the fourth trimester
we usually only hear of three. three trimesters, each one three months in length, adding up to the full nine month pregnancy. each trimester comes with their own milestones, symptoms, and discomfort. the fourth trimester is no different. your body changes just as much the three months postpartum as it does during your whole pregnancy. and it certainly is just as crazy as the other three trimesters!
storie is now four months, so i am officially out of the fourth trimester. it has been amazing. i was blessed with a super easy delivery (read all about it here!), which resulted in a fairly easy recovery as well. regardless, it did take my body a whopping 41 weeks and 1 day to grow my sweet little babe, so it did take some time to get back into the swing of things and adjust to not being pregnant anymore. here are some things that helped me during the whirlwind of the fourth trimester:
1. have a 24/7 buddy the first week. for me, this was my mom! i was SO LUCKY to have her come up to utah and stay with brandtly and i for the first week of storie's life. storie was born in december, right in the middle of the school semester ending and brandtly studying for finals, so he had to be on campus a lot. my mom was with me the entire time. this was such a lifesaver! i couldn't believe how bad i craved advice, reassurance, and a friend to keep me company. it was so nice to have her reassure me that storie was healthy, she was normal, and i was doing okay at this whole mom thing. she made me laugh and swept my floors. she made us freezer meals and slept on our huge beanbag in the family room to take care of storie at night if brandtly and i were too tired. like i said, she was a lifesaver. i highly recommend this! maybe it will be a sister, a cousin, a neighbor, or a friend, but brand-spankin'-new moms need a buddy. get one.
2. get out of the house!!!!!! some women might be unable to get out of bed and be out and about, but i recommend doing it just as soon as you can after delivery. my mom and i would "run errands" (pace around target for three hours, pushing storie in her stroller) and it was so much fun! it feels heavenly to walk around with a cute baby on the outside, instead of walking around with a karate master who thinks your ribs are a jungle gym on the inside. take it slow, but get out and move!
3. wear a corset. not like this. but like this! i wore one every day after getting home from the hospital for about a week and a half. you obviously don't have a baby in there anymore, but your uterus is still expanded and wearing a corset seemed to coax mine back into place. i highly recommend it!
4. have eyelash extensions. i know, i know, i'm vain and basic, blah blah blah. but you're going to be tired and having eyelash extensions just gives you a nice little boost of confidence. rock your title of MILF!!!!!
5. get dressed every day. don't stay in your sweats. they don't do anything for you. my mom was always a stay at home/work at home mom, but she was ALWAYS fully dressed. she told me that being a mom is her most important job, and people dress nice for important jobs (cute!!!). i got dressed every day and it really did help me mentally. i went on a little shopping trip about a month before storie was born and got some cute new outfits that i had to look forward to wearing after having a baby and having a semi-normal body again. it was fun to wear new clothes and feel cute, even if it was just for my mom, my child, and my husband. they were still impressed (right, guys?).
6. write everything down. i have this amazing little journal and i love it to death! even though having a baby and bringing him/her home is such a life changing event, it's crazy how many of the small details you forget unless you write them down. this is such a special time of life and you will want to remember everything, even if it seems silly while you're actually in the moment.
7. take your stool softeners. haha. TMI? just do it. and maybe start taking them like a week before your due date. i did this, and i was so grateful i did, because the brand that i was using (the kind that they give you in the hospital) didn't really do anything for me. definitely TMI!!!! i was able to get a stronger medication and that helped a lot. TMI TMI TMI!!!
8. be patient with yourself. this is probably the most important thing! every pregnancy, delivery, and recovery is completely different. these things above are all things that helped me personally, but you have to do you. don't worry if you can't wear jeans two days after having a baby. don't freak out if you are constantly STARVING all the time. and don't feel guilty for feeling overwhelmed or crazy, because having a baby really is the craziest thing! your hormones are going to be wack and you're going to be sleep deprived and you're dealing with a HUGE responsibility! don't be hard on yourself. love your spouse, love your baby, and love yourself. you are a miracle and you birthed a miracle. this is your own life and your own story beginning. don't compare it to anyone else's!
good luck, current and future moms! i am so excited for you. having a baby really is the best!