It has officially been one month since Axel’s arrival. Yes, a month. How did that happen? I am amazed when I look at photos from his first day of life, and compare them to how he looks now. His features are becoming more defined and his personality is beginning to shine via his facial expressions and little noises. We’ve actually given him the nickname of Pterodaxel (pronounced Terra-Daxel like the dinosaur pterodactyl) because of his squeaks and noises. Not that we really know what a pterodactyl sounds like, but according to those who developed the sequel to Jurassic Park they make a similar sound to a screeching baby.
Axel has been gaining weight like a champ. When we left the hospital he weighed 6lb 9oz. During our last visit with the pediatrician at three weeks, he weighed 9lbs 5oz. I’m sure he is somewhere north of 10lbs by now. We introduced a bottle and of course Axel took it immediately. Food? Yes, please. It may sound weird, but I was actually a bit apprehensive about introducing a bottle because I did not want him to forget about me. Yes, I admittedly was jealous of a bottle for a good five minutes. Once he latched onto me hours later, I realized that I would always be his number one. Now I am kind of thankful for the bottle because it allows me a little more freedom to go out and not worry about leaving him without food, and leaving Justin with a hungry baby!
Sleep. Everyone was right. You will not get much sleep with a newborn. On most nights we are up twice, once around 12:30am and a second time around 3am. We almost always get up around 5:30-6am when Axel starts to stir. Thank goodness for beautiful sunrises and coffee. Oh, glorious coffee! And naps! Axel is pretty good about taking one mid-morning nap and a long afternoon nap. He also likes to fall asleep around 6-7pm and sleep until 9 or 10, but we are trying to figure out how to change this so he will be more tired once WE go to bed. The sleep thing is definitely something I continue to have questions about.
Physically, I am feeling great and my recovery continues to go well. I know there is still a lot of healing taking place internally, but externally I would never know I just had a baby. I feel like my arms are already stronger than they were pre-pregnancy. Who needs weights when you get to lug around a 10lb baby all day long? I am constantly moving and running around the house getting things done. And then of course I am getting in plenty of low-key exercise with daily walks around the neighborhood. Axel absolutely loves his time in the jogger and falls asleep almost instantly. I’m glad that I am getting him used to this environment early on, because it won’t be long before I am taking him on weekly runs!
Once I start exercising again, I am planning to see a physical therapist one or two times a week to help rebuild my core and strength. When I was pregnant and started experiencing lower back pain, I saw a PT that specializes in pregnancy and postpartum recovery. She highly encouraged me to stop in once I start exercising again, so we could evaluate my strength and any changes to my body that would affect my running, cycling, etc. She made an important point that childbirth causes a lot of trauma to a women’s body and physical therapy SHOULD be a part of the recovery process. I want to come back stronger than ever and will do whatever it takes!
Last week, Justin and I had our first date night since Axel’s birth. In celebration of his birthday last Tuesday, we left Axel with his nana and grandpa and went out to dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant. It was really nice to have that quiet time together, although we were happy to get back to our little man. It’s honestly hard to remember what life was like before Axel – so crazy.
I have also been out of the house a couple times on my own, once to meet my friend Nicole for coffee (she is Kona bound tomorrow!!!) and once to go out to happy hour and dinner with my friend Jessica. Jessica drove four hours to meet Axel and take me out for some girl time. We went to one of my favorite Mexican food restaurants and I had my FIRST margarita in 2015. It was divine!!! I was so grateful to have that time with one of my best friends.
Justin and I also took Axel to the pumpkin patch during the day on Friday, before the weekend crowds consumed the place. One of our very first dates back in 2010 was to the Central Oregon Pumpkin Company, so it was fun to return with Axel in tow. I won’t say we had the place all to ourselves, but we did have free reign of the pumpkin patch, the corn maze, and other attractions. Afterwards, we stopped to introduce Axel to his unofficial grandparents, Roxie and Steve, who live less than a mile from the pumpkin patch.
All in all, life is going really well. This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but it is also the most rewarding. Some things are easier than others when it comes to caring for a newborn. As someone who is a creature of habit and thrives off of routine, life with Axel is anything BUT predictable.
I admit, the second week home with Axel was a real struggle for me. Once Justin’s family went back to Seattle and Justin was attending to a lot of work matters, it was just Axel and me alone in the house. I love the fact that I get to work from home and take care of Axel, but I definitely was not ready for the big changes to my daily routine. I felt really lonely and trapped inside the house (I’m still pretty nervous about taking him out and about by myself, but I’m slowly getting more comfortable). It was also difficult to manage everything without any help. I tend to do most of my work in the morning hours, but unfortunately this is when Axel is awake and fussy. No work gets done without a little help.
Thankfully, Justin was able to pull a few strings and take a week off work to help with the adjustment. I now feel more confident about being alone with Axel during the days while Justin is at work, and getting some work done myself. Hopefully, the fact that Axel now takes a pacifier will also help!
I have my 6-week follow up appointment on October 13 and am saying some prayers that I am healed enough to start re-introducing running and exercise. Once I have my daily dose of adrenaline and endorphins back in my life, things will begin to feel more balanced and normal. I can’t wait to have my “me time” again!
Do you have a pumpkin patch where you live?
What is your favorite thing about October?
Who wants to join me for my first run back postpartum? 😉