It's been a month since I've posted here-- a self-induced hiatus after a 17 hour marathon of pushing an 8 lb 13 oz human from my loins and feeding said human umpteen times a day from my bosom ever since. Being a mom to a newborn is like an Olympic sport that you can't really train for... you just have to do it, and somehow you manage. But the rewards far outweigh any gold medal. That face, those little fingers, and the ever-growing CHUB! I'm so in love with this little guy, even when he doesn't let me sleep.
I recently revisited my post "Intro to the B Team and the 3 F's" because I needed to remind myself of all the great wisdom I had managed to generate months ago but have been forgetting occasionally in my current sleep deprived state.
Flexibility-- Good thing I prepped myself to be flexible with my birth plan, because labor did not go how I expected. Turns out, when it's been over a decade since you've given birth, it's like having a baby for the first time all over again. My very first delivery with my son was long, difficult, and ultimately, highly medicated, but my second delivery with my daughter was relatively quick and completely unmedicated. I preferred the second labor and had decided I wanted to try for that again. I (somewhat naively) thought this delivery would be au natural without any trouble. Silly me. After 12 hours of back labor, with countless laps of walking, sitting in a hot whirlpool, getting into every position possible, mentally powering myself through all the breathing exercises I had practiced, and leaning on my husband for physical and emotional support, I found myself shaking uncontrollably and vomiting and becoming very, very discouraged with my lack of progress. Cue Plan B that I really didn't expect to need-- the epidural. Glorious, glorious, epidural. It might have slowed labor (who can really say?), but it made the remaining 5 hours doable. It was wearing off by the time I needed to push, and I pushed for 2 hours. The little guy was quite stressed after delivery and had to spend the night in the NICU. Thankfully I was able to start breastfeeding amid all the wires and tubes and monitors. It's important for women to feel educated and empowered in the birth experience-- to know what options and resources are available and then be free to choose, along with their doctor or midwife, what they feel is best. I didn't get my natural birth, but I'm thankful for science that has made pain relief an option! I have no judgement for women who choose to labor differently than me, because I've now done it in a variety of ways, all with the same outcome--beautiful babies.
Forgiveness-- Right now, I continually forgive myself for the mess on the floor, the dirty dishes on the counter, and the laundry overflowing the basket. I feel like I'm dropping the ball, but then the baby cries once again, and I remember there will always be a messy house, but there won't always be a baby. I try to quiet the slight OCD tendencies I have when it comes to certain chores and just LET IT BE.
I was ready to throw the cloth diapers out the window after the first two days of using them, because I just couldn't get them to fit right, and they were leaking everywhere. I cried to hubby that I had wasted all this time researching cloth and all this money buying them and felt it was all for not. Thankfully he talked me down and kept trying cloth along with me. Once I figured out that our big baby was too big for the newborn sized diapers, it was much smoother sailing! If I hadn't forgiven myself for that very small mistake, I would have given up on something I really wanted to try (and am still using, mostly successfully!).
Foresight-- I got out of the house, away from the baby, for an hour and a half, before he had even turned a month old. Hubby took me out to celebrate my birthday. This was huge for me, to be away from my newborn, even for a short time. But knowing my mental health and continued happiness as a stay at home mom is dependent on having a some semblance of life outside the house, I agreed to give it a go. Grandma and Papa were delighted to babysit, the baby took his pumped breastmilk bottle like a champ, and we had a nice time stuffing our faces with desserts.
(I made another attempt to go out without baby to celebrate a friend's bridal shower, but I had a bit of an emotional meltdown after I drove to the wrong restaurant 20 minutes late. I went home and cried. But... forgive myself and move on!)
I feel much more present and in the moment as I constantly nurse and change this little guy, because I know how quickly a baby turns into a teenager. I study his features and his movements and just let his presence in my arms be enough for that minute or hour, even if it's 3 in the morning. (And when his daddy gets home from work, I often go take a nap, and I relish that minute or hour too!) I hug my older kids and celebrate the ways in which they are growing and changing, and I marvel, with tears, how quickly they will be grown ups and out on their own. A season for everything. And I'm loving this season of life.