I’ve heard people say that after you have three kids it all feels the same when you add more.
They were lying!
I could go on and on about how adorable and perfect our baby is (I’ll get to that and here’s a little teaser of what’s to come….)
…..but I also wanted to record the difficulties. One day I’m going to forget how exhausting the first month is with a newborn and I don’t want to forget. I want to always remember so I’ll have compassion for friends and family going through it and a desire to help them!
The older three are really independent, rather obedient, and mostly self-sufficient so it’s been a big adjustment to have a wee little one that needs constant care and attention. Truthfully, I’m not a huge lover of the newborn phase. I thought I was a baby person but we actually enjoy our kids more and more the older they get. Newborns are difficult to comfort, exhausting, and their delicate health makes me anxious. Love ‘em but that’s the truth!
So a few of the life adjustments….
Lack of sleep is probably one of the hardest parts of the newborn phase. Andi does better than our other newborns. Most nights she eats every three hours and goes back to sleep. Last night she was up for 3 hours straight, though. I find the unpredictability the most difficult. It’s hard to think and hope you’re going to get to go back to sleep only to find out that she has other plans. Also, all this lack of sleep happens in the midst of recovering from some pretty traumatic physical wounds/changes so it’s not like one is at the peek of their physical strength and endurance. Quite the opposite. It’s tiring in so many ways.
The hardest thing for me is actually not the lack of sleep but sacrifice of personal freedoms. I sit on the sofa and nurse all day. I’m so grateful she’s an amazing nurser, but I feel tethered to that sofa and nursing sessions. Everything must wait and be strategically planned – showers, meals, and bathroom breaks. My time is not my own. I can’t make decisions about what I get to do in a day and when. Also, the first week or two of adjusting to nursing – ouch! Ouch. Ouch.
Simple outings are not so simple. I tried to return some clothes to a store yesterday. I had Andi perfectly prepped, fed, and asleep when I left. However, she woke up shortly after arriving at the store. So I nursed her in their bathroom and rocked her back to sleep. Five minutes later she was awake again and fussy. So I held her and she calmed down. However, people stared and wanted to have some friendly chat, “Oh how old is she?” “Are you sleeping at night?” “Is she your first?” Haha. “Oh you have your hands full!” – nice enough but the fear that they’re going to touch her makes me nervous and I could feel the clock ticking and just wanted to get my errands done. What was usually a simple, enjoyable errand became stressful and exhausting.
This newborn phase has been more difficult, because I’m bound by the pick up and drop off schedule of the older kids. It feels like just when I get Andi down for a good nap I’m forced to move her to her car seat to go pick up someone from school. She’s not a big fan of the car so she often cries and that’s heartbreaking. When we get home I usually nurse her again to calm her down because that’s all that works, rock her, and hope she goes back into a deep sleep. Doesn’t always happen, though. We’ll get on a regular schedule eventually but things are still so unpredictable in the newborn period.
Lastly, I hate the stretched-out-nothing-fits-will-I-ever-look-normal-again, yucky postpartum body! I think I feel better about my image 9 months pregnant than I do one week post-partum. I’m tired and stretched out and sore and leaking and….yuck! I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin and I’m so eager to start exercising and getting back to normal but restricted by rules, exhaustion, and lack of time. No fun.
But there have been so many blessings which I should also acknowledge!
First, we feel blessed that I had a normal delivery and therefore a faster recovery. We prayed long and hard for that blessing! I had zero “baby blues” this time around – so nice not to feel emotionally out of control. Also, Ben was home for over a week and did pick up and drop offs, cooked, cleaned, did HW with the kids…everything! I forgot just how helpful that man could be. He was amazing!
My parents cancelled their scheduled trip to Utah so they could take care of our kids while we were in the hospital. They are so attentive to their needs, and we had so much peace of mind knowing they were in good hands.
Also, a good friend of mine, Caroline, has been helping me with housework for the past 8-ish months. She usually comes once a week and does laundry, cleaning, organizing, or whatever else needs to be done. During this postpartum period she’s been coming twice a week. It’s a game changer! I’m able to mostly give up the burden of housework and just focus on the kids and their well-being. She has made such a difference!
We’ve also felt the love, support, and prayers from friends and family. It’s so nice to know we’re thought of and prayed for.
So those are the challenges and blessings.
Now let’s talk about the great rewards!
I get to cuddle this cute little face all day….
It’s intoxicating. Her little face is a constant source of entertainment and wonder for me. I stare at her all day. It’s heaven.
Her favorite place is close to me. I’m her favorite thing in the whole world. Instant and unconditional love for each other. That depth of love is amazing and such a gift.
I feel like our family is double the size. Which maybe sounds like a bad thing but I love it. I don’t love the noise, work, and arguments, but it’s nice to feel substantial and complete. I know one little newborn isn’t that big of an addition, but goodness, things feel so much fuller and it’s a wonderful feeling.
One of my favorite things this time around is watching the three big kids fall in love with Andi. They are so smitten! They beg to hold her all day. They love her so much already and I wasn’t expecting them to feel such an instant connection with her. “Mommy you made the best baby ever!” Long after Ben and I are gone there will be 4 of them to support, love, and help each other. It gives me so much peace of mind.
We all love her so much!!!