Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum

Lyla is six weeks old and I finally feel like I’m emerging from the postpartum fog. I expected birthing her to be hard but I was not prepared for the unique and unexpected trials of postpartum life. Of course, I’m so happy to have my sweet daughter but I’m not enjoying the challenges postpartum has brought to me personally. Everyone’s recovery and experiences are different but I want to share my experience in the hope that if you are pregnant or postpartum we can support each other in our journeys.

FB_IMG_1511778032359.jpg

Postpartum or the first few months after birth when your hormones are finding their way back to normal can be a particularly traumatic time for any new mom.

Breastfeeding: learning to breastfeed, engorgement, leaky breasts…

Breastfeeding is natural, yes but it’s a skill that both you and baby have to learn. I thought I was prepared to breastfeed, I took a class and read a giant book on the subject. Yet I still struggled to get a good latch (I had to stay at the hospital and work on breastfeeding before being discharged) and to keep my baby alert enough to feed (we had to strip her down to her diaper to feed and use a cold cloth and tickle her to keep her focused). I ended up having to hand express colostrum and feed it through a syringe. Couple these challenges with the afterpains of birth, lack of sleep and a small crowded hospital room-not fun!

I also wasn’t prepared for the seemingly endless hours of feeding known as cluster feeding. Usually, this occurs at night when you are exhausted and wondering how you can stay awake enough to keep nursing. One consolation is that when the baby is done you both can finally sleep…for a short few hours.

A few days after finding out what cluster feeding was my milk came in. I was not prepared for how engorged, heavy and lumpy I felt. Not to mention the pain of being so full. However, I was advised to take a hot shower, try some hand expression to relieve some of the engorgement and firmly push down and out on the ducts while nursing to release some pressure.

Finally, don’t forget those breast pads because one look at your baby and the milk can come “pouring” out of your breasts. I was astounded at first by how much milk I was leaking.

Helpful Breastfeeding Supports:

  • My Brest Friend pillow
  • towels, burp cloths, swaddle blankets-anything to wipe up milk dripping on you and the baby
  • co-sleeping + lay down feeding
  • a supportive partner
  • Netflix
  • inexpensive nursing bra’s + bralettes (trust me you’re going to be leaking a lot of milk all over your bra’s)
  • Milkies Milk Saver-this is worn on the breast not used for feeding to catch any milk, it works great and surprisingly catches a lot of milk! It also prevents the mess from leaking.

I’m very thankful for the ability to breastfeed my baby. However, there have been many times where I’ve wanted to give up, partly to get a break from being the sole, on-demand feeder. According to the parenting forums around month, three things will get easier so I’m holding out for that.

Baby Blues

I thought pregnancy messed with my emotions. Well, postpartum really messed things up. Physiologically your progesterone drops (which affects one’s mood) and prolactin increase in order to breastfeed which is good. However, these changes can really affect one’s mental state. For example, I cry when I don’t want to. I’ll be talking to my husband trying to explain something that’s bothering me and I’ll well up with tears. Which make the issue seem way bigger than it really is. In reality, I can’t help the tears from falling out. I’m not trying to get a reaction out of him, my body is just taking over my tear ducts.

Aside from crying are the feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and fear. At times I feel incapable of my role or that I’m doing it wrong. I especially feel this way when I have to get up in the middle of the night and lift her out of her bed to feed or change her. I love my daughter but sometimes I just can’t extend myself any more than I have. This leads to thoughts of “If this is so hard, how could I ever going to care for multiple children?”. I do have a lot of support and encouragement around me but obviously, we are our own worst critic.

Self Care

Finally, self-care is so important during this period. This is something I discussed with my midwife and she noted how if I take care of myself I will be a better mom. Although I knew this it was a reminder I needed to hear. I try to get out for a daily walk at 2 pm each day, I make a point to shower at least every other day, I keep ingredients on hand to make a filling, protein-rich smoothie that I can drink while nursing and somedays I’ll quickly do my makeup while the baby is in her swing and I try to wear something that I feel cute in.

