Friday, July 25, 2014

Dealing With Sleep Regression

It happened so suddenly and quickly snowballed. From about 3 weeks-old, Jack had slept through the night. Maybe twice a week waking at 4 AM to nurse, but usually sleeping right till 7 or 8 AM. And he would take three 2-3 hour naps each day too. I did very very light "sleep training", if you ever want to call it that, but he was just naturally a good sleeper. It was a dream come true! Then one night it all vanished.

It all started three weeks ago. The first few days he just woke up one extra time a night to nurse. Then in a few days it went to twice. Then before I knew it he was waking up every two hours. Then nap time went out the window, only 30 minutes at a time. Then he became insanely fussy at bedtime and it would take over an hour to get him asleep. Needles to say I am exhausted and frustrated. Did I mention that I started back at work this week too? Such fun. 

This is the last good night of sleep we got three weeks ago.
He woke up at 7 AM and we put him in bed with us until 9:30!
Jack is in what is known as the four month sleep regression. It can happen anytime around 3-5 months though. I knew it could happen and I did some research on it. But let me tell you, I didn't think it would get this bad. He didn't even act like when he was a newborn! It sucks, really really sucks. However, because I did my research I know it should not last forever. 

Now he only wants to sleep in my arms during the day.
 don't mind short term, but it would be nice to clean my house...
So what is the evil sleep regression? Essentially Jack is learning how to sleep like an adult. Before this he slept like he did in the womb, one basic sleep cycle. He didn't need to recharge any of his major systems because he wasn't really using them. Now that he is bigger and doing bigger things, he needs to have deep REM and non-REM cycles like adults. But unlike adults, he has not learned how to sleep through these cycles yet so he wakes every 45-90 minutes. Also during this time Jack is undergoing a major growth spurt and a mental leap. That's a lot of stuff for a little guy to go through, no wonder he's having a hard time sleeping and wants more milk! However, once it's over, he should return to normal. I can't wait for that day. 

But for your amusement and because I was bored when afternoon while he slept in my arms...

 Four Stages of Grief For Sleep Regression:

Stage 1.) You deny it's happening. He's just having a bad night...for the past 2 weeks. He'll be fine tomorrow night. He will take a good nap this afternoon too.This isn't sleep regression, it's just a growth spurt!

Stage 2.) You get angry and blame everyone. Your husband has the TV too loud so you ban him from it. The neighbor's dog won't stop barking so you yell out the window for it to shut up. The house is too hot so you call the AC repairman demanding he come out today. The room is too bright, the sun must be imploded! You think you are a bad mother and just cry. 

Stage 3.) You plead with your LO. You will give him anything or do anything if he just goes to sleep. You want to co-sleep, will that make you happy? How about a new sleep sack, we can get one with owls on it! More milk before bed? You want a puppy? A Porche on your 16th birthday? You want me to stand on my head? Daddy will sing all night long for you, please just sleep! 

Stage 4.) After some research, talks with your mom, consulting the online forums and calls to you doctor, you finally accept it. Your sweet little angel is in the middle his first sleep regression. You hope it will be over soon and you just pray you keep your sanity till then.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Why I Am Happy I Didn't Give Up Breastfeeding


Eleven weeks ago, I couldn't imagine that I would ever say this phrase: I love breastfeeding. I really do! But it was not an easy road to get here. It hurt so bad for the first three week. Jack latch wrong and severely cracked/bruised my nipples. I was beyond exhausted and was so overwhelmed that Jack asked to nurse every hour. I also didn't understand why Jack wanted to nurse so often so I was afraid I had a supply issues. All this made me consider giving up. But I educated myself and realized I was doing everything right. Check out my previous post on this for the full story.

But I am so glad that I pushed through and did not give up. This is seriously one of the best experiences of my life. Look at this picture and tell me it is not beautiful?

Just nursing Jack on the shores of Lake Tahoe, no big deal at all.
The first reason I am glad I did not give up is the most obvious: I know I am doing the best thing for my son. Did you know that the milk I am making now is designed just for Jack (La Leche League meeting)? I think that is really cool! It is literally the best possible thing I can feed him right now. It is giving him the correct nutrition he needs and the composition of it will change to meet his needs as he gets older. He also gets all my antibodies to help his immune system and nervous system develop. And not to mention he gets my love and affection. The look he gives me when he latches on is the definition of unconditional love.

