I’m feeling a little “stuck” lately. I don’t know what to write beyond updates on my life. At this point in time, I’m not planning to sign off here as I did after Skittle’s birth. I have never intended to be a mommy blogger, but I have enjoyed coming here to connect with all of you from time to time over the last year, even though I’ve recently written very little about infertility and loss, which was the original purpose of this blog. I don’t anticipate that, in the months ahead, I will return here as regularly, and yet I DO hope to return, providing updates, as well as giving small snapshots of our life and voicing concerns, worries, and other feelings I encounter along the way. Things could change of course, but for now, that’s my plan for Waiting to Expand as I once again go about parenting a new baby and waiting for the next time when we “try” again….
For the moment, though, here is my oh-so-exciting update on life since Poppy’s arrival:
- It turns out that Skittle and my mom did have the stomach flu. Two days later, it hit Honey and Cupcake. Six days later, I got it. It was awful. So far, Poppy is the only one in our home who has not gotten hit. I’m praying, and fairly certain, it will stay that way. There is a sort of magic in breastmilk, isn’t there?
- Poppy is proving to be a fairly easy baby. Not as chill and blissful as Skittle was (and continues to be), but easy enough. He sleeps plenty and often seems pretty content when he’s awake. He does prefer to be held and will fuss, especially in the evenings, after being in his swing or bouncer for too long, but I’m still able to get a plenty of time unattached to a baby. And he usually lets me sleep for 4-5 hours at a stretch at night, which is awesome.
- I’m bored. I never thought I’d say that with a newborn in the house, but I am. In the weeks before his birth, I worked hard to get ahead. And now my mom is here until November 8th and she does everything — from laundry to dishes to cooking and cleaning and getting my girls ready in the morning. Poppy doesn’t require much from me beyond breastfeeding, so I have a lot of free time on my hands. I know I’ll be yearning for that as soon as my mom leaves, but right now, I’m wishing for something more to do than crochet another baby hat.
- My mom has been here three-and-a-half weeks now and we have nearly two more to go. Things are good mostly, but as predicted there have been difficult moments. It took us less than two weeks to have a screaming match, with her threatening to go home and me responding with, “Good! Go! You’re a bitch, Mom!” Not my finest moment. Thankfully, neither of us hold grudges and we both forgive quickly, so we have since moved on from that night. But I do find myself growing irritated with her more and more. Little, stupid things are starting to bug me. And she has it in her head that mothers and daughters should be best friends and NEVER have disagreements, which compounds the problem because she has unrealistic expectations. I love my mom and I am soooooo grateful for her help, and I am always aware that one day she will be gone and I will miss every one of these uncomfortable moments, but I am ready to have my house and family back. I think five weeks is just too long to be together like this. There are times when I start to forget why I even like her and I don’t like feeling like that at all. She’s amazing! Funny, and selfless, and hard-working, and so generous, and loving, and thoughtful, and she always thinks the best of me. She’s wonderful! THAT is what I want to remember. ALL that I want to remember.
- Both girls seem to be doing pretty well with the new baby. I haven’t noticed any changes at all with Cupcake. She tells everyone we meet about her brother and loves to hold him. Our greatest challenge is getting her to keep her hands OFF of him because she loves to touch, hold, kiss, and hug him multiple times a day, regardless of whether he is sleeping or she has washed her hands or not. About two weeks ago, we did start to notice some changes in Skittle, but because they occurred just a few days after the flu hit, it has been difficult to determine whether her behavioral changes are because she was sick or because of the new baby. Regardless, we went through about a week of nearly constantly crying. She had a short fuse and nearly everything made her scream or wail (which is sooooooo unlike her), but that seems to have greatly resolved now. The only aftermath we continue to battle is that she has become extremely picky at mealtimes. Foods she has always loved are now pushed away. I know this is her way of controlling things in her life when she feels her life is out of control with all the changes and it’s fine by me if she wants to live on hot dogs and Annie’s bunny crackers for a while. I keep offering a variety of food and I have faith that, with time, she will begin to eat real food again.
