The First Four Weeks

Sometime during my pregnancy, I wrote that “it’s true what they say, the days are long, but the years are short”. It only got more true after Austin was born – I just can’t believe that our little monkey will be a month old on Monday! He’s already grown and changed so much since he was born, and this week I had to put away some of his newborn sleepers because they just don’t fit anymore…..so sad! šŸ˜¦

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I’m going to try to stay on top of regular updates, because it’s crazy how the days and weeks are blurring together, and it kind of breaks my heart that some of these precious memories will be lost in the folds of sleep deprivation and hormonal mood swings.

SO – how are we doing? We’re doing okay! Some days I feel like we’re totally kicking ass at this whole parenting thing; we have a good rhythm with feedings, Austin is sleeping well, and content for the few minutes that he’s awake, I manage to get some stuff done around the house….and other days, literally if all three of us are still alive, then that’s the victory of the day! I am very much a Type A personality, and those days are really hard for me; I’ll be honest. I’ve never been good at letting go of a plan, or at rolling with the punches, and both of those skills are so important with a newborn. Thankfully, Matt is an absolute all-star, and is much better at letting go of plans and rolling with punches. He’s picked up the slack when I drop the ball so many times in the past 4 weeks, I can’t keep count anymore.

Feeding

Breastfeeding has been an incredible challenge right from day 1 for us. Austin has struggled to latch on properly, and I’ve struggled with awkward positioning, raw / cracked / bleeding nipples and an incredible sense of failure that I’m just not getting the hang of this. I’ve felt enormous pressure (mostly self-imposed) to breastfeed vs. formula feed, but I won’t lie, more than a couple times I’ve been thisclose to throwing in the towel and giving up.

Thankfully – this past week has been a big turning point for us (I think)! Up until this week, we’ve been breastfeeding at just about every feed, and then topping up with a bottle of pumped breast milk to make sure that he is getting enough even if the breastfeeding isn’t going well. Well, this week at our check-in, his weight was up to 9 pounds 10 ounces, and he took 110mL from me while only breastfeeding for about 12 minutes!!! I seriously cheered out loud when I read those results on the scale – for one of the first times since Austin was born, I felt like I may have actually done something right, and that we were headed in the right direction!

Our lactation consultant has us exclusively breastfeeding now, no more bottle top-up. I’m very nervous about this, and to be honest, our first night without the bottle didn’t go well at all, but we’re going to keep working at it, and hopefully get to the point that it’s either breastfeeding OR a bottle to feed him, but not both. I’m glad that we did introduce the bottle early, because Austin doesn’t seem to mind switching back and forth, and I really appreciate the flexibility of someone else being able to feed him if I need a bit of a break, or have to step out for whatever reason.

Feeding is still totally a work in progress, but I feel like we’re starting to get there slowly, and we will keep working at it until we master it. I’m hoping in another few weeks that we will look back at all of these challenges and wonder what the big deal was.

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The Many Nicknames…

LOL – oh you guys…for a mama that insisted on naming my baby something that nobody could shorten or change with a nickname, I sure do have an awful lot of nicknames for my little man! Sometimes people hear me talking to Austin and look at me like I’m insane LOL…here are some of my current faves:

  • Nibs
  • Nibsy Magoo
  • Mr. Magoo
  • Flower
  • Flower-Bug
  • Flower-Bee
  • NakedBaby (said all together very quickly LOL – this is one of my favourites when we’re changing his diaper / feeding him…it just cracks me up)
  • Honey-Bee
  • Austin-Bee (what’s with me and the bees???)

There are probably more, but those are the top ones for now….sheesh, this poor guy….. wait untilĀ  he’s a gigantic teenager playing hockey and finds out that I used to call him Flower-Bee LOL…. I die….

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Sleeping

Oi…… for every time that I said the words “I’m so tired” before I had Austin….I truly and deeply apologize to the parenting community.

Some nights, Austin doesn’t do too bad, and will sleep for a solid 3 hours before waking up hungry. Those nights are totally manageable, and I’ve been REALLY lucky that most of the weeknights that I’ve handled on my own without Matt’s help have been like this. I’ve gotten pretty used to functioning okay on 2 – 2.5 hour stretches of sleep, but there have been a handful of nights from hell where our poor little monkey just can’t get settled back to sleep after a feeding, and is awake fussing for another 1 – 1.5 hours (or on particularly heinous nights like last night – 4 straight hours), meaning that by the time he does finally go down, he’s awake in another 20 minutes hungry again anyways. GAH.

Again – I’ll admit that my Type A personality makes me not so great in these difficult moments. I struggle to understand that there doesn’t always have to be a logical, and predictable reason that babies cry, sometimes they just need a hug or a cuddle, or they get hungry faster then they “should”….and I think what really is frustrating / upsetting to me is that I don’t know how or what to do to “fix” things when he gets so upset like this. Enter: guilt, stage left.

