Week 3: The Art of Being Humbled

by Heather on March 30, 2012

I wrote a short little ‘update’ the other day talking about all of the things that being a parent has taught me so far.  I think that something in the recesses of my mind I figured that if I wrote a post about how much I’ve learned and how my baby boy is teaching me and so on and so forth that it would instigate some sort of good karma and I’d have nothing but smooth sailing the rest of the week.  Or month.  Or year!

 

But you know what?  I think this guy had other plans…

First of all I’ll always have to start out with the whole “I can’t believe it’s already been 3 weeks!” statement, but that’s because it’s true.  3 weeks has absolutely flown by and I can’t believe all of the changes that have happened with our little guy since the day he was born.  He’s gone from being this tiny, curled-up sleepy little dude to a full-blown baby with quite the set of lungs.  His eyes have opened and are bluer every day.  And when he streeeeeeeeeeeeetches out I just stare in disbelief that this miniature human was living inside of me and at one point was the size of a pea.

 

Two nights ago was a particularly difficult evening:  Nate had a long day at work, I’d had a long day at home, Weston had a long day of crying and the dogs were stressed out and exhausted from listening to him all day and watching me pace back and forth without the slightest idea of what to do with a screaming baby.  I had a massive headache from all of the incessant feedings (from looking down to watch him the whole time), there were dishes all over the kitchen and the chicken I’d set out to thaw in the fridge was still frozen solid.  What was supposed to be a nice, calm, semi-relaxed evening of baby cuddling and taxes had turned into a big fat wash and I felt like I was going crazy.  No amount of walking, cuddling, babywearing or feeding was calming Weston down, and the one time he was about to go to sleep somebody walked up to the door with a flier for a trash service and the dogs freaked out, waking him up.  Yikes.

 

I was complaining about how hard the day was and what a terrible mom I was because I couldn’t comfort our little guy and Nate just said, “You know he’s a baby, right?  You know he only can communicate one way.”

 

Dang it.  Sucks being wrong.

Long story short, Nate kicked me out of the kitchen and made me lay down on the couch while he finished dinner.  I thought about it.  I went upstairs to check on Weston (who was finally asleep) and as I was walking out of his room I saw the bear that we have in there to symbolize the older sibling he never got to meet.  And then it dawned on me:  we are so incredibly blessed to have him at all, screaming and crying fits and all.  Tears sprang to my eyes as I remembered what it felt like to lose our first baby and went over to give Weston a little kiss.  Putting it into perspective made me realize that he can scream and cry all day (I mean, I’d prefer he not do that) because it means that he’s here, we’re his parents, and he’s alive.  I can’t promise that I’m totally at my most humbling point but this week?  This week I have been humbled by this little man in the best way possible.  I have no clue what I’m doing, but all he needs right now is love, food and sleep.  So that’s what we’re focusing on.

The great thing though is that when things are going well, they’re going really well.  I got to sleep for 5 straight hours at one point and woke up a new woman!  Who would’ve thought that the girl who JUST HAD TO HAVE 9 HOURS of sleep would be raving about the wonders of 5 hours?  Weston is sleeping really well and even though I can’t wait til the day that Nate and I get a full night’s sleep I do cherish the late night feedings.  It’s weird – during the day it’s just us feeding in the same room in the same chair, but the nighttime feedings are just so calm and peaceful.  We’re both barely awake and just staring into each other’s eyes and he falls back asleep relatively well.

 

He’s making the craziest faces all the time too and is just so expressive.  He loves observing the world around him, whether it’s our faces, shapes on the walls, or watching the dogs moving around and seeing their noses up close when they come to sniff his face.  It’s really fun to watch someone see things for the first time!

Before Wes was born we pre-washed all of his clothes and felt like we had just WAY too many things for such a little guy.  Little did we know that these little newborn onsies are the best invention ever, especially til the umbilical stump falls off!  I think we have about 5 of them and it feels like most days we rotate through all 5.  Has anyone else ever had an issue with diapers leaking on newborns?  It’s not leaking through the legs, but it’s almost like he’s leaking over the top of his diaper.  Any amount of tightening or loosening it doesn’t help though, and so we do about a load of his laundry every day or every other day.  I hear it gets better, but had I known that I would have bought more sleepers!

