Here I am pregnant with Cal on Keyes Beach in Cape Cod just a week before giving birth. And Cal at 4 months old on Keyes Beach this past weekend.
I wanted to write a little bit about my struggles as a mom of three, especially since I am home with them every day. Social media tends to portray the smiling faces, clean hands, matching outfits, and perfect moments. However, we moms know that it couldn't be any further from our everyday lives - besides the matching outfits - that does happen everyday. ;) Haha.
When the joyful and exciting moments happen, I sure am glad I have my phone handy for a few pics. :)
When I first had the twins, I thought I was very busy - and really didn't think I could be any busier or more tired. Well, things changed when I had my third son. We are now outnumbered for one. And when Conor and Caden go to bed at 7pm, we no longer had our evenings of making dinner, enjoying wine, and watching a TV show. I will say that Cal is now finally on a great schedule and goes to bed around 7:30pm, so we are starting to get our evenings back. But for a while it was tough. I will recap a bunch of the difficulties and challenges I've encountered these last 4 months...
1. Sleep Deprivation
Of course sleep deprivation. When I first had Cal, we had a lot of visitors so I couldn't rest or take a nap at all during the day. I enjoyed visiting with family and friends, but boy I should've taken advantage. I would then be up 2-3 times a night feeding Cal and nursing, and then awake for the day early in the morning with the boys without a second to rest. It is MUCH different the second time around - because you cannot rest or sleep "when the baby sleeps". So overcoming the sleep deprivation, while trying to maintain a social life and parenting your older children is hard.
2. Postpartum Challenges
I didn't anticipate the amount of healing I would need postpartum. I honestly thought it would be easier to "bounce back" from a vaginal birth (as compared to my c-section and twin birth). However, as I mentioned before in my "Welcome Cal Thomas post" I had a pretty bad tear and it was uncomfortable for months. Even still, if I move too quickly, I experience a little discomfort. Hoping that goes away. In addition to physical healing, I think I experienced a little bit of postpartum depression. This is "self diagnosed" so take it for what it's worth. I also feel the sleep deprivation added to it - but I was very angry a lot of the time. I was mostly angry towards Jim and I felt bad about it. Yet I couldn't control it. I feel like it has subsided a little bit (sorry Jim) but parenting several children together, running a household, paying bills, and trying to keep up with work and personal social schedules is exhausting. So therefore, my suggestion to new parents or moms of additional new babies - try and rest when you can. Even the littlest bit of rest can help with healing the body and the mind.
*ALSO worth mentioning: Don't put pressure on yourself to lose the baby weight immediately. It took 9 months to grow that beautiful baby, so there is no rush to fit back into your pre-pregnancy jeans. And please don't compare yourself to other moms on facebook and how they fit into their clothes. It is your own journey, so focus on you. Me personally? I am still up 15 lbs and barely any of my clothes fit. I am focusing on eating a good amount of calories so I am able to provide a solid milk supply for Cal. The rest can wait....
3. The PUPPS rash
I broke out in a terribly itchy rash about 6 weeks postpartum. I still don't know what it was - but boy did it suck. I went to urgent care, saw my regular OB, and even went to the dermatologist. The doctors had conflicting diagnosis, but they think it was a PUPPS rash. Of course this typically occurs in pregnant women, but can also occur in women who have just had a baby.
4. The Breastfeeding
I wrote in detail about my experiences with breastfeeding in my "exclusively pumping post". While my thoughts still remain, I have had several issues with nursing in general. To start, I had the rash I mentioned above. I have also had several plugged ducts. This has been painful. Apparently, many women who exclusively pump tend to have plugged ducts because the suction isn't as strong as the baby itself. So I have experienced a lot of pain on my left side - to the point of it becoming red and hot and I thought I was experiencing mastitis. I was terrified and really nervous. I called my OB several times. She said to do a lot of massaging, a lot of heat, and a lot of pumping/nursing. I threw Cal on my left side a few times and he was able to help unclog the ducts. I also tend to wake on my own between 3-4am so I can pump and relieve the pain at night. Breastfeeding is hard and I give women a lot of credit who are able to last several months (and years!). Great job.
5. Individual Time
Yup, still working on this. In addition to all the physical healing, rashes, breastfeeding, and messy mom hair - there has been something I have always struggled with - the mom guilt of giving each child their own time and attention. I know other moms of multiples feel this way, because they weren't able to give all their time and attention to their one baby at first. However, now it is amplified now that I have three children. I worry I don't hold Cal enough, or give Conor and Caden their own time for their specific needs. Furthermore, I now have the twins in early intervention four days a week and that has been time consuming and often tiresome. We have our SLP come to the house Mon and Wed, and we go to playgroup Tues and Thurs. It isn't easy to get everyone up, dressed, ready, and out the door for these things. Also - we spent the weekend down the Cape and the packing/preparation for that isn't easy. Although the memories are fun and will last forever.
Here are Conor and Caden at Nana and Gramps' house in Cape Cod. The boys LOVE running through our backyard to their house when we arrive. They know they have the best toys!!!
How Cal slept all weekend. :)
6:30am walk with my boys and my Dad! He always comes down the Cape to work on the house lol. Jim and my Dad replaced some of the windows and windowsills. They were rotting.
We made it to the beach!