Mara Hope: 6 Weeks An update on life postpartum!

I am going to sound all sorts of cliché and say, “How in the WORLD is my sweet baby girl SIX WEEKS old already?!?!” Like seriously, even my OB said, “When I saw your name on the schedule today I thought, ‘There’s no way she delivered 6 weeks ago already!’

It honestly feels like so much has happened since she was born, but at the same time it seems like she just got here yesterday! We all love her SO much. I have officially grown a 5th heart.

So here are some personal updates on just about everything you could want to know about life with my girl postpartum! I’m working on two posts…1) a postpartum guide for moms and 2) newborn must haves. So this one is more just about this pregnancy and our family!

Mara

Ok let me just tell you that Mara is an amazing baby. She reminds me a lot of Bethany at this phase, and I couldn’t be more grateful for her disposition.  Naomi was a good baby…but not great. And Gabe, well let’s just say that I definitely would’ve been considered legally insane in a court of law due to sleep deprivation for the first few months of his little life. So, needless to say having a wonderful baby as our fourth child has been such a blessing.

Mara Hope: 6 Weeks An update on life postpartum!

Sleep:

Mara is a champ when it comes to sleep, both at naptime and night time. After the 8 PM feeding she consistently woke up once around 2 AM and once around 5 AM, which is totally awesome when it comes to newborn sleep.

Then around 5 weeks she dropped the middle of the night feeding and is now eating at 8 pm and not waking up until 5 AM!! Hallelujah! All my girls slept this way…if you have kids or are expecting I highly recommend the book Babywise. I’ll write more about it later, but it’s how I trained all my kids to sleep through the night so young!

Mara Hope: 6 Weeks An update on life postpartum!

Nursing:

Mara is the best nurser I’ve had yet. All my other babies would get super sleepy during their feedings and it was seriously hard work keeping them awake to get a full belly! Mara eats while she’s sleeping, and does it with ease! I was a bit sore for the first two weeks on one side, but we worked through it and I feel great now!

I especially love her sweet, content, sleepy post-milk face {see below}! A full belly makes me happy too Mara… 😉

Mara Hope: 6 Weeks An update on life postpartum!

Growth:

Mara was 8 lbs 1 oz (my biggest baby yet) at birth. At 2 week she was 8 lbs 13 oz, which is great because by that appointment they just hope that the baby has gotten back up to their birthweight. Then, when I took her in two weeks later for the lump I found on her neck (LONG explanation below), she was already 10 lbs 4 oz! So needless to say girl knows how to pack on those pounds!

Milestones: 

Smiling!!! Mara officially smiled a few times {like not just gas}! It’s SO rewarding when your baby finally starts reciprocating the love! Other than that, she’s still pretty standard for a newborn! LOL!

Mommy

I’m feeling really good. Tired. Missing relaxing time at night. Missing good long chats with my hubby. But good.

Mara Hope: 6 Weeks An update on life postpartum!

Healing

As I said in this post, I have healed faster and better after this delivery than I have with any of my other babies…BY FAR. I only had two stitches which are all healed (and have been for quite some time). Also, my bleeding has been amazing. I had complications with Bethany that took about 8 weeks to heal. After Gabe I bled for a solid 8 weeks too, and after I had Naomi I bled for ten weeks {yes TEN}! So the fact that I am basically done with this by week 6 is a miracle and SO SO nice!

Exercise

This time around I was a little less eager to jump back into exercising. I much preferred the extra sleep in the mornings for a while {can you blame me}?! However around week 3 I started itching to get outside, go for a walk, and breathe in the fresh mountain air!

I always take it super easy on the exercise until I get the all clear from my OB at my 6 week postpartum checkup. I do not run when I am pregnant {for lots of reasons} so it takes me a little bit of time to build back up post-baby! This time around I started run/walking around 4 weeks {I’m talking 9 minutes of walking, 1 minute of running…repeat a few times}. I started running for longer after my OB told me I was all healed, healthy and had no restrictions on my physical activity.

After all three of my other kids I ran 3 miles the day after my 6 week postpartum checkup…easily. This time around though I have gotten up to 20 minutes of running {s-l-o-w} but am definitely not where I was with my others. And that is ok. I’m enjoying easing back into running, and incorporating some core work in too. But that’s it for now!

Wearing

All right ya’ll let’s just say I love leggings. And summer dresses. And all things loose and flowy! By my 6 week checkup I have always been back to my pre-baby weight {thanks mom for the awesome pregnancy genes}. However, just because I’m back to my normal weight does not mean my body is back to it’s pre-baby norm.

It takes time for your uterus to completely shrink down, so while I can fit into my pre-baby jeans, they are not exactly comfortable. SO I stick to leggings and dresses and love it! Here are a few of my favorite pieces:

Maxi dresses: this one and this one!

This dress–although it’s not easy to nurse in I LOVE it. I bought it in gray, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to get it in at least one more color because it seriously rocks! I sized up and I’m SO glad I did because I don’t like my clothes super tight!

I buy a new pair of these cropped leggings every summer. Love them.

 Date Nights

We’ve been on a couple dates since Mara was born. Because we go to bed immediately after all the kids are asleep, we have seriously missed our connecting time at night. Since Mara nurses every three hours, our best bet for a longer date is to bring her with us. She can’t really interrupt….. 😉

Mara Hope: 6 Weeks An update on life postpartum!

