Motherhood

Life With a Newborn

I’m not sure how qualified I am to write a post like this – I mean we do have a newborn, she’s sitting right here beside me! – but we’ve only been home from the hospital for 3-4 days, have only been parents for a week.

Barring all of those disclaimers however, this first week is what I was most nervous about. I didn’t know what to expect, and everything I heard from other parents was borderline apocalyptic in nature: “Sleep now, because you will NEVER. SLEEP. AGAIN!” they whispered, eyes wide. “Take some time to enjoy your life as it is,” they solemnly intoned, “Because it’s about to change. FOREVER.”

I took these ominous warning seriously and prepared accordingly. I froze food, pre-designed birth announcements and printed out address labels, made mass quantities of laundry detergent, baby wipe solution. I prepared as though I wouldn’t have more than five minutes here and there to take care of my basic needs, because I had no idea what the reality would look like.

Well, one week in, a lot of the time reality looks like this:

        

I have no point of comparison, no way to tell if our experience is normal or not, but so far Olive has been nothing but a delight, and life with a newborn has been nothing like what I had prepared myself for. Trust me, the moment I feel like tearing my hair out from sleep-deprived insanity, or ripping Adam apart in a fit of spousal rage, y’all will be the first to know. But so far, in this very first week, things have been positively bucolic.

Maybe it’s because I was expecting it to be so rough that it seems so good? I mean I was steeling myself for sleepless nights, a screaming baby – I was bracing myself for chaos, anarchy, a whirlwind of feedings, diaper changes and trying to care care of myself in the small snatches of time in between. And please believe me when I say that I’m not pulling a George W. and hoisting a giant ”Mission Accomplished!” banner, I’m not discounting those warnings yet, not declaring ourselves the valedictorians of parenting or the proud owners of a perfect baby -quite the contrary in fact. We’re not naive enough to think that things will always be like this, but we are definitely enjoying it while it lasts, and also very grateful that the plunge into this new world, new life, has been as slow and sweet as it has.

We were extraordinarily lucky that she took to breastfeeding right away- I was producing tons of colostrum and my milk came in fairly quickly, which helped things along. I know that breastfeeding is difficult for many women, and I’m fortunate that it has gone so well for us. She is a great sleeper (she must get that from her mama) and after feedings she generally sleeps for 2-3 hours in her crib, her little chair, or on one of us.

At night we have somewhat of a backwards bedtime set-up I think, in that Adam sleeps in our bedroom with her in her crib, and I sleep in the guest room next door. It feels strange sleeping in separate beds, but it’s something we started doing to save Adam’s sanity during the last few months of my pregnancy when I was tossing and turning all night, and getting up to use the bathroom 1535 times. 

Now at night when Olive starts fussing (she’s not at the point of waking up and crying yet, she usually just starts squeaking and sort of cooing to herself) Adam will get her from her crib, change her diaper and bring her to me to feed her. This is working out really well for us at the moment with Adam not working full time, but I want to re-visit it when he goes back to work to make sure that he’s able to get a good night’s sleep. I don’t mind being up a few times a night if I can nap during the day, but it doesn’t seem fair to make Adam do the same and then send him off to a full day of work.

It feels like I’m sharing some deep, dark secret when I say that we’re sleeping in separate beds for the moment – part of me wonders if this is how it starts: first separate beds  (just “temporarily”) and the next thing you know you’re finding charges from AshleyMadison.com on your visa bills and looking at a stranger across the breakfast table, wondering where the man you married went.

Separate beds and potential future failings notwithstanding, things with Adam are wonderful. Seeing him hold his daughter, dance her around the room to put her to sleep, or make funny faces in an attempt to elicit a smile – it’s just a whole other level.

      

He has deemed himself Chief Laundry Do-er in an attempt to lessen the load for me, and yesterday I could barely hold in my laughter as he huffed and puffed with indignant irritation over the fact that I had forgotten to make sure I closed the  velcro diaper tabs before putting them in the laundry – the load came out of the wash with diapers and wipes all stuck together and the CLD was NOT impressed.

“If you’re not going to do the laundry properly, Madeleine” he said sternly, “I would rather that you just didn’t do it at all.”

Um..seriously?

Dude, you have yourself a DEAL! 

I honestly couldn’t believe I was being reprimanded for improper laundry techniques by ADAM of all people, and what’s more, that the solution to this issue was simply for me to just not do it anymore. My heart swelled with pride at this little bit of OCD-ness coming from him – I’ve never been more proud.

Is this how guys swing it? Just feign incompetence until the task is taken from you? I think I might “forget” how to use the vacuum cleaner next – it’s that silly mommy brain of mine!

We had another midwife visit today, Olive has put on lots of weight and is happy and healthy, and my incision is healing well. Besides being her one week birthday, today was also momentous for another reason. As as I was getting dressed this morning (and in case you think I’m that together – “getting dressed” now means changing my milk-stained shirt for a clean one and stuffing diaper liners in my bra because I soak through my nursing pads. Hot, right?)

Anyway, while “getting dressed”, I looked down and discovered with a little jolt of joy that I could SEE my incision! This is a big deal, not because I particularly want to see that little scar-smile covered with steri-strips, but because the incision is located quite low, about an inch or two above my pubic bone, and I haven’t been able to see that part of my body for MONTHS! 

“Adam!” I shouted excitedly from the bathroom as I peered over my little potbelly, “I can see my lady business!”

I will be eternally grateful that he yelled back excitedly, “Really? Good for you!” instead of mocking me as he probably should have. It almost makes up a few days ago when I was surveying myself in the mirror and he said, “Imagine this was yourrealbody?” and by this he meant of course, “Imagine that this – the little potbelly and cement-mixer boobs and bags developing under your eyes – were simply the normal state of affairs, instead of the result of pregnancy and birth.” but given his unfortunate choice of words, this seemingly innocent question resulted in me turning around and wailing, “Adam! This IS my real body!”.

The only thing I wish I could change at this point is the incision – it’s not too painful, especially when I actually remember to take my pain medication and not do a million things in a day, but its location makes wearing normal pants or leggings pretty much impossible, as the waistband sits directly on top. My maternity leggings have been a godsend as the waistband rests on my belly rather than around my hips, and I’ve also been wearing my pajama pants but have had to hoist the waistband up to my belly to create the same effect. Hopefully things will start to feel better soon and I can get back into regular clothes.

So there you have it, our state of the union, one week in.

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