My fourth trimester

By Hand On The Hip - 8/08/2020

Hello everyone!

Hope you have been good and social distancing yourselves. Raising a baby, in some ways, has not been as complicated as I thought it would be. Once you're a parent you are a part of a whole new world that you didn't know existed! It opens this Pandora's box full of parenting to-do lists, tips and tricks and there's no end to it. That being said, it is NOT EASY! I have received a lot of sympathy over the months for being in the situation that I'm in, with no help whatsover and it goes without saying that I've had a challenging fourth trimester but the learning curve has been quite steep. And the learning never stops. 
Our beautiful boy was in our arms on the 28th of April, 2020. While I was laying on the bed in my hospital gown, on a bazillion sheets down below to collect any fluid or blood, connected to a catheter and tubes for IV fluids and what not, after nearly 24 hours of labour, a surgery, completely drugged and exhausted beyond belief, my husband and I were not able to sleep a wink that night due to extreme amounts of excitement. The feeling of becoming parents hadn't sunk in yet! Every two hours or so, a midwife would attend to us and help me feed, burp and change the baby. This went on for nearly a week until we had to learn how to do this ourselves and were confident enough to go home. I spent that week trying to master breastfeeding while my husband learned everything else that followed. The hospital and the midwives at North Shore Private were constantly at our beck and call and we wondered what we'd do without them when we'd go back home. The facilities were so posh that it didn't feel like a hospital and felt more like a five star hotel. (Not to forget, the food was delish! Extra brownie points for NSP!)

The initial week was like being thrown into a lion's den without any weapons and a big fat wound on my tummy. Breastfeeding was a massive challenge that week since my milk wasn't coming in and bub had to survive on colostrum topped up with formula. Every two hours or so, I had to put the baby on the breast for a few minutes to get the flow stimulated and also express for about 30-40 minutes, which meant I barely got to sleep for 30 mins to an hour. Along with that, the pain from my surgery and postnatal blues just made it a whole lot worse. I honestly don't know how I survived that week! I did feel miserable at times and hoped that my mother was around so that I could cry to her. I feel super blessed that my husband took over her role and became my biggest pillar of support. And then one night, just a few hours before we were to get discharged, my efforts reaped its benefits- my bed and my clothes were soaking wet! Yes, my milk had finally come in! 

After we got home from a stressful yet wonderful stay at the hospital, it did not feel like the home I had left behind. We left as two young kids and we were back with a tiny new roommate! Our bubba was a bit cranky at first, but within a day or so, he was fully comfortable in his new home, fed well and slept well too and slept on his own, pretty much slept all the time. Since his discharge weight drop was less than 5% of his birth weight, the midwives asked us to not wake him up for feeds and only feed on demand. We were so chill that week that it felt like raising a baby was a piece of cake and didn't realise why everyone complained so much.. until.. this one fine day, we were in a humongous state of shock to see that bub was crying incessantly, wanted to feed ALL THE TIME, wouldn't sleep, wouldn't settle, would spit up a lot and we were feeling extremely helpless! I was still in a lot of pain from my C section and was feeling pretty shitty that I couldn't do much. I kept telling myself that this too shall pass.

After doing a lot of research online, talking to midwives and healthcare professionals, we learnt that every cry is not a hunger cue. The baby could be crying for a million different reasons and it's not wise to feed him so often if he's been gaining weight. We learnt that babies cannot sleep on their own and that they need assistance! (our cheeky little brat fooled us!) We also learnt that our bubba was suffering from reflux and hence he didn't wanna be put down. From that time onwards to this day, we have not stopped researching on these "new" techniques of looking after a baby. Why I said "new" is because I had NO CLUE about how important it is to put a baby on a schedule or how WE need to teach him the difference between day and night. I have often noticed that these concepts are not common back home and a lot of mothers struggle to survive the first year or so.

By about week 6, we were doing a whole lot better, knew what to expect and were in control of the situation. We knew exactly how to deal with stormy weeks and we could mentally prepare ourselves beforehand. I had fully recovered and was able to pick up my baby, push the stroller around, cook, clean and basically, make myself useful. I had my apprehensions about looking after the baby on my own along with all the household chores when my husband would go back to work but that worked out alright too. Fast forward 3 months and I am now effortlessly able to carry around a 7 kilo baby, feed him, entertain him and manage the house all by myself. Also, because of all the ground work we have been doing, our baby sleeps about 7-8 hours at a stretch on most nights which gives us enough rest to get through the day. That being said, we also do take it one day at a time, enjoy the highs and power through the lows! :) 

Since a lot of you have asked me about how we are managing things, in the next few posts, I am planning to give a super detailed rundown of everything that has been working for us (or at least we think it has been :D) with respect to feeding the baby, baby sleep, putting baby on a schedule, managing the house with a baby etc. Until then, stay very very safe!

Hand On The Hip

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