Tag Archives: 6 weeks

6 Weeks Postpartum

22 May

This past Monday, I had my 6-week postpartum checkup. Everything looks good and I’ve been officially cleared for exercise. Yay!

At 6 weeks postpartum, here’s how things are going…

Physical Recovery

The weird tightness in my upper abdominal muscles is now officially gone. My abs are still fairly weak, though all the bouncing on the exercise ball that I’ve been doing to calm Emma down has helped to regain some of my core strength. I could notice a difference during the 2 runs I went on this week.

Yep, I went on 2 runs this week! Emma has been sleeping better at night (more on that in Emma’s 7 week update) so that has allowed me to go running in the morning instead of catching up on sleep. I thought about doing the Couch to 5K program but it seemed to be a little bit more conservative than I’d like. So I’m just doing my own thing. I covered 1.5 miles in 20 minutes on Monday and 2 miles in 30 minutes today, doing run/walk intervals. I mostly ran because I’ve missed it so much, but I know I need to listen to my body and walk when my legs feel tired or tight. Don’t want any injuries!

This week is the first that I’ve really been back at it with exercise. After that initial run at 12 days postpartum, Emma started getting really fussy and workouts fell very low on the priority list. I tried to get out on walks as much as Emma and my energy levels would allow, but that wasn’t very often. I’m glad that things are turning around now!

Body Weight / Image

I have about 7-8 pounds to go before hitting my pre-pregnancy weight. I’m trying to transition out of wearing maternity clothes but it has been hard. My boobs have grown so much from breastfeeding and my stomach is still ’round’ enough that I’d say about 75% of my pre-pregnancy shirts don’t fit – they’re either too short or too tight. About 90% of my pre-pregnancy pants, shorts and skirts don’t fit, also due to the stomach. I have been able to fit into a few things again (though not without causing major muffin top action) and I bought a few new things from the thrift store that fit me better. But overall, this is still an extremely frustrating part of being postpartum.

postpartum_comparison_2Maternity jeans on the left, pre-pregnancy jeans on the right

As a person who loves fitness and feeling in shape, it’s hard to be comfortable in my own skin when I feel so flabby and blah. I know that my body will never be exactly the same again but I’m looking forward to the day when I get to a place where I like how I feel and look again. I know that having clothes that fit will help me feel better, so I’m hoping to go shopping again in the next couple of weeks.

I also know that I need to be better about my eating habits. When we had family out here visiting after Emma was born, we ate pretty well-balanced, healthy meals. But when it’s just me and Travis, convenience is king – which means a lot more processed foods like frozen waffles, deli meat, cereal, etc. Being dairy and soy free really limits what I can eat (and drives up our grocery bill!) and I’ve found myself eating a lot of carb-heavy snacks/meals, like Rudi’s whole wheat toast with Earth Balance spread and raspberry preserves. Not horrible, but that kind of thing shouldn’t be the mainstay of my diet. Instead of relying on processed, expensive convenience foods, I need to be more intentional about eating whole foods – fruits, vegetables, legumes, meat and nuts. They’re cheaper and healthier.

Emotional

My emotions are still a rollercoaster, but a bit more intense than when I posted my postpartum update at 2.5 weeks. They vary from day to day, morning to night, hour to hour. Not surprisingly, they are heavily influenced by how much Emma is crying and sleeping. When Emma is minimally fussy, easily comforted, and sleeping for 3-5 hours at a stretch, it’s a lot easier for me to feel hopeful and enjoy this season than when she is crying inconsolably, refuses to sleep and wakes up after 20 minutes. Then I feel a ball of despair wedge itself in my throat and my minds fills with lots of untrue, very unhelpful thoughts, and I wonder how anyone has ever enjoyed being a parent.

It is because of God’s sustaining grace that I haven’t given up. He provides grace in little ways each day: Emma finally going to sleep when I thought I couldn’t possibly shush or bounce anymore. Emma staying asleep when I thought for sure she had woken up as I put her down and left the room in a huff (which happened last night). Travis and I working as a team to figure out how to do the things we enjoy doing while taking care of a colicky baby. Emma sleeping so well in the baby carrier that we can still do stuff – like clean, grocery shop, go on walks – even when she demands to be held.

I’ve called to mind these evidences of grace whenever I’ve been tempted to dive back into self-pity and discouragement. God does see, and He is actively providing for us. He may not be taking the situation away completely, but He is being faithful in the midst of it. And that has to be enough for me – because joy comes from accepting what He allows, not from demanding what I want. (So easy to say, but so very hard to do!)

Anyway, things are slowly getting better – if anything, Travis and I are learning to deal with the situation better, even if Emma is still quite fussy. That’s something!

Emma: 5 – 6 Weeks

16 May

This coming Sunday, Emma will be 6 weeks old. It’s amazing how fast the time is going, even though the days (and especially the nights) sometimes seem to last forever.

