February 19, 2016

Month One as a Family of Four

Adelaide is one month old!  
My goodness, it happens fast. I suppose everything flies by the second time around. 

I have truly enjoyed these postpartum days. The first 2 weeks of Adelaide's life were magical. I learned after the first time around that I should receive help, rest as much as possible, nurse all day, and enjoy my children. 

We only spent 24 hours at the hospital and came home as soon as we could. And I am glad we did. The 'big snow storm' hit and we were snowed in for 3 days. It prevented any help we had lined up to come to our house. But honestly, it was wonderful. Our family of 4 got to unite without any visitors for the first days of Adelaide's life. Once the snow melted we gladly accepted the food and help from family and friends!

I also knew that I really had to be gentle on myself, both physically and emotionally. Although I had an amazing birth, it was not what I planned and as the days unfolded afterwards, I found myself having to process all the emotions involved. I cried a lot in those first few days. But by week 2, I felt almost back to normal. I wasn't weepy anymore and I was feeling so much better physically. As I was processing and healing I wrote: 

These days are raw. The afterpains remind me that my baby and I are now our own. I feel a loss by that separation and with it, a sense of grief. I am still fragile as I process that intense journey and I must be gentle on myself. Healing and bonding will occur as my body and soul contract. And it will take time. I am transforming as my emptiness brings a new wholeness. In this hormonal, physical, exhausting shift, there is daily joy and so much happiness.
These early postpartum days deserve protecting and intentionality because they are the foundation to my new family. So I will not set any expectations or create any to-do lists. I will receive deep rest and help from the community surrounding me, and allow every emotion to flow as I hold my baby against my chest. Peace and grace in the wait, the birth, and the rest. And what a beautiful, stronger mother you'll be on the other side.

I was only able to rest during those first two weeks because my amazing husband was home. With Genevieve's birth he had to go back just a few days after she was born but this time around he took 2.5 weeks off. It felt like a 'staycation'. People brought us food and we just cuddled and loved on our kids. It honestly was relaxing. And I have slept WAY better with a newborn than in the final weeks of pregnancy. I had to use the bathroom every 30 minutes at the end of pregnancy and the aches, pains, and baby kicks were super hard. With a newborn, I just lay on my side and nurse Adelaide and then Michael will burp her and change her diaper. We make a great team :)

After two weeks of bliss, Michael went back to work and I had both children by myself. I just do my best to stay calm, keep both girls fed and happy, and get my work done. As a business owner, you don't really get much of a maternity leave but I am learning how to balance work, family, and rest. I know that will get easier with time. 

Adelaide at one month old:
-She sleeps 4-5 hours straight at night.
-We love co-sleeping with her. It is so much easier to sleep when I can just roll over and nurse her. And Adelaide sleeps great, too.
-However, that means she is awake for much of the day and has to be held and bounced.
-She loves to be swaddled and worn in a carrier. 
-She has SO MUCH hair (comparatively speaking). As much as Genevieve had at 18 months!
-She sneezes all the time and will typically have a dud sneeze followed by the cutest squeak noise (those are the small things we don't want to forget)
-Her latch isn't super great, which means she sucks in so much air and is super gassy. Most of her crying has to do with gas and we have to burp her constantly. 
-Her neck strength is improving, but I had forgotten how weak a little newborns' neck strength really is. She is almost able to hold her head up but not quite yet.
-She is starting to take in the world around her and Michael swears she smiled at him last night so we may call her first smile at January 18th, although I haven't seen it yet :) 

Genevieve Update:
Transition is hard. 
We knew Genevieve would struggle a little bit with her new sister because she does not handle change well at all. She has to be prepped for every transition, as small as getting into the car or someone about to walk into the house. We have to talk through everything with her. We talked about the baby almost every day, we got her a doll to 'practice' with, we watched Daniel Tigers episodes about baby sister arriving, and then it was just a matter of Genevieve meeting Adelaide. 

Genevieve adores her sister.
She wants to give kisses and hugs constantly. She beams when she sees her sister and greets her every morning by smiling and saying, "hi baby". Adelaide even gave a little grin this morning when Genevieve got close to her. I know they will have a very special bond.

With that said, it has come with a few bumps along the way. Genevieve definitely knows what gentle means but she forgets all the time how rough she is being and wants to sit on her baby. I know it has stressed Michael out to be the referee and constantly correcting Genevieve but she's getting better at being aware of her space. 

The worst part of the entire transition has been the crying. EVERY SINGLE time Adelaide cries or makes a noise, Genevieve starts screaming. It's so challenging. We have tried everything under the sun but Genevieve cries all day long when the baby cries. I am grateful beyond measure that my patience has increased ten-fold with this baby. I have not lost my cool once. I just do my best to comfort both girls and trust that one day this will be a distant memory. 

My Dear Adelaide,
I am obsessed with you, totally smitten. From minute one of life I was in love. You are such a sweet baby. That first night we had you I was in tears thinking about how much I adore you and how much I love breastfeeding. And I love that you are snuggled next to us at night. We are so excited to see your unique personality emerge. You are so much like and so much different from your big sister. I know you two will be the best of friends. Oh how I love my new family. 
Love, Mama

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