Surviving the 4th Trimester

1.15.10: Trying to keep our heads above water

Julia and Jack-main.jpg

This is it. 12 weeks. The end of the "fourth trimester." I just looked back at my blog about Charlie at 12 weeks and confirmed that this is when we were starting to emerge from the baby cave and blink into the light. Things were definitely starting to get easier. Julia was almost potty trained…I was fitting back into my pre-pregnancy pants…Charlie was starting to sleep through the night…

None of that is happening this time around. Charlie’s salmonella set our potty training back indefinitely. Not only are my pre-pregnancy pants not fitting, but I still look about 5 months pregnant. I’m dizzy tired from getting up in the night with the baby.

For the past three months, Will and I have been in survival mode. I feel like I’ve been frantically treading water, yet somehow barely staying afloat. It hasn’t been an easy few months. Charlie was so sick. Will started a new job that has had him working long hours and traveling. Julia’s the only one who hasn’t been in the hospital (knock on wood). There was the flu, and the usual craziness of the holidays. Basically, just… life.

I don’t mean to complain. Because for all the hard work, exhaustion and frustration, I wouldn’t change a thing. But, I realized that sometimes, it just helps to vent a little—just to take the lid off the pressure cooker of our lives every now and then.

The one thing that’s gotten me through this hard part has been talking to the other women in my life who’ve been in the same boat, who are now floating in calmer waters, tossing me little lifelines along the way. Like my girlfriends who brought us dinner, because they know how hard it is to make dinner with a newborn in the house. Like my neighbor, a mother of three older children, who told me: "When you have three small kids, you should congratulate yourself every night just for the fact that you’ve kept them alive for another day!" Like the friend who reminded me that we’re running a marathon, and that while it’s hard now, it’s going to feel so worth it at mile 26.

My friend Katie told me that there should be a ceremony for this—sort of like a wedding, but instead of a white dress, you’d wear sweat pants and a sweat shirt, and your hair would be in a ponytail. All the guests would be screaming and crying, and the mother and father wouldn’t be allowed to sit down for the entire ceremony or reception. They’d also have to make the meal, using only a few random items found in the fridge, and while they’re making the meal, they must field phone calls, go through the mail and hold the baby in one arm.

The point is: having a new baby is not easy. But, I guess nothing worth having ever is.

Join’s Managing Editor, Dana Rousmaniere, each week as she blogs about her third pregnancy and her new baby.

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