Having two kids five years apart means I’ve forgotten a lot about the newborn stage. My memories are playing tricks on me because I remember my firstborn’s first few months to be easy, relatively quiet and rather uneventful. But I’m sure that’s wrong because my second child’s habits are reawakening old buried memories of five years past and it was anything but calm.
I forgot how tired you get. From lack of sleep during pregnancy to the exhaustion that comes from birth, you’re already tired stepping into the newborn stage. Then add in the newborn who wakes every two hours and that’s a whole other level of tired. I spend most of my days in an almost dizzy-like state of hazy brain function and exhaustion. Even though my guy is only waking twice in the night and I can sometimes manage to snag an hour of napping here or there throughout the day, having a broken sleep pattern is tiring.
I forgot how good babies smell. The pheromones they excrete combined with the sweet smell of their clothes, soap and vernix makes restraining myself from eating him very difficult.
I forgot how difficult breastfeeding can be. Getting a good latch with enough milk production is tough. My baby had a tongue tie we didn’t discover for the first 24 hours and by then, my nipples were sore and damaged from a poor latch. Then add in the comfort needed to nurse: a pillow for him, a pillow for you, receiving blankets, a glass of water (because OH MY GOD, I’m like a camel in the Sahara these days!) and whatever else you need to give sustenance to him and you’re already overwhelmed. THEN add in the baby’s position, (football or cross body?), his body versus your body (tummy to mommy, right?) and his mouth in relation to your boob (is the nipple pointing at his nose?) and you have yourself a cocktail of instructions to make you crazy. I forgot how patient you need to be with yourself and your baby when it comes to nursing. I once read it can take up to six weeks to get a good rhythm between you and your baby.
Plus side: you have temporary porn star-esque boobs for a couple days and they’re nice to stare at until they start hurting.
I forgot how hard it is to adjust to a helpless baby. They can’t do anything for themselves except suck, cry, sleep and poop/pee. Everything else is on you. While it’s relatively easy to gauge what a crying newborn needs, it’s still an adjustment especially with other kids in the house. Do I feed the baby then start dinner or do I let him sleep and hope he doesn’t wake while we’re eating? It’s a balancing act I’ve yet to master with him.
I forgot how big my heart grows watching my husband with our kids. My husband is a tough, gruff epitome of a “man’s man” so to see his softer side melts me. Watching him interact with and snuggle the baby makes me fall a little more in love with him. On the other hand, seeing him make conscious effort with our daughter while I’m with the baby sends my gratitude cup into overflow! He knows how to read her well and knows when she’s feeling left out or neglected by me because I’m with baby. I admire him so much for it.
I forgot how sweet baby sounds are. The coo’s and grunts send my ovaries into overdrive. They’re just adorable.
Mostly, I forgot how much we love these small beings so instanteously and fully. My little guy gave us a scare when his heartrate fell to 60 and required an immediate c-section only to find the cord wrapped around his neck. The quick thinking of the doctors and nurses saved our son. We all know how when something bad happens, it shakes us up and wakes us up, right? I haven’t taken any moment with him for granted. I am so in love with him and feel foolish for ever doubting my capacity to love two kids.
I love them both with a depth that borderlines on scary. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my children.
The days are long but the years are short, they say. It’s true. A lack of sleep plus days of recovery at home make for long days of boredom. It’s a lot of sitting and nursing and resting. But it’s also a time to get to know my baby. I’m learning he hates to be cold and he likes having his back patted. He loves snuggles and is a feeding machine. His suckle is intense and if you put your finger in his mouth, he’ll damn near suck it off it’s that ferocious! (#savemynipples) He’s strong and surpassed his birth weight in five days (normally it can take two weeks!) He’s skinny and long with not an ounce of fat on him. His blue eyes haven’t focused on much yet but I sing to him often and I hope he likes my freestyles.
I forgot so much about the infancy stage that I make rookie mistakes (like forgetting that they typically poop while feeding so my diaper changes in the first few days were astronomical!) but I also like re-learning and remembering the days with our daughter. I remember now that the days with her weren’t as easy as I thought and we survived those! Heck, we thrived once she was sleeping through the night at 13 weeks and nursing well at two weeks!
It’s an adjustment for all of us but one we welcome as we’ve waited so long for this little human to join our family. Life wouldn’t be fulfilling without obstacles and lessons and tribulations. We’ll adjust, we’ll manage and we’ll be just fine. I just hope I forget how exhausting the newborn days are again …just in case!
United we rise,