Everyone keeps telling me that things will improve sleep-wise, and I really hope that this is true for us. We’ve been sleeping downstairs on our couch for the past 4 weeks with Austin in his bassinet (one big bonus for us is that he does sleep very well in his bassinet, whereas I know a lot of babies struggle to sleep unless they are being held). I’m really looking forward to trying to move back upstairs into our bedroom (with the bassinet at the foot of our bed), I hate sleeping on our couch, and with my stitches, I find it really hard to get up and down from the couch because it’s such a deep, cushy sectional. This brings me to…..

My Recovery

Recovering from our delivery has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through in my life, and I’m probably still only 50% of the way there as of today. The first week was so hard. I don’t think there was one day where I didn’t sob until my stomach muscles hurt from either the pain, or more often from just the overwhelmingly poor prognosis for a full, long-term recovery. Google is awful. I challenge any of you to find more than 5 positive recovery stories from a fourth-degree tear during childbirth. I think I’ve found maybe 5 in total, with daily searches. I’ve probably read at least 200 stories from women struggling years later, who never returned to proper function. It’s completely and totally overwhelming, and if I’m having an emotionally weak moment, it’s enough to make me cry for an hour.

Slowly, very slowly, things are improving. I’m no longer in pain for 90% of the day or more, it’s more that sitting or moving certain ways feels a bit uncomfortable sometimes, and I can feel the stitches kind of pulling a bit, but nothing unbearable anymore by any means. I’m off all of my pain medications now (have been for over a week) and my biggest remaining challenge is staying on top of my fibre intake, because…well, use your imagination. (Sorry – TMI, I know). I’ve also been trying my best to get at least one Epsom salt bath in per day, and spend at least a few minutes with an ice pack as well, and I think both of these things have been really helping.

I hit my all-time low with recovery on Monday of this week (Monday October 30th) when I was absolutely sure that I had torn my stitches / incision open. Thankfully, my midwives were able to get me an emergency appointment with the OB that delivered Austin (and the one that stitched me back up!), and she saw me on Tuesday. I can’t say enough wonderful things about this OB – she has truly been one of the only bright spots in an otherwise very, very challenging situation. She just has the perfect balance of being so kind and empathetic, while at the same time, business-like and professional, and very knowledgeable. More important than any of that stuff is that she has 150% of my trust, and at a time when I’m feeling so vulnerable, it really puts my mind at ease to have a medical professional that I trust so much looking after me.

She examined me completely (external AND internal….dear God, I thought I would have a heart attack when she said internal, but she laughed at me and said that she of all people wouldn’t do any damage to the stitches that she had put in, so I had to trust her…and I did!). I nearly wept with relief (actually, I did weep with relief lol) when she told me that things were healing well, she couldn’t detect any issues at all, and that I had not torn open any stitches. That appointment really improved my head space when it comes to my recovery, and I’ve been more positive ever since.

It will be 4 weeks on Monday, and I’ve been told that I can begin pelvic floor physiotherapy as of 6 weeks. I have an appointment for November 23rd, and I just can’t wait to get started and feel like I’m actually contributing to my own recovery. I am really, really hoping to start light workouts again in December, and to be back in classes by January. I’m 100% committed to a full recovery, and will do whatever it takes to get there, so I’m trying to look at this as a goal of some sort (a new BHAG perhaps?!).

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My Favourite Moments

I’ve talked a lot about challenges in this post, but there have been so many wonderful moments that truly trump and overshadow all of the things that we’ve gone through this month.

My absolute favourite moments are the sleepy onesĀ  after we finish feeding when NakedBaby (LOL) falls asleep on my chest….sometimes he will make these soft little “coo” noises, and I think my heart might just melt through my chest.

Lately, his little face has been getting so expressive, and he’s starting to mimic facial expressions like smiles, big open mouths, sticking out tongues etc, and I just love interacting with him a little bit more. He’s going to be such a fun little boy.

I just love to watch Austin and Matt together. Matt is doing such an amazing job, just like I knew that he would. He is patient, never gets flustered, and Austin just adores him. When I’m at my wits end and have tried everything I can think of to calm him down, Matt will do it in less than a minute. My favourite thing that they do is play “rocket ship”, where Matt basically grabs Austin under the arms and goes “ROCKET SHIP – WOOOOOOOO” in a super high-pitched voice as he lifts him straight up. Right now, Austin doesn’t really know what the hell his Daddy is doing, but I’m sure he will just die laughing in a few weeks! IMG_2410IMG_2395IMG_2360IMG_2356

So, all in all, it’s been a challenging, but amazing and rewarding month at the same time. I’m really proud that I’ve stuck with pumping and breastfeeding, and that Austin has gained weight so well in his first month, and all things considered, I’d call our first month as a family of three a success. November is a big month for all of us in terms of development, routine, and recovery. I am really optimistic and hopeful that by December, I will be much further along with my recovery, Austin will be further along inn his development, and all of us will be a bit more settled into our new normal.

Lots of love from the Sidders Clan!

-Sara xo

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