Technically, it has been 5 and a half weeks since Z was born, but it's been hard to have time to sit down and write about his first month! I expect that won't change as we celebrate other milestones and months, either. I really want to do these posts every month, though, to update on how Z is doing as well as how Mommy, Daddy and Carmen are doing and how our family is adjusting to our new life!
I can't believe how quickly time has passed. I know that is probably #1 on the Most Cliché Things Parents Say list, but it's so true. Especially since so much of the past six weeks was marked by stress and pain with my breastfeeding issues and hospital stay. And now I'm officially back at work (don't even get me started on the crappy state of maternity leave in this country and how women are forced to either go back before they or their bodies are ready OR suffer financially for staying home longer...) and Z is in day care 3 days a week. I won't say it "feels like only yesterday" that he was born, because it doesn't. But, it does amaze me to see how much he's changed:
|2 days old|
|One week old|
|One month old!|
He is a CHAMPION sleeper! I attribute a lot of that to him being formula fed, because it keeps him full for longer. He naps well and, once we swaddle him and put him in his crib for the night, he will sleep soundly for 6-8 hours! Glory hallelujah!! I still wake up several times throughout the night because I am just sure he'll wake up hungry (and I may or may not tiptoe into his room to make sure he's still breathing), but he apparently loves to sleep! He sleeps very soundly, too. Even Carmen barking at the air conditioner coming on doesn't rouse him.
He loves his vibrating bouncy chair that he borrowed from his cousin (my niece), and he likes to be propped up on the boppy pillow so he can look around. We will be trying the play mat again very soon. The first time was a major disaster. Trust me. He hated it and screamed for an hour afterwards. PLAY MATS ARE TRAUMATIZING, apparently!
He's starting to give us some very cute smiles, and they're the real kind! They aren't just "falling asleep smiles" or "gassy smiles," though we get those still, too. He hears us talking and turns his head to hear the other person if one of us is holding him. He hated sponge baths, but now that we use his tub, he really seems to like them -- or at least not mind them!
He likes to be worn in the Baby K'Tan wrap, but we have only tried this a few times before I had surgery. Now I'm nervous to try him in the wrap until my incision site heals and closes up completely. But he sure did love it!
So how is the rest of the family doing??
Michael is so great with him! He takes so many of his feedings and I can tell by watching them together that he really enjoys this bonding time with Z. One of the perks of my terrible experience with nursing is that Michael is able to feed him now, and I know that's made a world of difference in their father/son bonding time! His flexible teaching schedule also allows him to be at home with Z a couple of days a week, which I think is so awesome. I think that Daddy sometimes gets the short end of the stick on time with a new baby, and I'm so grateful that they will have these days together. Especially as Z gets older and interacts with us more!
Carmen is great with the baby! She's very interested in her little brother. She just wants to have a few opportunities every day to sniff his head and maybe get in a lick or two on his little feet, and she gets very concerned when he's crying. She'll either leave the room or give us a look as if to say, "Hello? Do you not HEAR that? Do your job and make it stop!" We think she judges our parenting skills sometimes, honestly. She also likes to lay down on the floor as close as possible to his bouncy chair when he's in it. She's very protective of her little brother!
How am I doing? Well the last few blog posts will describe where I've been, mentally, emotionally and physically. But I am happy to say that I truly am healing in all three areas -- some just a little more quickly than others. In the almost two weeks since my surgery, I have bonded with Z 100% more than before my surgery and while we were still fighting the Breast Wars. I'm cooking up another blog post in my head about the transition from pregnancy into motherhood...because I think it deserves its own recognition. Someone asked me recently if I missed having Z inside me, and I can honestly answer "no." Now that's not to say I don't miss being pregnant. That's a different question. There are some things I truly miss about being pregnant, and the transition is just so quick! Literally. One minute you're pregnant and the next you're just...not. And then your body and your mind have to play catch up, all the while dealing with a completely new life.
I will say that Michael and I watched a documentary on HBO last night called First Comes Love (I highly recommend it!), and the filmmaker's birthing coach said something that completely summed up how this has felt. In talking about the pain of childbirth and how it can be so bad that you think you might die, she said something to the tune of "A part of you does die. The part of you that can just go out whenever at a moment's notice. And the part of you that is born -- the mother -- is sometimes slow to surface." I found myself nodding vigorously, because that's exactly how it's been for me.
There was an immediate and powerful love that I felt when they put him on my chest as soon as he was born. But then when they took him away and to the nursery for his first bath, and everyone left and I was alone in the labor and delivery room, it felt surreal. Like it hadn't actually happened. It wasn't until I had been cleaned up and settled comfortably into my postpartum recovery room and Michael was out getting us dinner that I suddenly and passionately missed him. Luckily he was rolled in moments later (the memory of him being rolled in, wrapped like a burrito in his hospital crib and covered in a blue hat and blanket knitted by the hospital volunteers...man...it makes me tear up just thinking about it) by a nurse who must have read my mind. And even once we were home, the first few nights were brutal, and the next couple of weeks only marginally easier.
But as we settle into our routines, however temporary they may be as he grows and changes, I find that I'm obsessed with my son. Every look on his face and movement he makes breaks my heart in the most extraordinary way. If he's asleep, I miss him. Even when I'm sitting right next to him. It's amazing, and sometimes I wish I could pause time. But, at the same time, I look forward to what's next.
Got off on more of a tangent there than I intended to, but....oh well!
The last six weeks have been quite the roller coaster, and I'm excited to see what twists and turns are coming up for our little family!