Tuesday, January 15, 2013

the first eight weeks

it's true what they say. time really does fly. the eight week post-partum period went especially fast this time as i had family in town and a four year old to care for. our last out of town guest left this past weekend and now i can really reflect on how transformative the last 10 weeks have been for me. i mentioned this post i wrote on the post-partum period before. it's interesting for me to read now, after experiencing two different types of birth, and to think what differed in my healing process this time around. the first year of motherhood you are so filled with aches, pains, and strange changes. whether this is the first or fifth time, we are not our old selves anymore. we are new mothers and our post-partum period is a singular experience. i kept in my mind that i would not remember the things i "missed" by slowing down and allowing myself to laze about with my little one (besides, there is nothing lazy about caring for a newborn, right?)

a few days before francesca was born, i arranged to have my placenta encapsulated. some of the purported benefits of doing this are to balance the hormones, increase milk supply, increase energy, prevent/treat the baby blues, and shorten postnatal bleeding time. i feel like it did that and then some. on the recommendation of a few friends, i used mommy feel good. sara made the process so easy and i know i reaped huge benefits because of this practice. i kick myself for not doing this with elodie. 

in the first few weeks, the only time i had to myself was in the shower. i would dry brush or use origin's salt scrub and then do a self massage after with weleda's arnica massage oil. since i had to have a c-section, i would massage the scar once a day with cold pressed wheat germ oil as well. 

once i was able to take baths, i started putting a few drops of frankincense in the water or kneipp's warmth and energy bath. showers and baths are still my favorite way to reset.

as soon as i was able, i made sure i walked, walked, walked. getting outside for a bit of fresh air every day made a huge difference in my body. i didn't walk more than a mile until she was eight weeks old. now that i am feeling a bit better, i have resumed yoga and cycling. i am going to start wearing her for hikes in the next few days. i'm so excited to start exercising again!

i still struggle with breastfeeding and had to consult a lactation consultant to work on francesca's latch.  i keep lecithin, a heating pad, and medela nipple cream on hand as i am prone to mastitis and plugged ducts.

i bought a belly bandit as i'd heard so many great things about wearing a binder in the postnatal period but always forgot to wear it.

i was fortunate to have so many dear friends bring me food for the first few weeks. i made sure to drink a load of water and to take vitamin supplements (floradix iron, calcium, DHA) to help keep my immune system strong. this was the first holiday season that i escaped a cold, most likely due to staying in my bed with baby!

next i'll share the things that have been the most handy with francesca.

image by jesse chamberlin of our labor of love

19 comments:

  1. Your postpartum weeks sound like such a beautiful and healing time. I am due with my second in 5 weeks, and am curious as to how the days and weeks after labor will play out this time with two. I encapsulated my placenta the first time around, and am definitely planning to this time as well. I wholeheartedly believe that it aided in a speedy and strong recovery. You look beautiful!
    Belle www.petitebiet.com

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  2. I had never heard of placenta encapsulation (I doubt the practice has ever been heard of on these islands). How fascinating! Like Belle said, your postpartum period sound idyllic, rather than the stressful time it seems to be for most mums. You're an inspiration!

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  3. Love your blog and writing.
    I have a few questions, if I may, how was the recovery of the C-section? did you take pain killers?
    Also, is it ok to take supplements when breastfeeding?
    Besos and much love. You're an inspiring woman.

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    1. Hi Nadia,

      I expected to have an awful time recovering. I'd heard so many horror stories about c-section recovery. It really wasn't that bad. I was fortunate to be able to have family come help me and I basically just stayed in bed or on the couch and let myself heal. I took Ibuprofen for the most part. In the hospital the first two days I was on pain killers (vicodin and motrin), I declined the morphine.

      It's important to run what you are taking as far as supplements by your midwife or health care provider. I also consulted a midwife friend of mine who recommended the majority of what I'm taking.

      Cheers!

      Elizabeth xo

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  4. glad you took it easy and spent time just bonding with your beautiful baby.

    y baby is slightly younger than yours and i found tremendous pressure, probably more from myself than anyone else, to bounce back and be just as i was before the pregnancy--eventually i realised i had to listen and respect my body and the amazing thing it has just gone through :)

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    1. I still felt that pressure too Lottie. Even though I knew in my head that I should take it easy, my mother had to tell me to lay down several times when she would see me start to pick up. I did my best to listen and enjoy it (which wasn't always easy!)

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  5. Oh E, this photo! amazing.

    Glad to hear about Placenta Encapsulating, I am going to look into this, thank you for bringing it to my attention, I had such a long recovery from Juliette's birth (vaginal, and she was 10.5 lbs, you do that pain math on that one), this might put my mind at ease to know I have this to take afterwards.

    Thank you for sharing your story, I look to you for constant inspiration. Francesca is just darling.

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  6. Thanks for sharing this - I too have heard so many nightmare C-section recovery stories so this is encouraging to hear. I used Sara after I had Genevieve and she was wonderful. I didn't do placenta encapsulation with Baker, but I'm so glad I did the second time around. I was just in such bliss those first 6 weeks and felt so great. I saved some for 6 mos. & 9 mos. (for those transition times)...it was a sad day when they were gone : /

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  7. Thank for sharing Elizabeth! We love your beautiful family! xxoo

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  8. I have a five week old little mister and although recovery has been pretty speedy and easy, I'm eager to put some of these suggestions to use. A little self love just makes you feel like a better person.
    Thanks for creating such a beautiful space to come visit. I'm glad I found it.

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  9. I wanted to leave a quick tip for dealing with plugged ducts, I'm prone to them as well and it took till my fourth child for me to figure this fix out . Usually with a plugged duct you can see the the milk blister on your nipple. This next part sounds awful- but stay with me- apply a warm compress for a few minutes and thenuse a sterilized needle to break the blister (LLL gave me the ok on this!) and then nurse or pump. I actually found pumping to be more effective at removing the "backup" of milk. Seriously, I used to suffer for days with plugs and this baby I was able to take care of it in minutes. Also, lecithin supplements are supposed to help prevent plugs. Good luck!

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  10. it would be wonderful to get a little peek at your beautiful home! looks so airy, fresh and calming. you have a lovely taste and i'm always in for some inspiration and new ideas on how to live and be happy at home.

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  11. This is such a beautiful sharing of the important postpartum time---I encapsulated my placenta the 2nd time around and felt the same, wished I'd done it with my first! Great info here for expecting Mamas. :)

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  12. Thank you for the information and all the different natural remedies you included for recovering in this post. I am due with my first in April and found this post especially helpful and fascinating about the placenta encapsulation! I am going to look into it and hope there is something similar available in my area.

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  13. you seem to be so good at self-care! i feel relaxed just reading this. :) i felt like i was running a conglomerate 3 days post c-section. :) i hope you do the 52 week thing. my friends and amazing photographers did a similar thing last year and i love it so much i thought I'd try it this year. i'm behind already, too, but seeing your post has reinvigorated me. i might just go put my name on the link... maybe that'll kick me into gear! :)

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  14. Hi, this is really a cute post and I love the picture in your blog. I just enjoyed reading your post...

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  15. thank you soooo much for taking the time for that...it was soo useful!

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  16. What a thoughtful approach to such an important time. Thanks for sharing.

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