The milk face. He gets so happy
when he realizes he's getting fed.
Second reason, it empowered me as a women. Not only did my body make a baby, it is feeding that baby. That is freaking amazing! I am doing something that no man can ever do, a unique privilege reserved for women. It's creating a bond with my son that only I, as his mother, can provide. I feel like I understand the female body now, and it's beautiful. I accept all the flaws of my body because I know what it is capable of doing. And  the willpower of a women is the strongest thing in the world. It took such great mental strength to overcome all the initial challenges of breastfeeding. I admit that most men have more brute strength, but I argue that women have a greater overall strength now.

Still look pretty good in my bikini,
not as great as before but I embrace it.
Third, it has made me fearless. At first I hid when I nursed my son. I would always be covered, go to another room, or just bring a bottle of expressed milk. That got old pretty quick. Nursing covers are difficult to put on while holding a hungry baby. And Jack likes to wiggle when he nurses so they don't always stay on well. And it embarrassing walking around looking for a private place to nurse with your baby screaming their head off. It actually draws more attention and stresses you out more. So one day I decided I was over it. I am not doing anything vulgar so I had no reason to hide. So I started nursing openly in public. No one can tell me stop or cover-up. I am polite and don't flash my boobs around by any means. I just find a nice place to sit, calm start nursing him, and sit there quietly. I've gotten a few dirty looks but it's their problem, not mine. I am totally within my rights and not breaking any laws. I am fearless mother.

It took 5 minute to get him situated
 under the cover. Not worth it.
And so far I received overwhelmingly positive response. A man and his toddler walking by one today told me to not worry about covering up because his wife went through the same thing. An old lady told me I was giving my son the best gift possible. Even at a loved one's memorial service when I stepped outside to nurse him, someone gave me a shout out of encouragement.

I also need to give a big thank you to La Leche League.I started attending meetings last month and it inspired me to keep nursing. It was refreshing to hear that the other moms have gone/ are going through the same problems. And it's so empowering to see women nursing for over a year. With the knowledge I've gained from the meetings, I am now determined to nurse him for a year minimum. Then I will decide between pumping or continue to nurse for another year. It will just depend on what's going on in my life then, but either way Jack will get two years of my milk.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Life Without A Travel System


While I was pregnant, I did a post about Why I Don't Want A Big Stroller. In a nutshell, I think they are annoying, rude to take out in crowded places, and I wanted to hold my baby. So how did it work out now that I have my baby? Did I call my mom crying over how stupid I was for not getting a travel system?

No, we still do not have one big travel system. And have no plans on getting one. We did receive a jogging stroller from Michael's friends as a shower gift. We do use it, but it is not our main choice to take Jack out in public. I still think it's rude to the big stroller out in most public places. They get in the way and take up so much room. We use it mainly for walks around the neighborhood and to non-crowded parks. It reclines pretty far back so he went in it for the first time at two weeks old. But he doesn't like it that much. He will stay in it for about an hour then screams to held.

Shortly after I took this he woke up screaming, he's not a big fan.
We also have a detachable car seat carrier we received secondhand. We put it in Michael's car (the car we use the least) so both cars have a seat just in case. We do carry him around in it sometimes. But I want to add he doesn't stay in there that long. It's not like we are staying out to midnight. We go out for a couple hours and are back before his bedtime. It does not connect into our stroller, so it's not convenient to carry him around in it. But it's nice because he will sleep in it and we can give him a bottle easily if he's hungry. It honestly saves my sanity at the grocery store. My hands are free and the movement of the cart usually lulls him to sleep.

He wasn't too sure about that basil...
I need to stress it is not recommend to use a secondhand car seat, a new one is always preferred. However, if you are going with a used one, there are a few rules. First of all, make sure it is not passed it's expiration date (ours has a year left so after Jack out grows it we will throw it away). Make sure you know the person giving it to you (ours came from a nice family who our friend nannies for). Only accept it if you know for sure it has not been in an accident (ours has not). And lastly sanitize the fabric but do not wash it. Car seat fabric had a fire retardant on it that can be washed off.

The main form of transportation for Jack is babywearing. He loves being worn! It is a sure fire way to calm him and get him to sleep when he is fussy. We still have the Infantino Swift Carrier I mentioned in my other post. Michael uses that one on occasion. I used when he was first born. It's nice but, I wanted something more snuggly so I ordered a Boba Wrap. I fell in love with babywearing the first time I put Jack in it. He's all snuggled and secure, but my hands are free!

