This past Thursday was my original due date, December 1st. I thought I’d use this pretend-milestone to give an update on me.
I knew after the baby was born things would be different. I didn’t realize it’d still be focused on me. Well, kinda… During the pregnancy, you take care of your body to provide for the baby. That doesn’t change once the baby arrives; in fact, existing solely for the baby is even more in demand. Welcome to the 4th trimester.
Let’s start with breastfeeding. Talk about my body no longer being a private, personal thing. At the hospital, several nurses stepped right in to help me get a good latch, squeezing my breasts to stimulate the milk, telling me I have great nipples for feeding. Oh, thanks? When I got hooked up to the breast pump, I officially turned into a milk-making machine. At some point it felt more awkward to cover myself. At least the “boob whisperer”, a highly recommended lactation consultant best described by a mother friend as a wise sage, made the experience much gentler for me.
Since I’m nursing, I still watch what I eat. Organic, vitamins, drinking milk to make milk, consuming enough calories, and do cabbage and Brussels sprouts really give the baby gas? But hey, now I can add sushi and bacon to the regime!
Then there’s the recovery. Some say it takes six weeks; my doctor said I could try activity after two. At three, I’m ready–itching–but need to ease back into it slowly. Last week I put on my running shoes for the first time since July; I came home walking. Today I’m hoping to pick up a tennis racquet, though most likely it’ll be short court. But I’ll take any dose of fresh air, vitamin D. It has been two months since I went on bed rest and many have commented on how pale I am.
I have a new body. After one week I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight but not waistline, and that first hill up the Wildwood trail will be brutal. Before exercise was my drug; now I need to make a serious effort to make the time and energy for it. Here’s to still being able to do pull ups.
This lifestyle is an adjustment. Days can’t be planned; productivity can’t be tracked; this time off work isn’t an opportunity to get other things done. I’m winging each day, and other than doctor appointments, not adding events to my normally well-maintained and full Google calendar. I am hoping to have more social outings, or innings (can I use that?).
It can be challenging, for instance, when I’m on zero hours of sleep, tied to the couch for cluster feeds like, as another mother friend remembered, a human udder. I feel guilty when I’m eager to hand him off to squeeze in a shower. Other days, the two-hour sleep stretches are like power naps on steroids, and I’m raring to go. I am incredibly grateful to have Chippy and my mom to help. One extra set of hands, to grab that thing, or to whip up some food, is precious; plus, they’re great company and can handle my moods.
After next week, I’ll be completely on my own for a week. Oh boy. Those who are free during the day may be getting some texts or phone calls 🙂