Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Week One And Everything In Between

Our first week home with baby River has been amazing.  This has by far been my easiest and most joyful postpartum recovery of all my babies.  I feel relaxed, at peace, and more patient that I ever did with my first two babies, perhaps because I realize now that this phase moves fast and fierce.  One minute you're holding a sweet smelling newborn baby, the next minute they're picking up their backpack and heading off to school.  The whole "it goes by so fast" cliche sinks in a little deeper with each child you have, making us breath in each and every day this third time around like it's our job.  We're savoring moments in this house, marking down each and every memory and enjoying our days despite the lack of sleep and endless list of to-dos.
The girls love their baby brother but have both experienced some growing pains while welcoming him home.  Brees was a bit lost for the first week: her temper tantrums increased, her crying spells grew louder, and her usually cheerful disposition was replaced with a broken hearted vibe.  We loved on her extra hard, giving her all of the patience and understanding we could muster.  I let her climb into the rocking chair with me while I nursed River, carried her on my free hip, skipped my chance to take a nap just to share a bowl of cereal and catch up on toddler conversation with her.  Each day, it's gotten a little bit easier and she's learning that little brothers are actually pretty sweet.  We're still practicing how to be gentle and soft with little babies rather than slapping them in the head and screaming "Wake up!!".  She's a work in progress, our little Brees, but I have a feeling that she and River will be thick as thieves.
River is a champion breastfeeder and took to the breast from day one like it was his job.  It's true what they say, nursing gets easier with each child: less soreness, less engorgement, milk supply regulates itself faster, more on all of this later. I credit placenta encapsulation on making these early day of nursing pretty sweet as well.  More on that later, too.  My lactation consultant came in and out of our room at the hospital, checking his latch and position, high fiving our boy for a job well done.  This is not my first rodeo, you know, and I feel pretty confident this time around.  I nurse on demand at this point which in River language means ALL THE TIME.  Seriously, he nurses every hour or two.  I'm much more comfortable nursing around people this time around, something I've always been self conscious about.  The girls have grown accustomed to me being half dressed and I've caught Brees pretending to nurse her babydoll quite a few times since we've been home.  
Things that are NOT easier the third time around: afterpains.  You know: the cramping you experience after birth as your uterus contracts back to its pre-pregnancy size?  Yes, somehow I missed the memo that these get more and more intense with each baby due to the muscle tone of your uterus being weaker with each babe.  Ouch.  Also, I think that my bladder is officially wrecked.  What leads me to this conclusion?  The fact that I can't cough or sneeze without peeing on myself.  Fun stuff, I tell ya.  I'm really hoping that as my abdominal muscles get stronger, my bladder will as well.  Fingers crossed.
We're not getting all that much sleep.  River sleeps A LOT, like 23.5 hours per day it seems like, waking up every few hours to nurse and then drifting right back off.  He likes to cluster nurse at night, however, which means that I spend several hours juggling him from one boob to the other for most of the night.  We try to nap in the afternoon while Brees naps and that is a lifesaver.  It's amazing how quickly our bodies can adapt to living on little to no sleep.  It's also amazing how one can learn to sleep sitting up with a baby on the boob and feel somewhat refreshed even after said baby wakes up to milk splashing in his face.
The best part of this week: just being here.  I'm so happy to finally have my baby here and to be on maternity leave that there's not much that's going to get me down.  Having Shawn home with me is just the icing on the cake.  We worked so hard to get everything ready and organized in preparation for River's arrival and now all that's left to do is live life and love these kids good.  Between the temper tantrums, bizarre bodily functions, lack of sleep, and overall complete holey smokes WE HAVE THREE KIDS: this is everything we've ever dreamed of and more.  River brings an amazing energy into our home, a sense of balance, dare I say things feel very complete?  They do, they really do.  And even though it literally took me 4 days to complete this very mediocre blog post, I feel very proud of the job we're doing so far.

The pregnancy pillow has found a new purpose:

My mother came to stay with us for a few days.  There's nothing better as a mama than being taken care of by your mama.


Our first night home from the hospital.  We were able to come home the day after River was born, thankfully.  We missed our girls and were glad to be in our own bed, new baby included.


Someone suddenly started putting her hands on her hips and looking very sass-like.  She's feeling better, though, day by day.  


Did I mention I'm a baby hog?  And I hold River as much as possible?  And I love to smell the top of his head?  



The consensus seems to be that River looks just like his Daddy which is great by me because I happen to think that my husband is just the bee's knees.  Here they are giving their best tough guy looks.


This little angel loves to hold her baby brother.  Thanks to her, I am able to uphold my love for daily showers and all things grooming related.


This little co-sleeper/portable bed is the BEST thing we've bought.  River is able to sleep safely in the big bed with Shawn and I and then we are able to drag it around the house with us wherever we are all hanging out so that we can have him close while he naps.  


Multitasking: because my family still needs to eat and wear clean clothes and other such things.


Seriously, this kid loves to sleep.  Just not at night.  And not for more than 2 hours at a time.  And not in his own bed.  You get the idea.


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Deanna Fike said...

i love what you said about your family feeling complete. i felt that as soon as owsley was born. :) and no one told me that the afterpains get worse either....until i was in the hospital with owsley. i called over a nurse and had to ask her why it was so much more intense.

i hope things get easier with brees! and like you said, in a year, those two will be best friends.

marie said...

It's always a pure delight to read you Liv, like a moment of grace.
The afterpains I knew nothing about them but I will not get caught in this another time...
Surely soon Brees will get to know her little brother better and find her place. They'll be buddies in no time!

Love from FRANCE.

Vanessa said...

Mediocre post? Pleeease. This is a coherent, of-the-moment post. You will look back on it years from now and be like, "Wow, I really had my finger on the pulse of my changing family!"

The photo of Miss Brees being sassy? Classic. I can just imagine the kind of attitude Alexa will give us when we have another baby.

Randalin said...

Amazing! It's so great to catch up and read how everyone is adjusting. It sounds like things are going great and River has fit in like he has always been there :)

Lucy The Valiant said...

Omg Liv! These pictures are sooooo sweet! And seriously, after pains the third time? Not fun!

Olivia said...

I'm really feeling that complete sense lately. But I'm also sad to admit it out loud. I don't know if I'll ever be able to say "We're done". I might just have to say it in my head:)

Olivia said...

I think that they will be great friends, too!

Olivia said...

Girl, the attitude just came on overnight! Like, suddenly, she became a girly girl. Unbelievable!!

Olivia said...

He really has!! We love him so much!!

Olivia said...

Not fun at all!!