Motherhood Chronicles: The First Eight Weeks
When a child is born into this world, God draws his hand out from near his own heart and lends something of himself to the parent, and says, “Keep it till I come.” –Henry Ward Beecher
Initially I was going to post my first thoughts on new motherhood within the first few weeks of Sam’s arrival, with pictures and everything. I started, but quickly realized my life with a newborn was not conducive to blogging. Not baby-related? Can’t be easily done one-handed while sitting on the couch? Isn’t necessary for life to proceed? Not likely to get done in a timely manner.
Life is beginning to even out again and a new pattern is emerging. It is hard to believe that this little man who has so totally captured my heart is already eight weeks old. (I have a feeling I’m going to be repeating that sentiment over and over in the years to come.) I remember life before his first breath of life, but it also seems somehow distant.
Pre-baby I was determined not to become one of those people who cannot relate to life without kids. I was worried (probably overly so) about “Sarah the mom” replacing “Sarah the person.” I’ve come to realize that I’m not a completely different person, I’ve just added a new aspect, perspective, and experience I did not have before. That being said, the newborn period is designed to completely monopolize mom’s time, focus, and energy. It is humbling to care for a little person that is wholly dependent on me for everything. He can’t do a single thing for himself! (A good reminder of how I should be relying on my Heavenly Father.) It is also a huge time drain, but I don’t mind (usually!) as I know this time is very short in the long run.
My sleep-deprived mind has moments of clarity, but rather than continue on in paragraphs that would demand a logical flow, it’s time to switch to bullet points as I try to recap the last eight weeks.
- Love. Hard work. Fulfillment. Tiredness. Joy. Yes, I’ve had moments of exhaustion and self-doubt, but I’ve also experienced moments of pure joy and thankfulness for this helpless babe. I’m trying to treasure each moment as I know each stage will pass quickly in the grand scheme of things.
- To quote his grandma who stayed with us for a few days during the first week, Sam is one of the most content babies I’ve seen. He cries only to express an obvious need if we don’t get the right idea after some fussing and has rarely been hysterical. His usual cry is short and at about 50% volume. We don’t take this for granted and are very thankful for a calm baby!
- Immediately postpartum, I reveled in sleeping on my back again and though I didn’t usually have trouble sleeping while pregnant, side sleeping is much more comfortable again too. Pretty much sleeping is great and I managed to get about seven hours (broken into little chunks, of course) each night in the early weeks. I was feeling pretty great overall! Then I hit the six week mark and the little chunks of sleep started to catch up with me even though I was still getting good total sleep. This shouldn’t have surprised me, but somehow it still did. I might be working off my sleep debt for awhile.
- After just one week, I started learning why so many moms treasure the breastfeeding relationship. There is something very fulfilling about satisfying your baby’s biggest need. Nursing has been a breeze and the two of us started to get into a groove from the beginning. Even though I’ve always been a strong proponent of breastfeeding, part of me wondered if it’d be weird. Turns out it’s come fairly naturally and instinctively for us. (Breast pads, on the other hand, are weird. TMI? Sorry.)
- True to his hobbit name, Sam enjoys breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, supper, as well as midnight snacks.
- One of my big worries in bringing Little Man home was the dogs. How would they react? Would they view him as an intruder or quickly accept him into our family pack? Would Mochi-dog try to lick him constantly? Well, the dogs have been fantastic! They’ve exceeded our expectations. Keiko-dog had been around babies before so we thought she’d do well and she has. She gently sniffs him all over and doesn’t try to lick too often. We’ve had to really enforce “no lick” with Mochi-dog, and while it’s obvious she still wants to lick him (and does occasionally sneak one in) she has been overall very respectful. In fact, she acts sort of like Sam is her puppy. Think Nana from Peter Pan. We think they are going to be good friends. As expected, barking doesn’t bother him at all. He can sleep right through both dogs telling off the mailman.
- For several weeks, I would wake up to the terrifying sensation that I had fallen asleep while feeding the baby and he was about to fall off the bed down near my knees. I’d wake up and take a few seconds to realize he was safely in his bassinet just a few feet away. I think this happened in part because I’d feel Keiko-dog moving around down by my knees and irrationally think it was the baby. When I do nod off in bed while nursing, he’s always still securely in my arms and in no danger.
