Update | Postpartum

Oh man! This postpartum thing is NO joke and not at all what I was anticipating. In some ways it was better than I thought and in other ways it has been so complicated and hard.

Mental Health

Starting off, I was very on edge. With baby being in the NICU, having complications, breastfeeding, and lack of sleep, I don’t think it would have been any different for anyone else.

After a few weeks of crazy emotions, everything started to settle just a little bit and that anxiety was slowly subsiding. There have been a few flare ups (mainly around his feeding),  but overall much better than I was anticipating. It’s amazing what a small little pill named Zoloft has done to help me.

I’m starting to get back into my cognitive behavioral therapy and will be working on stopping thoughts before they manifest into anxiety, panic attacks, and uncontrollable worry.

Breastfeeding

When Michael was first born, we had to feed him multiple times and ways within one feeding session. Breast to pumped bottle to formula bottle. Moving out of the hospital and into week 2 of his life, we moved to a breastfeeding session and a formula bottle within one single feeding. It would take almost 90 minutes to complete a full feeding and was exhausting!

Then he developed GERD and a milk protein allergy. We had to find new feeding positions for both breast and bottle, change formula, and I had to come off of ALL diary. I was off dairy for 4 weeks. I went from being able to pump 5 ounces in 15-20 minutes to getting less than an ounce in a 30 minute session. The baby was starving, which explained why he was requiring more formula, and I was starving, exhausted, and feeling sick all the time. The day we hit 6 weeks, I decided to stop nursing. It was hands-down THE hardest and best decision I have made.

I’m glad I tried it, but I’m happier it’s over. Feedings went from 90 minutes to 20-30 minutes (we are still dealing with GERD).  We are getting out more, I’m feeling better,  we are both sleeping better. Again, hands-down the best decision!

Weight

This has been the hardest thing about the pregnancy and postpartum journey. I gained A LOT of weight. The day I was induced, I weighed 218 pounds. I gained 65 pounds in the 10 months being pregnant. That number doesn’t count the 18 pounds that I had gained while we we trying to conceive (medications) and going through the miscarriages.

My weight has always been an issue, and source of anxiety, for me. Growing up, I couldn’t maintain a steady weight until I hit college. I started to gain weight during our first pregnancy and kept the few pounds that I had gained. It was great! Then our pregnancy journey started, and because of the medications, bedrest, and inability to exercise I started to gain weight and struggled to get it off.

As of yesterday (Tuesday for me), I was 192 pounds. That’s a 26 pound loss in 10 weeks. Twenty-five of which I lost in the first 5 weeks. I’ve bounced between 188 and 192 in the last 4 weeks, so the hard work of losing the weight is starting! My goal is to lose as much as I can of the 65 pounds by March/April. The six month mark. It’s such a daunting number, those 39 pounds, but I’m determined to get it off.

Exercise

Pre-pregnancy and conception journey, I was working out 6 days a week. I’d leave every workout drenched and LOVED how I felt and looked. I was doing a mix of Beachbody workouts, spin classes, Barre classes, yoga classes, and interval training classes. During our conception journey, I had to scale back intensity, amount, and workout types. Then with each pregnancy, I had to stop for different lengths (depending on the pregnancy). For my successful pregnancy, I could only walk and even that was brief exercise at best.

At the 6 week mark, I was released and allowed to start working out. I still had stitches and needed to be aware of what I was doing, but starting out slow and progressing was a-ok! I was both ready to get moving and TERRIFIED to officially start.

From week 6 to 8, I walked with the baby in a stroller. We slowly increased our time and distance from a 5 minute walk around our block to a 20 minute (1 mile) walk. At the 9 week mark, I started to add in a Beachbody workout in. My goal was to do a work out twice a week. To be honest, that’s been a little more challenging to commit to because I can find a million and one things to do around the house during his naps.

This past Saturday, at the 10 week mark, I tried an Intro Into Pilates class. I ended up signing up for a 4 class package and committed to going once a week. That’s now my designated hour of me time and dad and baby get to bond alone!

So here is my plan, and I want to be held accountable! I’m writing down and committing to a minimum number for several reasons. One, I need to be realistic. Two, if I hit the goal exactly, I’ll feel accomplished. Three, if I exceed the goal (by times per week or by minutes per workout), I’ll be able to mark that progress. Lastly, and fourth, I’ll be able to slowly increase my minimums without getting crazy.

Minimums

Pilates class — once a week (50 minutes)

Walking at the indoor track (with baby) — twice a week (30 minutes)

Beachbody workout — once a week (30 minutes)

All that to say this postpartum time period is proving that my ability to control things is minimal…at best. It’s, also, teaching me (constantly) how to be kind to and how to give myself grace in this long process.

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