Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Week 1 with a new baby

Finally, I think, all of the big changes in the last 7 days are starting to catch up with me. After a lacklustre tempo bike ride, I took my first nap since Mattias was born and woke up not knowing if I he still existed or whether it was day or night or even where I lived.

If you had asked me just 3 days ago, I would have said I had never had so much energy; I had gone from having a huge baby growing inside of me to suddenly having my little, light body again. And that pregnancy brain fog was gone. And the swelling was gone. But, the truth is,I'm only now starting to appreciate the huge change my body has gone through (not to mention my psyche), now providing life and love for a being that is outside of my body.

The only way I feel like I can discuss or understand these changes is to talk about them one at a time.

1. Breastfeeding: less than 24 hours after Mattias was born, a large amount of milk arrived in my mammary glands. I think my boobs doubled in size in 24 hours. And Mattias was on them. But despite being "on them", he couldn't quite get to the right place on his own. He would peck and warble like a bird, as always, but without my hand there to fit his mouth on, I have to wonder if he'd ever find the target. (I have learned to sleep with a flashlight to help him find the way in the middle of the night.)

2. Growing Baby:

We had the standard Danish home visit from the infant nurse and she was quite pleased. She was amazed how quickly my milk had came and that he had actually gained weight in his first five days.

Here he is: examined and then weighed the old fashioned way, with a metal hand weight and a piece of cloth. Up from 2980 grams (6 lbs 9 oz) to 3200 grams (7 lbs 1 oz)!! The Lorax had lost weight in the beginning and was finally up to his birth weight after a week. I have trouble explaining the discrepancy. But I had been amazed that Mattias seemed to eat constantly.

3. Sleeping: I sleep between Mattias and The Lorax. SR sleeps in the guest bed. This has prevented either of the boys from crying at night and helped us both sleep relatively well. I do constantly have the fear of - "what IF I roll over on top of him", but I haven't even gotten close to this yet. Fortunately. And he and I sleep without a blanket, just to be extra safe.

4. Weight: I am, as of today, down 15 lbs. 3 more to prepregnancy weight. I am completely amazed the weight has come off this quickly, considering I gained two extra pounds this time. It took me 3 months to get down to pre-pregnancy weight with The Lorax and with only 16 lbs weight gain. If things continue in the same way, I'll be below within the next few days. I am well aware that previous eating disorders can easily come back post-partum. I see super thin women and I get scared. I don't want it to happen. Sounds easy enough to avoid, but if you've experienced being super light, you know how invigorating and addicting it is. Well, I'm not quite super light yet, as you can see, but feeling good.

Post partum day 5

Post partum day 7

(as SR kindly pointed out: "You still don't have a 6 pack." Will I ever??? I wondered silently.)

5. Running. Well, it feels awesome! And, as I've stated before, I feel as if I'm flying. But in reality, I can't keep up with women I normally could pass. And I definitely don't think I couldn't keep up with her:

(Did anyone else see Vivian Cheruiyot's 14:20 5000 yesterday?? Wow!)

I have gone on two runs that were between 2 and 3 hours and I felt really good in the beginning, but I get tired and dehydrated and hungry near the end. But when all or half of my run I'm pushing this, I guess it's not too surprising. I am planning to run a social marathon next weekend with friends just outside of Næstved, though I am doubtful I can run the whole thing. As long as I don't run too fast, though, nothing hurts (and I can hold my urine). I can't wait to start training for real soon. I figure I have one shot in my life at getting fast and that is in this coming year. Hooray for the doping effect of pregnancy.

5. Swimming: when is it I can start again? My bleeding stopped after just 3 days, except for a little bit at night when I breast feed. Anyway, I'm going swimming tomorrow with our tri club in the ocean (bear in mind the ocean is the cleanest swimming water available - in terms of development of post-operative infection anyway, chlorinated pools being the most likely to cause infection.).

6. Biking: this is where I shine right now. I can do tempo 35 km bike rides at a pace very close to where I was prepregnancy. Nothing hurts. It just feels great. And I've noticed I have developed this sort of fearless tactic. I no longer have a need to break going downhill and actually pedal to go as fast as possible - maybe because I just experienced the worst pain conceivable and I just can't imagine flying from a bike being worse :). Yeah, I wear a helmet.

7. Urinating. Don't ask, don't tell :). Okay, I've already mentioned it above, so, when I run or jump, I tend to wet my pants. I had the same problem last pregnancy and it went away. I'm sure it will go away again - though if you ask "experts" they will say running will make incontinence problems worse later. Well, I don't buy it.

