Six Weeks Postpartum Update



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Connor has been in this world for almost six weeks now and it’s hard to imagine a life without him!  The first month was definitely an adjustment, especially for his big sister, but our family is now beginning to get into a routine.

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Rewind to April 24th and I was headed to the hospital that evening for an induction.  I was not induced with Caroline, so it was a little different feeling this time heading to the hospital and not knowing what to expect.  I didn’t know if he would be born that night or the following day.  It was advised for me to get an induction with Connor because PVC’s were heard in utero, which basically means that his heart rate was irregular.  I was assured that this occurrence clears up shortly after birth and we were very happy that Connor was indeed born healthy.  He weighed an entire pound bigger than Caroline at 8 lbs 3 oz. (and he was born on his due date, Caroline was one week late!).  The later part of labor was a bit more challenging verses having Caroline due to his sideways position in my birth canal and him having a “big” head (at least that is what the nurses were telling me at the end of labor).   I had to really work hard during the pushing phase of labor and it really did feel like an athletic event.  I was also exhausted by the time I got to the end of labor because I did not sleep more than five minutes that entire night before.  I was supposed to try and sleep while getting induced, but with two different IVs and monitors around my waist, constant beeping and the anticipation of labor…sleep was not happening for me!

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All the hard work was more than worth it when I got to meet Connor!  Our top two names were Henry and Connor, but ultimately decided on Connor just a few minutes after he was born.  Connor began eating well from the get go and has continued to feed great!  Just like his sister, he is on track to double his birth weight soon!  I love all the chubby rolls he is accumulating all over his little body.  It’s fun to track newborns progression.  Last week he learned to roll from front to back and he started starring intently into our eyes!

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I was very sore the first few days after labor, but three days after giving birth I was surprised how much better I was feeling.  I could sit and stand without pain, which was important coming home with a baby and a three year old!  The hardest part the first month after a baby is sleep deprivation.  This time around I also had to learn to balance the needs of a baby and a little girl.  Caroline has really adjusted well to having a baby brother and she is very sweet with him.

 

When I returned home from the hospital, I was going on adrenaline.  I feel like the adrenaline rush lasted for about a week and then fatigue hit me hard.  The first couple of weeks I tried to take nap every day, if possible.  Caroline still had preschool the first three weeks after Connor was born, so I was able to get in a little more rest.  Newborns are required to eat every two to three hours around the clock the first two weeks.  Fortunately, most nights Connor does a pretty good job about going back to bed after his feedings, so that helps tremendously.  After two weeks, Connor could go longer stretches at night (four hours, if he lets me!).  He does not have a set sleep schedule but he usually goes to bed around 10pm and sleeps until 1:30 or 2AM to nurse.  He goes back down around 2:45 and then wakes again around 5AM to nurse.  On a good night he is up twice and on a rough night he is up three times a night.

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Nate sleeps in another room so that he can get solid, uninterrupted sleep.  We decided that there was not a point in us both being exhausted.  At 5AM, I hand off Connor to Nate and that way I go back to bed for another two hours of sleep (unless Caroline wakes me before then!).  It is advised now that baby’s sleep in your room for the first year as this has shown to reduce SIDS.  It is nice to have Connor right next to me in a bassinet; although sometimes it is hard to sleep soundly because newborns are noisy when they sleep!  Connor is such a chill baby, he doesn’t cry much but when he starts to get hungry in the middle of the night he starts grunting and stirring in his sleep.  This noise usually wakes me before he is fussing loudly.  One thing I noticed is with my second child is that I am much more used to interrupted sleep.  My body does not seem to be as phased by this process.

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So, what does training look like with this schedule?  Most literature says to wait six weeks before beginning an exercise program, but my doctor is ok with my starting as soon as I feel ok.  I waited about three weeks to begin swimming and cycling.  I waited just under five weeks before I began running.  Currently swimming and cycling are progressing.  Most of my workouts are short due to nursing every couple of hours.  Next month, I will begin pumping so that I can extend a few workouts a little longer without taking nursing breaks.  Connor can drink a bottle that Nate will give him that I pumped prior to the workout.

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My first run back felt awful.  I felt extremely disconnected and I felt like my lower abdominals were extremely weak.  I have completed three 5k runs so far and each run has felt much better; however, I feel like I have a long way to go!  For now I am avoiding running two days in a row as I notice the pelvic floor is needs a little more recovery between my runs.  With my second pregnancy, I felt my abdominals stretched much more and I had a bigger baby due to the fact that it was my second pregnancy.

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A huge part of my exercise depends on how much sleep I got the night before.  Even though my sleep is chunked up in 1-4 hour segments throughout the night, I notice that as long as I get 7.5 hours of divided sleep I feel good enough to train around two-three hours the following day.  If I get around 6-7, I feel functional and pretty good to workout an hour or two.  If I get less than six hours I feel pretty exhausted and may just move my body easy for about 45 minutes or take a nap!

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When I began swim training, I was wearing the suits that I wore in the middle of my pregnancy.  They were very stretched out and I felt like I was swimming with a bucket down the front of my suit.  Whether I am swimming, cycling and especially running, I need much more support for my chest.  Nursing changes my top from a size A to a size C, so this is quite an adjustment for me.  I need a very tight suit while swimming for support and to reduce drag.  I also need a very supportive sports bra while running. In addition, I find that it is best to pump or nurse just before a run workout to help be more comfortable while running.

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A few days I have felt great getting back into working out; while other days have been really tough.  At times I feel overwhelmed thinking about all the hard work ahead to return back to race fitness.  When I begin to feel this way, I think about focusing on one day at a time and focus on making small improvements each day.
I am also trying to soak up all the amazing moments with our little boy (and Caroline). It is true that babies change every day and we try to capture the special moments through pictures and video so that we can look back in a few years when we are past the baby stage.  I do have a goal to race towards the end of the summer, so I will announce a race schedule soon.

Best regards,

Sarah

 

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