The 4th Trimester

The fourth trimester ...

I'm not sure where I read about the, "Fourth trimester." But, I'm glad that I did. I read that the first three months of a babies life they live on the outside the way they did on the inside. All the while slowly becoming accustom to life outside the womb.

When Karoline was born I was uptight. I wanted her to be able to sleep on her own. Almost every time she fell asleep I would set her down. She had to learn to sleep by herself. I did this even when she was just three weeks old, not kidding. I wanted to get sleep training done and done, "right." I wasn't waiting around until I was exhausted. There are so many things I would have done differently with her. She is now the epitome of a first born child. When she falls and you ask if she is ok or if she needs anything she says, "No," and consoles herself. There are times when she will come running to mom and dad, but more often than not she will take care of it herself or will turn to her blanket. This breaks my heart, like I said, there are so many things I would have done differently. I'm thankful to realize this now. I hope that I will now parent her in a more relaxed matter due to the things I've learned in the last few months with Alexandra.

At 7 weeks old Alexandra slept for 8 hours straight and had I switched to a better night time diaper I think she would have slept better even earlier. This little bundle of joy did not like to be swaddled, never did, and still doesn't. Instead, she would rather have mommy right by her side. If you remember the concept of the fourth trimester makes perfect sense. Why wouldn't she want mommy right next to her. For 41 weeks we were as close as close can get, can ya blame her? So, instead of fighting it, she slept with me for 3 weeks. Now, before anyone decides to judge or say that I could have rolled over her. No, I could not. Tim would watch Alexandra and I sleeping and one night woke me up when he helped me put my hand down. I had my arm up above my head and was trying to bring it down by my side. I could not do this in my sleep because I was aware that Alexandra was in the way. So, he gently guided my arm down. There were and have been several nights where my body will go numb or my arm fall asleep in order to not hurt my baby. Anyway, back to the point. I let her sleep by me. I was able to heal from my c-section much faster this time around. I credit the extra sleep.

My baby would nurse with me and then fall sleep cuddled up to my body. Of course there were the occasional diaper changes but it was a very peaceful ordeal. When she woke up I would change her, nurse her and we would both fall asleep (you would think after having Karoline I would have known to put down a ton of towels ... I did put them down, but it wasn't enough. I tell ya, my body must think that I had twins). We would do this a couple of times through out the night and every time she would just go right back to sleep because mom was there. Around the four week mark I realized I wasn't all too comfortable while I was sleeping. So, at this point I started putting Alexandra into her bed for the first portion of the night which was when she was notoriously sleeping her longest chunk, about 6 hours. When she woke up to eat then she usually ended up spending the rest of the night in bed with me.

I am not the mom who sticks to a schedule. I am however a big fan of routines. My girls take a bath every night. In doing this they know that bed time is coming, this is when we sleep. I'm sure that by now Karoline might not need the bath to trigger that she is going to bed soon. But, I don't want to chance it. Plus, have you smelled toddlers lately, I tell ya she bathes every day and she earns it. After that everything is pretty much clock work. We brush teeth, read books, say prayers, sing songs give hugs and kisses and say goodnight. As for Alexandra, she plays while all this is happening. Then her and I retreat to my bedroom, she's still in our room, something I hope will help with traveling down the road. Karoline was and still does not sleep well when she can hear other noises, like Tim or I rolling over. Also, to be honest, I'm not ready for her to be out of our room. Tim has told me he's leaving that up to me. As he put it, "Your intuition will tell me when it's right for her to be in her room." I nurse Alexandra and let her fall asleep while nursing (yes, I know there are some things that say not to do this... This is what she is comfortable with and at ease with so this is what we do). Some nights I pick her up and put her in her pack and play and she's out like a light. Then there are other nights, like tonight, where it takes a few more attempts.

My husband always told me, "Just go with the flow," when Karoline was born. I was not able to do this. It just wasn't part of my nature. Side note: he is my better half, he has helped me to become a better version of myself in more ways than one. He didn't give up, he would repeat, just go with the flow, over and over in many situations. Sometime over the course of the last few years this must have sunk in. Now that Alexandra is here that is exactly what I do. Let me tell you what, I am a happier and better mama because of it. I am beyond blessed to have a husband who didn't give up on me and didn't let me get caught up in having to do things the, "right," way.

I am a more relaxed version of myself now. Much more so than I remember being in any years prior to Alexandra. Things get done when they get done. Something that I have to remind myself often is that I am a stay at home mom. I don't have anything that I "HAVE" to do other than keeping my children cared for. Yet, there are days that I have to remind myself that there is nothing more important than my children. This seems like a no brainer. What I mean is, there are times that I get frustrated that I can't get something done, email, the dishes, my hair, you name it. When this happens it is hard to take a step back and remember, none of this matters. The most important part of my day (aside from my relationship with God) is my children, they are my reason for waking up every morning. I have to interject: Tim, my husband is my first priority, with out him my children do not exist. We came to this conclusion before having kids, we realize that while we love our babies, we love each other more. Without us, there is no them. Back to my point, hair, emails, cleaning, all can wait. By making this realization I am able to take the time to focus on my girls and what they need with out getting upset. One more side bar thought: I don't feel this is an excuse to not have a clean house. There are little signs on Pinterest, Facebook, and other sites that say something to the likes of, "A good mom has messy floors, dishes to do, and laundry to fold." These signs irritate me. In my opinion being a good mom also means keeping a clean home for your children to grow up in. My sister in law pointed that out to me when I was feeling guilty for taking the time to clean. I am very thankful she put it the way she did so that I could realize that I was not ignoring my kids and putting a clean home ahead of them. Instead I clean my home for them. So, once a week I do all of the deep cleaning, some days it's done by noon and some days I finish when they are asleep. I just go with the flow, but it does get done. Every other day I clean messes as they are made and make sure our house is on order before I go to bed. Alright, I digress ... This is easier said than done, and more times than I can count I have to remind myself that I don't "need" to do anything and that my kids needs come first. It's something that I pray about and work on every day.

In taking things easy and letting my second daughter come to know the world around her in a comfortable and comforting setting I myself have changed, for the better. I wish I could have been this way for Karoline. Coulda, woulda, shoulda, I'm thankful that I view my role as a wife and mom with a more relaxed attitude now.

Yesterday Alexandra hit the three month mark. We no longer are in the fourth trimester, according to the article I read she is adapted to her surroundings. She is no longer a new born, she is an infant. She now sleeps 10 hours straight at night. She loves to smile, she cries when she needs something, she is happy and healthy. She has love in her eyes and is a complete joy. I am blessed.

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