Helena is now one month old. She was born on Wednesday, February 18th and four weeks have flown by so quickly. The adjustment to having four kids has been okay.
I think the hardest part has been my own hormones. My patience is pretty much non-existent now. I knew before the birth that I would need to accept help after the baby was born. After Grant’s birth, I experienced some bladder prolapse issues about twelve days after his birth. It took almost a year to have my body feel strong and back to normal. My plan this time was to stay home for three weeks. I was thankful that due to my husband, family members, friends and a pp doula, I was able to accomplish that goal.
I’ve been doing some gentle exercise to start rehabbing my pelvic floor as it once again started to feel weak in the weeks before Helena’s birth and then again about a week after she was born. The great news with the postpartum rest, my hemorrhoids that I wrote about in the birth story are nearly gone. They were almost gone about a week after her birth. I am so thankful for that, but of course, that was right around when I started to feel the loss of elasticity of my pelvic floor. Why am I sharing this with so many that choose to read the blog? Well, I think that it is something that many women deal with, but don’t hear anyone talk about.
So, I’ve started doing exercises to stretch my calves, hamstrings, piriformis, hip flexors, abductors and adductors. I also re-upped my Fit2B membership that has online videos to strengthen the transverse abdominis. The combination of these exercises, plus walking around my neighborhood should do a lot to strengthen my pelvic floor.
I mentioned that my patience has been pretty crappy and most of that has been directed at the kids unfortunately. I knew I would need help with them after the baby was born, because we do homeschool and I planned to take a month break after the baby arrived. I was fortunate that my mother and future step-mom took the boys out often the first week and a half after she was born. It allowed them to run out their energy and I got some quiet time with the baby in bed. However, both work full-time so they were limited with how long they could help. One friend has also been really helpful with the boys when she comes to visit. I was blessed with some amazing friends that contributed money to a postpartum doula when I told them that my husband was going to have to start traveling when Helena was only week old. These wonderful women chipped in and paid for 20 hours of postpartum doula services. Plus, they contributed so much, we were able to get a new car seat. Ladies, you are simply amazing and I can’t thank you all enough.
Now, for the emotional part of the postpartum period. I am not immune to doing the ugly cry thing. When I first found out that my husband was going to have to go out of town when Helena was 1 week old, I was a mess. I was so stressed and found it unfair that he had to travel with a baby so soon. I hated that he had to miss these early moments with her. He had to go though and since then has made two more out of town trips. He is currently on a four day trip to another state. We had a baby at a bad time for him work-wise and because he made sure not to travel before she was born, there was a lot of catch up that had to be done. I’ve had a hard time with the traveling, each announcement of a trip, bringing me to tears and anger. I know that many women have to deal with this due to military deployments and work commitments, I just hate that my husband has to go. He is so helpful with the boys and really just allows me to rest.
My boys have heard way more yelling in the past week than I would have cared for. My hormones seem to fluctuate pretty harshly, especially because my needs often have to come last when I’m the only one here. Most days I don’t eat breakfast until around 10 am, however, I do make sure that I am showered or dressed by 9 am, so that is a plus. My boys are always hungry though, so pretty much every interaction with them is a request for food. We have been blessed with so much food from friends and neighbors. That has been super helpful, especially at dinner time. It is the 10am to 5pm food requests that are non-stop and with a baby that nurses when she needs to, the boys have to wait and make sure to whine plenty until their demands are met. They do get some of their own snacks but sometimes they do need help.
Helena at least is a pretty mild mannered baby. She has made the process of adjustment easier as she cries when she needs a diaper change, or if her food needs are not being met as quickly as she needs. She is growing quickly and weighs around 11 lbs. She might be a bit less than that. Her cheeks are growing deliciously chubby and her hair is maintaining the strawberry blonde tint.
Next week, we go to get her anterior tongue tie revised at a dentist about an hour from here. Liam has a very similar tie that we never had revised and he has some speech issues still that he is dealing with. We plan to do a laser tongue tie revision with Helena and will follow it up with stretching exercises for her and cranial sacral therapy with a local massage therapist. Of course, it makes me anxious just thinking about the revision as I hate putting my children through anything that might cause them pain. I’m hoping that by doing this revision, it will help her long term.
I hope that I can adjust my attitude some in the coming weeks so that I don’t unleash my mood swings on my children or my spouse. I have a postpartum tea blend I concocted and I try to drink it daily but I don’t know that it is helping much. My other mood trigger right now is my dog Greta. She is 14 years old and has started peeing on our carpets multiple times a day. I deal with enough diaper laundry and her random peeing through the house has not been helping. We took her to a vet back in December and she was diagnosed as being in the very early stages of heart failure and she had blood in her urine. She was placed on an antibiotic that was wickedly expensive and it stopped the peeing for about two weeks. We are home all the time and she is let outside frequently but she is partially blind, I think deaf now and she may think she is going outside to pee by urinating on carpet throughout the house. Greta has been with us for 12 years and unfortunately I have said a few too many times that I can’t deal with the pee anymore and we need to put her down. Not the nicest thing to say to a dog that isn’t doing it on purpose. The boys have heard me say it too and have even told people that I want Greta to get a shot to die. I’m not proud of my meltdowns over dog pee, I just want it to stop without spending a fortune in vet bills. I’m hoping my husband’s traveling dies down some and we can get into a good routine where I take an evening walk alone everyday so that my mood is better. People might be surprised that while I appear to be an extrovert, if I don’t get time alone, I blow up pretty easily.
Anyway, this has ended up with a lot of rambling, but I do try to make sure that I portray my life with a bit of realism. All the cute baby photos of Helena on social media sites make it look like I have it together. Honest truth, I struggle just like everyone else. I have a really hard time asking for help, but this time, I at least reached out and guess what? I was pleasantly surprised to find out that we have a lot of people that love our family. I only hope that I can repay the kindness to others.