My Postpartum Recovery | Baby #2

James - Almost 5 weeks

"Let's just have two kids," I told Reuben about a week postpartum. I was only half joking. I think it's just difficult for me to bring children into this world.

A few days after giving birth to James, I was feeling pretty good. My postpartum bleeding was already going down. I was feeling much less exhausted than I was last time around. But I was being careful to not overdo it and wear myself out. I was adjusting to sleeping with a tiny baby that has to eat multiple times during the night fairly well.

By the way: one thing I wasn't expecting was the labor afterpains. Wowzers. I had read that they are much more painful the second time around, and boy were they ever. My midwife gave me this tincture, and it helped to ease the pain.

We had our "24 Hour Visit" from our second midwife, and everything checked out fine.

Then I had a short bout of diarrhea. I'm not sure if that's what started the cascade of events or not. In any case, at about a week postpartum, my bleeding started to increase. I was feeling worn out, even though I wasn't doing anything strenuous.

Then, mastitis struck. 

We went to my family's house after church. I basically sat the whole day. But by the evening I was feeling pretty worn out and a bit nauseated. We went home and I crawled into bed.

The next morning, I realized that I had a clogged duct. Later that day, I contracted a fever. It was SO painful to nurse. Next to labor pains, I think that was the worst pain I've ever felt.

The next morning, when I got up to use the bathroom, I had a strange ring of light on my vision. When I got up to go back to the bedroom, I suddenly couldn't see. It was like there was snow from an old TV blocking my sight.

I made it to the bedroom and said, "Reuben, I feel faint."

My hearing was also dimmed.

By the end of the day, I still had a low-grade fever. The next day my fever finally went down. And over the next few days I felt better and better.

Our midwife came for our 2-week checkup. James was doing great. Rebekah suggested that I take lots of vitamin C, zinc, vitamin D, etc. to help with the mastitis. And she said to keep up the protocol 3-4 days after all symptoms were gone.

That Sunday we went to church. I was feeling really tired, so we went home early. And I came down with mastitis again. I was able to fight back the fever within a day or two, but by Wednesday night, it was back again. I was only able to sleep about 3 hours that night.

Then, I started to go a little crazy. 

I started having panic attacks. It was like nothing I had experienced before. I couldn't breathe, and my face went all tingly. I was so anxious about being sick for such a long time. I just wanted to die. I knew I was being unreasonable, but it felt so real while I was having an attack.

Reuben read to me, I took a bath, and we went for a drive, all of which helped me to calm down. Reuben told me I had only 2 things to think about: pumping dry to get rid of the plug, and trying to sleep. That night I took melatonin to help me fall asleep (which worked really quickly!). Audra, my older sister, took James upstairs with her so I could sleep without a baby in the bed.

I finally started to feel better over the next few days. On Saturday I was still pretty weak, but we decided to go to my family's house to boost our spirits. It was nice to talk to my sisters, but I still had a small panic attack while there.

Over the next week I finally started to feel better for real. By the next Sunday (March 6th), my bleeding was finally down to spotting. Reuben went back to work the following Monday.

It was a bit of an adjustment being home alone with the 2 kiddos, but we made it work.

I've had another clogged duct over the last few days, but I think (fingers crossed) I have it sorted. I'm just so tired from lack of sleep at night.

I've been taking vitamin C, echinacea, chlorophyll, my prenatal vitamins, desiccated liver, sunflower lecithin, and probiotics. Hopefully it will all help me to regain my strength!

I'm wondering if my clogged ducts are related to James' tongue and lip ties. We're considering getting them released, but I'm not sure if I want to get the scissor or laser method done. Please pray that we would make the right decision and have peace about it!


I gained a total of 29 pounds while I was pregnant. I started out lighter than before my first pregnancy, but I weighed about the same at the end of both my pregnancies.

4 days postpartum I weighed 126.4, and 1 week postpartum I weighed 123.2. After having all that mastitis, I weighed about 116. By 5 weeks postpartum I was down to 114.5, and now I'm 113.

That's the great thing about nursing: you can eat and eat and eat and still lose weight. It's just so fun to physically be able to eat so much (I have a very low fullness tolerance)!

WARNING: Photos of ugly belly below...

Postpartum Helen and James

Here you can see the comparison between my pregnancies. My stretch marks were WAY worse the first time around. I was even able to fade my stretchies while I was pregnant this time! I might have to do a separate post about that...

For measurements, my tummy was 30.5 inches at 1 week postpartum, and my waist was 28.5 inches. At 5 weeks by belly was 29 inches and my waist was 27.5 inches. So I basically have 1.5 inches to lose from both my waist and belly to get back to pre-pregnancy size.

My skin is definitely still saggy. And I have about a 3-finger diastasis recti, so I'll need to be working on closing that. I did use the Belly Bandit a few hours after giving birth (it made my back feel so good!), but I discontinued use after a week because I was afraid it was contributing to my clogged ducts. It probably wasn't, but I didn't want to take any chances.

I'm sure we'll have more kids down the road if we're able. I'll soon forget how awful the postpartum period is, and want another adorable baby. But after what I've been through both times, I certainly understand why couples decide to only have a few kids. And I have major respect for ladies that have kids even though it's very difficult for them.


  1. Hi Erica, Congratulations on your new baby! I just wanted to let you know that there is a facebook group for tongue and lip tie information for people in Minnesota(I'm from the cities). I think it is called tongue and lip tie Minnesota. My son was also born with a tongue and lip tie and we had the procedure done with a laser by a pediatric dentist. It worked and improved breast feeding instantly, and he is turning 1 year old next week and doing great. You have been blessed with two adorable kids. I will keep you in my prayers.

  2. I will definitely pray for you, Erica! Your kids are so are blessed to have healthy babies. Just relax and take things one minute at a time. :)

  3. Erica, you are having a cardiac arrhythmia and need to see a doctor. It's not something to mess around with. I'm pleased that the baby is healthy and growing. Please take care of yourself so that we may same the same about you.

    Blessed Easter,


  4. Your two little ones are so adorable. And anyone can see you are a wonderful mother. I am sorry you are having a few issues--your own and your little boy. The two previous comments sound very helpful! I agree you should get that heart rate and lightheadedness checked out by a doctor. And the laser therapy for little James is very much worth a try. All the best to you, and keep us posted!

  5. I've stalked your blog for a long while but I think it's my first time commenting. I had mastitis 3 times and 9 plugged ducts with our daughter, though it was over 4 months instead of just in the first few weeks! I also started taking sunflower lecithin. KellyMom has some good info on that. If i had a plug, I would heat a rice sock in the microwave and put it on the plug for a bit before nursing, and then I would nurse on all fours with the baby lying down on the bed (but she was older than James is now, so that may not be possible yet!), with baby's chin positioned toward the plug. If I felt mastitis coming on, I also cut up raw garlic cloves and swallowed them with water, but don't really know if it helped though I'm pretty sure once it prevented it. In the end it was oversupply for me, but she did have a tongue tie that we had clipped at 6 weeks, just with scissors, because she was so young and it wasn't a very big/thick one so we decided just to have the pediatrician do it and we are SO glad we did.
    I had PPD, not quite panic attacks but a few times it got close and it's such an awful place to be.
    Praying your recovery continues well!

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