baby

Emotional Postpartum

Our first days with Cedar Fox were spent in the hospital. I was recovering from a c-section and we wanted to make sure that breastfeeding was established before we went home. The four days we spent in the hospital blur together, days into nights, and nights into days. (Read Cedar Fox’s birth story)

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Our plan had always been to co-sleep with Cedar, but the hospital doesn’t allow babies to be in your bed, they’re supposed to sleep in their own little bed. Which makes sense since the beds are small, and in my case I couldn’t feel half my body, but it didn’t feel right. For ten months my baby was growing inside me and now all of a sudden he’s not allowed to be next to me! Cedar sleeping in his own little bed didn’t last for long. That first night Adam rolled Cedar’s bed right next to me so he’d be close, and I’d be able to touch him even with my limited mobility. I was very hyper aware of Cedar so I got very little sleep that night, waking at every sound and movement he made.

By the next night the anesthetic had worn off so I was able to sleep on my side. After nursing, Cedar fell asleep next to me and Adam stayed up to watch us so that we could sleep skin-to-skin. Adam and I would take turns holding him skin-to-skin after I nursed so he didn’t sleep in his “own” bed again while we were there.

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During our stay at the hospital we had a lot of help from our midwives, lactation consultants and nurses to establish breastfeeding. We seemed to be figuring things out, I did have a few bad bruises around one of my nipples from the first night, but he seemed to be getting on better, and there was very little pain when I was nursing. We could also see that I was producing colostrum, but we wanted to make sure that Cedar was latching well because it could be harder once my milk comes in.

We were discharged on the 5th. Cedar had lost 5 oz, but was within the 10% weight loss expected after birth, and I was feeling more confident about breastfeeding. Plus, I knew that our midwife would be coming to our place the next day, so if I needed anything I knew I had people there for me. Before we left, our midwife let me know that it would be normal to feel overly emotional in the coming weeks, that I may be laughing one minute and crying the next. That all those pregnancy hormones my body was used to are gone now with the placenta and as my body is reeling from that, it’s flooded with a whole new set of hormones that come with my milk, which should be in in a day or two.

I hadn’t really thought about how emotional the postpartum experience can be. Of course I’d read that it could be, but the reality of it didn’t really hit until I was in the midst of it. Before, I was just looking forward to holding my baby and focusing more on preparing for birth then I was for postpartum. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty rough for the first couple weeks after we got home, both emotionally and physically. I was grieving the loss of the birth I hoped to have, recovering from major surgery, seriously sleep reprieved, and having a really difficult and painful time breastfeeding.

 
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I didn’t find myself getting overly emotional until we were home for a few days. I would be looking at Cedar, and get totally overcome and start crying. One time Adam asked Caeden to leave the bedroom and I started to cry hysterically because I felt bad that he would have to sleep alone. Despite all my wild emotions, were were enjoying these beginning days with Cedar. We were both spending a lot of time skin-to-skin boding with him, cozied up in blankets except for when we left the house for lactation consultant appointments. It wasn’t without challenges though, mainly one challenge: breastfeeding (Read about our I almost Stopped Breastfeeding).

How Living in a Van Prepared Us to be Parents

Before we built out our custom van and hit the road, we honestly didn’t know if we wanted kids or not. We enjoyed our ultimate freedom, time to work on our business or personal projects and the ability to pick up and travel with ease.

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We got married after 2 years of knowing each other but waited another 9 years to have our baby. Many people wait until they have steady jobs/income and a house and the security that comes with it, we did things a little differently. The saying is: “there is no perfect time to have a baby”, because there will always be questions and challenges, and doubting your abilities as parents. So why wait until we were nomadic to start a family?

We had good jobs - left them.

We had a newly renovated home - sold it.

We lived close to family - became nomadic.

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The answer is that if felt right . We trusted ourselves and our instincts which led us to the decision to start a family. When we told our family and friends that we were pregnant, they were shocked. Frankly, they had given up on the idea we would be parents!

Our baby was conceived in one of the most beautiful places in the entire world, Arches National Park in Southern Utah. We found out we were pregnant while camping in an almond orchard after spending the day, with friends hiking to lower Yosemite Falls and doing photography at Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park. This experience would have never happened had we not committed to our vision.

We are lucky to be bringing our baby into a world where we are less stressed about money, work, and hectic schedules. We have the ability to spend more time together as a family, and a space that allows us all to learn, grow and adventure together.

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Our van is a physical object made of metal, moving machinery and mechanical engineering, but it has given us the experience and perspective to see that we are ready to be parents. So there may not be a perfect time to have a baby… but we feel that we’re the exception to the rule., because it feels pretty perfect.