Sleeping while we went out to lunch
But the Boba gets hot, so after some research and a meeting with the local BabyWearing International group, I also ordered a woven wrap. Jack loves this wrap too. We stay cooler because it's made of cotton. I use this wrap almost everyday for walks now. I think Jack likes this one a bit more because he can sit a bit more upright and look around more. Though he sleep in either one like a champ. Both were great investments, absolutely worth the money.

Checking out the neighborhood on our walk.
So how is life without a big travel system? Great! I am not that rude mother knocking people over with her oversize stroller in a crowd. Nor am that friend who shows up for a late dinner and plops the car seat on the table. Nor am I the parent who never holds their child and leaves them in the car seat all day. I will confess one thing though---it would be easier to have a travel system for when Jack falls asleep in the car and I don't want to wake him when I pick him up to put in the wrap. But overall, it's not that big if a deal since he loves sleeping in his wrap.






Sunday, June 15, 2014

Life With A Two-Month Old


It's been two months already? Seriously? I've used up 2/3 of my maternity leave! I feel like they placed a newborn on my chest in the delivery room just yesterday!

A lot has changed in two months. Jack has gone from my tiny little newborn who barely opened his eyes to a chubby little baby who is bright and alert. I went from a girl who was terrified to nurse to a mom who can walk around the house with her baby latched on to her boob. Eight weeks ago I was so overwhelmed I never dreamed that would happen for either of us. But I am so glad it did! He's almost 13 pounds now and I am only 5 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight too!
1 week old vs. 8 weeks old.
So what is life like with my two-month old baby? Great! He plays and laughs now  I love watching him learn new things everyday. He smiled for the first time around 3 weeks and he's doing it more each day. He even laughs now! We do have bad days still. The days where he just screams and cries no matter what I try. Those days I just comfort him the best I can and tell myself it will pass (despite how much it breaks my heart to see him so upset). I think of the happy times and remember he will not be a baby forever so I need to cherish it.

One happy time is bathtime. He loves bath now. He always calms down instantly when we put him in. He splashes around and is even trying to play with his toy. He takes a bath with me sometimes too. I get the bath ready and Michael hands him to me wrapped in hand towel. I suggest the towel for a few reasons.  First of all it keeps him warmer. Second babies get really slippery, the towel gives you some more friction to grab on to. Third, babies poop when they feel relaxed. I cover his booty with the towel so if he does poop, I stay clean.

He also stopped pooping at night, which means he sleep almost through the night now! He only wakes up once (maybe twice) to eat. This also means we stopped changing his wet diapers at night. This way he doesn't get overstimulated and will go back to sleep easier. Michael gets him from his big crib, checks to make sure he didn't poop or his diaper isn't leaking. If it is, only then does he change him. Then he gives him to me and I nurse him and rock him back to sleep. Then I put him in his bassinet next to our bed for the rest of the night (usually 3 more hours). Unfortunately he only drinks one side so I still have to get up to pump. But that only takes a few minutes and then I'm back to bed.

We can also take him out more now. We go for walks almost everyday, he loves looking at people passing by us. He usually falls asleep a few minutes into the walk and somehow magically wakes up right when we get home. He goes to the store with me sometimes too, but he isn't always good about that. I think it's all the fluorescent lights.
Breakfast with Daddy in Sonoma. 
For Father's Day we went to Sonoma for the reenactment of the Bear Flag Revolt. He napped in his Boba Wrap most of the day luckily. He even slept through the gunpowder shots during the reenactment, granted we hid in the back of the crowd and I covered his ears as best I could. I was so happy to be out of the house and talking to adults. I suggest when taking your baby out for a long period of time, make sure you get them to nap whenever they start giving you the sleepy cues (like yawning, covering their eyes, and fussing slightly). Stroller, wrap, car seat, your arms---whatever it takes to get them down, just don't let them skip naps.
This was from the start of his Wonder Week, he sucked
 on his toy for the first time, I was blown away.
The second month is also when your baby has their second Wonder Week. I didn't know about these until recently It's when your baby makes a huge mental leap, like a brain growth spurt. Two weeks ago Jack was so insanely fussy that I didn't know what to do. He would get mad when I tried to play with him like I always had been. He would nap only an hour at time---if I could get him down, he fought every nap. He also started fussing at my boob when I tried to nurse him. It took forever to get him to latch on and when he did, he just wanted to comfort nurse forever. He'd scream if I unlatched him before he was ready to stop. And at night he went back to waking up every 2 hours to eat. I was so confused and getting overwhelmed again. Then someone on my the April 2014 Birth Club mentioned Wonder Weeks so I looked it up. I found an app and downloaded it. It explained all these fussy behaviors were normal and not permanent. He just needed some extra comfort while he was starting to see the world around him differently. And he needed me to play with him differently now, more interaction and stimulation. The app has a chart that shows about when your baby will enter a wonder week and exit it. And about a week later it ended and Jack went back sleeping well at night and stopped fussing so much. The app helped me prepare for everything. I had to keep playing more interactively. And his naps change, no more three 2-3 hour naps. He now takes four 1-2 hour naps. I like that he's up for longer period of times, but now I have less time to get stuff done around the house. I really suggest downloading the app, it's nice to know what to expect and that it's all normal.

