POSTPARTUM WEEKS 4 & 5
I don’t remember how my other babies slept during this early phase, so let’s track it.
The first few days Kaia was sleeping typically 3 hours at a time, waking up to eat and going back to sleep. She was barely awake. After that it switched to every two hours, and she was staying awake for more like an hour at a time (including 20 minute nursing sessions and diaper changes) a few times a day and going right back to sleep after nursing the other times. And still going right back to sleep after nursing at night.
Now she’s sleeping in about 1 hour increments and eating every two hours. So she’ll eat when she first wakes up and either go right back to sleep, which happens almost always at night, and maybe once during the day; or she’ll be awake for about 40 -60 mins after nursing, at which point she’ll become fussy because she’s tired and I’ll have to walk her around to get her to sleep. Most of the time we use the Ergo pack to get her to fall asleep. The only problem is she doesn’t sleep very long in it- maybe an hour tops, and she doesn’t stay asleep when we try to transfer her out of it.
Kaia has had a couple of bouts of mild colds, which has made her want to be held throughout the day, and nursing extra at night.
Kaia also seems to be very fussy because of digestive issues. It’s all really hard to tell for sure, right? But that’s what it seems like to me. And then she’ll try to nurse more to comfort her stomach, and a few times she has vomited everything back up all over me.
Waking up throughout the night is officially getting old. At about week four the exhaustion began to hit. Waking and sleeping are all kind of blurred together now. When I wake to feed her, I’m kind of half asleep the whole time. And when I’m sleeping, I’m also half awake, patting her back or bouncing her, cajoling her back to sleep when she’s sleeping on me. I don’t sleep with her on me much anymore. Mostly I use the bassinet now because she doesn’t fit on me as well since she’s grown! And I don’t feel as comfortable having her sleep beside me. We have a queen size bed and it just doesn’t feel big enough.
But I’m getting about 7 hours of sleep most nights, sometimes more, sometimes less. I go to bed by 9 pm and Kaia’s usually up around 6:30. And she’ll wake 3-4 times per night usually. I actually enjoy night time with her. Because it’s a quiet intimate time, and she just stays sleepy. She feeds for 5-10 mins, I hold her for 10 mins on my chest, and then lay her down. It’s all down within 20 mins. It’s quite lovely. Usually around 5 or 6 she’ll be fussy and I’ll have her sleep with me then so that I can soothe her with rocking and patting.
Okay, I’m highlighting the challenges, but let me tell you, it is ALL absolutely worth it. I love her so much and feel this special bond with her. I don’t know what it is, but it feels different. I feel really close to her. I feel like she needs a lot of comfort, she has a lot of emotions, and I am the person who understands and is able to soothe her.
I feel like I’ve had a sense of each kid’s personalities from the time they were infants, so I’ll take a try at Kaia’s. I feel like Kaia is charged. She has a lot of emotions going on in her most of the time. I think she will be thoughtful as well as emotional. I think she will be demanding and know exactly what she wants. She’s pretty thick-skinned, so I wouldn’t call her sensitive, or insecure, but confident and grounded. She’s an observer. She will be social, kind, and very empathetic. These are my guesses about our Kaia girl.
Anders was very easy going and content. Ella was silly. And Kaia is charged.
I went back to work after four weeks. I’m starting back slowly, with just a few clients and my mom classes = 6 hours/week. It’s been going pretty great! I’ve had to hold Kaia through a few sessions, she napped through one, and my mom was here for the other two. So far so good! I’ve learned to just take it one day at a time.
I’ve really enjoyed being back to work actually. It’s nice to have a purpose outside of mom-life, something to get dressed for each day.
I’ve been doing some strength training too! My body feels healed. I have stopped bleeding completely, and my pubic symphysis dysfunction is gone also. My body is much softer and less muscular, so I am looking forward to getting some of that back. But you know what, I had this foreign thought that the other day I don’t care what my body looks like anymore. Now that I’m off that trajectory, I really don’t feel interested in getting back on. Before I kind of felt like, “well I’ve worked so hard for it thus far, I should keep it up.” But now, I don’t want to work hard for it again. I’d rather enjoy the foods I enjoy (which I always have) and not feel like I HAVE TO fit a workout in each day. I really don’t have to, and I don’t want to stress about trying to make time for it. I think my ideal workout schedule would be 3-4 strength training sessions per week, and maybe some walking the other days. I really just don’t want to stress about it. There are so many more important things in life. As long as I’m healthy, that’s enough.
Here’s a little something I wrote to try and capture how much I cherish this time with Kaia. I cried the other day as I was nursing her and thinking thoughts like these.
The perfect breath
Your tiny curled-up toes and paper thin nails
The softness of your head and hair as I brush my cheek upon it
Your cheeks that I kiss as often as possible
Your puckered lips as you sleep
The rhythmic sighs of your breath
I lean in close to feel and smell your sweet breath
That I somehow created
Your palm planted on my chest as you nurse,
Reaching straight into my heart
The way you nuzzle into my breast when you’ve found it at last
The way you fully relax into your happy place, nursing
Your eyes dazed, hands wandering, body limp
I love everything about you
I want to remember this forever
I want the future too
But I don’t want this to be gone
Why does one have to be traded for the other?
I want to bottle this up
To reopen it whenever I want
How sweet you smelled, like breastmilk and dryer sheets
How soft your cheeks
How you melted into me
How you needed me
I miss you already.