We all talk about the three trimesters of our pregnancy but no one really talks about the hardest trimester of them all: The Fourth Trimester.
I just experienced the last trimester and let me tell you, it has been something. I knew that my life was going to change a lot! Like from zero to one kid was a new journey. But let’s talk about the transition from one kiddo to two, it’s no joke. The thing that was a little easier was that I was more mentally prepared this time around. You know how much work an infant is and you know what to expect. However, the part I was not expecting to change too much was the toddler part. I always thought that taking care of a toddler was pretty easy compared to taking care of a baby. My toddler has always been able to adjust to our lifestyle and we bring him to dinners, trips and late night dining sometimes. BUT a toddler with the combination of a newborn, this was a new journey. I am still in this transition as we speak but it’s slowly getting better as we are all getting used to it.
When we came home from the hospital with Lilya Jordan Islam, I was able to get my girl to latch with me (my son never latched). I had dreamt about this! But since I was low in supply, I decided to supplement from the beginning. I have no issue with supplementing, since my son was formula-fed early on. But since she latched I was hoping to have a different feeding journey.
Since my supply was so low, supplementing led to her getting used to the bottle and having harder time latching with each feeding. She was also very colicky for the first 2 months (for those who have not experience a colicky child, its hell!). This didn’t help the latching process, you cannot latch a child that’s screaming her guts out. Sometimes when she latched on wrong, I would still do a full feeding (desperate to feed with my boob), but after a few bleeding incidents, I just had to take a break and give her the bottle for a few days which again led her to get too lazy to latch. It was an evil cycle. After a couple weeks of pain, I decided to exclusively pump (which worked) but I knew it was not going to last very long. I am not mentally strong enough to only pump and my supply was so low that I had to supplement anyway. I started to get frustrated. I would extend my pumping sessions to 20 – 30 mins extra (on top of my normal pumping sessions), I met with lactation specialists, made lactation cookies, ate oatmeal, hemp oil, milk tea, supplements and every food that google told me to, but still didn’t see any difference. I know that some of you are thinking that I gave up too early on, but I had decided early on that if I was having difficulties again, I would do things differently this time and be a happy mommy to my child. My formula-fed Milan turned out fine.
At the 8 week mark, I decided, this was not for me, I was NOT going to get into postpartum depression like last time, I wanted to enjoy my maternity leave and enjoy the few days I had with my girl. I bought the Baby Brezza formula machine and stopped pumping and slowly she also stopped her 3 – 4 hour colicky cry (every fa****ing night!) and I had the best 2 months ever. Happy mommy apparently made for a happy baby. I never imagined that I was going to enjoy my leave, since I just remember crying with my son so much out of that evil guilt (he was also much harder baby than her).
My maternity leave after that was amazing, and I feel incredibly thankful for the alone time with her (I wish it was a little longer). I was also lucky enough to spend it with two of my mom-friends who were pregnant with me at the same time. We all gave birth within a week apart. One of the moms, got me into Fit4moms (which I, by the way, miss a lot) and we were basically out every day, working out, coffee dates, lunch dates or venting sessions about sleep and toddlers.
On the other hand, the toddler- newborn situation was absolutely crazy, I never saw the crazy sides of my toddler until Lilya arrived. He basically became a baby himself, constantly whining and seeking attention. In the back of my head I knew this is what everyone had been telling me, but seeing him having random tantrums over the simplest things, blew my mind. Who was this child? After month two, I think he started to accept that she was part of our lives and things slowly started to get better. But I won’t lie, the weekends feels crazier than the weekdays.
As I am back to work and Lilya is getting older, I can slowly see the light. We are still not sleeping though the night (sometimes) but getting longer stretches of sleep which I am thankful for. The no-sleep nights are basically torture, although she has been a great baby. But it’s the combination of toddler coming to my bed every night and baby waking up to eat–that’s crazy. The two of them have totally different schedules. Sometimes, I feed Lilya at 5 pm (last night feeding) and put her back to sleep and then 30 min later my toddler wakes up (and I’m basically brain dead).
There are days (many days), I feel like a full time zombie. You feel like there is no break and in a blink of an eye, it all starts again. 6 am (sometimes 5 am) mornings to 9 pm nights and then you rush to breath for a second, clean bottles, maybe eat (inhale) something and look at your phone to realize its already 11 pm and then it’s time to sleep and wake up to feed again. I am slowly starting the “sleep training” process, as in removing one night feeding (since the Dr. said she do not have to eat at night anymore). It’s very hard for me to sleep train, my heart breaks, but when I let her cry for a bit and she sleeps the whole night and wakes up happy, you know that she won’t remember the few minutes she had to cry.
The fourth trimester is probably harder than any other trimester (even though I didn’t enjoy being pregnant) but o’boy! is it a crazy, beautiful, emotional, chaotic & amazing journey that you would not change for anything in the world.
I know they will both grow up soon and I will forget this part (that’s why people have more kids) and I will miss all of this craziness. Remember, this is my personal journey and it is probably different for another mom, but my best advice is to embrace the chaos and as long we are all healthy (cold season/winter is coming), it’s all good.