POSTPARTUM WEEK 2 & 3
What’s been going on? Let’s see… yes, I’ve been enjoying lots of baby cuddles, as people keep recommending. And it’s absolutely delightful. I’m doing so much more holding this time around. In fact, one of the biggest changes this time is that I’m trying out “co-sleeping.” I’m not sure that it’s technically co-sleeping because I only ever sleep with her on top of me- on my chest. I started out doing this because I realized she would fall asleep quicker that way, and now, sometimes, I do it for me, because I crave her close to me. And sometimes I choose to put her in her bassinet by my bed, when I want more freedom to roll around when I sleep.
This time around I feel so much more cognizant of the “fourth trimester” as an important time of dependence between Kaia and I. With Ella, this sounds crazy, but I looked back in my journal of her early days, and we moved her to her own room after six days! Six days! At the time it made sense to Luc and I because we were able to sleep better without all of her little noises, and I was going into the other room to nurse anyways. This time I didn’t want to do it that way.
This time I feel that Kaia still needs me so much. She was just inside of me, and that is the only home that has been familiar to her up until now. And honestly, I need her. She is my last baby to cuddle, and this time is so precious. They just melt into you at this age. She is used to being a part of me, and that feels so sweet. I really don’t want it to end. Sometimes I stare at her while she’s sleeping on my chest, enamored by the beauty of her perfection, and I begin to cry. One time I cried because I was overwhelmed with joy and relief at her being healthy after all the months of worry. One time I cried because I was so impressed by her strength at being able to handle all that she has already with such ease. Another time, who knows why I cried. I’ve cried so much! Usually tears of joy. So, I try to keep her as close to me as possible as often as possible.
Car rides are a disaster. She has screamed her head off every single time, the whole entire time, up until yesterday when she finally slept on two car rides- it’s a miracle!
I had my first blue postpartum experience the other day, on Halloween actually. It was Luc’s first day back to work, so my first day alone with Kaia and picking the kids up from school. Everything at home with Kaia went great. We went on a couple of walks with the pack so she could nap more easily. When it came time to the car ride, to pick up Ella, she of course screamed her head off. And after getting Ella we had to wait an hour before we could get Anders. A screaming baby, plus annoyed toddler and mom, plus changing diapers in the back seat- it’s all challenging, let’s just say that.
Then we had a chiropractic body balancing appointment scheduled for Kaia after getting Anders. She screamed the whole way there, falling asleep at the very end right before we had to wake her up for her session, which she cried the entire time through.
So Dr. Jen had some not so good news for me. After working with Kaia for about ten minutes, Jen determined that Kaia had a lot of “rage” that was due to emotion that I was holding regarding our birth experience. Jen also said that Kaia is holding a lot of tension in her body that has to do with her birth experience. Jen suggested that I needed to process the birth for myself and to rewrite it in a more positive light for Kaia’s sake so that a negative story isn’t imprinted on her for the rest of her life. She said to take a warm epsom salt bath with Kaia and to tell her our birth story, focusing on the positive elements.
Okay. This was a lot to swallow. I had already been having a stressful day, so by the time I got home after receiving this news, still dealing with a crying baby, trying to make dinner for the family and get ready for Halloween, I was spent. I cried as I nursed Kaia, while my family ate dinner in the other room. Tears of guilt streamed down my face and landed on Kaia for any harm I may have caused or be causing Kaia. I also felt like I was failing, and everything was falling apart. It’s irrational, I know, but if you’re a mom or parent, then you’ve probably experienced this. You just want to protect your kids from everything, and to think that she may have a bunch of pent up rage feels really scary to me.
I spent the rest of the night in a funk while trick-or-treating, but the next morning, with Luc’s help, I got myself out of it. I would never have guessed that Kaia was rageful, so I’m trying not to trip about it. I did the bath thing with her a few days later and it was nice. I focused on explaining to Kaia how strong we both were and how our bodies knew exactly what to do. I feel better about the birth story, and Kaia seemed to really enjoy the bath as well. I will let the information about Kaia’s rage and tension be. There’s only so much I can do, which is give her my best (which of course I would do anyways), and I will continue taking her to Acorn and hopefully their magic hands will help to undo any stress/tension she is harboring.
UPDATE: I had a follow-up phone conversation with Dr. Jen, who so generously called me on her way home from working all day. I wanted to ask some clarifying questions: how serious was this? What did she feel/see in Kaia that led her to the conclusions she made? Did her being fussy and overly tired have anything to do with her observations? Was there anything else that I needed to do to help Kaia resolve these issues?
As Jen and I talked I gained a lot of clarity on what Jen meant by her diagnosis of Kaia’s tension and rage. Rather than meaning that Kaia had her own built up rage, Jen meant that Kaia is like an emotional sponge and takes on other people’s energy very easily. The rage that she was observing in Kaia was not her own and Kaia was trying to get rid of/process it. This made more sense to me, because honestly, I don’t experience Kaia that way. She feels very calm, serene and almost still to me (when she’s not fussy). Her energy actually reminds me a lot of Anders’ energy when he was that age. There’s just this stillness about them.
Jen said that Kaia is very energetically powerful and special- now maybe she was just boosting my ego, but I’ll buy this one. Who doesn’t believe this to be true of their child? But, this is the third person to tell me this about Kaia. When I was at the end of my pregnancy, a woman at my birth worker meetup told me, after doing some energy work on me, that Kaia had a very strong energy. Just a few days ago, after seeing Kaia for a minute, a doula I know proclaimed that Kaia was very “present.” Then Jen says this about Kaia. And throughout my pregnancy I always had this feeling about the baby as well. Also the fact that she was conceived so quickly and delivered so quickly, gives me some sort of feeling of strength and power about Kaia.
I don’t know if this “energy” of Kaia’s will end up being a thing for her. I am a believer in energy, but I can also see how ready someone's energy can be very subjective. Personally, I don’t know if I’d call myself a great energy reader but I would say I’m very good at reading and understanding people. TBD how this all plays out for Kaia, but it’s worth noting as part of her/our story.
My body postpartum.
My body has been feeling great, I said that already, right? But, I have experienced some weird pelvic floor stuff that I’ve never felt before. Twice during my first week postpartum I totally peed my pants without even realizing that I needed to pee. So that’s not fun. Now that I’m in week three, I have better bladder control, but it’s not 100%..
My bleeding has almost stopped. A few days ago I thought it had ended completely, only to restart the next day. But I only bleed a little bit once or twice a day now.
At the beginning of week three my body felt just about back to normal- but not like ready to get frisky normal. I don’t feel any discomfort down there but I do feel like it probably still needs some more healing before we jump into action.
My abs have been really sore- which I don’t remember from before. But this makes sense since this time I stopped all core workouts at about 7 months postpartum, and I had been turning to my side to get up for the last 5 months too! So now, just from regular functional use of my abs, like getting up and down off the couch, they have been getting quite the workout!
I have not attempted any sort of exercise yet, aside from taking walks with Kaia, which are usually just about a half mile long, a couple of times a day, and all the pacing back and forth around the house that I do to get her to fall asleep. It has felt really good to move my body again. My back and hips have been slightly sore, and my upper back hurts from all the baby holding, but that’s about it. I’m almost ready to start strengthening my body again. I think next week I will be ready to start with some pelvic floor/core activation work.