Early Days of Motherhood: A How-To, of Sorts
This post originally appeared as "New Mom Dot Com" on our old blog, Born to be a Bride.
Today is the ultimate test of my momminess. Josh is back at work and my mother who was visiting has departed. Although I’m Willow’s primary caretaker and of course the one who’s up with her at night, feeding, etc., this is my first full day with just the two of us.
The morning schedule in my head went like this:
5 am: Nurse. 8 am: Wake up and nurse again; accept a coffee purchased downstairs by husband; lay Willow down for nap till 10. 8:15 am: Shower 8:30 am: Make oatmeal and write blog post 9 – 10 am: Mommy time! Send out an invoice for back writing done weeks before baby was born. Watch the Today show! Blow out my hair. 10 am – noon: Nurse, get her dressed in a cute outfit for the day. Snuggle peacefully on the couch. Occasional diaper changes as needed until next feeding. No pacifiers or music-making snuggle chairs necessary for this capable mama!
The morning schedule in reality went like this:
4:15 am: Baby wakes up too early to eat, screaming bloody murder. I have been sleeping for 45 whole minutes. Poop diaper is the actual culprit, but I nurse her anyway because she’s so traumatized by the poop that she is clamping down on my nipple over the sweatshirt that lies between them. 5:30 am: Change her again and go back to sleep. 6:30 am: Screaming. She has a brief nursing “snack.” Yes, I am aware that I am only supposed to feed her in proper doses, but sometimes she needs extra in between. So shoot me. 7:45 am: Screaming. Wake up and nurse again; husband leaves money for coffee but doesn’t have time to retrieve; lay Willow down for nap until 9. Put oatmeal in microwave. 8:45 am: (Five minutes after laying down): Screaming. Diaper change. Mommy meltdown. Take twenty minutes putting her in stroller to go downstairs and buy coffee. Attempt to carry on text conversation with dear friend whose voice I haven’t heard since I was 38 weeks pregnant. 9:30 am: Out the door and in the lobby buying coffee. Baby screaming. Pity looks from doorman and strangers. I don’t need your pity — I love my kid and she is only screaming because she’s 19 days old and she’s in a stroller for no good reason. 9:45: Remember oatmeal! Figure it’s only been in there for two hours, totally still edible. Eat it one-handed, standing up in kitchen, with a fork. Spoons are dirty and overrated — who has time to wash a spoon? 10:00 am: Oh, wait. Time to nurse again! (Remember that shower? Yeah…. we can try to put that on the afternoon agenda). 11:00 am: My nursing app yells at me that I’ve been feeding her for a straight hour and it’s time to stop. This is not in fact true but we got so caught up puking on two outfits in a row. Adjust to proper feeding time. (Still screaming). 11:15: This:
Yes, that’s both a pacifier and a music-making snuggle chair. But now a blog post has commenced … and I have a whole 45 minutes to do this, get those invoices out, and reheat the frozen, unconsumed coffee before waking her up to feed her again!
HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS For not even three weeks old, Willow is already sleeping several hours in a row at night (and would go longer, were I not to have to wake her for feedings). She responds well to soothers and is also capable of soothing herself. She sleeps in her crib and has from Night One, even putting herself down after about 10 minutes of lying swaddled in there. I solemnly swore the day I got pregnant not to end up with one of those kids that needs to be rocked to sleep, so we’re starting her off as a champ now.
HERE IS THE BETTER NEWS Despite a learning curve at the beginning, we’re eating well and will find out on Friday if our weight is up enough. From the heft of her, though, Mama thinks we are decidedly in the clear. Meanwhile, as Willow has grown robust and spirited on Mommy’s milk, I have dropped all but 6 pounds of my baby weight in less than three weeks and am squarely back in my pre-preggo pants. But I do wear leggings round the clock, because it’s more comfy for new mom duty.
HERE IS THE BEST NEWS Even despite the lack of sleep (when she’s sleeping I almost-sleep, most of my dreamstate is spent on her and wondering if she is alive in there. I wake up every 15 minutes or so at night to check out the image on our monitor and zoom in on that little chest to make sure it’s still rising and falling)… I have never been happier. Willow has expanded the walls of my heart in a way I had no idea was possible. And it’s not that she’s pushed the others out, she has just established a whole new space in there. And with her heart expanding powers she has taken the area filled by her daddy and made that bigger too. I look at the two of them on the couch at night as we wind down with a Weight Watchers ice cream bar and a water (new parenthood is super-glamorous, natch!) and my heart is so full I just cry. Cry, cry, all the time. It’s such a happy time. I don’t want to miss a single moment. Bring on the bodily fluids, the screaming, and the exhaustion. Being a mommy and a wife makes me happier than I ever thought it could.
About going back to work full time? Yeah… let’s discuss that in six months. I might actually have time to humor you on that front then. For now, a million more days like today will make me feel plenty fulfilled.