It's been 9 days since Reid came into our lives. These past 9 days have been all about surviving and readjusting and learning. Here are the highlights:
1. Cohen. Something happened the moment Reid was born. Cohen became a two year old. He's heavier and his skin became a little rougher and his legs are like logs. His diapers are huge and his clothing might as well be that of a grown man's.
It's amazing how big your first baby can seem after just a few hours of holding your new baby.
Cohen has also proven himself to be a great big brother. He's loving and gentle and always wants to help. When he first wakes up in the morning, the first thing he asks for is Baby Brother. When he gets a yummy treat, he asks to share it with Baby Brother. He assigns Reid a toy first thing every morning, and you had better make sure Reid keeps up with his toy. I've not seen any instance of jealousy ... yet. He is just genuinely happy to have his new best friend at home with him.
I have noticed him distancing himself from me, though. He used to be such a momma's boy, but now he's all about his little brother and his daddy. And it just happened overnight. The day before I went into the hospital, he would want me to kiss every little bump and scrape. Now, he rubs the hurt away and will tell me he's fine even if there are tears in his eyes. The last snuggle he gave me was the night before Reid was born. I'll be honest: it breaks my heart. I am practically begging him to let me kiss a boo boo. I bribe him to get him to sit in my lap for 3 seconds.
2. Reid. Reid was born with "suck marks" on his hands and wrists. He nursed for 2 hours immediately after he was born. So I knew I had a sucker on my hands. But man. This boy is attached to his momma. We are nursing 24/7. A funny thing I've noticed: anyone else can hold him, and he'll be perfectly content in their arms and will readily accept a pacifier from them. But the minute he gets in my arms? He roots around and fusses and acts like he is the hungriest little boy on the planet until I either pass him off to someone else or nurse him. He makes the most sour face when I try to offer him a pacifier. It's like he knows.
He is very much a snuggly baby and does not like to be put down or left alone. While this would have bothered me when Cohen was a baby, I've learned he will only be a newborn for such a fleeting moment, so I happily hold and nurse him all day long. He's a great sleeper and will typically give me a great night's rest. He usually wakes up to eat around 3 and 6AM and tends to go right back to sleep. He hates diaper changes and sponge baths, but is the happiest little guy when I wash his hair. His umbilical cord stump fell off yesterday, so tonight he'll get a real bath, and I'm expecting him to love the warm water.
3. Life. When Cohen was a newborn, life stopped for about a month. We rarely left the house and I rarely got out of my pajamas. We slept a lot and spent most of our days just lounging around the house. This time around, I have a toddler to go with my newborn. Life does not slow down. We were at the park the day after we returned from the hospital. I try to find some excuse to get out of the house every day. Otherwise, we might go crazy. Reid seems to tolerate it well, and I am so lucky that Cohen is such a great listener out in public. He seems to know that Mom is as bit overwhelmed and needs him to be a good boy.
Travis was home with us for the first week, and it was such a lifesaver. I thought I might have a panic attack when he returned to work on Wednesday, but it really hasn't been that bad. As long as I can keep Cohen entertained and Reid nursing, this being a mom of 2 thing seems manageable. I did have my first nursing-in-public experience yesterday in the Kroger parking lot. Cohen was awesome and patient in his carseat, Reid ate to his heart's content, I got to use my neat nursing cover ... all was good. Until a man walked by and proceeded to stare at us for what seemed like ages. Even though I was completely covered, I felt so vulnerable and exposed. My goal is to nurse Reid for a year, but I'm going to have to gain some confidence because yesterday was hard.
4. Recovery. Recovery has been harder this time around. For the first four days, I was so incredibly weak. My legs were shakey, my body was sore, and my midsection felt like jello. I was so overwhelmed with the idea of feeling that way while caring for 2 children on my own. Monday morning, though, everything seemed to magically get better. Physically, I'm feeling 95% back to normal. Emotionally, it's been a longer road. The Baby Blues are hitting me pretty hard. I'm super weepy and emotional, and the frustrating part is I usually don't know why I'm crying. But sometimes I do. I am very much mourning the end of my baby-making days. As I feared during my pregnancy, I am very sad I will never be pregnant again, never have another baby. Realistically, 2 children are all I can handle and all I really want, but the end of this stage in life feels bitter. I'm praying fervently that the Lord will take these feelings away from me and that I can really, truly appreciate this life as a mother of 2.
I've given myself two weeks for the Baby Blues to pass before I call my midwife about Post Partum Depression. I never dealt with my feelings after Cohen was born, and we had a hard first 6 months as a result. This time, I refuse to do that again. There is no shame in seeking help.