- 8-9 feedings a day at 30-45 minutes each is almost a full-time job in itself. Thankfully that’s a very special job. (I don’t think he’s a particularly efficient eater though he’s gaining weight at a good clip.)
- While a good night time sleeper, naps are a different story. He sleeps great if I’m holding him or he’s in the wrap, but wakes quickly if I try to put him down. He’s taken a few naps in his crib as of late, but nothing consistent. He’s slept 6+ hours a night a few times (a-maz-ing!), but again nothing consistent. Usually we get a long stretch (about 3-4 hours) to start the night, followed by 2 hour intervals.
- Jeff went back to work after a week off and has continued working from home. So far so good! If Sam continues to be happy and content (fingers-crossed) this arrangement just might work. You know, until he starts teething or something.
- Everyone says, “Sleep when the baby sleeps,” and they are right. I’ve had a few rough days (when tears may or may not have occurred), and they have always been when I’m overtired.
- I gained about 30 pounds during pregnancy and lost 20 pounds within the first week! I wish I would have thought to weigh myself sooner after delivery for a comparison. Moderation and healthy eating pays off! I’ve been just 5 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight for weeks. Now, my pre-pregnancy shape is a totally different matter altogether. I can fit into just about all my old clothes, they just don’t look as flattering or feel as comfortable as before. Since I’m a little vain and like to be comfortable, I am still wearing a lot of maternity pants, shorts, and dresses. I need to start incorporating more exercise into my day.
- Little man has a rigorous daily to-do list: eat, sleep, poop, make funny faces, repeat. This was true in the very beginning, but we’ve now added smile, “talk” to mommy, and tummy time to the list. This kid has it rough, I tell ya.
- I ventured out on my own with the baby for the first time after about a week and a half to get some basics like dog food and diapers. It felt like a huge accomplishment and was very freeing to know I could do it. Now it’s totally no big deal, it just takes more time, effort, and planning. But if I’m overly tired or haven’t been able to shower, then it just doesn’t happen.
- Having a dishwasher has been AH-mazing. If we didn’t have it, we might be splurging on paper plates right now. The kitchen remodel ending up being more stressful than we anticipated (more on that later), but was definitely worth it in the end. I’m so thankful we were able to do it before the baby arrived. Can a dishwasher count as a favorite piece of baby gear?
- Jeff is a terrific dad (as I knew he would be). It fills my heart to overflowing to see father and son together.
- Some pregnant women have trouble with acne and breakouts, but I’ve experienced the opposite. My skin was great during pregnancy, and now is reverting back to old problems. Ah, hormones. Also, no one told me about postpartum night sweats. THAT was annoying.
- The number of things I can do one-handed is growing. Unfortunately, blogging isn’t currently on that list.
- I am a very heavy sleeper. I mean, a seriously heavy sleeper. Just ask anyone who’s lived with me. Though everyone told me I wouldn’t sleep through my baby’s cries in the night, but I still worried I would. Turns out “everyone” was right. It’s amazing how the littlest fuss can wake me now.
- My hips don’t pop anymore. This is symbolic of how my body has permanently changed. I suppose it’s actually a good thing and my hips certainly feel much better than they did during pregnancy. It does make me wonder about fitting into some of my old clothes though. Just how much did my hips move while pushing the kiddo out?
- Sam gave us his first real smile a few days after the 6 week mark. Boy, I love his smiles! They are one of the best things I’ve ever seen.
- I’d totally forgotten about how the soft spot on babies’ heads pulses. So weird!
- We go to bed like old folks now. The clock hits 9:30 and we start thinking about heading up to bed. Our bedtime routine is quite a bit longer these days what with a last baby feeding, diaper change, and change into pajamas. The light might not be out at 9:30, but this is a significant change from our pre-baby night owl habits.
- Different situations work for different families, but I am SO glad I’m not back at a boring office job right now. I can’t fathom leaving him everyday!
1 Week Old:
2 Weeks Old:
3 Weeks Old:
4 Weeks Old:
5 Weeks Old:
6 Weeks Old:
7 Weeks Old:
8 Weeks Old:
I am so totally in love with this little man and feel very grateful that I get to be his mommy!