8. Exercising in general - can you do that? I get this question all of the time in real life. One young woman was a perfect example of this: "My doctor told me not to exercise for 8 weeks afterwards". My response "well, I started exercising the day after and I feel fine. Waiting so long would just prolong recovery. I don't know why you would do that. I have the utmost respect for women who take time off from exercising so they can be with their baby, but if it's out of health concerns for their own body, it makes NO sense whatsoever to me to wait, as long as nothing hurts."

9. Developing a relationship with my youngest son. This is such a strange time in motherhood. On one had, I have this extreme attachment to this helpless, beautiful, cooing creature. And he depends on me for everything. And yet, he is a blank slate. I do not know him. We share no past and no memories together. I don't know why I expected my feelings for him to be the same as mine for The Lorax. (maybe because all parents talk about loving their children equally). But developing a relationship like that will take years!

10. My husband. SR is enjoying his time off, in most ways. He is, as he puts it, "getting into shape" and he has also lost quite a bit of weight. He is excited about the year of racing to come. But he is still torn up by the fact that he has a new baby, reminding him of his first kids, and is unable to share all of this with them and see them during all of his time off.

Right now he is outside playing soccer with The Lorax. He could not be a better dad. I could post a picture of him in the bathtub with the two boys, but it would just embarrass him. You all know how cute my husband is, anyway.

11. The Lorax. He is wonderful. And has been always stepping up to help with the baby, despite having a much more traumatic week than me.

I guess the Neko Case line sums up my life the best: "but morning finds you, still warm and breathing".

Not just Mattias, but all of them. I am thankful when I wake up in the morning that this is all real.


Peeping Gnome said...

I've been reading your blog for months now and I must say I really love reading your journey. I used to be scared of the idea of getting pregnant because it would mean to have to stop anything I like to concentrate on that (I'm italian, you know... that's how they teach you to be a mother) and reading your post made me realize you don't need to lose yourself in the process.

And congratulations! Your kids are really gorgeous!

cherelli said...


This is such a beautiful post - maybe it's the poctures and just trying to imagine what you're going through this week but you have some healthy, happy, gorgeous kids there - and at 7 days PP (and 5 days for that matter) you look amazing. I get what you are saying about that potential addiction to lean-ness. Seriously you look great now so feed that body some high quality foods! Who cares about 6 packs when your legs and body are obviously so strong!

cherelli said...

poctures. yeah. that's what I meant. pictures.

sea legs girl said...

Cherelli - I thought you were trying to point out my family members' pock marks. ;).

sea legs girl said...

Peeping Gnome - awesome comment. Thank you. I think it is really difficult to find the right balance between caring for yourself and your kids. It is interesting for me to get the Italian perspective. I do have to wonder if attitudes are changing, though, now worldwide.

Olga said...

Mattias is very cute, and I usually don't see newborns as adorable. All the best to you, family, and exercise!

Stefanie Schocke said...

Beautiful baby. Beautiful big brother. Loved the pictures. And you look AWESOME! My goodness!

So I know about the doping effect of pregnancy- how long does this usually last? I know you are crazy busy with a new family...but one day would like to see a post about it! :)

I know all hope for me is gone (6months postpartum). I'm just hoping that I can get back to my 3:30 marathon eventually!!!

Ewa said...

You have one handsome guy there.
BTW, you look great!

Anonymous said...

Well, on February 20, 2008 (8 days or so after delivery), you told us that you were "already back to pre-pregnancy weight"....When it comes to body image please keep in mind that being light and skinny doesn`t equal being lean...You can be super-light and still carry a lot of body-fat ("skinny fat"). So it is useless to focus on the scale and maybe get inspired by women who are lEAN!

sea legs girl said...

Anon, Ha! Weird how my memory of my post-partum weight changed with time. Good thing I wrote it all down. Makes more sense that way. I was like "what WAS I eating last time that kept the weight on?"

Totally agree that being lean is much better than being "skinny" - did I say otherwise????

RunnerWoman said...

hey there,
i have been away from my computer for two weeks and therefore missed all the excitement (though i was thinking about you guys a ton on our vacation). congratulations on the new arrival. you all look and sound (from your posts) wonderful! 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep - wow. wow about many things!! but mostly i am just incredibly happy that things are going so well for you guys.
big hug!

PiccolaPineCone said...

oops, sorry that last comment was actually from me PPC!

sea legs girl said...

PPC, I was like "Wow! Who is this Runner Woman?? She is super nice!" I even clicked on the Runner Woman link to read her blog. Well, I have been thinking about your guys, too. I hope it was a wonderful vacation! I hope you write a post! Big hug to you, too!

sea legs girl said...

