’t have any medical complications post-delivery and Jack is growing and learning right on track. I know ppd and ppa can still manifest past the 3 month mark, so I am continuing to watch for those signs just in case.
How was your fourth trimester? Was is harder or easier than you thought? Let me know in the comments below!