Postpartum Journey: 4th Trimester

Today is officially the end of my 4th trimester and wow… these last 3 months were A LOT. Here’s a recap of the last quarter:

The birth of a child is the birth of a parent… and the learning curve is intense! My Google searches in the first couple weeks were EXTENSIVE haha — everything from newborn wake windows to proper latch during breastfeeding and so much more. Funny story: I remember searching, “Do I have to burp my baby after every feed.” Then Google suggested similar searches and one of them was, “If I don’t burp my baby will they die.” LOL it made me giggle that I wasn’t alone in my worries. Anyway, month two felt a lot more settled and we’ve gotten into a good groove now! We’ve learned soo much and continue to as baby girl grows and changes constantly.

I truly believe my physical and mental well being are due to a village of love and support. First and foremost, I’m grateful for the most incredible husband who did basically everything but breastfeed haha. He changes all the diapers, gets her from the bassinet and puts her to bed every time, feeds me snacks while I breastfeed, washes the bottles and pump parts, files her nails, reads to her, does bath time with me, and so much more. He also listens to and validates my rollercoaster of emotions, encourages me when I’m low, and makes me laugh everyday. He’s helped make first time parenting together a joy and true partnership.

Our parents visited weekly with food, and one of my best friends set up a meal train so we didn’t have to cook for almost 2 months — and we ate GOOD! This was the best postpartum gift imo. Family and friends got to visit, so while I didn’t go out much, we still felt connected to loved ones. Thank you to everyone who so thoughtfully and generously participated!

Physical recovery was rough. Lots of gory details ahead… The first couple weeks were a blur of Depends, peri bottle, Tucks, night sweats, chills, engorgement, and more. I made sure to take great care of myself especially during this period, which meant having kind self talk, being gentle with the slow recovery, and staying hygienic. Tmi, I had a 2nd degree starfish tear, so I spent the first 3 weeks between the bed and couch. Even sitting on a donut was uncomfortable. It was almost a month before I felt okay enough to go on a longer walk or do a light workout. The first time we walked a couple miles around the neighborhood, I overdid it and had to rest for a few days after. I ended up requesting extra OB appts due to persisting discomfort, and during a 10 week check up, the midwife saw that I had granulation tissue and treated it with silver nitrate. That was so painful for a few days, but now I’m finallly feeling more healed! It’s wild how much self advocacy is needed in pregnancy and postpartum.

Another area of self advocacy was requesting to meet with as many lactation consultants as I could while I was at the hospital and in the follow up appointments. It was soo helpful to have them examine baby’s latch, show me different breastfeeding positions, answer millions of my questions, etc. The first month of breastfeeding was a challenge, even though baby girl latched well, this was an entirely new skill for us to learn. But practice makes better and by month two she had a great latch, I learned her feeding patterns, and the discomfort had subsided.

I write all this to remind myself of what my mind and body have gone through and accomplished, to express gratitude for the people in our lives, and to reflect on how much privilege it takes to be well postpartum. While the 4th trimester was hard, it also was soo wonderful. We’re both on parental leave and bonding as a family of 3 has been the best time ever. My heart has expanded beyond what I thought was possible in love for my daughter. I truly would rewind these months and go through postpartum just to experience her as a newborn all over again. It was worth it all to bring you into our world, baby girl. 💕

Would love to connect in the comments or answer any questions. I’ll also write a post of my postpartum must haves soon!

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