September 17, 2021

Catching up after maternity leave + a summer away!

It’s been a minute since I’ve logged onto to any online platform! So as I dust off my laptop and tip toe back into real life, here’s an update on our summer away from screens, work, and social media. If you’re new here, we took some very needed maternity leave and family time to welcome our newest baby Isla into the world. So here are some snapshots on different parts of life this summer and where we’re at now…

“SO HOW’S IT GOING WITH THREE?”

In short: I took a shoe-less child to school on the first day of term (above) and I’ve worn the same two outfits for the last 7 weeks (also above!), but we’re treasuring the newborn life season we know is oh so short. And that’s how it’s going really. My body is getting stronger after a birth I didn’t expect, my emotions are a little further behind but I’m ok, I’ve switched coffee for matcha, we’re sleeping ok, and after a stressful start with a lot of crying we thankfully now have a happy baby after swiftly cutting some things out of my diet.

MY DIFFERENT POST PARTUM VISION FOR THIS TIME

With Clayton and Roey, my first two kids, I jumped back to work and life far too quickly.  I was baking paleo doughnuts (I ran a small business doing that back then!) till 2am just a few weeks after Clayton was born when I still couldn’t walk well. Then after Roey I felt so much better that I didn’t really miss a beat moving back to life. But both were too fast for my body, stress levels and in so many ways. Over the past years, reading more about how other cultures view these first days (like THIS book which you can listen too free with an Audible trial), I was determined to try for a slower, more rest filled, and gentle entry to life with 3 children. And that’s been the last 7 weeks in our home while I’ve been offline!

I initially planned 40 days, 6 weeks of full maternity leave and rest, and I could neeever have known how much these extra days would be a necessity. A necessity for my body, heart, mental health and family. After two induced vaginal births, it’s just what I expected and planned for this third birth. But you can’t plan birth fully and instead, we ended a 3 day ride of waiting for a hospital spot for induction with an emergency c section which wasn’t in my grid.

THE BIRTH I WAS AIMING FOR…

This time I’d wanted to try for a non induced birth after my two prior inductions. We worked with our consultant to come up with a plan that everyone felt safe and good with and we had an induction booked in for 40 weeks and 2 days to be safe given our history. We led up to that date with everything we could do to start labour… all to no avail.

…AND HOW IT WENT

We hit the induction date happily and headed happily to hospital via a brunch date we thought would be our last before babe, oh how wrong 😆. From there it was a three days I didn’t expect. I’ll unpack it all in time in a birth story but I had to wait 2 days for the hospital to have a spot open to induce me, and I went into labour naturally while we waited. Then, exhausted from two days waiting, labour progressed quickly and after pushing for an hour, they thought her head was hitting my pelvic bone and we were watching her heart rate lower dangerously so we moved to a forceps delivery that they they didn’t feel comfortable with… and it became an emergency c section.

It went well and little Isla was born happy and healthy but I developed a fever on the operating table so went under a general for them to close me up. That along with some other things, and doctors’ concern over my gut and heart post anaesthesia all led to a longer hospital stay and an intense physical (and mental) recovery I’m still in.

HOW WAS THE SLOWER POST PARTUM TIME?

Aside from the challenges and extra recovery it’s been a beautiful time. I’ve been taking slow days to get to know this new person in our family, feeling no pressure to leave the house, see people, or get my “body back”.  I’ve said no to everything in favour of rest, and worn the same two outfits that are comfy over the incision and fit me for the entire 40 days (Boob Design maternity shorts, and used ASOS maternity overalls with a Boody top, on repeat.)

I honestly don’t know how I was working fully time again at this point post birth with the other kids! The 40+ days have had some deeply emotional moments as I begin to process birth and that will continue, it’s also been challenging at moments when I’ve wanted to jump up and do a lot but I’ve made myself sit still, been ok with a messier house, or spending a bit more on food so that we don’t have to cook from scratch. In general I haven’t felt cooped up, my body has needed the slower days 100% so even though I’m used to feeling so active this has felt perfect.

