Google+ The Duda Homestead: 4th Trimester Reflections

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

4th Trimester Reflections

Our little man is 10 days away from turning 5 months old. 5 months...that's almost 6...which is half of a year. Holy cow. Time really does fly, and I cherish my memories of his newborn days. I won't say I miss them, because I choose to live in the present. I like it here. I look at photos and videos and get teary and say "awwww" a lot, but I am so proud of the little man he is already becoming. I am extremely grateful that I am able to stay home with my little man and not miss a thing. I have always been the super sappy sentimental type and don't think I would handle being away from him very well (I am not saying anything negative here about moms who go back to work...hell, I wouldn't have a job without you. You are tough and doing what you need to do for your family, go you!). But enough about being sappy, let's move on to some reminiscing...

I'd read a bit about the "4th trimester" and thought it was interesting that it was called that. I had read it was because they do so much growing & developing in those first 3 months after birth. I'd also read the theory that since we evolved and began walking upright, it decreased pelvic/birth canal size so babies had to be born "before they were ready." Now, they are saying metabolism may have something to do with it. But anywho...needless to say babies are helpless little things when they are born. Adorable, sweet, dependent, tiny (usually) little things who peck around like little birds looking for momma's milk. Sigh that was my favorite. I didn't have much experience with newborns before having our little one. In fact, in the hospital when I was working on establishing nursing, I made a nurse help me rotate him to the other side because I thought I was going to break him (and to my credit had zero core strength and was at an awkward angle). My husband was a champ those first couple of days. I'm sure he was nervous but he hid it well, changing his first diaper and getting him in his first onesie. I was impressed because I was feeling about as physically helpless as our newborn (damn Pitocin...I blame you). E looked ridiculously tiny in his car seat and I just couldn't wait to get him safely into our home.

The next day after bringing him home, we had to take him to see his pediatrician (I delivered an hour away so we had the hospital pediatrician check him out, but then needed to see ours). So back into the carseat he went and on to that germ infested doctor's office (eep!). It was in those fluorescent lights in the office that we realized he was quite yellow. Then we discussed his potty patterns and while he did poop (in utero, and shortly after birth), he hadn't pooped in a couple of days nor had he peed much, if at all. So within about a 10 minute window, we were told that he was starving (I'm exaggerating of course) and jaundice and not knowing much about it at the time, I broke down in tears and just wanted our baby to be ok. Our sweet nurse practitioner reassured me that he'd be fine, they just want to see him pooping because that helps get the excess bilirubin out of his system. So then came the formula to supplement until my milk came in. I hate this part. Nothing against moms who choose or have to use just isn't what I wanted for my baby. I will say, after seeing his sense of satisfaction after that first bottle (which he took like a pro) I felt fine about it. It wasn't until later on that I wish one of us would have slowed down to think rationally and at least choose an organic formula. But what's done is done and he's healthy and nurses very well and hasn't had formula since. So like I said earlier, no living in the past.

After being in our local hospital under the lights for less than 24 hours, frequently nursing, then taking a bottle after, he was given the ok to go home since his levels were back to normal. Finally we could go home and stay home with our little man. My husband teaches and took two weeks off (it's only his second year so he didn't want to take too much time, but we timed it right because he only had to go back for a week after his leave was up and then it was summer!). I loved having him home with us.

So as I mentioned earlier, newborns are helpless little things, and that's no big news. They're kind of known for it. So now it was time to settle into our new lives as parents and work on getting into some kind of routine. He slept a lot, usually on me or his daddy, nursed well, and smiled in his sleep often. So stinkin' cute. He is still an extremely happy and smiley baby. He also went through a lot of diapers...We had some Naty disposable diapers that we were using up and a few days in, when I was more comfortable getting up and walking around, I decided to start using our cloth newborn stash. We had bought a stash of Kissaluvs fitteds and various covers from a friend. And wouldn't you know it, in his first cloth diaper he finally took his first poo since the hospital. Yay!

I swear it was the day he turned 3 months old that I had a rough day accepting that he was no longer a newborn. Suddenly he wanted to stand or sit up all the time and be a big boy. He wasn't content laying down in momma's lap anymore. But then he would get hungry and sleepy and need me to soothe him. Then I remembered, "Oh yeah, he still needs me. And he will for quite awhile." Not that I didn't have a ton of fun with him in those first few months, but the bigger he got, the more smiley, responsive and fun he became. I know my husband had a hard time, as many do. He didn't feel that he could do much to help him, which maybe directly he can't because all baby really wants is mom & milk. But he made sure I had food and water, which I needed more of than I ever thought I would. He was awesome and for any dads feeling the same way, he is having a blast with him these days :)

In those first few months, they can't reach out (at least not in a controlled way) to grab their toys or you (omg...when they reach out and touch your face the first time...oh man. Heart melting). They just kind of hang out. Then all of a sudden I find myself thinking of what I can do to entertain him. He holds himself up playing with his Zany Zoo (with our help of course) and loves books (he started staring at them at just a few days old...especially Look, Look!). And man is he ticklish! He also travels very well and is a breeze to take anywhere, especially if I wear him in my Moby wrap. He just hangs out, looks around, and naps when he gets sleepy.

So if you have a newborn yourself, maybe you are struggling feeling like it will never end. It will, hang in there! And for those of you who enjoyed it as much as I did and are missing it, I hear ya, but aren't they so much fun now? I've said it before, live in the present, take lots of pictures, and cherish these moments and look back with a smile :)


  1. Oh my, what a precious post! I'm seven months pregnant with our first and we are definitely anxious, excited, nervous, overwhelmed, and every other emotion known to man! Baby K will be here in December and he's growing right along ... I can definitely tell he's beginning run out of room because my belly feels like it's getting tighter and tighter every day. I experienced two Braxton Hicks contractions yesterday morning -- that was quite interesting, but nothing to be concerned or alarmed about. I'm crazy about meeting our son, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous (scared, frightened, terrified) about the labor and delivery. Of course, I want us both to be healthy and happy so we can come home as a family of three. Thanks again for sharing this post and your beautiful story. Blessings!

    Nicole @ Three 31

    1. Hi Nicole! Has he been giving you good kicks to the ribs? It gets uncomfortable but that just means you get to meet him soon! It is the BEST thing really can't be described. That moment when you stare at him and realize you'd do anything to protect surreal. I'm so excited for you and hope delivery goes well for you and baby :) Don't be scared, we were made to do this! (OK, you're allowed to be a little scared, but you're strong and you can do it!). If you didn't see my birth story, check it out :) Reading lots of birth stories before delivery helped me to relax and know that the pain meant progress!


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