After talking to the triage nurse last week and making the changes to my diet and breastfeeding style that she recommended, Emma still hadn’t seen much improvement. She was sleeping a little bit longer, but not really crying any less. So I called again this past Monday and they had us come in that same afternoon. While we were there, Emma gave the pediatrician and nurses a good dose of her crying – red face and all. After examining her, the doctor decided that Emma most likely has acid reflux. So she prescribed Prevacid for Emma to take once a day and said that we should see some improvement in the next 7-10 days.

We’ve already seen some improvement. It’s not night and day difference but Emma is now frequently alert and happy for 10-15 minutes after she eats, and has tolerated sitting in her swing, cradle or car seat several times without crying immediately, like she was doing before. She’s also developed a less severe level of crying – it’s not always just ear piercing wails. And we’ve also been trying to put her in her cradle or swing at night instead of just holding her, and she has stayed sleeping several times for up to a couple of hours – also an improvement. But she still has her inconsolable moments.

It’s hard to not be discouraged and frustrated at this whole situation. We love our daughter so much and want her to be happy and comfortable, but we’re also struggling with severe sleep deprivation, and trying to not crack when she’s fussy or crying uncontrollably for what seems like hours on end (in reality, it’s only 30-60 minutes at a time) is hard.

This has been our typical routine lately with a baby who only wants to sleep being held:

Approx 1 am: I get up for the middle-of-the-night feeding; Travis goes to bed after his ‘shift’

1 am – 7 am: I stay up with Emma, feeding her every 2-3 hours, then rocking her to sleep and attempting to put her down – usually she starts making noise after 20-30 minutes. I go pick her up because I don’t want her to wake up completely, causing me to have to get her to sleep all over again. My main desire has been to avoid a crying baby, but I realize this isn’t a good strategy for getting her to sleep apart from me, so I’m going to work on changing this.

7:15 am: Travis gets up, makes his coffee and puts Emma in the Baby Bjorn while he works at his desk; I go back to bed for a couple of hours

9:30 am: I get up and take Emma from Travis, feed her and entertain her for however long she’s happy, maybe doing tummy time while I take a few sips of my decaf coffee. Usually she starts crying (with no warning!) and I get her back to sleep by putting her in the Baby Bjorn with her pacifier and bouncing on the exercise ball.

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Sacked out in the Baby Bjorn

10:30 – 5:30 pm: Travis works while Emma and I go through the continual cycle of eat, awake and sleep. She typically goes 2-3 hours between feedings, with naps that are usually 45 minutes – 2 hours long, but it’s still far from predictable. During Emma’s naps, I either do chores like dishes and laundry (if she’s in the Bjorn), sit with her in the glider or watch TV while she sleeps, or (rarely) take a walk. Since she’s started crying so much and often, we’ve been hesitant to take her very many places because it’s so hard to soothe her without all our props and she’s really not a fan of being buckled into her car seat. Though I discovered today that driving on the highway with the windows down makes a wonderful white noise that puts her to sleep! (hopefully not just a fluke)

5:45 pm: Travis gets done with work and takes Emma while I ‘make’ dinner – usually reheating leftovers of a meal from our church friends. I eat and then take Emma so Travis can eat.

6:30 pm: We bathe Emma if it’s a bath night. If not, I feed Emma and either Travis or I put her pajamas on and swaddle her.

7 – 7:30 pm: I go to bed while Travis stays up with Emma. This strategy evolved at first because Emma’s such a loud sleeper that I was awake anytime she grunted or sighed (which is a lot). Lately we’ve done this because Emma sleeps the longest if she’s held. She’s actually gone 5 hours between feedings a couple of times (which is sleeping through the night at this age) but only while being held. The longest she’s gone in her cradle or swing is about 2.5 hours I think.

10 pm: I get up and feed Emma. When she’s done eating, I give her back to Travis and go back to bed.

{and the cycle begins all over again…}

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In short, we have no time to do anything but sleep, take care of Emma and work (in Travis’ case). Most days I don’t shower, brush my teeth or change clothes. Even though we’re technically surviving this way, we’re both frequently close to losing it. Something’s got to change. So we’re going to start being more intentional about putting her down to sleep in her cradle or swing instead of just letting her sleep in our arms. It may be more painful at first and involve more work with getting her back to sleep if she wakes up, but at least we’ll be headed the right direction instead of just throwing in the towel.

All that said, the Lord has faithfully given enough grace for us to get through each day – whether it’s a little bit more sleep, Emma not fussing for a few hours, delicious meals from friends, warm sunny weather, lots of babysitting offers, or the fact that Travis works from home (so amazingly helpful!). I’ve been tempted more than once to drown in self-pity because of all the things I haven’t been able to do, like get out on more runs, maintain personal hygiene or sleep longer than 3 hours at a stretch, but God has helped me to be aware of that sinful, joyless tendency and to instead be thankful for the mercies He does provide. Just like He provided the Israelites enough manna for a single day, so He provides me with enough faith and hope in His promises to stay the course for one more day. I know we will look back on this time and see His faithfulness stretching to the skies. I don’t know what I would do without Him, or Travis!