WHAT I’VE BEEN EATING

I haven’t at all stuck to the exact ways of the first 40 days followed by so many other (wiser) cultures, but I’ve pulled the essence of slow days, nourishing warm food choices, lots of rest, and other things that so many other cultures opt for post birth. For breakfasts: I’ve eaten a lot of oat bran with spices, molasses and nut butter for breakfasts with organic green tea. For lunches and dinners: broths and noodles, eggy ginger “confinement” rice, lots of roasted vegetables and soups and extra red meat and eggs. To drink: lots of ginger, liqourice and green tea (Pukka is the only kind I drink for being truly plastic free and well sourced) and warm water with apple cider vinegar. I stayed away from coffee and added in some alcohol but kept it minimal.

HOW MY BODY IS HEALING

After a sleepless 2 day wait in hospital, an epidural, an hour of unproductive pushing, a try at a forceps delivery, emergency C section, general anaesthetic, fever, EKGs on my heart, X rays for a gut that stopped moving… there was a lot to recover!  For the first few days I was in a hospital bed and couldn’t really move, for 4 weeks I couldn’t stand up straight as my incision and tummy was painful and tender. C section recovery is different.  At 8 weeks post partum I have some mild tenderness but a healed scar and a body that feels, thankfully, mostly normal and increasingly strong.

Then 2 weeks after delivering I had to do a PCR test due to a possible COVID exposure and I fully expected a negative with how I felt but I was positive. I was shocked, and devastated. Not what I planned, and thankfully it was fairly symptomless and I didn’t really feel it, but there’s been a lot to recover from!  I spoke to my midwife right away, and also booked an appointment with a nutritionist to make sure I was doing everything I could for my body. She was brilliant and very science based (I’m not sure what I expected) and gave me some very manageable recommendations for diet, lifestyle and supplements which I followed religiously. I added more red meat, cut caffeine, made some changes to help my liver after a lot of medication, and added probiotics. (My personal go to for supplements is Wild Nutrition for their values in sourcing and glass and compostable packaging.)

AB REHAB

From there I’ve felt stronger and stronger and at 7 weeks I was cleared for low impact movement and also referred to a physio for my diastasic recti. That’s the separation between my abs I’ve had after my last pregnancies. I talked her through what I’ve done the last two times (THIS blog post) and she was happy after I’ve seen it heal twice before for me to continue alone. So I’m doing gentle walks and rehab for my abs with a few workouts and experts I’ve used before.

I’ll wait on the journey back to running and start that more like 3 months post partum but until then it’s all about strengthening and healing my core. Post partum and Diastasic Recti safe workouts from highly qualified Becky at Good For The Swole will also be part of my journey as they were religiously every week during pregnancy and from when I was cleared to exercise after Roey.

MOVING BACK TO “REAL LIFE”

Last week was back to school and I’m figuring out moving around life with 3 kids!  I’m still taking things very slowly and not pushing at all. I’m relying on food deliveries and mostly staying home aside from the school run which I’m so grateful I’m able to do, and have grown up enough to embrace!  Days looks like sleep, moving around slowly wearing a baby most of the time, keeping the family fed, doing school runs and running a house with not much space for anything else. I could sleep less to get more done but I’m not going to push it. I still need to recover fully and heal physically and emotionally. Someone asked me how to manage with three and I’m about 2 minutes in but so far I think it’s organization, not trying to fit too much in a day, real true coparenting and honest communication!

GETTING BACK TO WORK

I’m the sole provider in our family (my husband is a full time PhD student) and I don’t qualify for maternity leave here in the UK. With that, deciding to take 6 weeks leave (and then extending it well beyond that) was choosing to be ok with whatever income I could make with no work time for this weeks. But it’s been a needed choice I’m incredibly grateful for.  My “work” is our online space here and on Instagram, working with California based safer beauty brand Beautycounter is the biggest part of that, and then collaborations and affiliate income for every brand and product we use and love. Currently there just isn’t really a moment in the day for anything aside from kids, running a home and sleeping!

In the next weeks I’ll pick up social media and while I haven’t missed it at all, I love that community there (you!) and what I learn and share in that space. Aside from that, I have a post unpacking more which I’ll put up soon but going forward my work world is going to look a little different for me. And I’m excited about it.

Stay tuned, and thanks for being here, I really do value this community. Make sure you get my weekly chat from our home, life and journey to your inbox as I’m a bit more sporadic on social media by popping your name in HERE!

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