Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Postpartum Truth: A Year and a Half Later

You're probably wondering why I'm still talking about being "postpartum" when I have a 1 1/2 year old!  For one, I still feel like I'm in the postpartum phase, which has a lot to do with the fact that I'm still breastfeeding.  And then there are something things that will just never be the same after having a baby.  Part of a woman will always be marked postpartum; it's the beauty of motherhood.
Read my first postpartum update here.
Weight wise, I'm finally gaining some back!  I was one of the lucky ones, who lost all of their baby weight from breastfeeding.  But then it just kept coming off...  When Liam was just over a year old, I was at my ultimate low of about 15 lbs under my pre-pregnancy weight.  I would eat as much as I possibly could in a given day, but it never seemed to be enough!  Nourishing a toddler is tough work, especially one that isn't too fond of solid food yet!  When the holiday season rolled around and I was stuffing my face with extra goodies, I finally started to pack on a few pounds.  I'm still about 11 lbs under my pre-pregnancy weight, but at least the numbers are heading up!

For awhile, I was concerned that my low weight was also contributing to the fact that at 17 months pp, my cycle still hadn't returned.  This is the biggest factor into me still feeling stuck in the 
"postpartum."  I know that many women don't get their cycle back until they are done breastfeeding, but I was hoping this would not be the case for me.  While many women would be thrilled to escape their regular cycle as long as possible, I yearn for mine!  Regular cycle = fertility, in my mind.
Before having Liam, I was not ovulating on my own or having regular cycles.  This was so upsetting & frustrating for me!  Conor & I decided that I would take Clomid to help with ovulation, which resulted in us conceiving the most beautiful little boy!  My doctor was hoping that my pregnancy with Liam would "reset" my body and that I would have regular cycles moving forward.

This hasn't been the case, at least yet.  At 18 months pp I finally started my period.  I was ecstatic about this, especially since I was still breastfeeding!  I had high hopes of becoming pregnant again whenever we decided was the perfect time, and that I would be able to do so without the help of fertility drugs.  Well, I have still only had that 1 pp period.  Each day that passes, it messes with my emotions more.  I go from thinking that I just ovulated, to... I must be pregnant, to... surely my period is starting right now all in one day!  It's enough to make me crazy!  My crazy is for sure back; hello hormones!

I'm trying to be patient; trying!  But it is tough.  It's the not knowing that gets to me.  I don't know if my cycles aren't regular because I'm breastfeeding or because I'm just one of those unlucky women who will always need some fertility help, like with Clomid.  And just in case all these thoughts don't toy with my mind enough, it brings on the weaning discussion...

You cannot take Clomid while your breastfeeding, so if we decide to go this route again Liam will have to be completely weaned.  I don't think he nor I are ready for this right now, but it's definitely on my mind.  In the last couple of weeks I have started a "don't offer, don't refuse" mentality with regards to breastfeeding, and Liam seems to be fine with it.  He is nursing much less frequently, but still heavily relies on it for nap & bedtime and some comfort every now & then.  Although I know we are far from him being completely weaned, I've started to think about the "last time" that he may nurse.  I actually get a little bit teary when I think about it.  Nursing a toddler is so much more than just providing nourishment.  It is a huge part of our relationship and allows for an extra amount of closeness.  I will surely miss it when our breastfeeding days are behind us.

I don't like the idea of weaning one child just to get pregnant with another, which makes this whole situation even more difficult!  I really truly want Liam to self wean.  If we were not going to be having any more children, I would be in no hurry for Liam to wean.  So right now, I'm somewhere in the middle of wanting to get pregnant again but not wanting to wean Liam to get there.  It's a tough place to be and it's consuming my mind!

I'm sure with all the crazy that I just laid out, you can all appreciate why I'm still in the postpartum limbo!  I'll be here til the day Liam decides he no longer needs "nini" and my heart will crush just a little bit.  And then part of me will always be in this special postpartum moms club that any women who has had a baby is a part of me.  Being a mom changes you; it changes you for the better!  If any of you fellow moms who have nursed a toddler and gone through the weaning process could offer any insight, I would love to hear about it!  Any words of support & encouragement are always appreciated!

And since this post was just way too wordy, here's a picture of my sweet, sweet (and a little bit sleepy) boy!  He's starting to wear holes in the knees of his jeans which just seems to be such "big boy" status; I can't handle it!  Next, he'll be walking off to Kindergarten...slow down little man, slow down!
 

13 comments :

  1. I can see why you are still in postpartum lingo! I have no problems ovulating but we had to do multiple rounds of Ivf to get Noah. My concern about starting to try for another is the time and focus it will take away from Noah. With all the shots and monitoring I feel like it's not fair to Noah. Motherhood isn't easy huh? Good luck! Hopefully you won't need clomid for a second pregnancy.

