10 Days Postpartum | What I've Learned
So, we’ve wrapped up the first ten days of postpartum.
I typed “postpartum bliss” and then backspaced and wrote “postpartum fog” and then backspaced again and left it at “postpartum.” And though I feel like it has been a little bit blissful and a little bit foggy, it’s also been nothing short of real life postpartum with all the ups and downs and curves, healing and hormones and havoc.
Within seven days of having baby girl, we stayed in the hospital for 4 days with our preemie girl, packed up our home, moved to a new home, and unpacked that home. It’s now day 10 of being a mom of two, and really only day 6 of being home with my newborn, and it’s in a whole different home than it was when I left to go to the hospital.
All of that aside, this postpartum experience has been significantly different than I had with Jojo, and I couldn’t be happier about it. To be honest, I’ve been dreading this newborn phase, as I truly was miserable these first weeks after Joey was born. It was so hard, and I was so exhausted, and felt like such a poor mother. I was scared and lonely and everything felt… new and unfamiliar. I hate new and unfamiliar, so you can imagine how scared I was of having the same postpartum experience again, and in a new and unfamiliar environment.
Adam was scared, too. As we came home from the hospital, he was headed into a series of salmon fishing trips that won’t end until the first week of October, making his work weeks six days long and grueling for the foreseeable future. We talked about setting up another room for him in the new house so he could get some sleep, and how we are going to coordinate child care for Joey and pick up schedules.
Now, we aren’t sure if it’s because she’s a preemie, or if it’s because we are more experienced, so if she is just so different from Joey, or a combination of everything, but Cece is NOTHING like Joey, and my experience postpartum isn’t even remotely similar to after Joey, either.
First of all, my recovery time from birth was literally zero this go-round. Truly, I feel like I had a baby and the next day, could have returned to the gym. I bounced back into normal life, physically, immediately. I lost VERY little blood during delivery, and had a small tear which never even hurt later. I cramped while I nursed Cece for a few days, and then that subsided and now I’m still just managing the small amount of bleeding I do have.
My body also did some amazing things outside of “that area.” Ten days postpartum, and I’m back to wearing my pre-pregnancy clothes, and very comfortably. My stomach is alllllmost back to normal size, and I have zero swelling. I gained less than half the weight I gained during my first pregnancy, and was 5 weeks early, so of course there was a little bit less to lose, but my body really did just return to optimum. I’m truly not sure how… so please don’t ask for tips on how to “bounce back.” Because I sure as heck didn’t with Joey, and I didn’t do anything different this time.
Other awesome things preventing me from feeling like I expected to feel: breastfeeding is going about as great as it could be, I don’t feel scared for my life every time she cries, Joey is super helpful, and honestly – we are just so incredibly thankful she is even here, that she could probably be the worst baby ever and I wouldn’t care.
Sure, we are getting up six times a night and she’s constantly attached to my boob and it’s super hard juggling two children. All those things are true, but I also feel like I am equipped. I have the tools, the experience, the resources, to do this a little bit more gracefully this time around.
I get asked a lot about some of the products I’m using postpartum, for me and for baby. Especially now, since the last ten days have been truly, really blissful, though chaotic.
To be honest, Adam and I have wondered the same thing – if we had been equipped with the right gear and tools with Joey, if it would have been a little bit easier. And though we will never know, I do know that what we have going right now is a great team of collateral that is making this shift (all the shifts) as seamless as can be.
Seriously, this isn’t a plug for my own product. I wonder every single moment of these last ten days how ANYONE with a newborn can survive without a JoJo. Cece is in her JoJo, literally, every second that she isn’t being held. I seriously wonder, where did we even put Joey?! Just on the bed without anything?! Where was he laid down?! The JoJo has been a serious staple. I have one in the bedroom, and one in her moses basket (which I will get to in a second), that I tote around the rest of the house. In fact, she’s sleeping in her JoJo in her basket at my feet while I write this from my laptop on the couch. The JoJo has been a serious life saver – it’s safe, it’s familiar, it’s protecting her and it’s just the best thing ever.