 

Finally below is a picture of the little dude seeing something for the first time (peeling face skin and all).  I just LOVE how huge his eyes get, like this thing that he’s seeing is just the most magical all-consuming ball of awesomeness one could ever see.  And he sees at least 50 of them a day.  How cool would that be to remember every single new experience you ever have?!  Hopefully one day he’ll look back and see how fun it was to watch him :)

As for Nate and I, we’re doing well even though the lack of sleep is definitely wearing on both of us.  It’s a fairly stressful time at work for him and hard for me to be alone at home sometimes, but we’re making it work.  The hardest part so far has been having consistent time for just the two of us to spend together, but that’s something we committed to doing before Wes was born and have been holding fast to.  Since we’re in Colorado without family (although we have a fantastic group of friends who’ve rallied around us) we are having to work more as a team than ever before.  We are definitely of the mindset that Wes has come into our lives as part of our family, but he’s not the center of it.  We always want to strive to put one another first and have been doing pretty well!

 

Earlier in the week when he was being super fussy and cluster feeding I was completely freaking out and felt like a horrible parent until I learned about the fact that babies go through growth spurts around this age.  If only they would send you home with a guide on these things!  After finding that out I was so relieved and just felt like I could handle it however long I needed to as long as I knew there was a reason.  So I buckled down, rolled up my sleeves and started chugging water and upping the protein and healthy fat content of my diet to hopefully increase milk production for the little guy.  Obviously he’ll eat what he can handle, and if need be I can just pump the rest and either let Nate use for a night feeding or freeze for later!

 

I’ve been making an effort this week to get out of the house at least once or twice to go on walks with Weston.  I’ve been told the only physical activity I’m allowed to do until my 6-week checkup is walk; no cardio, no lifting, no abdominal work.  We’ve been going anywhere between 1-3 miles, but I’ve been taking it really slow and making sure that the pace is adequately non-cardio, but it just feels so great to get outside and get some fresh air.  I’ve also been having “conversations” with Weston, letting him know the things that are going on in our lives and keeping him “involved.”  I know he’s only 3 weeks old, but I figure it’s always a good idea to talk to him!

On the food front we’re winding down with the dinners from friends and have slowly started to transition more to making food at home.  I’m working on getting back into my gestational diabetes “diet” where I’m limiting the amount of carbs rather than having a bread and pasta free for all and focusing on getting in good amounts of protein, veggies and fruit.  I can tell a difference in my energy levels when I’m eating well versus carbo-loading and want to maintain the good habits I got into when I was having to prick my finger 4 times a day!  Yesterday for lunch I sauteed a bunch of rainbow chard with garlic, chickpeas and chicken, then had a mango for dessert and felt amazing for hours afterwards.  That’s enough of a reason to get back into that habit!  It’s funny to me though that I used to say that the moment I wasn’t pregnant anymore I’d be eating sushi and drinking a glass of wine or a margarita…buuuuuuuuuut I haven’t had any of that yet.  I’m really picky on the sushi I eat and haven’t wanted to venture out to get some (or spend the money on it) and as for the alcohol?  I’m exhausted enough already…I don’t need anything else that’s going to make me even more tired!

 

I’m not worried about the baby weight at this point; honestly I would be very surprised if I still had any on my frame at all.  The hard part now is just feeling so squishy all over rather than toned and strong.  My arms are still weak sauce from carrying a baby around all the time and bouncing him on my lap.  I miss doing squats and with the 70-degree weather we’ve been having lately I REALLY miss going on hikes, especially now that I’m not at work during the daytime hours.  BUT there’s a time for everything and this is my time to rest and focus on taking care of Weston.  The rest will come…although I can’t wait to finally be out of this weird in between stage with my clothes.  I’m swimming in my old maternity wear, but still not back into my old jeans.  Yoga pants and T-shirts it is!

 

Another thing on the looks front is that no one told me about the gross night sweats, greasy hair, and super dry skin that comes after having a baby.  I knew my hair will start falling out at some point, but the other things?  WOW.  It’s really not that terrible, but I felt totally unprepared for those things!  So if you’re a new mom, be ye warned:  this will happen to you too!

So there you have it – our little family of 3 is 3 weeks old, and as humbling as being a new parent can be it’s the most rewarding and fun experience I’ve ever had.  We’re learning more and more each hour about who we are and what our dynamic will look like.  Based on the past 3 weeks, I can’t wait for the future!

 

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