I seem to have started a new routine for myself without intending to.
We bring the little man to bed around 10, and I nurse him to sleep, which usually guarantees he will be out for a couple of hours. Once I know he’s fast asleep, I tell Mark that I’m going to take a bath and disappear for a while. I take my phone and my pump (and sometimes water and/or a snack) and sit in a hot bath for about a half hour.
When I was recovering from my surgery, I think the thing I missed most was the ability to soak in the tub. It has been my go-to for pretty much anything that ails me since I was young. Everything from menstrual cramps/endo pain to migraines to just feeling a bit down… they can all be treated with a hot bath. It doesn’t always work as a cure, but it improves the situation enough that I can take the next steps that I need to take.
I also find that since it’s quiet and I’m relaxed, I can pump much more effectively during this time. I worry sometimes that Lucas will wake up and I won’t hear over the water running, but otherwise there’s no interruptions and no distractions – just me and total relaxation.
I have a feeling these baths will be my sanity savers during the rest of my maternity leave – and maybe longer!
I’m all about trying to celebrate the small victories these days.
I’ve been feeling pretty down – I’m not sure if its postpartum depression or baby blues or my normal anxiety and depression or even some combination of the above. Regardless of what it is, it is horrible and mean and lies, as most mood disorders do.
It tells me that I’m not doing enough or what I am doing, I’m doing wrong. It tells me that I should be more careful with putting Lucas down for tummy time. It tells me that I should have him on an actual sleep schedule instead of just following his cues. It tells me that I should have him sleeping comfortably in a crib instead of co-sleeping and waking to nurse through the night.
In a conscious effort to fight these feelings, I am silently congratulating myself for what I consider to be small victories. For example:
- There are currently no dirty dishes in the apartment.
- I managed to pump a couple of feedings’ worth of milk today despite not being on a proper pumping schedule.
- I sorted a bunch of childhood photos by year and put myself in a position to organize them further and scan them.
- I just changed Lucas’ diaper without waking him.
These victories sound silly when I type them out or say them out loud, but each one feels monumental in my head. Each one is like a lighthouse shining through the fog of depression.
Of course, there is also a foghorn in this metaphor: baby giggles. I’m convinced that if you could bottle baby giggles and the amazing sweet, milky smell of a baby, you could solve so many problems at once.
Who knew that becoming a mother would turn me a bit more optimistic?
It’s 12:30 in the morning here, which means Lucas is officially two months old.
What a difference a month makes! This month, he has made such incredible leaps and I am so proud. He now giggles and “talks” to us, and he has grown physically – he’s no longer “short”, and he’s finally growing into his rather large head.
One of the best things we have discovered the past few days is that he likes the “You’re Welcome” song from Moana. He giggles and babbles along with it whenever it’s on! It’s so adorable that I don’t even care that I’m listening to it nonstop – even when it’s only playing in my head.
My mom and grandma came to visit for a few days this month, too. They were such a huge help while they were here! They got to meet Lucas and visit with me and Mark, and then they set to work cooking and cleaning. I now have a freezer full of Polish food and a tidy apartment! Now I’m able to start tackling the projects I’ve wanted to for ages because I’m no longer paralyzed with indecision about where to start. My main focus right now is the “Ang Cave”. Once I have it finished, I will be sure to share some photos here!
Life is starting to feel more “normal” again. I do have some depression/baby blues on and off, but it’s pretty well tempered and I have a great medical team and family for support. It’s nice knowing what a wonderful little life I’ve carved out for myself after all I went through when I was younger! Ten years ago, I would not have foreseen any of this.
I’m having a bit of a hard time today. I had some family drama go down over the weekend, and my heart hurts to think about it. I’m sure it’s all for the best, but everything is still pretty raw and I’m not quite mentally well-adjusted enough to fully process it. I’ve made an appointment with my therapist, but sadly she was booked up until mid-May, so this might pass by then.
The stress of it all even got to my dreams, which set the tone for my entire day today. Last night my dream was all about the many ways I could fail Lucas as an infant – from not knowing what items to buy, to him not wanting to sit with me, to my nearly suffocating him. I woke up in a panic and haven’t quite shaken the feeling off yet.
He’s growing so well, though. Every day he seems to be more and more advanced, and I think he’s going through the first of the “wonder weeks”. He’s infinitely more aware and awake, but also quite a bit more frustrated while he learns to adjust to the world being much bigger than it was previously for him. I’m grateful this is well-documented online and in books, or it might fuel my fear that I’m going to mess him up somehow.
I know that these feelings are normal and that they’ll most likely pass before I’m too deep into them, but it’s hard to feel this way and also try to be a normal human for everyone around. The last thing I want is a giant pity party, but hearing that I’m “dealing with it just fine” feels dismissive at the same time. I’m currently a walking contradiction.
I know that the time will come all too quickly when Lucas no longer wants to snuggle constantly. Right now, one of the easiest ways to calm him if he’s having a rough time is to put him on his mama’s shoulder and just wait. I knew even before he was born that he would be affectionate – and I’m so glad my instincts were right.
