Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Footing

Slowly, slowly I feel I am finally emerging from the new parent shell. The past seven weeks have been a mix of many emotions and feelings. The weeks have been filled with wonder and incredible love. They've also been weeks spent marching into unknown territory, moments spent feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and unsure.

Lucky for us, we have been blessed with a very calm and laid back baby, a baby that also likes to sleep and continues to lengthen her stretches of nighttime sleep. Emerson has been such a bright-eyed breath of fresh air in our lives. In many ways our life hasn't changed. Weekend mornings are still spent cooking breakfast, reading the newspaper, listening to records. Now we simply enjoy these mornings with a beautiful, wonderful baby. She greets each morning with snuggles, long stretches, grunts, squirms, and in the last week, big grins. I live for these moments. It is in these moments that I am struck by how remarkable life is, how incredible it is that we are able to create new beings, lovely babies that will hopefully grow into lovely children and adults. At night, I look over at her as she sleeps and it takes everything I have not to scoop her up and snuggle her. She is by far, the best thing Charlie and I have ever done.

But not every moment has been as blissed out and easy. Most difficult for me right now is adjusting to the unpredictability of our days. Some days fall into an easy routine, one I can see us continuing as she grows. She wakes and eats. I change her and we play. I read to her, we go on long walks. She smiles and coos while awake and then goes down for lovely, long naps that allow me to shower, throw some laundry in, pick up the house, and catch up on emails, maybe spend a few minutes relaxing with a good book. In the evening I make dinner while Em bounces in her chair and I talk to her about all of the things we will do. Charlie returns home to a clean house, a good dinner on the table, and a happy baby ready to greet him with a smile.

Then there are days like yesterday when Emerson wants to do nothing but nurse and be held all.day.long. On days like these she sleeps maybe an hour or two and forget not holding her, she can absolutely not be put down or placed in a wrap or sling unless I want to suffer the loudest, saddest cry anyone has ever heard. In the evening I am covered in spit up and leaking milk. My hair is unwashed and crusty, my teeth are not brushed. I am still dressed in pajamas. We have obviously not left the house. The laundry mounds in the corner and the house is a complete and utter disaster with each room containing two or three unfinished tasks. My email piles up and my connection with the outside world dims. Books I've been dying to read sit on the table unopened, my voicemail is full of phone calls to return. In the evening Charlie returns home and dinner is an afterthought. I am starving and thirsty and tired. When we go to sleep, Emerson fusses and wakes for a feeding every couple hours. At 2am she eats and wants to stay awake until 4. I breastfeed and stare down at her through a cross-eyed sleepy state, wishing she could hurry up and finish so we could go back to sleep. Then of course when she finally does go to sleep and is sleeping peacefully, I am quickly filled with guilt that I wished such a wonderful moment with her away.

Another challenge I have faced is feeling back to normal, my body healed, but looking at a body that I don't recognize. I am currently in that limbo state between maternity clothes that are enormous and pre-pregnancy clothes that simply don't fit or don't fit well. It's a dreadful place to be and I can't wait to be back into my old things, feeling more like myself again. Luckily this morning I received the all clear from our midwife to resume exercise and running and I couldn't be more happy to get back to a good routine.

I am breathing deep, trying my best to go with the flow of each day, knowing a routine will return as Emerson gets a little bigger. I try to remind myself that someday I will not be covered in spit up and she will not want to cuddle in my arms in the middle of the night. Someday I will brush my teeth again and fit into real pants. Emerson will grow fast and I will look back on these early weeks and long for a moment with my little baby girl.

Every challenging moment with her is erased when I wake up again and see her little face slowly waking up next to me. It is a new beautiful day, one for us to make the most of and cherish.




2 comments:

Kristin said...

Look at how much she's stretched out over the last few weeks!

Trust me, I've been there and I'm still there. I go days without brushing my teeth (for real - sometimes I just can't remember the last time I did it) and I consider it a personal victory if I've taken a shower before noon. But you are doing such an awesome job BECAUSE you're putting her needs first. Clean teeth can wait. (And that's why they made Listerine.)

Angela A. said...

Your honesty is refreshing and wonderful! Honestly, my early days with Austin were pretty rarely like the days you described in the beginning of the post and 95% of them were like the latter. I had no idea what I was doing and I was tired and overwhelmed and sad and still trying to heal from a pretty hellacious delivery. It was not fun. I can tell you with complete confidence that it will get better. And when I say it will get better? I mean it. And it will happen before you know it. I look at my 8 month old Austin, who gave me a heck of a time in the beginning, and he is the happiest, best and cutest baby in the world. What you are going through now is so temporary, I promise. Invest in take out or let Charlie cook for the next little while and catch your breath. Hang in there, sweet momma.