Over the past month I've been battling the typical physical challenges post delivery:
I'm recovering from a tear. My back kills from on-demand breastfeeding...and picking up a 40lb toddler in between. Speaking of breast feeding, I'm fighting off clogged ducts - I do NOT have time for mastitis. I have stretch marks that are more and more visible as my belly goes down. I have frequent headaches from a month of disrupted sleep. BUT...these are all physical complaints and challenges.
Mentally, I'm feeling almost 100%. I have much more energy than after my c-section with Roswelle. I have even more patience than I ever thought possible. Of course I've cried - but it's been over normal things...exhaustion, a mouse problem the week we returned home with James Kate, and even our wash/dryer busting the second week. These are all normal life issues that are just plain frustrating and warrant some tears every now and then. What I have noticed is that my anxiety and fears are short lived - and I'm very thankful! Yes, I still worry about whether I will hear her cry, is she still breathing in the backseat, is she eating enough, and am I good enough mom to BOTH of my girls - but thankfully I'm able to quickly talk myself off the ledge.
As I have mentioned in some recent posts, my postpartum recovery has been a priority to me. My c-section recovery after Roswelle wasn't that bad - I still connected with her, she nursed well from the beginning, and I didn't battle with any sort of postpartum depression - but physically and mentally I wanted to feel myself again faster than I did. I'm 4 weeks out from my VBAC with James Kate and I can say that by comparison, I didn't feel this good after Roswelle until at least 7 weeks. I did a few things differently this time around, most notably the birth, but also a few self care steps before and after that I think have made a difference in my recovery.
I delivered early with both of my babies (Roswelle at 37wks4d & James Kate at 38wks4d). With James Kate I had almost everything ready at 37 weeks and would advise any expecting mother to do the same. Bag ready, clothes selected, bills paid, forms filled out, amazon orders made. There may be the fear that if you have everything done at 37 weeks you will be twiddling your thumbs but let's get real - life keeps happening and things will come up for you to do. You can see some of the prep I did in this post: http://www.bostonbelleblog.com/www.bostonbelleblog.com/2017/5/12/comfort-in-the-wait
- take those pictures (don't put it off because you may go into labor!) Paul took this picture above less than 48hrs before my water broke!
Post Delivery Personal Care
It seems so simple, but it can be quite the task when you are exhausted and needed every 20 minutes those first few weeks. Every night after Roswelle went to bed, I passed James Kate off to Paul or my mom and showered. The hot water helped relax my back, I shaved my legs, did a sea-salt scrub, moisturized, and even put on a face mask post shower every couple of nights. Spending 15 minutes on myself every night was incredibly restorative.
I shared on my insta-story that I was taking my placenta pills. My doula (Keelia Reigg) offered the service of encapsulation and so I jumped on it! I decided I'd rather take them than not, as the positives out-weighed any negatives in my opinion. Much like a pre-natal vitamin, I'm can't pin-point the effects, but I know it's working and doing good things. If you'd like to read more about the benefits - check out this website: http://www.placentawise.com/
I don't mean to discuss diet for the purpose of losing "baby weight", but simply making good choices for mental and emotional stability. I returned to a whole30 based diet as soon as I returned home from the hospital (hospital food, while free and no clean-up, is quite unhealthy IMO). It felt good to eat really healthy those first few weeks, but whole30 takes a lot of time, commitment, and cooking - which I didn't have the energy for. Over the 4th of July weekend, I kind of ate whatever I wanted, and while it was enjoyable, I didn't feel great after and worried how it was effecting James Kate. I've since decided that the best solution for me is to just eat gluten & dairy free - which I find much more manageable .
I make no apologies for the amount of help I've received the first 4 weeks with James Kate. My mom stayed with us the first 3 weeks and I was with Paul's family the 4th week in Cape Cod. I'm a firm believer in accepting help from your family/friends - the saying "it takes a village" should be a reality not a saying! There is no reason to do it on your own! My doula also gave me great advice: when people ask you if you need anything - always give them an answer and an opportunity to care for you. You always need something. Case in point: my girlfriend was at target and asked if I needed anything, we actually needed ziploc bags. I told her those and she brought them over (along with some peonies and dark chocolate ;) ).