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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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kim in MD March 30, 2012

What a sweet post! I love how you share the good, the bad and the ugly of newborn life! Oh, how I remember those first few weeks after having my first baby. I had never held a newborn baby or changed a diaper in my life, and remember as I was leaving the hospital I thought “I can’t believe they are letting us leave with our baby when we have no idea what we are doing”. The first few weeks were filled with tears of joy, tears of frustration, tears of exhaustion…all from me! My baby? Yeah- he cried a lot in those first few weeks, too. When my first baby was 2 weeks old he got collicky, and cried everyday from 3:00p.m. -8:00p.m.. This only lasted a few weeks, but I felt like the world’s worst mom because nothing I did would console him. Isn’t that the worst feeling? It just breaks your heart! The good news? In a few more weeks Weston will settle in and those crying fits will be few and far between. You will learn what his different cries mean (hungry, tired, bored, scared, etc.) and he won’t just cry for no reason…yeah! The other good news? When I brought my second baby home, it was a breeze! None of the crying fits. Maybe it was because I was so relaxed and it was more natural? Maybe our first borns can sense our anxiety? Hang in there, Heather! Just keep doing what you are doing- your’e doing great and are obviously a wonderful mother! Weston is adorable!

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2 Heather March 30, 2012

i’ve heard that too! i keep telling nate i don’t know how we’ll have another one, but i also know that once this stage is gone i’ll really miss it and be wanting more babies :)

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3 Whitney March 30, 2012

Yes!! Why does no one tell you about the post pregnancy stuff?!?! Luckily it won’t last too long. I remember my feet being really weird for a few months- like they were unswelling or something . Anyway, you’re doing great! You are in the thick of it! The best advice a mom ever gave me was that this time you’re in right now does not last that long. I remember looking at Chris around four months and saying ‘wow, this is a lot easier now!’ I think the hardest part is learning how to adjust to this new human, but sounds like you’re getting in a groove!
And I have to say your body comments really struck a chord with me. I totally get the toned, mush thing because that is what I felt and Chris couldn’t understand why I wasn’t feeling good about myself. 10 months later I have accepted that I am not an 18 year old ballerina anymore and I have to be nice to myself. So that’s what I would say to you- be kind to yourself and give yourself time. You are beautiful and made a beautiful little boy! Sorry for the long comment, you just captured these first weeks really well and it got me feeling nostalgic!! Smell and kiss his head for me :)

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4 Heather March 30, 2012

thanks whitney! i keep hearing how much easier it gets and even though i feel like Wes is a pretty easy baby i’m definitely looking forward to having more interactive fun together. and i will most definitely smell and kiss his head for you :)

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5 Rebekah March 30, 2012

I don’t know if you guys are already doing this but since he is leaking out the top of the diaper I am just going to say this…make sure his penis is pointing down when you put the diaper on. Just remember that growth spurts happen again around 6 weeks.

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6 Aimee March 30, 2012

Omg he is gorgeous!!! My oldest is 15 and I swear I dont know where the years have gone! Congrats and enjoy the journey!

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7 Ky G March 30, 2012

About the diaper leaking at the top…are you pointing his little winky woo down every diaper change? ;-)

And I totally understand you on the “humbling moment after a long, rough day”…once the day is done and he’s asleep and I’m able to take a breathe, I thank God for my little boy, pray for strength knowing it’s just a phase (and there will be plenty of those) and hope for a better tomorrow knowing that it’s never promised.

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8 Heather March 30, 2012

haha love the little name :) we are definitely pointing down, so that’s why it’s kind of confusing what the problem actually is! either way, it’s getting better so hopefully we are almost out of that stage…

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9 jen b March 30, 2012

If the diapers don’t stop leaking–try the next size up. It happened to me in the middle of the night–every 45 minutes a crying, wet, unhappy baby. Also, neither of my kids ‘fit’ with the Huggies design, and those leaked constantly, so we used Pampers & Luvs. Try different ‘shapes’ and see if that helps.

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10 Heather March 30, 2012

good to know about sizing up! we’ll definitely be trying that trick ;)

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11 Urban Wife March 30, 2012

Awww, Heather this is such a precious post. I can’t even begin to pretend that I have anything to add or make suggestions since I’m not a mom but it sounds like you’re doing just fine! Weston is such a cute boy and like you said up there in a reply comment, you’ll have loads more fun once the “one-way” communication wears off. And yes, I love how good food makes me have so much energy!

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12 katecooks March 30, 2012

sounds like you guys are doing a great job. how lovely is it that you will always have this record to look back on? that’s reason enough to blog i think!

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13 Heather March 30, 2012

exactly! i’m not a scrapbooker or anything, but i love that we can look back on this (and that Weston can too!) for years to come!

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14 Katie March 31, 2012

Love your blog! Keep up the awesomeness!
I’ve nominated you for a versatile blogger award: chemegirlcooks.blogspot.com

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15 Heather March 31, 2012

thanks katie!

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16 Jen March 31, 2012

We would always call it the magic diaper accident because it never leaked at the bottom but on one side only. We tried everything but could never figure it out. It just stopped one day and we are not looking back ;-) Don’t feel bad if you are stressed out after a day of screaming. I had the same issue and felt so bad. I thought I am the worst mom ever. We are only human and being at home alone all day and one baby screaming at you no matter what is really stressful. Thankfully my husband saw the pained look on my face and took care of her so I could have a quick bath or nap. It will get easier.

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17 Lindsay @ Fuel My Family April 1, 2012

I love that first picture of him! My baby is 7 months now and seeing that tiny baby makes me miss those first weeks!

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18 Kasi April 2, 2012

What a precious baby boy he is! My son is 6 1/2 (he likes to point out the 1/2) and I can hardly believe it. Middle of the night feedings were always my favorite too. The house was so calm and it felt like I could focus more on him.

I see from the previos posts you are already making sure he is pointing down. I found that different brands worked better for my son at different ages. Pampers were the only thing that didn’t leak from birth to about 6 months, then we had to switch to Huggies. If you feel like the diaper is large enough for him, try switching brands.

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19 Nikki April 2, 2012

Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I have been following your blog for over a year and I was so excited to find out you were pregnant again with your little miracle Weston. Since finding out I am pregnant too (I am in my 29th week now), your posts have meant alot to me, the ups and the downs. It sounds like you guys are doing an amazing job! I can’t believe that this little “cabbage” will soon be a real life baby, and even though as much as we doubt ourselves, we are all amzing mothers!

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20 Anna April 4, 2012

My little girl just turned 3 months old and now in hindsight I can say that for me the first 6 weeks were the hardest and it all got somewhat easier each week after that. Every day brings new challenges of course, but I feel like that’s when we really switched from survival to living & enjoying. My experience has been that each new stage/challenge lasts just long enough until you aren’t sure you can handle it, then suddenly things change for the better. The feeding was a lot like that. Now I know when she starts to cluster feed it’s most likely a growth spurt and will only last one or two days – it’s nice knowing that it won’t go on forever. You’re doing great.

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