That's Jack's life two months in, in a nutshell!






Monday, June 9, 2014

How To Take A Baby To The Drive-In


Jack is two months old now, no longer a newborn but not really a functioning infant. My whole day revolves around him---which I love, don't get me wrong. But I missed time with my husband. I kept thinking how nice it would be to have a simple movie date, but I wasn't ready to leave him for that long yet. And of course a bunch of summer movies are coming out that I want to see, especially A Million Ways To Die In The West. I resolved to be a good mom and rent it when it comes to DVD.

Then my best friend reminded me of something awesome in San Jose. She and her boyfriend went on a date to the drive-in. Suddenly a light bulb went on in my head, we could take Jack! He could sleep while we enjoy a movie date. He goes to bed around 9:00PM and the movies start around 8:45 PM so the timing would work out great. And if he fusses, we just go home. We decided to give it a shot!

The plan was to get him all ready for bed, put him in the car, and leave an hour early to give us plenty of time to get there and get settled. Then nurse him, let him sleep on my lap during the movie, put him back in the car seat, and drive home. If he wakes up when we get home or before, just put him back to sleep when we got home. Sounded simple enough.

First we made sure we he had a fully stocked diaper bag for any situation. Plenty of diapers, blankets, a change of clothes, pacifiers, burp cloths, and etc.. And I brought my nursing pillow so I could be more comfortable holding him.

Then we got him ready for bed. Normally we give him a bath before bed, but he was already sleepy so we just put him in his jammies and put him in his car seat. He started crying while were waiting in line to enter the drive-in because he was tired. At this point I thought we already lost him and would have to leave. But I stayed calm and just consoled him as best I could.

We picked a spot to park and I moved to the front seat with Jack. I put my pillow on my lap, latched him on, and covered his head with my cardigan to block the light from his eyes. He calmed down instantly and went to sleep shortly before the movie started. I set him down on the pillow and freed my hands to munch on popcorn.

Jack started asleep the whole movie! I was surprised. He fussed a bit during a loud part, but I just stroked his head and he calmed again. The movie was really funny and it was so nice to do an adult thing. And I got to hold my husband's hand and steal some kisses, the best part of all.

When the movie was over, we gently put him back in his car seat, and drove home. He fussed a little but stayed asleep. Once home, we gently took him out and put him in his crib. He stayed asleep, I couldn't believe it! And he slept till 4:00 AM, a six hour stretch!