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  2. I have an 18 month old too and I feel postpartum! I haven't lost a pound since pregnancy - crazy, right?! We aren't sure when and if we are ready for numero dos. Good luck on your journey! :)

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  3. Your little man is quite handsome. Its refreshing to hear of mothers breastfeeding past the "normal" age. All of mine were breastfed longer than normal and I seemed to be one of very few doing it.

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  4. I could have written this post. every. single. word. I had trouble ovulating beforehand, lost so much weight while breastfeeding, still super skinny, still breastfeeding, just had (am having!) my first pp period at 19 months and am torn between not wanting to quit breastfeeding and desperately wanting another child and my fertility back. I too am concerned that I won't ovulate regularly without a little Clomid help and yes...need to wean before I get there. Sigh. Let's hope both of us can start ovulating regularly and won't have to wean to get preggers again! Best of luck to you!

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  5. I had postpartum for several months after my first was born-- maybe half of her first year. And I agree that a good bit of it had to do with breastfeeding- or that was the case for me anyway. Beautifully honest post today- as always.

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  6. Heck, I've had my period back since Abbie was about 8 months old...and I still feel postpartum. I think we always will feel that way. Great job on gaining the weight back - if I could, I'd pass you 11 pounds of mine....haha.

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  7. Have you charted? Maybe you are ovulating but just don't know it. My cycles were crazy too and charting helped me realize what the problems were (not ovulating at all, despite having a period). Now that you've had 1 pp, hopefully your body is working things out. It may have more to do with your weight than the breastfeeding. I know lots of people who got pregnant while breastfeeding despite not having a period. Charting could help. Just an idea. I hope it all works out. :)

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  8. Major kudos to you for being able to breastfeed this long! I hope this isn't noisy but did you take any supplements to keep your supply up?

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  9. I think this was very brave for you to write this post! I think fertility can be a very sensitive topic for women and hard to talk about. You are doing an amazing job with Liam and I think it will all work out for the best, timing wise. I still breast my son who is just a couple weeks younger than Liam. It got my period back around 4 months pp, when I started taking birth control again. Even though I was told it was safe for breastfeeding, I just didn't feel comfortable so I stopped after 1 month. Then is was speratic for a while; very random. Only within the last three months has is been regular again. He is down to 3 feeds a day now and maybe that has helped. I would keep trying even though you don't have a period.. it could happen still! And I don't blame you for not wanting to stop bfing yet. That's a hard decision and stop to be in. But I believe it will all work out in time. I can't wait to see another blonde cutie from you guys!

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  10. It's so nice to hear words of encouragement! I'm trying to patient, so we will see what happens over the next couple of months! I can't wait for another blondie either! :-)

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  11. Laura, I can totally relate to a lot of this too. I was also so sick that first year after Kenya that I lost 60 pounds in those first months and was the lowest weight I'd been since middle school. Now I've put it back on and am actually feeling chubby but I feel ya. Now that you're nursing Liam less often, your cycle might come back more regularly. Mine actually started ON Kenya's 1st birthday (so fun right) but I think it was because I had my first work meeting that week for 8 hours straight and it was the first time my body had gone that long without nursing. She still nurses every night and sometimes during the night, in the a.m., or when I get home from work but she doesn't look she's going to wean anytime soon either. It's funny how she keeps changing her name for it too, lately it's "let's murse!". :) I know it's hard to be patient (I really do) but try to remind yourself that it will happen for you at the perfect time - in the meantime just enjoy that sweet boy and all the time you get to spend with him!! He is precious and I actually think he looks kinda like Kenya too.

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    1. Thanks for your sweet words! I'm definitely lucky to have Liam and am trying to enjoy this time as just a family of three!

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  12. Laura- I've enjoyed reading your blog over these years- especially since we aren't in the same state anymore and it's a good way to keep up to date with your little guy... until now I really just read them but this post I actually have something to bring to the table. As someone who has been trying for over two years through multiple unsuccessful fertility treatments for our first child I unfortunately know a great deal about this topic... I do appreciate you bringing it up however, because it's something that I've found may women don't want to or are afraid to discuss. I would recommend where we first started with charting (mentioned above) and for you to read the book "Taking Charge of your Fertility" if you've never read it before. I know you're first go-to would be the au naturale way, so even if you don't have the normal noticable indications of a cycle, there are ways to do it naturally through BBT, etc. If you're still have very irregular indications, the next step may be to use a fertility monitor which works very similarly to a pregnancy test that you'll take every morning and it's about $35/month for a kit.
    Anyways- hope this helps and I hope we can all catch up soon :)

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