It's hard to believe that I've been a mother for 9 weeks. Miles is two months old. To me, the time has flown by, and it feels like yesterday that I was pregnant and wondering what our little baby would look like. My mom and Steve, on the other hand, both say it feels like Miles has been in our family forever. It seems to me that he just got here.
Because time has been going by so fast, I'm really trying to live in the present--to savor the really sweet moments, and reflect on what the difficult moments are teaching me. It's hard though, since I sometimes don't feel I have time to write anything down (or I sit down to do it and I've already forgotten what I had been thinking--I think "new mother brain" is worse than "pregnancy brain" for me). In an effort to journal what these weeks have been like I thought I'd try somewhat of a stream of consciousness post about what's been hard, interesting, and meaningful so far.
Having a baby has made me realize how much I used to take a good night's sleep for granted. I'm known by my family to be a pretty darn good sleeper. Had I heard that I would be sleep deprived? Of course. But did I really have any idea what it would feel like? Nope. It's tough. But overall, I've managed to get through the days feeling ok. It helps that Miles will sometimes grace us with 5 hour stretches of sleep. Other nights, however, he's up every two hours. I know there is a lot of information out there about babies and sleep--suggestions for how to help your baby become a pro at it--but for now, I'm content just focusing on our nighttime routine and using a few strategies that have already seemed to help (swaddling, white noise, shhh-ing). It can be overwhelming to try it all at once.
Feeding Miles has become easier as time has gone on. Again I had heard that nursing could be tricky, but not until you have your own baby can you really know which kind of struggles (if any at all) you will have. I felt that things were going well at first (he gained weight quickly, got rid of his jaundice because he was eating enough, etc) but then my own "issues" began. I know that having an oversupply is a "good" problem to have, but when I had a hard time focusing on anything except how uncomfortable I was, I began seeking advice from whoever would listen. When Miles was 11 days old I suddenly felt feverish and very tired. I had read about mastitis and worried that I could be getting this dreaded infection. When my fever hit 101, I called the doctor and she prescribed antibiotics. The next few days were miserable as my fever spiked multiple times at 103. Steve would bring me the baby so I could nurse him and then take him away so I could rest. When I finally recovered, I have to admit, I continued to sort of dread nursing. Of course I loved cuddling my baby close, but it was easy to worry about so many things: is he getting enough? too much? why is he squirming so much? should I be switching sides or staying with one? will I get mastitis again? I remember asking my friend Alyssa for advice--I just needed a plan--and she said it took her and her baby at least 6 weeks to get the hang of breastfeeding. At the time, getting to 6 weeks seemed so far away (how would I handle a whole month of discomfort??) but sure enough, time flew by, and while we're by no means experts, I no longer dread or worry about feeding my baby. When he seems hungry, I just do it, and for now, I think, we make a pretty good team.
Having a baby is messy! Again, should I be surprised? I guess I had never really thought about how much laundry we'd be doing. Miles has weeks where he seems to spit up every time he eats. And I'm pretty sure it's a healthy thing, but he sure poops a lot too. At the beginning he would pee every time we changed his diaper, which resulted in many clothing changes. Some days I felt I should stay at home and not risk any outings, for no other reason than not wanting to think about all of the extra clothing, burp rags, and diapers I would need to tote along with me. Speaking of getting out of the house, I wasn't prepared for how hard it would be to do. I don't know how mothers of multiple children do it! I find myself cherishing weekends, when Steve is here to help with our outings. It's a lot of fun hanging out together as a family of three.
Looking back on this post, I realize that it's mostly about things I knew, but didn't really know...you know? I guess that's why they say that motherhood is a journey. There is a lot of learning to do. One thing I knew, that is verified on a daily basis, is how much I would grow to love the little baby that God has entrusted to our care. Sometimes I just stare at his face, trying to catch a glimpse of either Steve or me in his features (I still can't decide if he looks like either of us). Miles is a great baby, and I'm so lucky to be his mom.