Friday, July 27, 2012

Real Life with a Baby

It's been a month since Daisy came into the world. Baby brain is in full force. Last week I laid her down in the bassinet, then a couple minutes later freaked out because I couldn't remember what I did with her.

I keep telling Zane, "I can't believe I had a baby." It feels like forever ago that I was pregnant. In a few short weeks, I've almost totally forgotten the pain of labor. Having another child doesn't scare me like it did the few hours after delivery. Of the 43 pounds I gained in pregnancy, I've lost about 30 just through delivery and breastfeeding this month. I feel super skinny, but I'm still wearing maternity pants, which is okay. I also have not done anything with my hair but wear pony tails. 

We've also taken what seems like 1000 pictures of this girl. That's the product of the digital age and iPhones. 

Found her thumb, but not for long.

Let's take a look at my expectations about motherhood, and how they played out:

"My baby won't cry all the time." ~ I guess she doesn't cry all the time, but Daisy cries like any other baby. She didn't cry much in the hospital, especially compared to the babies in the rooms next to us, but I think that was a newborn trait more than a personality trait. By week three of life outside-the-womb, Daisy got fussy like every other baby I've ever known. In fact, she's crying right now in the bouncer next to me. She's not hungry, cold, in pain, or gassy, and her diaper is clean, so I'm thinking she's just tired. Aaaaannnnd, she just fell asleep. That's how it works. And she woke up again. That's how it works. 

"I'm going to have a waterfall flow for at least a month"  ~  This one is kind of gross and TMI, but it hasn't been that heavy at all. Everyone told me to stock up on nite-time, super thick pads, but I'm fine using ultra thin ones. I think this is a "every pregnancy is different" topic. 

"Tearing in delivery is the worst possible thing that could happen."  ~  Everyone told me it wasn't that big of a deal, but whenever I thought of episiotomies or tearing, I got all queasy. Then I had the baby and tore, and guess what? They were right. It's not that big of a deal. 

"I can get so much stuff done while the baby sleeps."  ~  I used to judge people with one kid (what? who would ever judge people?) who said they couldn't get anything done. It's just one kid, right? Well, I guess I'm getting my humble pie, because I finally understand the concept of doing one errand or small project a day and feeling super accomplished. Young babies don't have schedules, and Daisy's naps range from 30 minutes to 3 hours, but I don't know which it's going to be. My garden is overrun with weeds, my floors have crap all over them (not actual crap, which is now a possibility more than ever), and my bathrooms haven't been cleaned since my second trimester. If Daisy sleeps for more than 30 minutes, I'm doing something fun, not chores. Or I'm taking a nap too.

Case in point: it has taken me two weeks to write this blog post. I keep changing the first sentence respectively.

Sometimes she takes a pacifier.

"My baby will sleep through the night early on."  ~  Daisy consistently gives us four hours between night feedings, but that doesn't necessarily mean four hours of sleep for me. But sometimes it does, which feels amazing. There's some 6-7 hour miracle that happens when the baby reaches 12 pounds, or so I've heard. That'll be nice.

"Rufio will be like Nana from Peter Pan."  ~  Rufio was completely unfazed by Daisy from the beginning. He still clings to Zane or me and gets crazy around visitors. I'm not sure if he's figured out what Daisy is yet. Sometimes he's really gentle with her, and other times he sits on her. He has learned that he's not allowed to lick her face, so there's victory in that. When she cries, he just lays near me and gives me an annoyed "Is that ever going to stop?" facial expression.

"Breastfeeding will be really hard." ~  I talked to many people with difficult stories of breastfeeding. Daisy didn't have any trouble at all. I think it was our two hours of skin-to-skin immediately after birth. She figured it out on her own after about an hour of lying on my chest. I also made sure she got a good latch right away. I had some serious nipple soreness in the first week, but that's the most difficulty I've had. I also read Babywise, which gave me some tips for posture and latching and had several people give me pointers too. I know this is hard for a lot of women, so I count myself super blessed.

"I'll want her all to myself all the time." ~  This one surprised me, because I thought for sure I'd be all selfish about holding her, but I'm excited to share her with others. I love watching her make other people happy. Sharing her can also be a relief for me, especially if she's inconsolable.

"I don't know how to take care of a baby." ~  I've often felt extremely uncomfortable with other people's babies, especially if they're crying. With Daisy, I'm way more confident and calm. I don't always know why she's crying, but there have only been a few times that it really stressed me out. She trusts me to take care of her, and I (so far) have trusted myself too. Plus, Zane's been super encouraging, telling me that I'm doing a great job and that I'm a great mom.

"I won't let the baby affect my relationship with Zane." ~  This one is hard. The baby can't not affect our relationship. In some ways she's brought us together, and we see each other in new ways as parents. In other ways, she's pulled us apart, because we naturally have to take care of her needs. We've done well with taking time to have meaningful conversations everyday and spend some quality time together as best we can. While we were at the beach for a week, we left Daisy in the condo with my mom and went down to the beach just the two of us. It felt like we were dating again.

Overall, it's been a good month. It's been a fast month! We've had a lot of help, which is great. We've had delicious meals brought to us and plenty of willing hands to soothe a crying baby. We've taken some adventures like family walks, a beach trip, Cow Day, and a day trip to Tampa to meet Daisy's cousin (born 9 days after Daisy). We've adjusted to less sleep and frequent interruptions to whatever we're doing.

Daisy and her cousin, born just nine days apart. 

Having a kid takes up a lot of time and energy. It's also incredible. I look at Daisy and I think, "You didn't exist. You were nothing. In nine months of gestation, you became an amazingly complex human being!" God is the master creator. I can't wait to see what plans He has for her.
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