Even though things have gotten better over the last few weeks, my midwife noted that postpartum depression can occur anytime up to two years after giving birth. It’s not always easy to address mental health issues but it is so important to make sure you are taking care of yourself and get support when you need it. Finally, one thing I appreciated was at each of our appointments my midwife would ask how my mood was. Being that I trusted my healthcare provider I could be open to her about my concerns and she was able to provide any resources I might need.

Bleeding + Padsicles

After giving birth you bleed a lot. Especially in the first few days. This is known as lochia and is due to the placenta being removed. The body has to heal the place where the placenta was attached and until that occurs you bleed. This makes sense because the placenta transferred everything baby needed through blood vessels and when the placenta came out at birth the area has to heal.

Lochia is just another fun thing to deal with after giving birth. Thankfully I have a few tips that can make this time more bearable!

First use disposable type underwear (think Depends, you can get a free sample on their website) for the first few days when the flow is the heaviest (so much better coverage than what the hospital provides). For the rest of the days Always Overnight pads (the purple ones) are great. They have two wings and are super long which provides a lot of coverage. Also, buy some throwaway larger pairs of underwear for the postpartum period. Finally padsicles. Basically, take your pads pour some witch hazel (to help with healing) over them, aloe vera and if you want lavender oil, fold them back up in the wrapper and using a large Ziploc bag store them in the freezer until needed. You can wear them straight from the freezer or thaw them out for a few minutes. Either way the coolness feels amazing, especially during those first very sore weeks.

4th Trimester

Understanding the 4th-trimester concept has changed the way I view my baby’s needs during this newborn period and has allowed me to not feel guilty for putting other things on hold.

The idea of a fourth trimester is about seeing the first three months as baby’s adjustment to the world. They spent the last 9 months in utero, all cozy, warm and constantly fed. On the outside babies still have the same needs to be near to mom, lots of cuddles, feeling secure, eating on demand, sleeping…

With this view in mind, I’ve tried to put less pressure on myself in regards to anything that would take me away from the baby. If I’m stuck on the couch cluster feeding for a few hours and just watching Netflix I don’t feel guilty.

Especially in the first few weeks when you’re healing, in pain and can barely walk it’s best to just lay low. Your family, visitors and friends should understand and will most likely be willing to help out with meals, dishes, cleaning or anything else you need.

Remember babies are only babies for such a short time so savour each moment!

P_20171203_152032.jpg

Postpartum or the first few months after birth when your hormones are finding their way back to normal can be a particularly traumatic time for any new mom.

Everything No One Told Me About Pospartum


The Christian Postpartum Course by Angie Tolpin

Nothing in this post is sponsored. However, I did want to share one final resource I stumbled upon thanks to Audrey Rollofs Instagram story about a postpartum course offered by her friend Angie Tolpin of the blog Courageous Mom. Audrey herself struggled a lot postpartum (her sweet daughter Ember is 2 months old), she had troubles breastfeeding and mastitis twice. Since Angie was a personal friend she was able to reach out to her for support. Unfortunately, not everyone has a friend like Angie. That is why she created the Christian Postpartum Course.

Who is Angie Tolpin? 

Angie is a mom of 7 with a heart for helping moms in all areas of pregnancy, birth, postpartum and parenting. She created a course that combines practical advice and tips along with a biblical perspective. She even addresses intimacy after having a baby.

Angie shares that:

Unfortunately, many women are not willing to talk about postpartum and those who do, are shining God’s glory in ministering to their sisters in humanity through sharing what God has taught them, but many times they either cannot offer Biblical insight ALONG WITH PRACTICAL TEACHING THAT HELPS or they are not offering that teaching from a Biblical perspective at all.

To find out more about the course click here.