Anon, been thinking back to the whole weight loss thing again. I really clearly remember starting to lose weight fast around 3 months post partum - very unexpectedly. And I guess that is what I remember. Just saying it to point out that even if all of the pregnancy weight doesn't come off right away, breast feeding/hormones(?) seem to help out even months later. More info than you wanted, I know!

Brianne said...

I would like to say as someone who obsesses about her weight, ran during pregnancy (even after contractions started) and breastfed for a year with baby #1 and is still bfeeding a 9 month old that pregnancy and bfeeding hormones affect people in vastly different ways. This idea that breastfeeding melts off the pounds has never been true for me. Should one do it then, even if it means being fat, or rather, hanging on to weight one might ordinarily lose with a given amount of exercise? Of course. If one can and is willing, of course it is the best thing. I'm not including you in this group of women, but it really bothers me when people say how quickly they got their bodies back (ie. Hollywood stars, etc) and that they did it through doing yoga and breastfeeding for 2 months. But then they go on to say that they LOVE their new hips and boobs. Well then that's not exactly their old body now is it, if a once victoria- secret- runway- stick- figure now has hips and boobs. I think women need to be more honest about how their bodies change and though they might lose the weight very quickly, how long it can take to feel normal again. I personally don't feel normal until I stop breastfeeding and though this time I have regained my pre-pregnancy dimensions and weight before stopping breastfeeding, I have had to work out twice a day and really curb my caloric intake (for the record I wasn't eating badly or too much before.) My body just happens to take any opportunity to gain weight when it is producing milk. Anyway, that's my experience that I thought I'd share in case anyone was feeling bad that they did not have your post-partum bounce-back experience. For the record I only gained 19 lbs. this last pregnancy (started pregnancy with a bmi of 19-20) and ran more weekly miles/did more strength training and core workouts than I ever had in my life previous. So this diatribe is to say that everyone is affected differently. And Hollywood pisses me off. With all the work you put into your fitness, you clearly deserve to look and feel this fantastic.

Anonymous said...

You husband may be a perfect partner for you in many ways, but calling out his formerly(?)-eating-disordered wife about not having a six pack, a week after having his baby, was definitely NOT his finest moment. Hopefully he was kidding (um, maybe you guys have a funny sense of humor together?)

Your sons are lovely. I think it's easier to fall in love with the baby the second time around, and it happens faster. Keep enjoying it, life sounds so wonderful for you now. :)

sea legs girl said...

Brianne, very good point. I think women have VERY different experiences. Some women lose 30kgs in a year. Some lose nothing. And the amount they lose often seems independent of their effort to lose it. I remember being shocked how hard it was to keep the weight off after The Lorax was born despite running over 60 miles a week plus swimming and biking. And then suddenly I went way below pregnancy weight without much explanation (a paid a little more attention to what I ate, basically). It is pointless for women to feel ashamed or guilty or like a failure. But we just have to remember to accept and love our body for what it is. Feed it, exercise it, give it rest and things tend to work out well. A little extra weight at times is not bad if it means more strength to do what one enjoys! But you know all of this of course. (the reason I even blog about these things is women have such differing stories and opinions and I think it is good to get feelings out in the open!)

sea legs girl said...

Hi Anon. Oh yeah, we have a warped sense of humor together, SR and I. He tells me often how good I look, so when he jokes about the six-pack it is all in good fun. Then I just tell him his shoulders look fat. That one gets him every time, for some reason.

Kirsten said...

I'm so happy for you!!! This is great news!
Just keep an eye out for the breast-milk, I don't know if a lot of exercise can do changes likes it can with the periods.

heather said...

Look how cute Mattias is!!! I love that photo where he's being weighed and just the foot sticks out. You look fabulous.

s.a. said...

He is beautiful!
I largely ignored the 'official' timeline as well. I had a c-section due to my baby being breech, but I felt great very quickly- which I attribute to declining most of the meds they offered. I didn't hit it as hard as you right away, but I definitely let my body be the guide, and that didn't always gibe with the official medical party line.

FYI- for maximum safety, the baby shouldn't be on a pillow, only the flat mattress with no blankets (as you are already doing). I slept with small travel size pillow, I can't sleep without one, with the baby next to me.

Please make sure to keep up your nutrition, eat lots of protein. Your body will take what it needs for the baby first- I have friends who have flirted with EDs and were major exercise addicts post partum, their justification that they were fueling themselves properly was that their babies were thriving. But that is nature's way, their babies were fine, they were not- they both ended up with serious stress fractures and chronic injury due to poor nutrition. In the long run that will make you much more unhappy then being a little less 'light' now. Eat, relax, enjoys those sweet boys!!!

sea legs girl said...

That is great advice, s.a., both about sleeping with a baby and nutrition while breast feeding. Thanks for taking the time to write.