Friday, August 16, 2013

MommyHood: Month One

I will try to write this post without being overly cliche or cheesy, but can make no guarantees. My first month of motherhood has been amazing, fun, full-filling, challenging, frustrating, exciting, overwhelming and more. People tell you it will be all of these things, but there is no way to appreciate all of the above until you actually go through it. I know that we are in sweet spot right now - I am still on maternity leave for another eight weeks and Henrik still sleeps a lot and is not mobile.
 If you've been reading my blog for awhile or know me personally, you know I tend to anticipate the worst and then am surprised when it's not as bad as I thought it would be. Case in point, my post on surprising things about labor and delivery. Same can be said regarding the first month as a mother. I was anticipating at least two weeks before I felt up to leaving the house and was surprised that five days later, I was dying to do something other than watch TV while Henrik slept. I was also anticipating spending a majority of my leave sleep deprived and trying to fit in as many naps as possible and have been surprised by how well I can do off of six (non consecutive hours) of sleep and the very few naps I have actually needed.
I have also surprised myself with how comfortable I have been with the baby - relative to how worked up I thought I would be. I thought I would totally be one of "those" moms who are calling the doctor once a week and panicking about everything. The first couple of weeks, I think I was "that" mom, taking his temperature all the time and convinced that a sneeze was the start of cancer. His early arrival did not help as premies  - even premies who were as large as he was - are at higher risk for a lot of things. I have found myself relaxing more each day and have cut back on the disinfecting of everything he could potentially come in contact with.
Everyone tells you how much your life will change once you have a baby and I totally agree with that, but at the same time I am surprised (what is another word for 'surprised'?) by how little our life has changed. Pre-baby, I envisioned our life coming to a complete stop once he arrived - no more dinners out, no more relaxing watching my trashy TV, trying to squeeze a shower in, etc. While these things have changed (deciding if we are going to grab a bite out totally depends on how Henrik is feeling that day and squeezing a shower in is questionable some days), it's nice to find out that pre-baby life doesn't come to a screeching halt with Henrik's arrival. (I am anticipating reduced trash-TV time once I head back to work.)
The thing I am enjoying the most about being a mother, is watching him develop on daily basis. He's four weeks old and asleep most of the time. But when he's awake, I can literally just stare at him as he looks around and starts to take in the environment around him. He makes the cutest noises when he is super content and I just sit and wonder what's going through his head. I'm starting to pick up on his different cries and know what he needs based on his cry and time of day, which makes things easier for everyone in the house (the dogs included.)
Looking back on the past 30 days, I can't believe he's a month old already. At the same time, he's fit into our life so well that I can't believe it's only been a month since his arrival. He's changed so much in the first 30 days and I can't wait to watch him over the next 30 and beyond.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Little Man: One Month Old

A month ago today, at this exact minute (it's currently 3:07 pm), I was in labor. I think I was about to receive my epidural, but that day was such a blur, that I'm not sure. It's even crazier to think that my due date was a mere four days ago! He certainly threw us for loop with his extremely early arrival, but I think we have adjusted pretty well. I'll have a mommyhood update for you tomorrow, in the meantime, here's Henrik's one month picture and a little update on him.

Weight: I unofficially weighed him this morning by getting on the scale with him and then weighing myself. Using this method, he weighed in at exactly 10 pounds this morning!

Length: At his two week appointment he was a little over 21" - 90% percentile for a full-term baby.

Clothing Size: The newborn stuff is starting to get tight on him, but three month is a little big yet. So he's in between right now.

Favorites: He is usually pretty happy in his Rock n Play or bouncer. At first he really liked his swing, but hasn't been into it the past week.

