Monday, December 20, 2010

Notes from the first weeks with a new baby

- One of the most enduring hospital moments in my mind is this middle-aged Indian nurse saying in a thick Indian accent, "Oh, you want more sexy panties?" Hah... one of the many classy hospital products you're sent home with are these awesomely uncool mesh panties meant to hold industrial-sized hospital pads for post-delivery recovery (which, I discovered, is like a heavy period on crack). The Indian accent, the middle aged nurse referring to them as "sexy panties"... both Isaac and I had a good laugh.

Incidentally, 50% of the nurses were international - my nurses were from the Philippines, Vietnam, India, and the one manning the desk was British. All of the Texan nurses-in-training that came around were very overweight. I leave you to your own conclusions on that. The nurse from Vietnam was a refugee who came here as one of the boat people when she was 22. She sponsored 10 brothers and sisters to come also and never saw her parents again. When I told her I work with refugees from Myanmar she gave this inspiring speech about doing it all over again if she had the chance, and how this is the best country in the world and how hard work can get you anywhere.

- We went and saw The Voyage of the Dawn Treader for my little brother's 16th birthday. It was okay, at least we were spared cheesy romance of the last Narnia movie. I think it's impossible to catch the depth of the books, but for kids movies they are okay. I must say, though, that Edmund is looking increasingly like Joe Jonas. After the movie this tiny white-haired old lady stopped at our group and gushed, "Wasn't that just wonderful? I'm going to go home and read the books, and I'm going to watch it again if I live long enough!" So cute. Matt was on cloud nine to be the center of attention on his birthday, and told me this morning that he was feeling nervous about being 16 and being taller.

- Favorite baby product so far? The miracle blanket. The nurses demonstrated how swaddling calms a newborn, and I'm sold. When Judah is fussy I always swaddle him and he nearly always quiets and sleeps longer, and nothing swaddles like the miracle blanket. Love it and highly recommend it. We've also been using a pacifier, which is a break with my family tradition - mom never let her kids have them. We'll have to figure out when we want to wean him off of it, but it really is so calming for him, I love it. Also loving the pack-n-play with a changing spot on it, and I use my rocker and boppy every night for nursing. I use this diaper stacker to stack everything in, and the changing mat it came with fits right into our changing spot.

- One product I'm not sure about? Well, this isn't so much the product, really, (I actually have a cute cover that I love) but I'm not sure about the whole breast-feeding with a cover thing. I'm doing it... every day. I left the house the day after we came back from the hospital and have been out and around almost every day. If I tried to work around Judah's feedings I would only be able to leave the house for one-hour stints, which doesn't work for anything, not even doctor's visits, let alone shopping, airport runs, church, my brother's birthday party... So... I've given in to the necessity of feeding in public, with as much modesty as possible. It's still uncomfortable for me though... I would definitely prefer to feed in private.

- I wondered how weight loss would be for me after pregnancy. I have, once again, inherited great genes from my mother, who ended every pregnancy weighing less than she started them, and after the sixth child had doctor's orders to work to gain weight. It's a strange thing to deliver a baby and immediately have this huge lump gone... but then the next day to look in the mirror and realize you still sort of look the same as you did six months pregnant. Then it's an amazing thing to realize that every day you wake up and look in the mirror and find yourself thinner - very strange to see the body undergoing such quick transformation! I feel great right now, but when I tried my pre-pregnancy jeans I discovered that I still have to work on this waist, and have about 10 lbs to lose. I'm not worried about it - between going on walks with Judah and breast-feeding, I expect it'll be fine.

- I also wondered how it would go with post-partum emotions and mood swings. I have a theory that women who have a strong emotional reaction to the hormones of PMS are the same women who react most emotionally to birth control and the hormones of pregnancy and birth. I don't usually have a big emotional response, but I was still prepared for whatever came after the birth. Sure enough, maybe four days after Judah was born God turned on the tear faucet. I wasn't feeling depressed, just .... emotional. A sweet song played... I cried. We accidentally sent the car seat in my mom's car when she drove out of state and we were unable to go to the Seminary Christmas chapel - I get teary all day. Most of all, in the middle of the night when I'm trying to figure out whether to let Judah fuss himself to sleep or to rock him, he lays there fussing and I lay there crying too, totally unable to handle my own kid's tears. I was prepared for all of that and knew that it was just hormones, and each of these instances wasn't a big deal in and of itself. Isaac, on the other hand, was floored and said I probably cried more in those three days than in the rest of our marriage combined (that's possible). I think it's mostly past, but I have intentionally put off intense discussions for a few weeks until I know I'm more stable!

- I'm still finding this whole motherhood thing to be just magical. Watching Isaac snuggle with him and coo over him is really heart-melting. It's funny how much I love watching Isaac with him and Isaac is amazed watching me with him. We see new sides to each other. Seeing that Judah knows my voice and calms when I talk to him and hold him is such a crazy thing - this little being is mine and knows me and is dependant on me. I know his cries and needs better than anyone, and when he has milk dripping off his chin and is milk-drunk and happy - I just can't believe it.

- Judah getting much more vocal now. He still isn't a huge crier, but he's very grunty and moany, like a little bear cub or something. Adorable. :) As my family gathers it's so fun to have them meet him one by one. I love having Aunt Joy help me give him a bath, have my mom get him to smile, my Dad make faces at him, my sister-in-law snuggle him and want one of her own..  these weeks are a gift.


Jaimie said...

I look forward to your post-partum discussion. Honestly anything about post-birth is fascinating to me. Right down to the gritty details about how much bleeding you do in the healing and the underwear you wear. I never hear about that stuff. It's annoying! It's just as cool as the pregnancy stuff.

Rach said...

I think it's great that you're loving motherhood. It's awesome! I think it's completely normal to feel kinda awkward breastfeeding in public at first...I used to. I also used to use those cover things for the first month or so, until I really knew what I was doing and got tired of them. Now I just pop it out (discreetly haha) wherever and whenever I am. I want people to view breastfeeding as natural and normal, too, so that's part of the reason why I've worked hard to overcome the inherent awkwardness.

Alice said...

Oh yeah, the sexy mesh panties and the diapers-size sanitary napkins! Good times. Bleeding lasts 3-4 weeks, but of course gets less and less. I never want to tell people about the great big hormone crash where everything is cry-worthy. My dr. said that the hormones that build up gradually over nine months come crashing down in 5-6 days, then you even out again. Congrats on having only 10 pounds to lose...that will fall right off with breastfeeding. So glad you are enjoying your baby boy!

cclarebear said...

I just love that you're crying all the time ;)

mamaayanna said...

wow, is this how long I have not been around reading blogs... you have your baby!!! (and we have our second)
CONGRATULATIONS!! Isn't it God's most amazing gift?!

love the last picture with your brother.

Blessings to you and the whole family. Have a Christmas filled with love and quality time

justaweeblether said...

That is a sweet picture with Matt.

We thought it was interesting that they had the quote from Aslan in the movie, something like, "In your world you know me by a different name."

Have you gotten any slings? That should help with the breastfeeding in public thing.