Friday, November 25, 2011 a family of 4.

Every time I have a moment to sit down and think about blogging, my mind essentially turns to mush. I had so much to organize and keep track of before Gabe was born and life seemed really interesting (to me, at least) with all that I had going on, and now life has simplified down to the bare necessities: are we all fed? Do we have clean clothes? Is the dishwasher unloaded, or running? Have I bathed recently?  Perhaps I make it all sound like we're in a crazy mad dash all the time, which we're not, but I've had far less time to just sit down and twiddle my thumbs.  For which I do not complain. I know in time, God willing, that personal free time will return. And I'll take what I can get, when I can get it.

3 weeks in with Mr. Gabe and life's been pretty good to us so far.  None of the rough starts that afflicted us with Mia have been present with Gabe, bless them hearts.  Gabe's only concern so far was slightly elevated bilirubin levels (threatening us with jaundice) right after he was born, which kept us all in the hospital about 2 extra days.  The mixed blessing in that was that I received extra lactation help, which has made a world of difference this time around when it comes to breastfeeding.  I struggled so much with that in the beginning with Mia, which led to my decision to exclusively pump for her.  I've not even touched a pump in over a week with Gabe, which has felt really nice.  There are times when I wish I could just hand him over to Greg and he give him a bottle so I could get a little more sleep in the middle of the night, but in some cases it's not worth the effort to go through all of that.  We're still working through the first few weeks of nursing, but all in all, we're very much off to a better start, for which I'm super thankful.

sleep: it's mostly what he do
Because that is going as it is, and we're not using bottles, in some ways I feel like I'm dealing with a newborn for the first time.  I often wonder--is he fully content and fed? Does he need me? Is he sleeping right now because he's full, or is he just taking a little break? With Mia, we gave her a bottle with approximate amounts based on what she seemed to need to consume, and that was that. There was very little question as to if she was full/hungry; anytime she cried hard we gave her a bottle and up she went gaining weight! And generally speaking, she'd go back to sleep with a little prompting.

Sleepwise, it is what it is.  Some nights are certainly better than others. He could sleep soundly all day quite easily, and tends to right now, feeding every 2-4 hrs, but at night, he is still figuring out how to consistently sleep longer stretches.  Let's just say I'm thankful it's a holiday weekend because with Greg home, I'm allowed to go back to sleep for another hour or two after Gabe wakes up for a morning feed, while he hangs with Mia.  During the week I do not have that luxury.

And speaking of luxuries, my mom was in town for the first week and a half that Gabe was home, and that made such a world of difference. I don't know how people survive without their families, communities, villages or tribes (whatever you want to call it).  I cannot fathom having a child without having the help of someone you inherently trust to assist you with the nitty gritty.  (This includes Greg as well, and those friends of mine who have *blessedly* seen me in unusually compromising positions! *points to certain hospital visitors*)
Mommo & Gabe
For essentially the first week and a half, Mia was taken care of, fed, bathed, napped, and entertained by either Greg or my mom. I was instructed not to lift her the first 2.5 weeks, which I was not expecting to hear!  It was emotionally hard to not be able to deal with Mia at certain times especially when she wanted mommy, but I was so thankful to have others around to attend to the situation and keep things rolling, keeping my stress levels low.

My parents were in town part of this week for Thanksgiving, so my mom went home and essentially turned around 5 days later, meaning I only had to be totally on my own for 3 weekdays.  It was not as rough an intro to life with 2 kids as I'd been fearing.  However, next week when everybody is gone, including Greg's parents, I might feel otherwise.  It'll be 5 straight days on my own!  That, my friends, seems a little bit scarier!

The most challenging parts of the day are usually at feeding times, when Mia all of a sudden wants mommy to hold her; naptime, if I'm not sure if Gabe is totally out and asleep and I'm trying to get Mia down; and right after naptime, when Mia tends to wake up as I'm feeding Gabe.  I think it's probably hard for her to often see mommy consumed by another baby, but right now, so much of my time is spent sitting in a chair "eating" Gabe (that's what Mia says instead of "feeding."  "Mommy, you eating Gabe?"  "Yes, I'm 'feeding' him.")

loving on her baby brother
Mia loves Gabe though, wants to hold him, burp him, give him his pacifier, and talk and play with him. She received a new Signing Time DVD this past week (about going to the potty! *thinking positive thoughts here*) and it showed some signs she already knew and she started putting Gabe's hands to his mouth to sign "eat".  It was so cute and I love that she already wants to get him involved in everything.  If she puts up a fight about anything, it's just about the attention she is not receiving 100% of from mommy and daddy anymore.

Before Gabe was born, I had a lot of concerns. I was nervous about his health, my health, his delivery, the postpartum period, dealing with all the changes that occur after one gives birth, and how I'd feel by Thanksgiving. I'm happy to say that many of my concerns were relieved as soon as he was born and things started moving on "normally." I'm happy to be normal in this case, for once, and not at any extremes.  I still have much ground to break when it comes to mothering two children, and getting into a groove with Gabriel and Mia, so I shant count my chickens before they've hatched, but I'm so grateful to God and to my tribe for seeing us through the first three weeks.  Yesterday we were able to celebrate Thanksgiving with both sides of the family including both sets of grandparents and nothing but good times accompanied our gatherings.  With Mia, I was very much of a Nervous Nelly for those first few weeks.  I figure that's probably a common first-time mom feeling and there's nothing I can do to change the past, but it makes me realize now how nice it is to just let things be and live in the moment, and not worry about every detail of the next 3 hours.  Just breathing is nice.

And now that Gabe is stirring, that's my cue.  Here a few pictures of Gabe meeting his other family members over the past week!

Gabe & Papa Jack

Gabe with Nana & Granddad

Sneaking in a picture of Mia with Uncle Jackson
Uncle Jackson & Gabe
Gabe happily asleep with Mommo & Papa Jack


Tiffany Hope said...

Sweet little man!!!!!!!!! You are doing a great job!!

Rose said...

appropriately, as i was reading this post, people in this computer lab were discussing a project...words they threw out were "pregnancy", "WIC", and "breastfeeding"...I must be in a school of public health!