The drive-in worked out great! We plan on doing this a few more times this summer. If you are lucky enough to still have a drive-in in your town, I suggest trying it with your baby. Here are some tips to make it easier:
  • Don't have high hopes. Expect that your baby will fuss and that you may need to leave early.That way you won't be upset if it happens. 
  • Let your baby call the shots. If they are super fussy that day, reschedule for a better day. If they are really unhappy during the movie, address their needs quickly. And if you can't calm them quickly, leave. 
  • Bring a fully stocked diaper bag to address any possible issue. And keep your diaper bag within reach while you watch the movie. No one wants to be digging for a burp cloth and miss an important piece of the plot. 
  • Arrive with plenty of time to put the baby to sleep. That way you aren't stressed or rushing anything. And you don't miss the start of the movie. 
  • Get yourself comfortable first. Your baby won't relax if you aren't relaxed. And who wants to be uncomfortable for two hours pinned under a baby? I really suggest bringing a nursing pillow.  
  • Nurse or feed your baby so they are content. Then make sure they are totally asleep before you set them down on your lap. 
  • Make sure you don't have your radio too loud so the baby doesn't startle and wake up. 
  • Cover your baby's eyes if they are used to sleeping in the dark like Jack. But make sure their airway is not blocked and they are breathing comfortably. 
  • Don't get too caught up in the movie and forget about the baby. I lifted my wrap cardigan every once and awhile to make sure he was okay. 
  • If the baby wakes when you put them back in or take them out of the car seat at home, don't fret. Just feed them so they are content again and put them back to bed. 
I hope Jack is just as good for future movies. And hopefully your baby will be too. Enjoy a fun date with your love! 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Things Saving My Sanity With a Newborn


Overall, I lucked out with Jack. He really isn't that fussy of a baby. He usually only cries when something is wrong, like he needs to be fed or is tired. But, he has his moments. And let me tell you, this kid has a set of lungs on him. There is nothing more taxing on your soul than hearing your baby scream when you are already exhausted. By 3 weeks old we figured out a few things that will calm Jack quickly and keep him happy pretty. So here is a list of the things saving my sanity:

  • Swaddle Sacks: The first night at the hospital Jack was either nursing or screaming because he wanted to nurse. Michael and I were trying everything to get him to sleep more than 10 minutes. Then a nurse came in to take him for his hearing test around midnight. When she brought him back, he was all swaddled and happy. He slept for an hour until he was hungry again.  I unswaddled him, feed him, and he got all fussy again. Then the nurse came in to check his vitals and swaddled him. He slept for 2 hours. Then another feeding followed by fussiness. Then another check and nurse reswaddling, followed by 2 more hours of sleep. Thus, we quickly caught on he liked to be swaddled. But as best as we tried, we couldn't get him tight enough and he kept breaking free (which just made him madder). The first night at home, we just couldn't keep him asleep for more than 30 minutes and were exhausted. Then I remembered there was a swaddle sack in the bag of hand-me-downs my friend gave us. I put him in it, rocked him until he fell asleep. And to my delight he slept for 3 hours! The next day we ordered 2 Summer Infant SwaddleMe's from Amazon. We swaddle him every night for bed, most naps, and when he is insanely fussy. He sleeps in 3-5 hours stretches at night and takes 2 or 3 good naps every day. So worth the money. 
  • Boba Wrap: Several of my friends told me to wear my baby. After Jack's first few days at home and him constantly wanting to be in my arms, I decided it was worth a shot. I decided on the Boba Wrap because of the good reviews and the price. I watched the videos on Youtube on how to put it on and wear your newborn thought it looked easy enough, so I ordered one off of Amazon. When it came, I was kind of overwhelmed by the amount of fabric and by the stretchiness. I am petite and I was worried I would not be able to get it tight enough to support him properly. But I went for it anyways. I spent a good 15 minutes messing with it.  Once it  felt right, I put him in and he was so happy! We went on a walk and he loved being wrapped. Went right to sleep. Whenever he gets too fussy now, I just put him in it and go for a walk or walk around the house. All hands free! However, there are two issues I had with it. First, it can sag. You need to tie it at your actual waist not, where you wear your pants (or atleast I need to). And you need to pull it pretty tight. But once I got the hang of it there was no more issues. Second, it gets hot. Your baby is wrapped in three layers of pretty thick fabric right up against your body. You two may get a little toasty in the summer. I recommend you wear a light tank top and put the baby in just a diaper when its warm.
  • Soothie Pacifier: Jack is a sucker (and a cute one at that!). His favorite place is attached to my boobs. At first I didn't mind because I knew he was cluster feeding and growing. But when he wasn't in a growth spurt, he still loved my boobs and it began to hurt after awhile. I tried every pacifier we had but he would spit it out after a few minutes and cry. Then someone on the April 2014 Birth Club on Babycenter mentioned Soothies. They are the kind used in hospitals. They look and feel more like nipples. I ran out the Target one day when Michael got home from work and bought a two-pack. Jack took it instantly. They work great! He gets to suck and my nipples are spared. However, these only piss him off if he is actually hungry. So I need to make sure he is fully fed before I give him one. Then he will happily suck away---and sometimes even suck himself to sleep. 
  • Lavender Oil:  Lavender is known for it's calming qualities. Jack was not a fan of baths at first so I wanted to do something to make them more enjoyable. I didn't want to use the popular Johnson and Johnson Lavender products. So I got a bottle of organic lavender oil and added a few drops to his bath. The minute we set him in, he calmed down. Now he loves baths (even when he's screaming his head off prior). And during the day if he gets too fussy and won't go down for a nap, I dab a drop on the oil on his chest. He calms down most of the time, it's almost like magic! But I need to stress that lavender oil can be a powerful relaxant and you really only need a few drops. Too much can affect your baby's nervous system (see side effects here). Also, if your baby has sensitive skin, I would suggest not applying it directly to their skin. Instead add a few drops to a carrier oil (like coconut or olive oil) and apply that to their skin. 
  • Relaxation Melodies App: I've used this to help myself fall asleep for years. There's a wide variety of sounds you can use for white noise. I like the combination of ocean waves and rain. It reminds of my two favorite places, Oregon (the rain) and Hawaii (the ocean). Babies like white noise because they spent 9 months inside you listening to sound of your heartbeat and other bodily noises. I thought of using this app one day when Jack was 2 weeks old and having a hard time falling asleep. So I put the sounds on and he calmed down instantly. I put it on  almost every time I put him to sleep now or when he gets too fussy. He screams halfway through our morning walks on occasion. The second I put on "his music" he goes right to sleep. This app is free and totally worth the download.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Postpartum Recovery


It's been six weeks since I gave birth to my beautiful son. This so called "fourth trimester" is the most challenging so far. I not only have to take care of myself and recover from the trauma of giving birth, but I have to care of a tiny little person who is totally dependant on me as well. As hard as it's been, it's been so rewarding. Jack has honestly made me a better person in these 6 short weeks.

As far as my recovery, some  pregnancy symptoms vanished. Some lessened, And some new ones have appeared. So let's start from the beginning...

After Delivery:
Giving birth to an 8 lbs 9.6 oz baby will make anyone feel a million times better. My acid reflux vanished. My stomach settled and I was actually hungry for the first time in weeks. I also just felt a tremendous relief, all my internal organs were no longer squished! And thanks to the epidural, I felt no pain down there for the next two hours.

Selfie about an hours after giving birth, I
looked pretty good for being exhausted!

However, I was beyond exhausted. I rested a little bit after Michael with Jack to the nursery but nurses kept coming in the to check me so it wasn't that peaceful.  My right nipple really hurt, Jack badly bruised it on his first attempt at nurse. How is a girl supposed to relax with a throbbing nipple? My left knee was still numb too, making it hard move into a comfy position. I needed the nurse to pretty much hold me up when they wanted to move me to my postpartum room. The epidural also left me freezing cold. The nurse gave me a ton of warmed blankets, but it took forever for me to warm up.

Hospital Stay:
Shortly after I got to my room,  Michael came in with Jack. Jack wanted to nurse again so I tried the the other breast, and he bruised that one quickly too. Now both my boobs hurt like hell, but I still didn't mind because I knew it was best for him.

The nurse then helped me go to the bathroom. I was so sore, it hurt to stand. Plus, my knee was still numb so I really had to lean on her for support to walk. She sat me on the toilet and explained everything. I could not wipe myself for at least a week, or as long as I felt my stitches. So I had spray everything clean with a peri bottle This is when she pulled out the lovely mesh underwear and the huge pad. (look more like a puppy training pad than feminine hygiene product). Then, I was even more horrified to discovered I already had a pair of the mesh underwear on with a giant pad on! They must have put them on after they finished stitching me up and I didn't notice because I was mesmerized with Jack. Once I saw how much blood was on the pad, it all made sense though.

As the day went on, the bleeding was less and less. And the pain and soreness lessen too (with the help of some Motrin). And about 2 hours later the feeling came back to my knee. Once my IV was finished I got to take a shower. Let me tell you, that was the best shower of my life!!!! It felt good to just have a moment of peace to relax. And it felt soooo good to wash off all the sweat and blood. I brought some of my favorite products so I didn't have to use generic hospital stuff.
About 12 hours after giving birth, not too bad.
I examined my belly in the mirror once I got out of the shower. I looked about 5 months pregnant still, except my belly was all squish this time. Overall, the damage wasn't too bad. And right then I didn't care, I was just happy that squishy belly made my beautiful son.

Then there was the thing pregnant women are warned about and dread...going poop for the first time after delivery. I read some pretty dramatic accounts on other blogs. I will spare you the details and say it really wasn't that bad. Take the stool softeners they give you, drinks plenty of water, and take it easy. Don't stress over it.

I was happy to be discharged. I was sick of the nurses coming in every 2 hours to check Jack and I---especially at night. We would have just gotten him to sleep and someone would wake him up to check him. Then we had to start the whole feeding, changing, calming process again. Then another nurse would come in and we had to start all over again. How do they expect new mothers to recover properly if you wont leave them alone!?!?

Weeks 1-2:
I was very tired and very sore when we got home. I was still bleeding and my whole lower body hurt if I stood for too long. For the first week it was pretty much a cycle of feed Jack, change his diaper, put him back to sleep, nap, and wake up to fed him again. Jack only slept 1-3 hours at a time so it was hard to get good rest. My parents were here so my mom was cooking and cleaning for us. I really recommend for at least the first week having someone do this for you so you can rest.

I weighed myself for the first time since giving birth 4 days after. I had already lost 15 lbs! My belly was going down but still all squishy.

2 weeks postpartum, not that pretty.
At week 2 my stitches dissolved. My bleeding slowed down a lot, more like a light period. It would get worse again if I was too active though, which would cause the soreness to come back. I quickly learned I still needed to take it easy. My hormones ran totally wild during this week too. I cried about everything and snapped at people for no reason. My advice is to just not have visitors the first two weeks if you can help it. It's just too stressful, I really wish I would have know that beforehand. Next baby no one until week 3.

Weeks 3-4:
This is when I started to feel a lot better. My bleeding all but stopped by week 3. I was a lot less sore and actually wanted to start doing things. However, Jack had other plans. He had major growth spurt and wanted to cluster feed all the time. This resulted in major engorgement. I pretty much couldn't leave the house because I would start leaking. And the scabs on my bruised nipples turned into cracks. So you can imagine how much fun his constant feedings were...

The next week was a lot better. Jack started sleeping almost threw the night and stopped cluster feeding. I got to sleep and regain to sanity. And, my bleeding totally stopped and I was not sore at all. And I was happy to see I lose another 5 lbs, making me only 7 lbs away from my pregnancy weight!

4 weeks postpartum, everything going back into place.
These two weeks were the peak of night sweats. I've had them since about 25 weeks pregnant, but it these two weeks was like I was sleeping in the flames of hell week 3 and 4 postpartum. I would wake up drenched in sweat. It was awful.

Weeks 5-6:  No pain, no soreness, and no bleeding at all.But I felt kind of weak still. So I started going for walks with Jack 4-5 times a week too to get my strength back.

I lost another 2 lbs as well, but my stomach is still all stretched out. My non-maternity jeans do fit, but they are not comfortable around my waist. I am not that upset by it, I know I will get back in them in time. I mean really, even having them almost fit less than 2 months after giving birth it pretty freaking amazing!

6 weeks postpartum, I looked deflated.
My nipples are healed and it no longer hurts to nurse. I am still having some leaking issues, but I wear breast pads most of the time so it's not an issue when I go out anymore.

My hemorrhoids are still there, but getting better. To be honest, I slacked on caring for them because I was busy with Jack the first few weeks. If I stayed on top of them all along, I bet they would be gone by now.

So worth it, look at his big eyes!
Overall, I am very happy with my postpartum recovery. I probably should have focused a little bit more on myself at times (like getting more sleep and not trying to do too much), but when your baby is crying you drop everything to make them happy. But now that Jack and I have a routine established, I am able to do more stuff for me. It's surprising how just brushing your hair and putting clean yoga pants on makes you feel pretty again.
I love my boys so much.
Speaking of feeling pretty, something that really helped me emotionally recover from all the changes to my body was my husband. As much as appreciated him doing anything I asked him to do with Jack, what helped the most was him just telling me I was the little things he said. Like after I was done nursing Jack and I wanted to cry from the pain, he would kiss my forehead and say thank you for feeding him. Or when I showed him how my stomach is stretched out more on one side because that's were Jack attached, he put his arms around me and said I was beautiful. He was without a doubt the best thing to help me through these past 6 weeks.