We made it through our first two weeks of parenthood and everyone survived.
The first two weeks were transformative. We made so many special memories--namely the times we spent cuddling as a threesome instead of sleeping. The love we feel is overwhelming in the best way, but being new parents is terrifying at times. I felt confident leaving the hospital, and then the next day, I went through a horrible 48-hour meltdown where I cried a ton and felt completely in over my head. It didn't help that we had a rocky start with breastfeeding and were extremely concerned about Willa's weight gain, but as of her two week doctor's appointment yesterday, she was back to birth weight and thriving.
Overall, having a newborn is more work than I ever anticipated! I thought I'd be watching more TV and resting, but feeding, pumping, cleaning bottles/pump parts, and changing diapers is a full time job. I've been connected to my child or my breast pump for the majority of my waking hours, and I'm so so thankful for the help we had in week one from my mom, the fact that Brendan had two weeks off from work, and for his parents who came in for week two (and are currently here). Having helpers to cook, hold the baby while we nap, do laundry, and talk to me when I'm breastfeeding or pumping for the tenth time that day has been so essential to my mental well being. I'm also very thankful for my mom friends that have checked in on me and reassured me that it feels hard for everyone at first. I'm thankful for Brendan who is an amazing father and partner and got me through the first hurdle of motherhood (the hormonal shift, which my friend Lauren refers to as the "five day dump").
My biggest realization about parenthood thus far? This love is so rewarding and consuming. At first, you'll wish you could go back in time knowing what you now know and redo anything that went wrong. Then, you realize that's what parenthood is: you won't be perfect, you'll learn on the job, and your kids will be just fine. I know that I'm an anxious person, but there was no way to prepare for how much worry parenting entails. The slightest sound will wake me up, I constantly check to make sure she's breathing, and my child has had an insane number of doctor's appointments already. We fell in love with her right away--I've heard that's different for everyone, but for us, it's almost like we can't remember life without her, but what an incredible weight and responsibility it is. I also had no idea how crazy we'd be about her. We make up silly songs for her, can't get enough of her silly expressions, and could just stare at her all day. I already have a nickname for her ("miss baby").
Postpartum recovery has been both easier and harder than anticipated. I'm really glad I listened to advice from so many friends about things I needed. Here's the best advice I'll pass on to you, dear blog readers. Buy these (trust me, they're more comfortable than the hospital pads), this, and this. Take Colace (ask for it in the hospital), buy a giant cup with a lid and straw and constantly refill it with water, make sure you have comfy nursing bras, nursing tanks, reusable breast pads, and comfy undies (Kindred Bravely is where I got all these items; my personal link will save you money here). Buy a few nursing dresses (I like milk and mother bee; found both on amazon) and make sure you have some really comfortable nursing gowns and a robe. Sweet Brendan gifted me with loungewear from Lake, and I'm obsessed. Make sure you make arrangements for help, so you can get plenty of rest in the early weeks. I try to get in an afternoon nap most days, and it makes those night wake ups so much more bearable. I had plenty of delusional ideas that we could handle everything...haha, no. Never turn down any offers for meals. We're so lucky that people from the college have made us dinner on multiple nights and our parents have cooked for us too. So far, the most difficult thing I've cooked since Willa's birth is boxed macaroni. Also, make sure you have friends with kids that you can call and text. It'll make a big difference, trust me!
I hope this post makes sense (in my sleep limited state, it's hard to tell!). I want to capture the sheer love we feel but also what a major, difficult, and exhausting change having a baby is, but it's hard to put all that into words. If you're having a baby, I'd say prepare to be extremely tested physically and emotionally: it's going to be tough. But then, you'll realize you're doing just fine.
And all along, you'll be so in love. That's the best part.
Willa meets Gigi and Buddy for the first time:
Took this picture to celebrate Willa being back to birth weight. Can't believe she fit inside me!
Happy two weeks, Willa. Our world will never be the same in the best possible way.