I nurse Mara every day at 5 PM, so when we go on dates at this stage I either feed her in the car before we go into the restaurant, or I nurse her while we’re waiting for the food to come {because we’re senior citizens and eat dinner at 5:30 every night}! Even though we had a baby in tow, just being able to talk and connect without the other three kids around and before we’re totally beat for the night was SO nice.

Please ladies, don’t forget to date your man…even when you’re exhausted and feel like all you do is feed your baby! It’s good for you too!

Mara Hope: 6 Weeks An update on life postpartum!

Neck Lump

When Mara was 4 weeks old I was holding her {like I always do} and somehow noticed a lump on the left side of her neck. I felt it, texted my sister whose a nurse, and started googling “newborn baby lump neck” and any and all variations of said phrase. I hoped it was just a swollen lymph node {because all the kids had been sick the week prior}, but in my gut I just didn’t think it was. So I scheduled an appointment for the very next day to see our pediatrician.

Something important to note: I am NOT the “run to the doctor” type of mom {in large part thanks to my husband lol}! I like to give things time and let them heal/work themselves out on their own. AND I strongly dislike bringing my kids to the doctor, because we almost always get sick a few days later {I so wish they had a well-visit side and sick kid side}! But this was a situation I felt like needed immediate attention, and Ritch didn’t stop me. Especially because we had a good friend diagnosed with lymphoma about a week before finding this lump, I wasn’t going to mess around.

Mara Hope: 6 Weeks An update on life postpartum!

The doctor said he said he didn’t think it was a lymph node and wanted to get us into radiation for an ultrasound as soon as we could. Since they didn’t have any openings we went home {we being me and 4 kids lol}, ate lunch and started homeschool. At 1:10 the hospital called and said they had an opening at 1:30 if we could get there. I loaded the kids into the car ASAP and we left.

If you didn’t know, I’ll tell you, the radiology department at a children’s hospital is not a warm and fuzzy place. Sure there are a bunch of toys, and bright colorful walls, but it’s a heartbreaking, gut-wrenching place to be, in every way possible. I sat there trying to hold it all together, waiting for them to call Mara’s name. We finally got to the ultrasound room and it was overwhelming to me {but again, keep it together mom}. I sat the 3 older kids on chairs to watch a movie on the ipad, and I laid next to my beautiful, perfect baby girl while they poked and prodded and ultrasounded her for what felt like forever.

Finally, I got up the courage to ask the tech, “So, what do you think it is?” And she said, “Well, I’m not a doctor so I can’t say. You’ll have to wait until the radiologist comes in.” In that moment it felt like time stopped and my Heart. Sank. To. The. Floor. Because I’ve been in ultrasounds where you have to “wait for the doctor” before, and it has never, ever been good news. That’s when a few tears snuck out of my eyes, but I just prayed and asked God to give me strength for my other kids and to trust Him with whatever the radiologist told me.

It turned out Mara did have a tumor, but it is something called fibromatosis colli. It’s a tumor that’s made of muscle tissue and is caused by funky positioning in the womb. She must’ve been all scrunched up in there, and her neck muscle didn’t form correctly. He assured me that while this kind of tumor {that word is the worst} is pretty rare, it’s a condition that’s known and is usually treated with Physical Therapy alone. I felt my whole body just sigh with relief. My baby girl was going to be OK!

However I was SO emotional. I felt like a terrible mom, like how did it take me four whole weeks to notice this lump? I started thinking about everything that happened after she was born….she cried a LOT as soon as she made her way into the world, she didn’t nurse well on one side, and cried every time I moved her for a couple days. But I just thought it was typical newborn adjusting to the world type of behavior!

My husband reassured me that the fact that I found it at all, {because hello little miss chubs barely has a neck to speak of lol} shows that I’m not a deadbeat mom, but it didn’t matter. I still felt like my poor baby girl had been in pain and I didn’t know. She had something that needed my attention and I didn’t see it. Oh the joys and pains of motherhood.

Physical Therapy

After that appointment I waited for my doctor to call and let us know the next steps. We got set up for our physical therapy assessment and I anxiously waited until we could go in and figure out how to help my baby girl heal.

Well, this appointment may have been even more overwhelming for me than the ultrasound. All I see when I look at Mara is a beautiful, sweet, baby girl who is the picture of perfection and health.  So to have the therapist point out the 10 things that aren’t quite right with her, which I never noticed before…but now seem obvious….left me feeling super emotional. I still cry when I think about it, over a week later!

Thankfully the lump on her neck and all the effects of it are expected to fully resolve with about a year of physical therapy. I’m beyond grateful that it is nothing more serious, and thanking God for SO many answered prayers.

Mara Hope: 6 Weeks An update on life postpartum!

WHEW! that was a LOT to catch you up on, and I’m sure I could keep on writing! Is there anything I left out about our postpartum life that you’re curious about?! Let me know in the comments below!

If you want to stay connected or you make something from JoyFoodSunshine I would love to see your creations! #joyfoodsunshine

Instagram: @joyfoodsunshine

Pinterest: JoyFoodSunshine

Facebook: JoyFoodSunsine

Twitter: @joyfoodsunshine

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product through a link you clicked on here, I receive a portion of the sale. Thank you for supporting JoyFoodSunshine!