Week One


On Monday morning, September 5, our last Baby Bum arrived. Labor Day. She knows how much I appreciate word jokes. We didn't find out the gender in advance, so it was a surprise and delight to find out that it was a girl! R is completely over the moon excited about having a baby sister.

I truly did not have a gender preference most of the pregnancy, but I did think it was going to be a boy up until the last month or so, when I started feeling like it was a girl. Early on in the pregnancy I had a very clear dream that felt so lifelike, where I had the baby and it was a girl. The same thing happened to me during F's pregnancy, where I dreamed it was a boy! Jordan thought it was going to be a boy.

This probably isn't the most glamorous first post to share about our new baby, but she is a week old yesterday, and I wanted to write a bit about this first postpartum week. I do not share this for medical advice or for sympathy. I wanted to write it down so I can look back on this later and be encouraged by how far I've come; but also too for anyone who might have a hard time, like I do, comparing themselves to others.

I am pretty hard on myself in general, and after every pregnancy I see people going out and doing things and wonder how they can, when I'm barely walking to the mailbox and back. Every pregnancy, delivery, baby, and body is different, so it's silly to compare, but I still do it.

As far as the pregnancy goes, although this was my fourth baby and I'm obviously older than I was during any other, this was my easiest and most enjoyable pregnancy. I've struggled with a lot of anxiety in the past, mostly about the baby being okay, and this time I'm so thankful Jesus answered my prayer and gave me a lot of peace and calmness about this baby. Of course, I still had moments of worry, but for the most part I did not feel overwhelmed with anxiety like I have in the past. Emotionally, I was very up and down with my moods, and I will say I randomly cried a lot, but my anxiety was so much lower.

Physically, I felt the best I ever have being pregnant. I came into this pregnancy in the best shape possibly of my life. I trained for the Chicago Marathon all summer and ran more often than I ever have. The race was in October, and I got pregnant just before Christmas. I kept running 3-4 times a week and completed the OKC half marathon at 21.5 weeks pregnant in April. My last run was when I was 30 weeks--that's the longest I've ever run while pregnant. After that, I kept up walking 2-3 miles, and my mom and I walked for a good 45 minutes the night before I had this baby.

I absolutely think without a doubt that going into this pregnancy in shape helped me feel so good physically while pregnant. I stayed very active, not only running but doing workouts at home, and I didn't really have any back or hip pain at all. I did throw my back out in February and couldn't move around much for about 2 weeks, but that's a recurring injury that pops up every year and a half or so, and not related specifically to pregnancy. Of course, I was uncomfortable. I had leg cramps, nausea, fatigue, headaches... but in general I can't complain very much at all about how I felt physically this last time.

I'll come back to share her birth story, but as far as the birth experience, the biggest difference with this delivery is that I didn't tear! I tore every time prior (twice in the same spot), and I was shocked I didn't tear this time. I have no idea if that was related to being active in pregnancy, my position when I pushed her out, or other factors, but I was super excited to hear that.

Considering how good overall I felt during pregnancy, this past week has been really hard. On Sunday (so 6 days postpartum), I drove R to church for the kids' music program because I thought it would be nice to get out of the house. Until that point I hadn't gone anywhere except to take G to her checkup at the pediatrician on Friday. I drove R to church, walked her inside, up 2 flights of stairs, down the hallway, then back down the stairs and out to my car, where I sat in the parking lot and called my mom and sobbed because I realized I didn't want to be out after all. 

When it was time to pick R up, I sat inside the door and waited for someone to come by so I could ask them to go get her for me so I didn't have to do the stairs again. I know I just had a baby, but it had been almost a week, and I got achy and tired walking up some stairs?! I felt super lame. Of course, everyone was nice to me as I sat there in the chair crying about how I just really wanted to go home.

It's hard for me not to be active. It's hard for me to rest. I just don't do it very well, and I know this about myself. I've been trying to really not do anything at all and just rest as much as possible, and I'm incredibly thankful and realize what a blessing it is to have a supportive husband, helpful friends, amazing mom, and a mother-in-law who lives close.

Postpartum is a weird time. I'm snuggling a tiny baby that I can't believe was just inside of me. And I'm so thankful and happy, and yet I hurt all over. I'm wearing Depends, which a friend recommended and I'm telling you this: Depends is missing out on the postpartum market because wow. I wish I had worn these with other babies! So much better than the hospital mesh underwear and giant pads. The kids, by the way, think it's hilarious that I'm wearing a pull-up. They also have asked me several times why my belly is still big and whether or not I'm having another baby. THANK YOU SO MUCH, tiny humans. I feel affirmed.

So I've got that going on, plus all the nursing things happening. Thankfully G is latching and eating really well, and I know I just have to get past the first couple weeks and it won't hurt as much, but that's not the most fun right now either. Also YES, it's true that cramping is worse with each kid, at least it has been true for me. Every time she eats it's like insane period cramps, which are thankfully getting better every day, but those first few days were truly terrible.

My biggest issue this time has been my stomach. It just feels out of place--all my organs moved around and I guess are trying to move back, and it's been giving me a giant stomachache. I'm taking a stool softener and Ibuprofen several times a day. I'm also sleeping in one- to two-hour increments. It's just such a wonderful time!

Actually, though, it IS a wonderful time. It's an honor and a blessing to have done this four times. It's a sweet time, and it's also really hard. I've only left my house twice in a week, and both times I wish I hadn't. I've cried once a day every day. I'm achy and sore and tired. I'm trying to give myself grace, take it one day at a time, and remember that every day I'm improving. Rest is the best thing for me, and it's okay if I'm not going out yet. I have no one to compare to, nothing to prove, and the best little baby to snuggle. Just so overwhelmingly thankful.

Amie said...

She is beautiful, congratulations!!! It's all so hard, everything you said here. I only have two so I can not imagine four kiddos. Definitely take it easy on yourself, you deserve all the rest you can get.

Amanda said...

Thank you so much! We are loving all the baby snuggles for sure.

Audrey Louise said...

Postpartum was truly terrible for me. I 100% understand how you're feeling- physically and mentally. But you really seem to have such a hopeful, positive attitude in your post! It will get better every single day and you have the most beautiful family! Congratulations!!

Sarah said...

She is so precious!! You have the cutest family. Postpartum is so hard whether it's your first time or your fourth. I hope you're able to get some rest when you can!!

Amanda said...

Thank you! I do feel better every day. I just struggle being patient! But I am feeling positive and thankful things are going well :)

Ashley said...

I just wanted to say that I am 10 days postpartum with my third baby and I can relate to so much of this. With my second baby I felt amazing after delivery. I was barely achy and we were going on walks (up giant hills!) starting at 5 days postpartum. This postpartum period though I'm so much more achy and need so much more rest and I have had to remind myself too that that is okay and most likely way more normal than just being okay only a few days postpartum. Just wanted to let you know you aren't alone! I also love how you wrote about the hard things but also in such a way where you are describing them as wonderful because they truly are both hard and wonderful. :)

The Lady Okie said...

Yes! Hard and wonderful. Thanks for sharing. It’s crazy how different our pp can be from
baby to baby. It will get better! The newborn snuggles help a lot :)