Here we are, one week after Jacob’s birth. How are things going?
The older kids are settling in with him nicely. For the most part he seems to be a novelty for them still. These days I’m still sitting in bed a lot and Jacob stays with me, while the big kids are downstairs or out with Daddy or other relatives. They don’t see him too often so they’re pretty excited when they do! Bekah’s simply thrilled in general with him, constantly wanting to hold him or sit with him or do something with him. If we’re not careful, she tries to pick him up because she needs to “take care of him.” But it’s sweet and we’ve seen no jealousy on her part. She’s not even mad he’s a boy — she just says she wants the next baby to be a girl!
Daniel’s a little apprehensive still, but so far he’s taken any feelings out on us, not Jacob. He’s a bit more prone to throwing tantrums than before — but that could be normal 2-year-old stuff too, or simple lack of routine some days. Most of the time he’s not bad. One thing that is funny, though, is that he’s thrilled with my sudden abundance of milk again, after months of having only a little. I think it must taste different, too, much sweeter. Once he starts nursing, he doesn’t want to stop! If I tell him “almost done” he pops off for a second and says, “No. More.” and keeps nursing. He typically gets very upset when I stop, even if he’s come off by himself (I usually wait till he does, then put it away…but he turns back and gets mad).
Jacob is doing great. Remember how I kept talking about how he was my first real-food baby, and I couldn’t wait to see how healthy he was? Well, he is!
Real food makes a difference.
Jacob is generally very contented, sleeping a lot but having lots of quiet, alert periods too. Crying is extremely rare, usually lasts only a few seconds, and is usually due to someone moving him or trying to dress or change him, which he doesn’t like. Even “fussing” is pretty rare…I’m with him so much that when he’s hungry he doesn’t typically get beyond the awake and rooting stage before I feed him. He co-sleeps with me at least half the night. (I never thought I’d co-sleep…then I had to, to survive Daniel, who got up 8 – 10 times per night. Now I often pick up Jacob and start nursing him, only to wake up a couple hours later still snuggling him! Typically even if he sleeps in his bed part of the night, he sleeps with me the last few hours.)
The best part is that at a week old, I have noted no food reactions! Daniel clearly screamed and arched back away from me whenever I had dairy. Jacob has no problems with foods whatsoever. I can literally eat anything — dairy, fresh garlic, onions, tomatoes, spicy foods, chocolate — with no problems. None. He hasn’t struggled with gas, sometimes doesn’t even need to burp. No rashes, no weird poop, nothing. I remember Daniel struggling and screaming, needing his legs bicycled and gripe water, being awake and uncomfortable in the middle of the night…. We haven’t had any of that this time. Jacob rarely even has hiccups!
This is a truly healthy kid. It also means that my gut health is finally good, because I’m not passing any undigested proteins through my milk. I’m so excited by this and can’t wait to see how he does as he grows. The other two are already doing so much better, and Jacob’s starting out on the right foot, literally from conception! I did GAPS 9 months before conceiving him, then 6 months of NT/real food. That is ideal, leading up to conception. And it clearly has made a huge difference! Everyone who sees him remarks about how healthy he is.
Thoughts and Advice
What have I learned about “life with a newborn” so far?
*Accept help — If people want to come and bring you meals or do your laundry, let them! Or if they want to take care of your older children. Let it happen, you need it now.
*Prepare in advance for help — Some people who helped me were really unsure about what to do, how I wanted things done. It may have been better if I’d had a written schedule (the kids’ general daily schedule) or a generic meal plan or chore list to hand them. Not everyone is the type to be able to just “jump in” and do stuff; some really need your guidance. Prepare this before birth so you don’t have to think after.
*Keep the routine normal — For everyone’s sanity. After a few days of special fun outings and other disruptions, my kids were getting a little sleep deprived, refusing to nap, and getting very fussy and upset. Enough was enough with the “special” stuff! So we settled in for a few boring, normal days and it actually helped a lot. Keeping their routine generally normal, even if it was Daddy instead of Mommy, also helped.
*Enjoy that baby — These days are fleeting. Watching my bigger two, I am aware exactly how fleeting they are! It bothers me to put Jacob down for any length of time or to be away from him. I just want to snuggle him and get to know him and enjoy him while he is still so tiny, because he really won’t be in just a matter of weeks.
*Have some grace — Everyone’s bound to be a little on edge, with sleep deprivation (thankfully we don’t have much of this! though to me, 2 – 3 times a night is WAY better than what Daniel put me through, I don’t think I’ll ever be phased by a newborn again…), a new person to get to know, disruptions in routine, etc. Have grace when your kids throw tantrums or if you and your spouse fight.
*Focus on excellent nutrition — I didn’t end up encapsulating my placenta this time (though I kept it, so I could), but I’ve felt much stronger and more balanced. I haven’t had the wildly fluctuating emotions that I did in my other postpartum periods. I think nutrition has helped this a lot. It’s also helped make sure I have excellent breastmilk and a good supply of it, that I heal quickly, and so on. Most of my postpartum discomforts are gone already, and were minimal anyway. I never bled heavily beyond the first day, and the afterpains (painful! arnica helped) were gone by the third day or so. Nutrition is so key.
An Unfortunate Situation
There was one unfortunate thing that happened during the birth that has made recovery more difficult. It didn’t happen in my first two births and I’ll do what I can to make sure it never happens again!
At the end, Jacob came down so fast, and I wasn’t quite fully dilated. He also was quite a large baby, especially compared to my previous two. I ended up pushing before it was quite time because of the way things happened. Anyway, this dragged my cervix down and partially outside my body, which put serious strain on my round ligaments.
Now I’m dealing with the aftermath of that. The round ligament pain has been pretty severe at times, enough that I can’t stand up straight or walk. Arnica helps with this, as do hot baths. It’s pretty bad, though, and even when it’s not seriously painful (mostly when I’m sitting I don’t feel it) it’s very hard to get up and walk. I also can’t really carry anything with serious weight — which includes my older children — to avoid pulling on it. For the most part I have to sit in bed and just rest, so that the ligaments can heal.
It’s not fun. But it is temporary. It’s so crucial to stay in bed, even though I’d love to get up (other than this I feel completely normal!). But it’s not worth the risk. If it doesn’t heal right, there’s a chance that my uterus could prolapse in a future pregnancy, leading to the loss of the pregnancy and possibly preventing me from ever getting pregnant again. We don’t want that. So it’s really crucial that I stay down for a few more days and heal from this. It’s a good thing I have help for the next few weeks!
What’s your advice in the immediate postpartum period?