Sure, I’m not getting a lot done around the apartment right now, and I’m still adjusting to a new schedule, but it’s totally worth it to look down and see that little kissy face that means Lucas is totally relaxed and happy and about to sleep. It makes my heart feel full.
One thing I can’t say I was prepared for when it comes to motherhood is the fact that my migraines are back in full force. It’s infinitely harder to have a migraine and try to keep a small human content at the same time!
That said, I’m still loving motherhood so much. Lucas is so sweet and snuggly – just as I expected he would be. I don’t know how I could tell before he was born, but I just had a feeling that he would rely on being close to people, and he does. Even when I put him on the couch next to me while we’re up at night, he inches his way toward me until he’s snuggled right up against me. His instinct is to be as close as possible to me at all times, and I am trying to savour it as much as I can since I know that before long he will be “too old” for this kind of closeness.
He’s one month old today. How is it possible that a month has already gone by? And how have I managed to keep him alive and happy? We’ve had no major issues, and I’ve fallen into a pretty consistent routine with him. That said, I keep feeling like his real parents are going to come take him and thank me for watching him. I wonder how long it will be before my brain can reconcile the fact that he really is my son and I’m a mother now. I feel the motherly instincts – I’ve fallen right into taking care of him and am madly in love – but I have a hard time believing that he sees me the same way that I saw my mother as a kid.
Parenthood is so weird.
Right now, Mark and I are “working” opposite schedules. I’m on the night shift, keeping the little man quiet and calm through the night so that Mark can get some sleep. Then when the sun comes up, I retire to the bedroom so that we can sleep while Mark works from home. It’s probably not the most recommended method of getting Lucas on a proper schedule, but it seems to work for us for now.
Lucas is still so well-behaved. He’s had plenty of nights of cluster feeding, but I’m now starting to get more used to it all. I’m amazed by how much love I feel for this tiny little creature, but he’s completely stolen my heart. I know all new parents feel this way at some point, and I also know they all think that their kid is the best, but he’s just perfect.
…I need to get out of the “new mother” haze soon. I’m sure I’m driving everyone crazy with how much I talk about him!
One thing I want to do eventually is type up his birth story. It was quite eventful – the short version is that he was 10 days late, I was induced super early in the morning, 17 hours of active labour went by, and I ended up needing a c-section, which led to me hemorrhaging on the table because my body was not recovered from the long labour. It was a rocky start to my beautiful boy’s life, but I would do it all again to get him here!
…This is what happens when I’m on a weird sleeping schedule. I babble! I’m just looking forward to recovering fully so that I feel more human and can get some things done around the apartment.
…is the weirdest thing I’ve ever experienced. I’m convinced that this is a temporary situation and this little guy will go to his “real parents” any day now. But he’s mine and Mark’s – he’s not going anywhere and he’s just full of love and neediness and warmth and that amazing new baby smell. I can’t get enough of him.
I find myself watching him sleep just to see all the new facial expressions he’s “learned” that day. He makes little kissy faces right before he falls asleep, and if something startles him, he throws both of his hands over his head like he’s on a roller coaster.
It’s crazy being so in love and so frightened of everything all at once.
…literally! Little man is rolling around like crazy in there, making me more and more confident that he’s going to be a happy, healthy baby.
The connection you feel to this tiny rolling blob in your belly is really astounding. I feel like I know him, but I don’t even know what he looks like!
I’m coming up to the third trimester, and I’m shocked I’ve made it this far so… easily. He’s been measuring perfectly at every appointment and my symptoms have been relatively mild. Maybe the universe just knew I needed a lucky break!
Yep, it’s been a few months. I thought I’d want to write more about this pregnancy but it’s been pretty hard on me mentally and emotionally. Physically, I have very few symptoms – some pain and some nausea but nothing I can’t handle. Mentally, I’ve had it rough – paranoia (being convinced the whole pregnancy is a big joke and everyone’s in on it), anxiety (I’d be fine after an appointment, and by the next appointment 4 weeks later, I’d be convinced there was no way the baby survived), and just overall stress and exhaustion. I have a good support system, both medically and personally, so I know I’ll get through this. I’m just trying to stay positive and keep an eye on it as I go.
Baby is doing great though. We found out last week that we’re having a boy! It was funny, because we had no trouble picking out a girl’s name, but we finally said we’d just have to wait until we knew for sure it was a boy to agree on one. But we did – he’s going to be Lucas Andrew! So far all I know about him is that he’s the perfect size, has all his body parts, and really likes iced shortbread cookies. As soon as I’m done eating them, he squirms like crazy!
Being able to feel him kick and move is a new development – just within the last few days – but it has made a world of difference in my mind. When I feel him moving, I know he’s doing alright and I can relax for a little while. It’s nice, after 5 months of doing nothing but fearing for the worst! Only 18 weeks to go…