I know it’s one of those chicken-or-the-egg kind of things, but I sometimes wonder if I’m relaxed because I have a good baby, or if I have a good baby because I’m more relaxed. Either way, I’m not asking too many questions, just thoroughly enjoying my time with my newborn baby. Zach is a cool little kid, and we’re all really enjoying having him around. And since there’s a pretty good chance this is the last time I’ll have a newborn, I’m soaking in each moment.
Now that we’ve been home for a while and my husband has been back to work for a week, we’re starting to settle into a routine. It’s still a bit crazy getting Gracie out the door for school in the morning, but that was crazy before we added a baby into the mix, so it’s hard to tell how much of the insanity can be blamed on Zachary. We’ve had to load up the truck and drive to the end of our long driveway a few times because of bad weather, but usually we just bundle up all five of us and hike down together. The boys are usually still wearing PJs under their coats, and hopefully I’m not joining them in that awesome fashion statement, but unfortunately I can’t say it never happens.
One thing I’ve learned by the fourth time around is the importance of taking a few minutes to get dressed in semi-decent looking clothes, brush my teeth, put my contacts in, and do a little something to my hair, even if it’s just to throw it into a ponytail. If I’m REALLY lucky, naptime for the baby will align with Dinosaur Train on PBS, and I just might get a shower too! (Yes, I realize it’s a little pathetic to use an exclamation point when talking about a shower, but I get my thrills where I can these days.) It just gets me in the right mindframe to start the day; to get the day rolling and attack a few tasks first thing while I still have some energy. This usually lets me give in and be a little lazy while the older boys, or if I’m really lucky, all three boys, nap in the afternoon.
Overall, my recovery is going really well. I’m not in much pain at all, and when I am it’s only because I’ve overdone it. “Don’t lift anything over ten pounds,” they told me. Apparently they haven’t met my 38-pound two-year-old and his 42-pound big brother. I’m hoping that limiting the lifts to when it’s absolutely necessary (like hauling one to time-out after repeat disobedience) still counts as trying to follow the rules.
My only real complaint with postpartum recovery is yucky sweating at night. Supposedly it’s my body’s way of getting rid of all that extra fluid from increased blood volume. To me it’s just kind of gross, especially because my reason for needing a shower each morning is precisely the same reason it’s difficult to get one! Some days it takes me till 2:30 to get my shower, but I feel much better having one before someone comes over or before I go out. Hopefully I’m almost done with this lovely aspect of recovery.
My few issues with recovering from birth are nothing compared with the way I felt two weeks ago. I guess I didn’t realize how miserable I was until I started feeling better. I feel like I’m almost back to my old pre-pregnancy self: no more waddling or shooting pains in my back and legs, no more teeny-tiny bladder issues, no more indigestion or trouble taking deep breaths. And on top of all those issues being cured, I have another little pal to keep me company. Getting up to feed him a few times a night is much more pleasant than getting up even more frequently to use the restroom a few weeks ago!
Speaking of feeding, Zach’s been a champ. I had such horrible issues nursing Gracie, but at least I learned from them and learned how to prevent them from happening again. With Zachary, I made sure he was latching on correctly from the beginning. Gracie’s latch was too shallow which caused a lot of cracking, bleeding, and pain. I also don’t let him use me as a pacifier. With Gracie, I was told to let the baby dictate the length of feedings, basically ending them when they pass out in that milk coma with the little dribble running down their cheek. For Gracie, that meant about a half hour on each side, and like a dutiful first-time mommy, I was feeding her every two hours, timed from the beginning of the feeding. Do the math: I spent HALF of the first week of her life feeding her. No wonder I hurt. I read an article after Jack was born that said that most (I forget the percentage, but I think it was about 90%) of the milk in a feeding is delivered within the first 5-10 minutes, and that really helped ease my mommy guilt about not letting the kids hang on there forever. That and the enjoyment of not feeling like I was nursing a pack of rabid wolverines.
Today on Zachary’s two-week birthday, the three boys and I headed out to do a little early Christmas shopping and meet my sister and her 11-week-old baby for lunch. Maybe I’m crazy, or maybe I was suffering from cabin fever, but we packed up and went. Overall, it went really well, and we were able to hit several stores and have a nice lunch. Then I loaded up the big boys and nursed Zachary in the truck before we headed home for the boys’ naps.
I know I wouldn’t have taken Gracie out at this age, and certainly wouldn’t have attempted a 19-month-old, newborn combo after Max was born, but today was no big deal. My sister, a first-time mom, said she couldn’t imagine how I do it and stay calm, but really I don’t have much choice. I can freak out when the boys have issues, but that only compounds the problem rather than solving it. My kids know that there are time-out corners in every store or restaurant we go to, and they know I’m not afraid to park them in one if they can’t make good decisions. That threat, plus a little cookie-flavored bribery, is usually all we need to have a successful outing. With a 2-year-old and a 3 ½-year-old along for the ride, the newborn’s the easy one. He’s not too heavy yet, and he slept most of the time we were out. I love this “portable” stage, when we’re not as tied down to naptimes and routines as we will be in a couple of months. All that being said, even the most successful outing is pretty tiring, and I’m ready to get a little rest. Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving, so I think I’ll need it!