I seriously thought I would only use this thing for photos. Um…. no. I have used the basket for hours every day. She’s in it for her naps, her awake times when she’s not being held, and I love that she is safe and not “out in the open” when she’s in it. Trust me, with a toddler, this is really important. So far, the basket has been a living room, kitchen and bedroom staple, and is about to be a staple in the JoJo packing room as well.
I thought that Joey didn’t like being swaddled, but I would be willing to bet that it was because I didn’t have the right swaddles. I now have three Lou Lou swaddles, and they are EVERYTHING. Nothing compares. Think you love your muslin ones? Nope… get Lou Lou. They keep baby swaddled, stay tight and are extraordinarily huge which I love. Cece has loved being swaddled in them, and calms down immediately upon being bundled up. I really think it’s the swaddle itself, not the swaddling.
So simple, I know. But you know how much everyone loves those water jugs the hospital gives you? Kind of as much as we love the mesh undies they give us… that’s how I feel about my water cup. Here’s why: I know if I drink four, I have had a gallon of water; it keeps ice ALL DAY (and all night…); I can always find it in the house because it’s mine and not just a random water glass. Three GREAT reasons to have this cup.
Mostly I love this thing because it’s a nightlight, sound machine, and toddler wake up clock. But in this circumstance, I love that it has “mood lighting” and that it’s so easy to turn on and off. We don’t have lights next to our bed yet, and even if we did, they are too bright for middle of the night feedings and diaper changes. I don’t want to wake Adam and I also don’t want to be blinded. The Hatch Nightlight is so easy – tap to turn on, tap to turn off, no switch struggle. And I love that I can adjust how bright it gets. I like it somewhere in the middle, so I can see well enough to nurse and change a diaper, but can also fall asleep with it on and it’s not obtrusive (I doze off a lot while she nurses). It’s next to my bed right now, and I’m getting another one for Joey’s room which is where I stole it from. So, so so good.
APPLE WATCH and AIR PODS
Yep. I’m that girl. Reasons I love my watch right now:
It tells me when I need to stand up and move. This is really helpful for ensuring that I keep my body moving and not sedentary. I think this has been integral in my fast recovery and also from keeping me from getting sore from sitting too much to nurse and such. Voice texting – babies require two hands. I love that I can read and respond to texts from my watch, basically hands free. This wouldn’t have been as imperative if we weren’t trying to sell and buy a house within 5 days of being home from the hospital, but there was a lot going on and I loved that I could keep up with demands with just my watch. Finally, an alarm. I have to wake Cece every 2 hours to nurse. She’s a preemie, and she likes to sleep but eating is the most important thing she can do. So I set my alarm on my watch each time she eats for 2 hours from then, and it’s so much easier than picking up my phone. Also, when the alarm goes off, it just vibrates on my wrist and isn’t waking up everyone on the house. Subtle and so easy. And my airpods? Well, no one with a newborn should be carrying around a phone with headphones plugged into it, or having to talk on your phone with your head tilted over, holding it on your shoulder. Hello extra chiropractic bills. My airpods have allowed me to have all my phone calls (work, social and house buying and selling related), while I do necessary baby things or help Joey with his lunch. They’ve also been great for late night podcast listening or jazz music lullabies to help me to sleep when I’m too wired.
NURSING CAMIS AND BRAS
Why I thought that these were not necessary when I was nursing Joey is beyond me. I now have an array of both nursing camis and bras, and swear by them. So far my favorites have been the Target camis, and I buy them big so nothing feels restricted, and nursing sports bras, also a little big. Also – postpartum hot flashes are totes a thing, and it’s really nice to only have to be wearing a cami or bra when they come on, because Lordy, those are rough.
This list is a lot different from my list with Joey as a newborn – and that’s ok. I like this list better. It’s smaller, more intentional, and frankly, happier. Everything has a purpose, and a good one. It makes me feel less overwhelmed with stuff, more strategic about what Cece is using and loving, and makes it so every day is a little more consistent. I like consistency, and routine, and these products are making these last 10 days and beyond MUCH more blissful.