Luckily this time around we were able to leave the hospital after one night instead of the minimum two night stay. I was ecstatic about this; not because I didn’t appreciate the hospital staff (they were kickass) but I was ready to sleep in my own bed and I was missing Porter terribly. I have spent nights away from him before, however I have been so worried about how he is going to adjust to a second child that I was feeling guilty from being away for so long . I know most of these feelings and subsequent crying was from the hormones, but it doesn’t mean you don’t feel it intensely at the time! Either way when they told me we had the option to leave after 24 hours my response was an emphatic ‘yes’ so we were on our way out in the express lane.
Discharge and Lactation Support
Having a baby right around the morning shift change hour did present with some minor delays, so we had to cram a lot in on Tuesday morning in order to get home that afternoon. We had our first bath, check ups, labs, and a visit with the lactation consultant. I cannot stress enough to optimize your time with the lactation consultant at the hospital, these specialists really know their stuff! I was worried about Cole’s latch and sure enough we found out he has a tongue tie and and a lip tie. His tongue tie is pretty minor and she wasn’t concerned it would impede our breastfeeding journey, which was reassuring. We just had to make sure we continued to correct his latch! (The most important skill you’ll learn in breastfeeding is how to unlatch your babe!) As for the lip tie, we were told it will most likely correct on its own but we were told to flip his lip up during feedings to help. Looks like this little one got more of my genes this time around because I suspect I had a lip tie as well and I grew up with a huge gap in my front teeth – thank you braces! This could also be why my mom said I was a pain in the butt to feed. It is crazy the things they learn over time! I am so thankful there are so many specialist at our disposal during our stay. They even were able to schedule Cole’s first ultrasound visit for his hydronephrosis so it was one less thing on our to do list.
Overall the trip to the hospital and the drive home was much less stressful this time around now that we were second time parents. We kind of knew the ropes and Cole was proving to be a bit more chill of a baby than Porter was which provided us with a huge amount of relief. When we came home Porter was so happy to see us and I spent a few moments just soaking him up and greeting him after being away. Then it came time for him to meet Cole! He was reserved at first, taking in the sight of a new baby, but he immediately went to touch his feet and smiled at his new brother. It was a beautiful first moment but I knew we would still have challenges ahead! I instantly felt better being home which is a change from the first time around when I was reluctant to leave the hospital. But like I said before, second time parenting comes with more confidence and a little bit more lightheartedness and I was feeling it in full stride.
Overall, Porter has been adjusting better each day, but the first few days were rough. And, coincidentally, Cole decided to make his debut on the very first day of my sitter’s week long vacation which meant it was going to be just the four of us for the next 7 days. Did I also mention that we were going to get 10 straight days of rain too? Let’s just say the house was feeling really small and our nerves were fried by the end of the week but we all survived. The hardest time for Porter in the beginning was when I breastfed Cole and he often needed to come sit nearly on top of me at the same time. He needed that closeness I think! Otherwise the rest was pretty basic toddler behavior while learning his immediate needs could not be met in the speed they were before. Yes there were tears but consistent, calm, kind boundaries seem to be helping him adjust to that change. In addition, I try to have have one-on-one time with him each day like playing when Cole is napping or being the one to give him a bath which seems to help refill his “mommy cup” as I like to call it.
I am happy to report that even with having a larger baby I had no tearing which was a pleasant result this time around. When I had Porter I received a small tear from him coming out basically waving at the delivery staff, which is funny now because he waves around like the mayor when we are out and about. I didn’t realize how much of my first postpartum experience pain was from the tearing until now. I still utilized my favorite products like the spray bottle (in every bathroom!) and witch hazel pads but luckily didn’t need the numbing spray. This recovery has been a lot easier in terms of delivery pain but worse because of my trapped placenta and the retrieval process. The area where my abductors meet my pelvic area was so incredibly sore that it was hard to get up off the couch or sometimes walk. I was relying heavily on a steady rotation of ibuprofen and motrin to get through the first week or so but am thankfully doing much better now! Additionally, the lochia seems to be tapering off already at about two weeks when with Porter I was still having consistent bleeding into my 6th week. Just shows how different each pregnancy and recovery really is!
Read more about preparing for your postpartum journey.
Having suffered from postpartum anxiety after Porter my radar was set to look for repeat signs of it occurring again. I knew there would still be a period of “the baby blues” and a hormonal rebalancing that needed to take place but I vividly remember feeling pure shock and anxiety from day one with Porter. In the hospital with Cole I felt oddly… like myself. I won’t say ‘normal’ because as a dear friend reminded me, any way we feel after birth is ‘normal’, but I felt very present and grounded. Did this mean I didn’t have weird mood swings? Absolutely not. When I found out about the lip tie and tongue tie I about had a breakdown in the hospital room because I felt like I didn’t do as good of a job ‘making’ Cole as I did with Porter and for some reason saw these issues (and the issue with his kidney) as a reflection of my job as a mother. I know that is silly to think but again it doesn’t make the feeling any less real. We are all going to think some strange things at times and have moments where we cry uncontrollably but that is because our hormones are 100% in control and our rational mind is not. That is just part of the ride baby! All I can do is accept that at times I am not the one in the driver’s seat and that is totally normal and okay. In addition, I utilize the activities on my postpartum self-care checklist to ensure I am prioritizing my own needs as well as the needs of my family. I am lucky to have a great support system of both family, friends, and fellow mamas but it all starts with awareness and education. I hope talking about my experience helps normalize what lots of other moms may go through too!
If you are experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression/anxiety or are worried about your mood in any way, reach out to your doctor. You may also utilize the postpartum support international hotline.
Overall adjusting to a family of four has been going pretty well. I am blessed to have Chris as a partner who is up every night with me changing diapers before a feed then taking the lead to swaddle Cole and put him back down afterwards. I truly cannot do this life without him or his support. I find myself not reacting as viscerally to every cry or being on edge all of the time which is a welcomed change, and I seem to have a lot more empathy this time around. Plus, the days are definitely going faster- I can’t believe we are at two weeks tomorrow! I am making sure to celebrate the mini milestones, like our first successful Costco trip as a family of four with a proud high five in the parking lot, and soaking up the quiet moments cuddled with all of my boys on the couch. Whenever Porter comes over and hugs me or pets his brother like a dog my heart swells. It’s a proud mama moment right there. These are the memories I am clinging on to, the ones that amplify my gratitude for my new little family, and what tells me we are going to be just fine.