For more on my pregnancy and postpartum journey read:
1st Trimester Update
2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding

Baby K’s Birth Story

Welcome to our family Lyla Dawn Kramer <3

Birth story of Lyla Dawn who was delivered with an unmedicated birth after being induced and going on pitocin. The birth was assisted by midwives. Birth story of Lyla Dawn who was delivered with an unmedicated birth after being induced and going on pitocin. The birth was assisted by midwives.

Birth story of Lyla Dawn who was delivered with an unmedicated birth after being induced and going on pitocin. The birth was assisted by midwives.

The past two and half weeks have been filled with so much change, so much love and a lot of learning!

We are so thankful for the safe and healthy arrival of our sweet 7lb 9oz, 54 cm, Lyla Dawn. She is truly the greatest blessing me and Mike have ever been given and we are so in awe of our precious daughter.

Now onto the birth story!

Baby K’s due date of  Tuesday, October 17 came and went to our dismay. On Friday, October 20th I had my 40-week midwife appointment. Since Mike was working my mom accompanied me. Prior to this appointment, my midwife had discussed doing a stretch and sweep to help labour commence.

Thankfully my cervix was facing forward which made the procedure somewhat more bearable. It was painful especially in my back, which I did not expect. Nonetheless, I bore through it hoping I would get to meet my baby soon.

I was happy and surprised to learn I was dilated to a 3.  I hadn’t felt much significant pain other than a few jabs of back or stomach discomfort before this appointment. This also meant if I had to get induced my body was ready and would not need to be prepped by another procedure to open up my cervix. At this point, we impatiently waited for Baby K to start things. However, I was prepared to be overdue as most first babies don’t come early.

The rest of the day I felt tired and not super great. Other than a bit of cramping I really didn’t have any signs that labour was imminent. I did try to walk a bit around the mall with my mom before having lunch and heading home and resting.

If my labour did not progress naturally I would be induced the following Friday. I would also undergo two more ultrasounds to ensure the baby was doing well. Nothing happened all weekend so on Tuesday I headed to my ultrasound appointment with Mike.

Everything looked good until we got to the movement part of the test….

One of four things the technician was looking to see was Baby K flexing her hands a few times. She moved her hands a little bit but not satisfactorily for the test. We met with the radiologist and after he tried to get her to move and she wouldn’t he advised us to come back the next day for a followup ultrasound. He also called our midwife and gave her the results of the test. The midwife had us go to the hospital for a non-stress test. They monitored the baby’s heartbeat and I pressed a button every time I felt her move. Thankfully the test turned out fine and Baby K gave some good movements.

Our midwife also met us at the hospital and we discussed the possibility to be induced the next day instead of in two days (since we would have to come back to have our follow up ultrasound anyways). The hospital had an opening for an induction and since I was already 41 weeks 1 day I bumped two other women off the list in terms of priority.

Waiting and More Waiting

The following morning we headed to the hospital for our ultrasound. After being triaged in the maternal unit we waited about two and a half hours for the doctor.  At this point we were both tired, frustrated with the long wait and wondering whether we would still get induced that day.

We completed the ultrasound and Baby K did great! She was a lot more active than the previous day. Unfortunately, though, the hospital was behind on inductions and we were told to go home and wait for a phone call to come back.

As much of a letdown as it was going another day without having the hope of meeting Baby K we were both tired and being able to get extra sleep, clean and prepare some food was a good thing.

The next morning I received a call from my midwife at 9 am to update me on the hospital. More women had gone into spontaneous labour (lucky them!) and there were not any available beds. She said she would call me back around noon with another update. The upside was every day longer we waited our priority on the induction list increased.

At 11:30 am our midwife called to tell us the hospital had a bed for us and we should head to the hospital as soon as possible. We quickly texted our families to share the anticipated news that we were finally being induced and drove the half hour to the hospital…

Click here to read Part 2!

Birth story of Lyla Dawn who was delivered with an unmedicated birth after being induced and going on pitocin. The birth was assisted by midwives.