Milestones: Everything is a milestone at this point! Within the last month, he has had his first outing (Menards and Target); first bath (in the hospital... First bath at home was a few days later); his umbilical cord fell off around day 8 and the circumcision plastic-thingy fell off the next day; first time away from mom (a couple of weeks ago, dad took him over to Grandpa and Grandma's for a couple of hours in the morning so I could catch up on sleep); first bottle (with breast milk) and first actual tears while crying (a couple of days ago). I am sure there are more that I am missing, like I said, every day is something new right now.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Surprising {to me} Things About Giving Life to a Human

You may have picked up from my sarcastic comments in my posts throughout my pregnancy, that the thought of delivering a baby terrified me. Beyond that, being responsible for another human was even scarier. Prior to getting pregnant, the thought of my stomach being stretched to house something the size of a watermelon completely weird-ed me out. For me, pregnancy was like going off the high-dive at the swimming pool for the first time: close your eyes and jump.

In the 3.5 weeks since I gave birth, I have been asked many times how I was feeling/doing. I am surprised to be responding with "I feel fantastic!" and actually mean it. Here are some things I am pleasantly surprised by when it comes to pregnancy/delivery and the aftermath.

1.) Your stomach actually returns to it's previous size pretty quickly. Of course, my stomach is not near as firm and/or flat as it was before and I have about 15 pounds to lose before I will fit into my pre-pregnancy pants again, but I am shocked at how fast my stomach deflated. I won't be rocking a two-piece any time soon, but it's amazing to think three weeks ago, there was a baby in there!

2.) The epidural doesn't really hurt. I totally wanted an epidural, I wasn't attempting that naturally. But the thought of a needle going into my spine!? I can barely handle getting a flu shot, let alone a needle in my back. Some people had told me that I'd be in so much pain that I wouldn't even think about what was going on. To an extent, yes. But honestly, it really didn't hurt!

3.) Despite having an epidural, the actual delivery will still hurt. There is pressure and stretching that no amount of drugs will cover up. I even had an injection of lidocaine "down there" and I could still feel it all. The pain really is worth it and you really do forget about it quite quickly. {Not right away though, as some lead you to believe.} But within a few days I wasn't banishing the idea of more kids anymore.

4.) After the baby is born, you won't even pay attention to what the doctor is doing "down there". The placenta was delivered, stitches were put in, my stomach was pushed on - I know all these things happened and I was dreading them. But I was so happy to be holding my baby, that I honestly didn't even notice what was going on.

5.) The bleeding isn't that bad. Everything I read going into this prepared me to see more blood than I had ever seen, to the extent that I would wonder if my uterus was still in my body. I bled, but it wasn't THAT bad. I am assuming a majority of the bleeding happened immediately after delivery, when I was oblivious to what was going on.

6.) The real pain in the days following {at least for me} was back pain. I am not sure if it was from the epidural or the pushing or the dramatic shift in weight distribution {probably a combination of all of the above} but my back was SORE and really weak for at least a week after delivery.

7.) The pain "down there" afterwards really isn't that bad. Did it feel like I got kicked in the crotch multiple times for a few days? Totally. But it was manageable. I took the drugs they gave me, when they told me to take them. They gave me some spray at the hospital that numbed the area and told me to use it every time I peed. I loved that spray.

8.) Breast feeding feels weird, but it doesn't hurt. The first time he latched on, it was a really weird sensation. I wouldn't call it a good sensation, it was just different. But I got used to it quickly.

9.) Engorgement hurts. That wasn't the surprising part. The surprising part was how badly it hurt. When my milk came in, I was questioning if I would continue breast feeding at that point. Nothing gave me relief. Even after he ate or I pumped and I was empty, they still hurt. Luckily, the worst lasted about 24 hours for me and within a few days, they only hurt when I go too long in between feeding or pumping.

10.) The instant love you feel for the baby is... Indescribable. Overwhelming. Amazing. All at once.  I knew I would feel instant, overwhelming love - I love him before he was born - even before he was conceived.  But to actually experience such love - at the risk of sounding cheesy, literally completes me. How this tiny thing that doesn't really do much at this point except scream, demand food from my body and poop can weasel his way into my heart and completely take it over in an instant, is beyond me.

Then again, how could you not love this face!?