As I updated you during my whole pregnancy, I thought it would be important to document my 4th trimester. A trimester that is often forgotten as the baby has arrived. Also because according to some people, after the first month postpartum, everything should be running smoothly. #LolNotLol
1st trimester | 2nd trimester | 3rd trimester
The 4th trimester can bring its share of challenges, first with childbirth, which can sometimes be challenging. I consider myself lucky to have had a wonderful experience and, therefore, a great start as a new mom. To read Edou’s birth story, it’s here.
On a good May night, I gave birth to my sweet baby. We were back home a little less than 12 hours later. For a moment, we thought, “Wow! Are they really letting us leave with this child?! Really?! Do we have to feed him and take care of him forever? ” Yep! It only took a few minutes, and we got used to our new life as parents!
A NEW START AS A FAMILY OF 3
Here we are back at home, and it’s 3:30 pm on May 29th. We dread this night because everyone told us that it would be atrocious.
But it turned out good.
The baby was extremely exhausted from his birth, so he hadn’t fed since 8 that morning. I mentioned it to the nurses at the hospital, and they all told me not to worry and that it was normal.
So the hours went by, and I kept on offering him the breast, but he wouldn’t latch on. Then it was 6 pm, and I was getting worried to death as he hadn’t eaten anything in 10 hours. My head was spinning. How come was he now unable to latch on? He was visibly weak, and I no longer had nurses to help us…
I always had a weird feeling when I was pregnant. Strangely, early on in my pregnancy, I had bought nipple shields for breastfeeding. I had the intuition I would need them…
So on a whim, I took them out of the box, sterilized them, and then latched the baby on.
AND MAGIC HAPPENED! OH MY GOD. MY BABY WAS FEEDING.
He fed like a hungry little animal. He was starving, I knew that. But I didn’t know what to do to get him to latch on. As if he was too weak to take my breast.
What I would find out later is that his jaw was misshaped. His palate was somehow on an angle, so when he would latch on, he was sucking sideways. Therefore, my breast was all crooked in his mouth, creating a lot of pain on my part and a very hungry baby unable to feed properly. However, with the nipple shield, as it’s big and bulky in the mouth, he could feed well.
That evening he drank from 6 pm to 10 pm. And I couldn’t have been happier.
Then the night went well. Far from being like everyone else had told us. He didn’t cry a lot, but we did a lot of skin to skin in a co-sleeping format. I was just unable to part with him… and still to this day to tell you the truth! ?
After the 2nd night, you’re warned that the 4th day will be the most difficult since it’s apparently the day your hormone levels go down. So you can expect a lot of crying, for no reason… I was so ready for it that I hadn’t planned anything that day. Then nothing happened. Maybe I cried once because I thought he was too cute, and that was it.
THE 1ST MONTH
The easiest of all! It felt like I was made to be a mom. I listened to my instinct a lot. I was barely tired since I had slept well so far. I was on a high, I had a healthy baby, a beautiful delivery, summer was coming, my husband was still at home. Everything was going as planned, other than a few little issues here and there with breastfeeding… But that’s to be expected.
THE 2ND MONTH
My husband started working + 80h / week, and that’s when things got complicated… But my parents came to spend 1 month with us. So, 1 month of hot meals, cleaning, washing, name it, they did it! I had NOTHING to do other than cuddle and feed my baby. Everything a new mom could wish for, they served it to me on a silver platter and even took the time to renovate my basement. #Gold
The nights were sometimes difficult, I often woke up every 2 hours to breastfeed, but my parents took the baby early morning and allowed me to sleep a few more hours, which allowed me to recover and have a better day. Then they had to return to Quebec.
THE 3RD MONTH
Alone again. We thought my husband would finish his busy weeks quickly, but we got caught off guard in the end. He had another big month of + 80h / week, so everything fell on my shoulders. Breakfasts, dinners, suppers, washing, cleaning, baby care, food, watering the flowers, showers… I literally spent a month in survival mode. You know when you’re on the verge of drowning, but your nose is still at water level, you can still breathe, but barely. This is how my 3rd month went.
To be honest, of all the warnings I’ve received about postpartum, nothing happened to me on day 2 or day 4 or in the first month.
Although Lea warned me that the 3rd month would be a tough one, and it for sure was. My babymoon was over, and I was exhausted from all the sleepless nights. I cried several nights because I didn’t have the energy anymore to keep going. It was difficult. I felt very lonely. I needed support and barely had any. Having known, I should have returned to Quebec with my parents. Haha! That month, I ate many sandwiches and begged my in-laws for hot meals. I was mentally exhausted, and strangely no one seemed to understand why it was “still difficult.”
I needed help, but I didn’t know how to ask for it. I found it and still find it challenging to ask for help when it is not my family. When it’s your parents or your sister helping you, it’s easy to say what you need. My in-laws, my friends, that’s another story. There were days when I thought I had postpartum depression. I didn’t want anything anymore. I would’ve spent the day in bed sleeping and cuddling my baby. And other days, everything was going really well. My mood often followed how my night went.
And what I found most difficult was that we were both exhausted, for totally different reasons, but both valid. Neither of us had “a little bit of energy” to plan a meal, to get a load of laundry done in time. To do more than just survive.
THE END OF THE 4TH TRIMESTER
And life resumed… A little later than hoped. My husband’s work returned to normal in early September, so he was more available for us. And luckily. After going through a challenging month, I have to say that I now really enjoy having my husband at home in the evenings and on the weekends. A second pair of hands to help me with the little things, but also to allow me to lie down for even two minutes without having a baby in my arms.
Little by little, we are getting used to our new life as a family.
I loved this name: 4th trimester. I’ve never heard it before reaching for a sleep training book that I was recommended: http://parental-love.com/shop/baby-sleep-training. The author uses it a lot and I’ve found it very accurate, right? It was tough, but beautiful time in our life… I’m very grateful for it and also ready for a next chapter – like sleep training with the book and have a little bit more sleep on my own, start solid food soon (love cooking and want to get creative!), go out a little more…
Thank you, Sarah, for the recommendation!