oh wow. introducing my new life. ingrid was born on the fourth of july at 8:04 am to lots of emotional fireworks and celebration. to say that she is the most beautiful thing i've ever seen is an understatement. and she was a very big baby indeed! 9 pounds 8 ounces and 22 inches long. yowza!
everything i've ever heard any new parent say about the first week with their newborn is entirely true. it's a whirlwind, a dizzying spell of delight and despair, a fever dream, a roller coaster of emotions. it's hours of quiet stillness with feelings of the most amazing heart-filling love followed by thoughts of "oh my goodness, i am going to kill this fragile little creature if i make the slightest wrong move" followed by deep, deep feelings of inadequacy. and then the cycle starts all over again.
the most true thing i am finding is that it's hard to not get caught up in whatever thing i am feeling at the moment, and then start thinking that that's how it's going to be forever. when she cries i think, "oh no! she is going to cry forever and i can't do anything about it!" and when she is quietly snuggled up in my arms, her wide eyes staring up at me and her adorable little mouth making my most favorite little faces i think, "i could do this forever! i am super mom!"
i know, everyone tells me that it's all just a phase, and i need to start repeating that to myself like a mantra.
of course, all of this is heightened by the fact that i am simply not sleeping. and i don't mean that i'm bummed that i'm not getting my usual 8 hours a night. i mean that half the nights so far have found me up all night and getting zero sleep at all. i do not recommend this. yesterday, after not napping all the previous day and not sleeping all night, i will be honest, i spent most of the day in tears. like, inconsolable sobbing. my poor husband had to deal with two crying ladies all day. he is a super champ, taking care of the both of us. but this morning, after a night where i got to sleep for a cumulative three to four hours, i'm feeling great. cue the rocky theme music, and imagine me running to the stop of the stairs at the philadelphia museum of art pumping my fists in the air.
and then imagine little ingrid as burgess meredith, who played rocky's coach, which is exactly who she looks like in this little cap. and that tickles me to no end. see, she's even pumping her fists for me!
some things i've learned over my nine whopping days of motherhood:
- poo-splosions happen. learn to deal with it.
- do not get overzealous in making plans. accept the fact that just getting one thing done in a day is enough, even if that one thing is simply feeding and caring for your baby. the other day, in a fit of energy and optimism, i declared i wanted to accomplish three things: do some shopping, prepare and wash the cloth diapers, and take our weekly photo (a most wonderful idea stolen shamelessly from here). our shopping trip ended in a poo-tastrophe (see above), our weekly photo was essentially five shots of a crying baby, and i abandoned the diaper washing in lieu of a nap. oh well.
- sleep is good. but if one more person tells me to sleep when the baby sleeps i will knock their block off. seriously.
- accepting help from friends and family without feeling guilty is super important. i would not be coping nearly so well without the tireless help of my mom, who came to stay with us last weekend, and spent so many hours fixing us delicious and nutritious meals, taking the baby in the early morning hours so i could get a couple more hours of sleep, calling throughout the week to make sure we're doing alright, and giving me pep talks to help me through the tougher days. i am also insanely grateful to our friends and neighbors who have brought us food, dropped off treats, stopped in for visits, or have signed up to bring us meals in the future. such generosity is amazing.
- it is important to stop and appreciate the small things, like taking a short walk down the street to get some air, laughing with c over something silly, taking time to smell the calycanthus that is currently blooming in the front garden, or enjoying a few moments of quiet in a hot shower. i am also appreciating the fact that i can now sleep on my belly again, that my terrible acid reflux is now gone gone gone (!!!), and my painful swollen cankles are slowly turning back into ankles.
- don't compare yourself to others. one of the things i've had time to do is keep up on blogs, since i can use my laptop one-handed whist nursing ingrid, and i found i was getting discouraged by what others seem to accomplish. even those with very young children. i need to remind myself that i am my own person doing my level best and what anyone else is able to do is completely irrelevant.
- we are going at our own pace in this household. and that pace is dictated by a little someone who is the most important thing right now.
- i chose the right man to marry and have babies with. c has been the most amazing partner for the past 10 years and is now an even more amazing father. i am the luckiest girl in the world.
holy wow, i did not intend to be this loquacious. for any of you who have bothered to read all the way down here, i would love to hear your stories of life post childbirth. were there things that you struggled with? lessons you learned the hard way? days spent in tears? perhaps it's that misery loves company, but i'm finding it heartening to hear about other parents' difficulties in these first weeks and knowing i'm not alone. so please share your stories with me if you're so inclined! it would certainly make this tired mama feel like she's in good company.