Third and Fourth Trimester Recap: Baby #2
With everything that went on during the second half of my pregnancy and the fact that Remy was delivered five weeks early, I never really felt like I had a full third trimester to write about. I decided to wait until now to write it up because this way I could also include the less referenced “fourth trimester” – the three months following birth. Keep in mind that this is my experience, and it’s not one size fits all. In fact, this experience was different from my fourth trimester with Miles, which you can read about here if you want.
Right at the start of my third trimester is when I discovered that I may have placenta accreta, which I included discussion of in my second trimester update. If you’re keeping track, that meant that I had a complete previa (placenta completely covering my cervix) and now it appeared that my placenta had also attached itself to the uterine wall. Both conditions made me high-risk, and I was cautioned to really limit exercise and sex was off the table for the remainder of the pregnancy.
Following this diagnosis, I had to return for follow up ultrasounds biweekly and increasing to weekly as the pregnancy progressed. I had consults with doctors about my birth plan, how they would proceed with anesthesiology, and worst case scenarios (a large percentage of accreta cases require a hysterectomy to prevent fatal blood loss). It was nice to know that I was well taken care of and considered a priority, but it really took me away from enjoying and experiencing what may end up being my last pregnancy.
Physically, I didn’t get to the point of pregnancy where things REALLY start getting uncomfortable, but I did have to take nightly Unisom and really hot showers like I did with Miles so that my legs wouldn’t be as restless. Unlike with Miles, I didn’t develop carpal tunnel or “mother’s thumb,” which was a big relief.
Emotionally, it was tough. There was so much uncertainty around so many things that it made me feel a little out of control. I spent a lot of time worrying about myself and I realized that I was spending hardly any thinking about the baby that I would have in a few short weeks. I tried to take the focus off of me, but it was hard. I’m also not a person who can really emotionally connect with someone who I’ve never met, so that made it harder.
I tried to take more bump pictures so that I could remember this time and it’s something that I’d suggest to others at any point in their pregnancies. I’d always prefer more photos that I can delete later if I want than none at all.
Relationship with Miles
It was really hard for me mentally and emotionally to try and make the shift from one kid to two. I think I may actually write a separate post about this, but making that transition was something that ended up being a lot harder for me than I expected. The night before surgery, I made sure to spend extra time with him and there were a lot of tears on my end.
You can read Remy’s birth story here if you haven’t already. It was uneventful in that it turned out that I didn’t need a hysterectomy and my placenta easily came out. To me, it felt anticlimactic and I almost wish that there had been more complications so that the emotional toll would have been worth it. Obviously, this was a better outcome, but it didn’t leave me feeling better at the time.
I had 40 staples to close the incision from my surgery and this recovery was harder than my c-section with Miles. It took me a good 4-5 weeks to not be aware of the discomfort caused by my incision.
I had to take pain medication for much longer than I had expected to. Given my history of addiction, this made me uncomfortable, but I was finally able to call it quits and only use lidocaine patches on my incision. Continuously being in pain really started to wear on me and one night I just broke down and cried because I was so tired of it.
At my six week follow up, I asked in more detail about what happened in surgery and discovered that I never had an accreta. Ultrasounds can only show so much, and even though all signs pointed to yes, my placenta wasn’t attached to the uterine wall. This led to some more emotional processing for me, but I soon decided that what’s done is done and there’s no changing the past. Everyone did their best based on the available information and Remy was safe and sound.
My mom and sister had come to visit for Thanksgiving and thankfully were able to stay the following week to help take care of Miles while we were in the hospital. I’m really thankful that the timing worked out the way it did and that they were able to spend so much time with him.
Because Remy was early, she ended up staying in the NICU for 14 days. Neil and I would go to the hospital every day to do one of her feedings, spend some time with her, then head back home. On one hand it was good because I was able to get the physical recovery I needed, but on the other our baby still wasn’t home.
It was monotonous. Each day felt the same, and that’s actually a feeling that continued even after she came home. The main goal was to have her gain weight so that she would start to develop faster and be able to do more things on her own. Even when she was home, it was basically eating and sleeping around the clock, which didn’t help in my ability to feel connected to her.
Emotionally, it was hard. Mentally, it was hard. I didn’t feel excited that she was home and often, I would forget that we even had a second child because she was always asleep in her crib. All I felt was monotony, which led to feelings of exhaustion. I questioned my purpose in all of this and felt like I wasn’t doing any good to anyone. You could definitely say I experienced some baby blues for several weeks, but I don’t think that it ever fully got to postpartum depression level. I rarely cried, but instead felt like a zombie simply going through the motions and feeling little to nothing at all.
During these last three months, I also started reminiscing about drug use again. It wasn’t that I wanted to use them, but I liked to escape to times when I did and I also felt mad and frustrated that they weren’t an option for me anymore when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I didn’t feel comfortable with how much space it was all taking up in my head and eventually went back to NA meetings after five years away from them. One good thing about the pandemic is that meetings are virtual and I was able to attend some where I originally got clean and see a lot of familiar faces. It really helped heal that part of me that was struggling.
As I mentioned earlier, this transition from 1-2 has been harder than I anticipated. I thought I would have no issues, but as someone who isn’t the best at multitasking, splitting my attention between two children made me feel really overwhelmed. Thankfully, Miles continued to be in daycare three days a week which was a lifesaver, but it’s only recently that I finally feel like I’m getting my footing. We have more of a routine and Remy is finally growing, smiling, and waking up to the world.
Postpartum is a much harder time than I think many people realize, but I think I’m doing an alright job. 🙂