To read more pregnancy updates check out the following posts:

1st Trimester Update
2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding

First Trimester Update

As of today, I am 12 weeks! I am so happy to be coming out of the first trimester. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the second trimester so my hopes are somewhat high that I’ll be feeling better and more energized. Today I wanted to take a moment and share how my first trimester has been.

First Trimester Update

Choosing to be Thankful

At 6 weeks I found out to my joy and surprise that I was indeed expecting. Initially, I was shocked but also very happy. I have always wanted and dreamed of having a family, yet I never really thought it would happen this soon. Before I go on though I want to express how truly grateful I am for this pregnancy and that I don’t take the ability to conceive or carry a child lightly. I am very aware of the high rate of miscarriage and the myriad of difficulties many women face when trying to conceive. As I write and share my experiences I always try to keep in mind the experiences of others and be sensitive. I thank God every day for this precious life inside of me. Although I don’t enjoy feeling sick or throwing up, each time I do it reminds me of the gift I’m blessed to carry. During the low times, I’ve tried to remember this and not complain about how unglamorous pregnancy can sometimes feel.

Pregnancy Surprises

Yes, pregnancy is not easy but I am so grateful to be able to experience it. One thing that has surprised me is how emotional I’ve been. A lot of times I try to hold back the tears but if I watch anything remotely sad I can feel the tears start. For example, I was watching a prank video on YouTube with Mike of this guy proposing to his girlfriend in a mall, but she rejected him. The whole crowd of people just laughed at him, except for one guy who gave him a hug. I just could not help crying even though I suspected it was fake. I just felt so bad for the poor guy. I also cry when I’ve been sick and throwing up constantly and it seems like I’ll never feel like myself again or be able to eat. Sometimes it’s hard to see an end. I also have no idea what it’s going to be like to have a baby. I’m excited in the sense that I will have my own baby. At the same time, I’m scared because I feel so unprepared and inexperienced. Maybe my emotions are how I’m expressing this fear and just how overwhelmed I sometimes feel. Either way, sometimes it feels good to cry.

Something that has really helped during the low times is reading scripture. This blog has some really great encouraging verses to meditate on during pregnancy. I also find that reading a few chapters from the Bible before bed is very powerful. I am reminded of how alive God’s word is and how much strength I gain from it.  I would really encourage you to make time for God, even if you’re feeling sick or down.

Eating and Craving

As I mentioned above eating and keeping food down has been a struggle. I find I don’t have the biggest appetite and when I try to eat more than I can, I feel sick after. Usually, I just try to eat small manageable snacks throughout the day like apples and cheese, peanut butter on an English muffin, yogurt with fruit, oranges (I love fresh, juicy fruit!), milk, a bagel, applesauce, smoothies, soup or sandwiches. My medication has at least allowed me to keep more food down during the day, which I am so grateful for.

Energy

Physically, I have noticed an increase in energy since around week 10. I was able to clean up a bit and do some laundry this past weekend which was awesome. I feel so much better when things are clean and put away. I find that after being out for a few hours I get tired and need a nap when I get home. I don’t feel guilty about sleeping because I know this is only a temporary luxury! Overall I haven’t felt generally sick as I did before, I would say I feel good about 60% of the time. In the morning and evening’s I get nauseous or after long car rides. I would also say I have a ‘baby’ baby bump beginning to show, which makes me super excited! One lady at church even noticed I was beginning to show a teeny bit (:

Overall I haven’t felt generally sick as I did before, I would say I feel good about 60% of the time. In the morning and evening’s I get nauseous or after long car rides. I would also say I have a ‘baby’ baby bump beginning to show, which makes me super excited! One lady at church even noticed I was beginning to show a teeny bit (:

I am feeling a lot better than I did and I’m looking forward to finishing classes soon. I have two more papers and then studying for four exams during April. Following that, I’ll be taking a few summer courses to finish my degree and graduate in October!

