Ep. #113: Newborn Life Update

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This is my first recording since giving birth to Tanner! It’s been a little hard finding room for recording these days, but here I am! The baby is napping, and the other little guy is at child care. Today I’ll give you a newborn life update, and I also want to share about some of the body image struggles I’ve had. (I’ll throw some self-care tip in there too!)

This is a personal (and pretty specific) topic, so I get that it might not hold universal appeal! No worries. If you’re looking to learn more about intuitive eating, I’d love if you checked out my free training. It’s called How to Ditch the Guilt and Body Shame to Gain Confidence and Feel Free, and you can start now!

You might also enjoy these earlier podcast episodes:
Is Intuitive Eating Healthy? and A Self-Care Celebration.

My Birth Story

With my first son, I gave birth pre-maturely. In order to prevent that from happening again, I’ve had a weekly progesterone shot. I wasn’t convinced it would change anything, and right around Week 33 I started feeling contractions. That’s when I went into labor with Cooper, so I thought for sure I was going to give birth early once again. However…that ended up being a false alarm!

That happened again at the 35 week mark, so the doctor suggested we wait it out home….and they went away. That happened a few more times, but once we had gotten into the latter half of the 30’s I was ready to bring our new little one into the world! (His due date was November 20.)

My husband, meanwhile, had a huge due date on November 1 for work. He wanted to be so present and available once we reentered newborn life, so he was trying to coax him into waiting as long as possible. Me, on the other hand? I was getting really large, and going to the bathroom every 20 minutes or so because of his positioning. I was also having hip spasms and not sleeping well. As soon as the doctor said delivery would be safe and we passed Nov. 1, I was ready to get started!

Prego Pizza for the Win?

This involved trying out all the Old Wives tales out there. A friend put me on to Skipolini’s Prego Pizza (you can read the legend here). Since it had worked for her, I settled on a deep need for my own piece of the pie! We spent over an hour round trip procuring our own prego pizza, and I enjoyed every bite.

That was Sunday night….and Monday morning I woke up to a bit of dampness. Possibly my water breaking? Yep, cramps came shortly after! My contractions started coming pretty close together pretty quickly, so we were on our way. Well…sort of. We were trying to pack last minute things, Cooper was screaming because he didn’t want to miss going to his childcare group and seeing his friend, and things felt pretty chaotic.

But eventually…we were on our way!

At the hospital, we had to do some extra Covid-based precautions. My contractions were really intense at that point, and I felt very ready to get to Labor & Delivery. I was able to get an epidural, which I very much wanted. Last time I had one but it didn’t fully work, but this time it worked like a charm!

Delivery & Recovery

Less than 3 hours after we checked in, I was pushing! Tanner was 9 pounds, 4 ounces — and that was over two weeks early. What a big boy! He came completely healthy, and there were no major problems during the delivery process.

Recovery has been a different process this time around. That’s partially because I carried longer, and partially because Tanner was a lot bigger than Cooper was.

Seeing the two be brothers is so heart warming. It also means we have to be pretty alert, because Cooper doesn’t always understand how strong he is in comparison to his brother. He also likes to do lots of touching!

Once thing that has worked well with the newborn life is Covid. Staying home a lot, not having people over, and having my husband home more have all been great. I think those factors have also made breastfeeding a little more enjoyable too. (My first time around I put a ton of pressure on myself to exclusively breastfeed, and it just didn’t work like I wanted it to. This time I was prepared to let it be whatever it would be….and of course it went perfectly!)

Newborn Life & The Day-to-Day

Six weeks without a real nights sleep definitely doesn’t feel great! We are, all things considered, not doing too bad though. I’ve made it a major point to try and nap when the baby naps, and that helps a lot.

Taking pressure off myself to try to work, do dishes, or take things around the house has been really good for me. The first time around I tried to force myself to power through. This time, I’m focused on getting sleep and staying rested. Getting sleep impacts my mental health and my body. If there’s anything I can do to get more sleep — I’ll do it! (I interviewed a sleep specialist here!)

I’ve also been working through body image things. While I was pregnant I didn’t notice or think about it as much…but now that I’ve given birth it’s been hard sometimes! I’ll find myself doing “mirror checks”, which are almost as unhelpful as using a scale (which I don’t do).

Postpartum Self-Care

I moved all my maternity clothes out of my closet, and I only put clothes back that will actually fit my body. No tops that will fight, or jeans that won’t button! I also bought a few items that I really love and that fit me right now. If we were going out more I would maybe buy jeans…but since it’s Covid + winter, I’m pretty much sticking to stretchy pants!

I’ve also been trying to eat veggies every day. During pregnancy I wasn’t very excited about vegetables, and I didn’t eat them nearly as much as I did before pregnancy. So now I’m slowly reintroducing the habit. I’ve been eating a lot more sweets than usual. The combination of being tired and being in the holiday season is real, and I’m not judging it! In a few weeks I may take another look at how I’m feeling and what my body wants…but right now I’m enjoying them without stress.

This week I’m 6 weeks post-partum, which means I can start exercising and moving more. The first 4 weeks I was in a lot of pain and didn’t feel like doing much. Last week I felt a little better, and now that I’m officially cleared to exercise I’m feeling up to trying a few small things out. I don’t have tons of free time, but I know it makes my body feel good when I choose to move, so I’ll work it in when I have a chance.

I’ve also been getting dressed every day for the last few weeks, and it feels really good. (By “dressed” I mean a new outfit that I did not sleep in!) It makes me feel better mentally, which improves the whole rest of my day.

My final self-care tip? Getting off social media. I realized that when I scroll Instagram right now I’m seeing so many amazing holiday-themed activities and crafts. It’s made me feel overwhelmed, and like I’m missing out….but I also know that it’s not realistic to try to tackle all of that while breastfeeding on demand and parenting a toddler. Instead, I’m reading, journaling, day dreaming, and enjoying my current, present life.

If you’re post-partum or have other heavy things going on, remember to take it one day at a time! Don’t pressure yourself, and accept what is. (And if you get a chance, take a nap or find a way to practice a bit of self-care.)

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