We've survived two months of parenthood with three kiddos! When people would tell me how difficult it would be with three, especially the last two being so close in age, I would laugh it off and brush off the warning like "HA, I already have two, what's one more child?". It turns out they were right - it's been quite challenging. I mean, can't you tell I've been busy? I was looking through my Instagram feed and noticed I hadn't posted for an entire month. I could not believe it. It did not feel that much time had passed, but obviously it had. Although time has gone by fast, I still feel like baby Lucas is a newborn. Maybe it's because he's the tiniest of all three or that he still has a newborn cry, or even maybe that he still fits into the same clothes from two months ago. Or it could be my wishful thinking for our last baby to stay little forever? I don't know what it is but he feels brand new to me and I'm loving it.
So, here's the breakdown of how the last two months have been.
Household / Routine
It literally took us at least 5 weeks to get used to a new routine, the wake/sleep patterns of a newborn, learning how to juggle everyone's schedules, and giving each person the undivided attention they deserve. I will admit there was a-lot of days and nights of crying on my end, feeling that I was failing and could not get to everyone's needs on time. The baby would cry at the same time while Katherine was pulling down my leg wanting to be carried (obviously I was not allowed to carry her due to the cesarean which killed me even more because I missed carrying her), and Mason trying to get my attention for something he needed help with. And, let's not forget the the piles of laundry, the dirty dishes, and typical household chores that seem to never end. I felt like my whole world was falling apart. I am very keen on organization and a routine-oriented person that when I don't feel like I'm on top of everything, I get pissed at myself and fall into a dark mood. Especially when you scroll through mom feeds on Instagram who seem to be on top of it all with picture-perfect lifestyles, hair and makeup done, kids all dressed up and out and about as a family at the trendiest coffee shops. And, naturally like any other human, I start comparing myself like how in the world are these moms of two or three (some with newborns) are doing it? What am i doing wrong? They just had a baby too. What's their secret? By the time I get myself and the kids ready to get out of the house, it's already nap time and I wouldn't dare to go anywhere in public when it's near their nap time (hello tantrums). So, I had to snap out of that mood and bring my life back in order. For that reason, I had to work on reorganizing everything in my life, decluttering the house, and writing up daily schedules. Our new daily routine now consists of something like this: getting everyone dressed and ready for the day (that means NOT staying in our PJs); setting up breakfast/breastfeeding; Katherine plays and has quiet time while Lucas naps and Mason homeschools; I finish cooking for the day by noon; Katherine naps and I breastfeed baby; Mason and I have one-on-one time or work on a small project/craft; I work on chores or put a load of laundry in; Lunch time/breastfeed when Kate is awake; Play time, out to the park or grandma's house; Dinner when daddy is home; Bathe and sleep time for the kids; Breastfeed baby; the rest of the night is left for grocery shopping while dad stays home, blogging, catching up on social media and planning for the next day. So, after putting this routine to test for the last 3 weeks or so, I have to say I'm quite impressed with how well it's been working for all of us and that we're finally back to a "new" normal routine. Everyone is happy with this schedule. Of course, we have days where one doesn't feel like doing one thing or another and throws us off a bit but we do a great job of picking up where we left off.
Along with that crazy unbalanced postpartum hormones and a cesarean recovery that was taking a very long time to heal, I was a mess. One infection after another on my incision site and follow-up doctor appointments, sometimes twice a week, took a toll on me and my body. And, the stress of being on antibiotics and having to pump and dump really made things worse. About an inch of my incision was still open and infected well after 6 weeks and it finally just closed up this week (10 weeks later). Then there is the vaginal bleeding that you have regardless of how you deliver. It took about 7 weeks for my bleeding to wean off. Then of course I had painful breast engorgement for a few days and that reduced when I alternated between breastfeeding and pumping. Since I was making more milk than what the baby was drinking at the time, I had to pump to balance out the supply/demand in order to reduce the engorgement. Thank goodness it did not lead to mastitis. And, another postpartum symptom I encountered this time around was really bad migraine-like headaches that nothing would cure. I hate the idea of taking medication so with lots of herbal teas, coffees, and intaking foods rich in iron, I managed to reduce the headaches. It turned out my iron was low and by eating foods high in iron and drinking green smoothies I cured it without having to take meds. There is a reason why most doctors, including mine, stick to the 6 weeks rule because it is assumed that it takes 6 weeks for the uterus to retain to its pre-pregnancy size and that also allows enough time for the site where the placenta was attached to the uterine wall to heal.
Besides all of the above changes and recovery, baby Lucas has been nothing short of amazing. When he looks at me in my eyes, he makes all the challenges and recovery pain go away. He is the sweetest little being and I feel so blessed to be his mom. The first few weeks he actually had yeast infection down under in his manly parts - poor thing - his skin was so raw and red with blisters. I found out that it was because of my antibiotics and from my research I found that dabbing apple cider vinegar diluted with water a few times a day cures it naturally. I alternated with coconut oil in between and thank goodness everything healed in about 2 weeks. Then, just recently, at about 2 months old, he started getting a cradle cap and really dry facial skin along with eczema on his body. I'm still working on treating this and the method I'm following is massaging coconut oil all over his body (including his head) and leaving it in for about 20 minutes. I use a fine tooth comb and a soft brush to remove the flakes on his scalp. Then, I bathe him right after. The eczema on his body seems to have gotten better and the cradle cap is almost gone just after 4 days of following this treatment. His sleep pattern has been so awesome since day one. Obviously, in the first two weeks or so he would wake up twice at night to breastfeed, with a few episodes of cluster feedings but nothing too bad. But, shortly after, he would only wake up once to breastfeed. Nowadays, he might or might not wake up to drink milk - depends on how late he sleeps and when his last feeding is. I've learned that the trick to waking up once or none at all is to put him to bed pretty late, around 11 PM, then he wakes up around 5 AM to eat then go back to sleep. This timing has worked out in both of our favors. A trait that Lucas has is that he's the loudest of all three - his cries, whines, and even happy noises - much much louder than his older siblings at this age. I can already see a strong, active and loud personality in him. Besides how different each child is, they have become so close and are bonding so well. The love they show for each other is beyond this world. When Lucas cries, both Mason and Kate drop whatever it is they're doing and run to help their little brother.
If it wasn't for my husband taking a month off from work and partially working from home to help around the house, take care of the kids, and of course being my caretaker in my recovery journey, I'm not sure how I would've survived. And, so thankful for my mom who helped out by bringing homemade food almost daily. Imagine thinking of what to cook, let alone the actual cooking time, and going grocery shopping for ingredients during this time would have only added that extra unnecessary stress. So, if you're expecting and someone offers help in any way, TAKE IT. Whether it's grocery shopping, bringing over food, folding laundry, whatever it is, YOU NEED IT. I'm that person that wants to be a superhuman in every part of my life, I want to do it all myself and never ask for help but gotta admit, the feeling of being a superhero in all the areas of my life was wearing me out and had to accept an extra helping hand or two this time around.
As of right now, I'm just happy to have figured things out in managing our daily family routine. And, the fact that I'm slowly returning to my normal self again with no open wounds makes my heart smile because in order for me to be present (physically and mentally) for my kids and family I have to be strong and fully recovered. Once that is achieved to the fullest, I can then start thinking about my journey to shedding off the pregnancy weight and getting back into my workout groove. Everything has its time. And, I don't plan on rushing anything. I have the rest of my life to work on my weight. What I don't have for the rest of my life is this short lived phase of raising kids. I'm savoring every moment and thankful for our health.
I love the way his newborn photoshoot turned out! He reminds me of a little old man.
Newborn photography by Nairian Images