- My moods have been a bit unstable over the last week. There have been several days when I felt sad or incredibly irritable for no reason at all. I’m guessing it’s hormonal, but it’s made for a few not-so-fun days, with me crying or yelling at the drop of a hat. One thing that has helped a lot, though, is just getting out of the house. I took Poppy to the pumpkin patch when he was two days old. We’ve also been to the mall twice, downtown trick-or-treating, the movies on a date night with Honey, pedicures with my mom, and dinner with my friend Leigh. And we have plans for another trip to the mall, a big baby expo, and coffee with Leigh as well. I know some people like to understandably keep their newborns in a bubble these first weeks, but that could never work for me. Partly because I have two older children who beg to get out of the house and partly because getting out is so good for my own mental health. I feel so much better when I do!
- So far I have lost twenty pounds and I have about fifteen more to go. This is the lowest weight I’ve been at 3-4 weeks postpartum, but I dread the thought of having to lose the last of this pregnancy weight. I’m hoping breastfeeding and pumping will work some magic, as it did after Skittle’s birth, but still… My sweet tooth is out of control right now and I need to stop eating so much! Can someone come put padlocks on my cupboards please?
- Can I just reiterate how impossibly adorable my Skittle is? There is just something about her that is so irresistible. She makes me heart melt and swell over and over again every day with her sweetness. She’s just so easy to love. And the bond that I feel with her! Oh, my goodness, it makes every hard day of TTC and parenting worth it. If I could be guaranteed that every child would be like Skittle, I would have two dozen of them. (Well, if my ovaries would work like they should!)
- I get asked a lot how I’m feeling and I always respond with, “I feel great!” And that’s mostly true. I’m usually quick to recover after birth, especially after a natural birth (which is one reason I know it’s the right thing for me). I have lots of energy and I feel as though I’m healing well “down there.” That being said, I am getting daily headaches, which are annoying. And my hemorrhoids are causing me off and on discomfort, more than they ever have before after a birth. AND I’m still bleeding. A lot. I don’t remember there being this much blood nearly four weeks later with either of my last pregnancies. The doctor seems unconcerned since I’m not hemorrhaging, but I hate it. I’m ready to put the pads away!
- Not trying to offend anyone here…but I REALLY hate it when people ask me (or anyone) if my baby is a “good” baby. Because it implies that there’s such a thing as a bad baby. Babies aren’t good or bad. They’re just babies. And yes, there are easier babies and there are more difficult ones, but the difficult ones aren’t BAD, are they? They just have more needs, or needs that are harder to understand and meet. But in the end, they’re just babies and there’s nothing bad about them. Okay? Okay. [end rant]
- There are a few minor health issues with Poppy. I think he has clogged tear ducts in both of his eyes. They are so goopy and crusty right now. And he’s developed a cough recently, which I think I can blame on my mom, who has a cold. I’m pretty sure she caught it from my husband, who caught it from me and my daughters, who had it a good couple weeks before Poppy ever arrived. Seriously, guys! The germs that little kids bring home. There’s no end to them! Also…Poppy does this weird gasping thing every now and then (like, multiple times a day), usually when he’s sleeping. It sounds like he’s trying to suck in more air than he’s able to get into his lungs and it’s unpleasant to hear. That, combined with the cough, makes for an anxious mama. I’m constantly jumping out of my skin with every weird sound he makes.
- I’m already thinking ahead to the next time we try to conceive and to the next baby. I can’t help myself. I hate the TTC process, but I just love pregnancy, and giving birth, and these newborn days so much. And they are all gone so fast. And knowing that our next baby will likely be our last, I feel myself grieving already. I wish I could live in the moment more, and just treasure this time that I have with Poppy right here and right now. I try to. And I do. But a part of me is always longing to do it over again. To relive it all. And then I start to miss it before the moment is even entirely gone. It’s an endless cycle and will likely be lamented on this blog many times in the weeks, months, and years ahead. (And of course, it need not be said that this is all conditional, based on the hope and idea that I’m even able to have another child. Grieving over losing that would be an entirely different sort of loss and pain…)
I’m rambling. Sorry. And many thanks to those of you who stuck with this long post. I promise there are better things to come for this blog. Some day. Once I’m getting a full night of sleep and the hormones aren’t causing me to flip out and I’m able to put down my bowl of ice cream long enough to type it out. There will be a day like that somewhere in my future, right?