This experience has been so different compared to my first birth and first few months after.
This birth was very quick. I wasn’t prepared for that at all. With my son (my first child), contractions were gentle at the beginning and got stronger with time. But this time round, they were very painful straightaway! I started having my contractions at 11 p.m., and Paige was born at 2.17 a.m. (luckily we got to the hospital on time). Please remember every pregnancy and birth are different. Even if you have given birth before, your subsequent pregnancies and your birth experience can be totally different.
After birth, the midwife asked me if I wanted a wheelchair to get to my room (which was one floor below) or did I prefer to walk? As I didn’t really want to wait for a chair, I said I would walk. But after that, I got up and walked across the room to pick up my stuff (hubby was holding Paige), and I felt like everything down there was going to fall out so I changed my mind and decided to use the wheelchair, lol.
I stayed at the hospital one full day and one full night. Having Liam at the hospital wasn’t much fun (he was awesome with his sister, but the room wasn’t enough entertaining for him) plus he wanted me at home.
After my first birth, I was up walking around straightaway. After we got home I was having walks up to the village, having coffee, and shopping, etc. This time round, I tried to be up on my legs as little as I could. My first walk was after three days to the car and then from the car to the dentist and back (yes, I had the pleasure to visit a dentist pretty much right after I gave birth). For the first two weeks, when my husband was around, I tried to do as little as I could. I didn’t pick up anything heavier than the baby during that time. He lifted the pram, capsule, washing, etc.
I started my pelvic floor exercises pretty much the next day after birth. As I was able to engage my PF (some women can have an issue at the beginning), I started holding it for three sec and increasing time slowly. After one week I started gentle core, breathing, and glute exercises to help with recovery. I have to admit though, even though my workouts were just 10-15 minutes, it was really hard to find the time to do them.
At five weeks postpartum, I had my first appointment with women’s health physio. I was very nervous about that meeting as after my husband went back to work (and I started be more active), I felt more symptoms (tampon feeling and heaviness). But I got good news that my prolapse didn’t really get any worse ☺! And I got cleared to start doing a bit more. So I started to follow my Busy Fit Mums Program. I was doing 15-minute workouts five times a week (on occasion the workouts were 30 minutes).
At nine weeks, I got cleared by my physio to start running, woohoo! But that didn’t mean 30 minutes or a one-hour run, but just 10-15 minutes of a jog/walk combination. I have to say I actually freaked out a bit that I got cleared so early. I was scared to do it at first, but I didn’t have any symptoms after ☺. It actually felt really good.
I have to be honest that my nutrition wasn’t the best for the first six weeks (at least after hubby went back to work). Often I would just forget to eat! It got a bit better after I started following my Busy Fit Mums program (we tend to eat better when we exercise). I also had issues with constipation so I really had to focus on my diet. I kept it simple and easy with smoothies for breakfast (with added protein powder, fiber, and probiotic), sandwiches for lunch (most of the time anyway), and proper dinner with meat or fish with veggies or salad. I have to say, though, our fridge was often quite empty as going to the shops with two kids is not fun (actually going to the shop with a toddler who wants to buy everything he shouldn’t is not fun).
Mentally fourth trimester was a struggle. The first two weeks seemed “easy”(kind of) as I had hubby around, but when he went back to work (and had to work a couple of nights a week) everything went downhill. Liam was challenging before we had Paige, but after he got even worse. Non-stop meltdowns and arguments were draining me. On top of that, we had bed wetting and he wanted to sleep with us (he had bad dreams and was waking up more than the baby). I also found the logistic side of things really challenging. Getting out of the house with the newborn (who just wants to be on your boob all the time) and a four-year-old seemed impossible! But I had to take Liam out to burn his energy (and he has a LOT energy)!
Also not being able to leave both of them alone in one room made life bit harder. If I wanted to go to the toilet, I had to take Paige with me, as I didn’t know what Liam is going to do. On one hand I was trying not to give Paige too much attention so Liam won’t feel left out, but on the other I had to have her with me all the time…
My anxiety was on high through most of the day every day. I knew that it’s not going to be easy with two kids, but it’s been more challenging than I expected. There have been many tears, feelings of guilt, and I even had moments when I hated being mum of two!
I really don’t know what I did with my time when I had just Liam. Between feeding, changing, and resettling the baby and looking after the toddler, I even didn’t have time to wash my hair (no, I had the time to wash it, but then drying it was a different story) or to eat. I wore the same clothes all the time, had just a few outfits I knew fit me, but I didn’t have time to try on my clothes and check what fits me again and what I could wear. There was no “me time”! My “me time” was to have a shower all by myself while listening to the music. And let’s don’t forget that I also had work to do. I was just doing the bare minimum, but there were things I had to do.
I’m just really grateful that Paige is a happy baby, and she has been quite a good sleeper so far. If she was difficult and I had to deal with Liam on top of that, I would be a crazy mess!
I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Paige doesn’t spend as much time on the boob anymore and stays awake for bit longer, which makes life a bit easier.
If you are a new mum, be kind to yourself. I’m not going to say to enjoy these early stages because the truth is, it’s hard, and sometimes you just don’t enjoy it. But remember, you are not the only one who feels that way. Talk about it. That will help. And if you feel like you are in that deep black hole for longer and you can’t cope, seek professional help.