THANK YOU! <3

Lastly, I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me either on here or otherwise. I read every comment and message and it honestly means so much to me! <3 Michael and I are so grateful for everyone’s love, support and excitement during this very special time in our life! <3 I look forward to sharing more updates!


For more on my pregnancy and postpartum journey read:
1st Trimester Update
2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding
IF YOU LIKED THIS POST BE SURE TO CLICK BELOW TO SHARE IT!

 

And Baby Makes 3 Newlywed Reflections~ Month 10

To read the rest of this series click here: Newlywed Reflections

Get ready for baby Kramer coming October 2017!

17500450_10154925644365991_1174375771_o

I realize my last post was a little bit on the sad side, looking back I realize my hormones were going crazy during that time and as a result, my perspective wasn’t the clearest. I also had a super busy week full of meetings, assignments, presentations and just trying to make it through to reading week. Thankfully I made it to reading week and spent most of the week relaxing, puking and trying to keep down food :p Overall the break was much appreciated even if I wasn’t feeling the greatest! I also realized how important it is to prioritize self-care and not procrastinate on my assignments. I’m working on taking more downtime for myself, whether that’s reading, taking a bath or going for a walk and starting early on my assignments.

How we found out:

After a very stressful week prior to reading week, I was feeling very tired and starting to feel under the weather. On Saturday I went out during the day with my mom, in town.

cc

I had an unusually big appetite, but I was also exhausted and feeling sick by the afternoon, so I went home. At home, I was really sick, went to bed crying and slept for most of the day. Michael was gone to his friend’s house, so I texted him and told him how I had been feeling. He questioned whether I could possibly be pregnant, but I brushed it off and said I’d take a test the next day to rule it out (although my period was two weeks late at the time and I had been having vivid dreams for the past week, I was in denial about being pregnant). I woke up Sunday morning and immediately took a test (a long time ago we ordered these cheap tests from Amazon, they saved us a ton of money and I ended up being able to take 4 tests to confirm). To my utter surprise and amazement, the test immediately showed two pink lines!

I went into the bedroom and collapsed on the bed and told Michael to go look. He was still half asleep though and didn’t really fully realize what I was telling him. After he looked at the test he wanted me to take another one, to make sure. Once again the test turned positive right away. At this point, we were both shocked and just overwhelmed by this new reality. I was really happy when we found out and couldn’t stop smiling the entire day. Although at first, we didn’t feel the exact same emotions, we eventually both came around are both really excited to be welcoming our baby this October!

Young Marriage: Baby Makes 3

How I’ve Been Feeling

This first trimester has been rough! At six weeks nausea hit me hard. Thankfully I was on Reading Week, I was able to just rest and not go anywhere. I have to take a moment and give a huge shoutout to my incredible husband, who took the BEST care of me. He was by my side as I puked, he did dishes, got groceries, brought me food, always ensured I had various fluids, made me smoothies and fulfilled my prescription among other things he does to take care of me. Plus he did all this while working nights. Honestly, he is my hero <3

I still feel sick right when I wake up and later in the day. Other than that it has been more manageable and I’m starting to catch up on my schoolwork. Week six was the worst and since then it has gotten gradually better. I know from my mom and grandma they were both sick for 5 months, so I’m not expecting it to completely stop anytime soon 🙁 Although I am very grateful for diclectin!

I’m currently 10 weeks, 6 days. Almost out of first trimester! Although this trimester has been rough, I am very grateful to be pregnant. I truly cherish the privilege to be able to carry a life within me <3

Be sure to keep checking in with my blog as I plan on posting pregnancy updates regularly!

Here’s fun little video I made with my husband on our pregnancy announcement

CLICK HERE TO READ: Being Married Young is Hard Newlywed Reflections~Month 9

Young Marriage (2).png

CLICK HERE TO READ: 5 Things I Would Say to a New Bride Newlywed Reflections~Month 11

Young Marriage (13)


To read more pregnancy updates check out the following posts:

1st Trimester Update
2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding