The fourth trimester


My baby is officially four months old, and I am officially out of the “fourth trimester”. It’s bitter sweet for sure.
We celebrated by him puking in my eye…both of them…

Typically by the end of the fourth trimester things are much easier. Mom has learned her baby’s cues, usually if you choose to breastfeed it’s well established and MUCH easier now, your baby is now engaging and rewarding your hard work with coos and smiles.

It’s definitely all about the progress you’ve made. I look back to March 20th when my son was born and where we are now and it’s amazing.

There were some major adjustments. It’s amazing how you forget! I had to start carrying a fully stocked diaper bag, the car seat is now taking up WAY more room in my backseat, my freshly potty trained son was regressing a little so we were working through that, and on top of everything my daughter was doing “Little Miss Lamb Derby” which is a local festivity. I had a 1 month old and had to go to parades every weekend…it was insane.

Aren’t they cute??!? Be still my heart πŸ’›

Anyways, as I learned with my first, the fourth trimester can be the most challenging. We added all kinds of crazy extras which intensified it, but even without all of that it’s an adjustment.

With your first child you are going from the idea of what parenting is to the reality. Some people ease into it very well, but if you’re like me it was a rude awakening. I had all these visions of snuggling and sleeping when she slept so I would still be getting enough sleep, I had decided I wasn’t breastfeeding because I thought it was weird (hey, I was 19 and had no breastfeeding exposure, don’t judge me).

I had Annabelle and the first month was such a whirl. I was lucky that I had almost no recovery I could’ve ran a marathon after I had her, but we were prepping for our Big Move. When she was less than a month old I flew by myself from Sacramento, CA and moved to Beaufort, SC. I was totally alone.

Annabelle ended up having colic. What a nightmare that was. At 3:30 every afternoon I’d start crying because at 4 on the dot she would scream nonstop until 11.

People tried to help. Take her for a drive! Tried it. She needs white noise, strap her in her car seat and place it on the drier. Didn’t work. My baby was broken.

I remember Annabelle being sick and it was pouring rain and I was wandering around the military base looking for someone who could help me find the military hospital which was on another base. We were both crying and my then husband was deployed and I couldn’t reach him. The Base C.O. (Commanding officer, which I had no idea that’s who he was) found me and called his wife.

They took me to the hospital, footed the bill because my ex-husband hadn’t enrolled her into our insurance, and his wife took me to get groceries because I had spent the last of our money of enough formula to last until the next paycheck. The next day she picked me up and enrolled me into WIC which I had never heard of. They were truly my guardian angels.

I went through my fourth trimester in a new state surrounded by strangers with my first baby.

It was insane. I truly don’t remember most of it. I was 100% on autopilot. I wish some adult would’ve found me and taught me how to make coffee. I could’ve used that!

With Drake I was in a much better place. I had a supportive husband who encouraged me so much. I decided I was going to breastfeed, I was PRAYING he wouldn’t have any colic and I figured that I could sleep during the times him and Annabelle both took naps.

Then came my second rude awakening.

My recovery was not something I worried about. With Annabelle I was totally fine, it didn’t even occur to me that I would be anything other than perfect!

Well I was very very wrong. I had no control over my bladder. I had to wear adult diapers for the first week because I physically could not control my bladder! It was terrible!

And I was in intense pain. I actually took some of my prescription pain killers they gave me which I NEVER USE.

Also, turns out the “natural act of breastfeeding” is pretty freaking hard. I almost gave up every single night. If it hadn’t been for my husband telling me how proud he was of me every single morning before he went to work I would’ve given up.

It definitely took three solid months before breastfeeding felt natural to me. It was SO HARD.

As far as sleeping when they both took naps that’s pretty funny. Because it almost never happened. And when it did, I had to shower.

I definitely felt more confident as a mother than I did before and at this point I had a well established relationship with coffee which helped a lot.

Jacob was the one I went into the most cocky. I had experienced both an amazing induced labor with an easy recovery, and a hard natural labor with a ROUGH recovery. Colic, circumcision care, umbilical cord care, sleep deprivision, formula feeding and breast feeding. I was ready for it all.

Well I wasn’t.

The physical recovery was pretty average. Not as extreme as with Drake but not as easy as Annabelle.

The emotional recovery was rough. I was frustrated because I felt so overwhelmed. I felt guilty because things WEREN’T perfect. I cried all the time, my relationship with my kids changed. It was really hard.

Breastfeeding was difficult but I kept reminding myself that once I was over the fourth trimester it would be WAY EASIER than a bottle. It came to me pretty quickly and I feel like I can easily meet my 1 year goal.

Jacob threw us some curve balls. He’s definitely our “neediest” baby.

On top of that he brought us some low-grade medical problems. His umbilical cord never quite healed and we had to have it sealed by his pediatrician.

He started not pooping for 2 weeks at a time even though he was breast fed. It took us until he was shot 2 months old until we decided this is just the way he is and once he’s gone a week without pooping we have to give him 2oz of prune juice mixed with water until he poops.

He is a puker which I never dealt with before, but I had a hard time deciphering what was “projectile” and what was normal. I googled more than I’ve ever googled in my life the first two months.

Going back to work was harder. I cried every day the first week. It took me way longer to adapt to the changes in my body and my life.

Our then daycare person kept telling me all of these things that were wrong with him which gave me a lot of stress an anxiety. Nothing was wrong, but it was the stress of having to leave work so often and of feeling like he just wasn’t wanted where he was at. It made an already intense situation very hard.

It’s amazing it really is another stage of your pregnancy. It’s your body adjusting and recovering, it’s your baby adjusting to a brand new world and growing, it’s you both learning about eachother. It’s an amazing time and intense and scary but it only comes once and I look back at that time with each of my kids and remember the good in them.

Annabelle turned me into a mom I learned to love beyond myself, and Drake came in a time when I was learning what kind of a family I wanted to create for us. Jacob has completed us I feel like truly all of the souls I carry in my heart are now here for me to love and raise. I feel such completeness.

So I’m excited to be in a place where things are settling, a little sad that that time in my life will never come again, and looking forward to the next phase of my life where I am shaping threes three into the people they will become πŸ’›

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