I can’t believe a week has come and gone since Zach first made his appearance. It’s been a full, fun week, and I’m just as shocked as anyone else how good I’m feeling. Being pregnant for the fourth time was a challenge; it seemed like everywhere I turned, I was being told, “Well, on your fourth pregnancy, you can expect XXX to be worse.” But luckily, becoming a mom for the fourth time means I’m already used to rolling with the punches and being flexible, which has made our transition into a bigger family much easier.
My physical recovery so far has been the easiest of the four pregnancies. Aside from some pretty brutal contractions while nursing the first day, I haven’t been in much pain at all. I’ve only had to take Motrin for it, and I’m pretty much done needing that now. No tearing or stitches meant less recovery in that area, and having taken the other road with Max, I’m thankful for that! I’m also starting to see at least a little hope that I’ll get a waistline back somewhere down the road. My belly’s still all stretched out, but the rest of me is in decent shape after following that gestational diabetes diet the whole pregnancy. I gained less than 20 pounds overall, and had a 9-pound baby, so I’m in better shape weight-wise than I’ve been after any of the other four pregnancies. Let’s hope I don’t ruin it by eating all the things I couldn’t during the pregnancy (that means you, leftover Halloween Butterfingers!).
We weren’t quite sure how to expect the three older kids to react when we brought home their new brother. We shouldn’t have worried as much as we did. When we arrived home from the hospital, all three kids were waiting in the driveway, and proceeded to climb over me in the backseat of the car to get another peek at their brother. They’d been to the hospital the two previous evenings to visit us, but they were so excited to see him and welcome him home. Gracie had made signs and hung them throughout the house, and was excited to show Zachary his new crib in her room. She gave him the grand tour of the house, and the boys introduced him to our cat (who looked thoroughly disgusted with us for bringing home yet another child).
We came home around lunchtime on Friday, and had the weekend to get settled in before Daddy went back to work. We ventured out to church on Sunday because we wanted to keep the big kids’ routine as normal as possible. Friends have been spoiling us with bringing delicious meals, and it’s nice to know that cooking dinner doesn’t need to be part of my daily agenda, at least for a few more days.
Monday had me pretty nervous, as my husband was heading back to work, and it was up to me to figure out how to get all four kids to the end of our long driveway by 8 to catch Gracie’s bus. I felt like it was my first big test as a mom of four, and I’m happy to report we passed. In fact, we’ve made it out to the bus each day this week, sometimes with the boys or me in various combinations of pajamas and clothes, but thankfully the bus driver and our dog-walking neighbors don’t judge (or if they do, they keep it to themselves!). I’m just glad to get her on the bus each day, then head back in to spend the morning with my three boys, and hopefully get one or two chores done around the house.
Zachary seems to be doing really well. He’s nursing like a champ, yet another thing that has been much easier the fourth time around. I don’t know if he’s just a natural at it, or if I’m that much better at it, but I haven’t had the issues with him that I did with some of the other kids. I’m not going to ask questions, I’ll just be thankful and move on! He’s also been a pretty decent sleeper, sleeping most of the night when he’s not eating, and taking nice long naps during the day too. I like to think of all that sleep as God’s way of easing us into having another kid in the house. By the time he’s awake for more of the day, we’ll be used to the transition and ready to play!
Today I took all three boys to Zach’s one-week checkup, and his pediatrician said he looked like he was doing great. When she asked if I had any questions, the only thing I was wondering about was how far he could see; the day before, it seemed like he was watching his big brothers jump in a pile of laundry across the room (kind of like jumping in leaves, only with the three baskets of laundry I managed to wash, but not fold yet; I’m doing the best I can!). I had details like this memorized with my first two, and was so studious about the “What to Expect” type books. Haven’t cracked one yet this time, and I probably won’t unless there’s something really important or weird that I need to check on. The pediatrician reminded me that Zach’s best vision is up close, but he can probably see light and dark, and moving objects farther away. Or he could have been attracted to the noise, which is unavoidable with his older siblings.
So far we’re settling in pretty well, and I’ve even managed to get a few showers in this week. I honestly feel better now than I did a week and a half ago, and now I have my sweet baby to see, snuggle, and hold. I’m reminded again why I did it all over again; when I was in the middle of feeling miserable toward the end of the pregnancy, I wondered if I had taken leave of my senses. But holding Zachary, even in the middle of the night when I’m up for a feeding, I’m so thankful we decided to go for one more. He’s awesome, and I don’t care if I’m more than a little biased!