Monday, February 29, 2016

One Week Postpartum with Little Liam

I find myself in shock at how different this postpartum experience has been so far compared to last time.

This time around, I have been happy and felt immediate love for my newborn and extreme contentedness with our new family of four. It made me reflect on life after Ava's birth, and I now feel a little bad for myself that I thought that experience was normal typical. Looking back, I think I may have had the baby blues because I definitely did not feel as happy as I thought I would be! I was a first-time parent. My baby was delivered via emergency c-section, so physically and emotionally I had been through a lot. Everything was new, and everything was scary. We were learning to parent one hour at a time.

7 days after surgery, I just can't believe how good I feel! I mean, of course I don't really feel good, but I'm getting around really well and a time or two I have not kept up with my pain meds and I hardly noticed. I might consider reducing my dose of Ibuprofen soon! Chris even said he can't believe the drastic difference in pain medication I'm requiring this time! I dropped the Tylenol after a day or two at home. Last time I was on Percocet for a week and then weaned to just Ibuprofen and I think I stayed on that for quite awhile. So not only was I waking to nurse Ava, I was also waking to keep up with my meds around the clock. It was exhausting! And while of course I'm tired this time, somehow I'm dealing with it much better at one week. Liam had a little day/night confusion so there were two long nights because of that, and then one night he "forgot" how to latch so that took awhile to work through. I suspect what happened is engorgement came along and he got used to latching to huge swollen breasts, and then once they softened as engorgement was passing, he wasn't sure what to do. But! He's had 2 great nights besides those! He will wake to nurse every 2 to 2.5 hours and go right back to sleep. So last night I nursed him at 10, put him "to bed", and then he woke at 12:30, 3:00, and just before 6. So only 3 times! I can deal with that!

I can't help but compare him to Ava as a newborn. She was more needy, I think. She didn't like her swing - Liam loves his - and she didn't sleep as long. She was a slow eater (45 minutes most times, sometimes an hour) and Liam is a quicker eater. So the fact that Liam is overall a bit of an "easier" baby at this point, combined with an easier recovery and the fact that we are second-time parents has made this recovery feel like a cake walk! I think I am on the downhill of breastfeeding discomforts. I ended up with a cracked nipple with Ava - NOT VERY FUN, PEOPLE!! - and this time I've only had moderate soreness that seems to be easing into mild soreness now. It also has made a tremendous difference to have help from the beginning - no worries about cooking or cleaning and extra hands to help with Ava!

Ava likes to check on her "bay bee" and see what he's up to. She still loves to poke his cheeks and she likes to "help" swing him in his swing. She has started bringing him things, like her beloved sheepy and bunny! And last night after Ava was in bed, I was getting Liam out of the swing and saw that she had given him her golf ball that she had been playing with! She likes to lean over and talk to him and get in his face to look at him. She's just recently wanted to "snuggle" with him - she kind of lays her head near or on his. It's pretty sweet! We have to watch her closely as of course she is still very much a baby herself and doesn't know not to smash him or crawl over him. But she seems to be adjusting pretty well! I have been able to be a part of bedtime with her like I was hoping. Liam just hangs out in the swing. I'll ask her to help with Liam, whether it's covering him with a blanket or picking out a diaper for him. She tried to put one of his diapers on - she sat on it and couldn't figure out why it wouldn't fit!

I do get a little sad sometimes because Ava comes up to me with arms outstretched to be held and all I can do is slowly kneel or squat and offer her a hug, or I'll tell her to come to the couch and we can sit together. I neeeeeeed to hold my first baby!! So I'm anxious for when my belly isn't so tender and I can snuggle her a bit better. It's hard for me to let others take care of her needs when that's been my job for her entire life. So the first night at home I was tearful because I realized both my babies need me so much but I wouldn't be able to meet all of Ava's needs right away or that I'd have to let someone else take over.

I also get a little sad sometimes when I look at Liam because he might be our last baby. This might be the last time I get to snuggle our newborn child. The last newborn phase. I was feeling kind of bummed that my giant belly is gone, and that it may never swell up with a life inside again. I've become less and less nostalgic as I've gotten older - probably because the Army has forced me to learn to let go of things and move on - but I almost feel as if Liam is the last chapter in my child-bearing years. I think 2 kids is perfection, but its hard to tell at this point! Anyway, the tugging at my heart that I feel reminds me to enjoy every second of our kids' lives. I look at Liam and I just know how fast he's going to grow and change, and I don't want to wish away these early days even when sleep and alone time are slim to none. I know I'll get that back someday!

Lighting in Liam's room is so horrible! This photo is as real as it gets - I finally got a shower after Ava went to bed. I had a few hours by myself with the kids today (omg did I just type kids?! This is crazy!!) while Chris took his mom to the airport and then he had to go to work for a bit. And I survived! I've lost 25+ pounds this week! I have a lot of night sweats so a lot of it is water weight. I can fit into a few loose-waisted bottoms and whatever top I can find that isn't too inconvenient for nursing. So my outfits look fabulous!

I'll update more later - off to feed the little one!!

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