The past seven weeks have been tough. There’s been great joy as we welcomed Harris into the world, but honestly, he’s not such an easy baby. The first three weeks were spent almost constantly nursing since apparently he was starving and I didn’t have enough milk, and he wasn’t gaining weight. And I don’t mean every couple of hours, I mean there were very few hours in the day where he was not nursing, so I would be on the couch for HOURS at a time, many times a day. Every time I took him off he would scream. We went for several weight checks since at two weeks he still hadn’t regained his birth weight. It was incredibly discouraging and draining for me, to spend all this energy nursing him and not have anything to show for it. Finally, at a three-week weight check he had gained 9 oz. in four days, so we were good to go. Since then the breastfeeding thing has been much, much better, but he still averages every two hours during the day, and every three at night. I think he’s in the middle of a big growth spurt because the past couple of days it’s been more like every hour and a half. My boobs are tired.
The boy doesn’t sleep. Now, I will say it has gotten a lot better in the past couple of weeks than what it was, but it’s still not much to go on. For the first six weeks he slept in the bed with me since that’s the only place he would sleep longer than 45 minutes at night, and while it wasn’t horrible, it just wasn’t really working for us. Thankfully, it was easier than I expected to get him out, so now he’s been sleeping in the swing in our room. I consider myself lucky if he sleeps for three straight hours during the night, and if I get two stretches like that, well then I’m in heaven! Usually it’s more like two or two and a half hours at a time, often with as little as an hour or hour and a half. So there’s not really much night sleep happening. Up until the past week or so he wouldn’t sleep for longer than 45 minutes at a time during the day, and that was pretty much all with us holding him. So every once in awhile we’ll get a long nap out of him, but 45 minutes is the way he usually does it. (But it’s not like he’s happy about it, he’s still tired and screamy, so I just have to work to get him and keep him back to sleep until he can wake-up rested.)
I don’t know how to really sum-up the past almost two months in a blog post. It has been a big learning experience. Adjusting to two has pretty much been hell on earth at times…well, a good amount of the time. We had an awful adjustment when Evelyne was a baby, and this has been just as hard but in a different way. With your first baby you don’t really know what you’re doing, you may or may not have all sorts of expectations based on what people tell you your baby “should” be doing, you’re adjusting to a new identity as a parent… especially if you left a job to stay at home for the first time. You’re going on the least amount of sleep you’ve ever had in your life, you’re hormonal, and it’s just hard. With the second, it’s kinda better in some of those because I know what I’m doing, the sleep thing isn’t new, and I’m already used to being a stay-at-home mom. BUT. Trying to juggle the demands of a demanding newborn with another toddler who needs me? Hard.
The other part that’s hard is adjusting to having way less time to myself. Evelyne’s always entertained herself pretty well, so there were good chunks of the day that I could just do whatever I wanted and she was cool. Now during those chunks, I’m still on baby duty. And the chunks where she’s not happy to play by herself and wants to wrap herself around me? I’m still on baby duty. And when Clay’s home, instead of one of us watching Evelyne and the other one being free, now we each have a kid to keep us busy. Ahh, adjustments!
And since darling Harris is usually in my arms, it’s hard to play with Evelyne or fetch her things she wants when I’m trying to get him to sleep (which seems to be what I spend all day doing). She’s usually pretty great about it, but sometimes I just feel so awful for her because she just wants me to hold her and I physically can’t. It’s hard learning how to prioritize and decide which child needs me most at that moment because one of them is going to cry either way. Sometimes I have to put Harris down and let him cry while I hold Evelyne or take her into another room to read and rock because I haven’t been able to hold her all day and she’s crying, “I want to hold Mommy! I want to sit in lap!” Sometimes she has to just cry while I try to explain that I’ll hold her in a little while because Harris is almost asleep/screaming in my arms. I had no idea that there would be THIS much crying. Harris is definitely a crier anyway, there’s nothing laid-back about his temperament, and even a task as simple as getting ready to get out the door to go to Target involves LOTS of crying on his part while I have to put him down to get Evelyne dressed, to put her shoes on, to put her in the carseat, etc… There are just so many unavoidable things that have to be done during the day that can’t involve me bouncing and butt-patting him, and so he cries. There has been way more crying this time around than when Evelyne was a baby, and I hate it because I don’t like to hear him upset and because it’s just so dang frequent that it annoys me and I just want to yell, “GET A GRIP!”
So I realize I probably sound incredibly negative, but hey, I’m nothing if I’m not honest about stuff like this. None of that gooshy, “I just love it when they’re little!” stuff. Nope, I’ve realized that I pretty much hate this stage. The babies I’ve produced have been fussy, non-sleeping messes that really aren’t always that fun to be around for the first few months. I mean, I love ’em. Oh, I love them, but that doesn’t mean I ain’t sick of them. That’s also been incredibly hard this time around, having no break. I have had lots of help from Clay, but I’m still there, I’m still the one with the boobs. (Why, oh why can’t men lactate?! It’s so unfair!) I’m just always with them, all. the. time. There have been times in the past few weeks where I absolutely HATE being a stay-at-home mom. That’s another post, but yeah, it can be rough sometimes. Today after her nap, Evelyne was tired and crying for me to hold her, meanwhile I have Harris in my other arm who just woke-up but needed to go back to sleep. So I’m sitting on the couch with her in my lap and Harris is awkwardly perched in my other arm that I’m jiggling to try to keep him from crying. My arm was about to fall off, both kids were on the verge of erupting again, and I just sat there thinking, “Oh my gosh. This is my life. This is my life.” But then The Wiggles worked their magic on Evelyne and she snapped out of it and Harris gave me some of the biggest and cutest smiles yet and then peacefully fell asleep in my arms…. and all my frustration went away and I thought, “This is great. I love being here to enjoy them like this.” So yeah, the highs and the lows, that’s what it’s been like.
While this adjustment period has been harder in some ways than it was with Evelyne (still not sure which is harder, I think they’re just different kinds of adjustments that were about equally as hard for me), I feel like I’m handling it better than i did with her. (Which you may not believe after reading the past few paragraphs, but yeah, let’s just say I was a bit off my rocker when Ev was a baby, so I feel pretty sane now!) I’ve had some pretty awful moments, some pretty horrible days, but in general I feel balanced and not as tired as I feel like I probably should be. Sometimes I feel like I’m gonna lose it, but then it gets better and I feel ok again, so none of the pervasive, all-consuming depressing yuckiness that I had with Evelyne. So that’s good.
So that’s a short update on what the past few weeks have been like. They’ve kinda sucked, and Clay and I are in agreement that we just plain don’t like this season of life, but that’s ok because it’ll be over soon. And, oh yeah, we’ve been learning a LOT. As negative as I probably sound, God has been teaching me so much and comforting me with His presence in a way that I wasn’t experiencing before. I’ll go into more detail in another post, but I will say that I’m learning to embrace His daily will for me, and I’m finding this Lenten season particularly meaningful as I am able to more closely identify with the sacrifice and self-denial of Christ. With every crying episode and hour of lost sleep, I’m learning to say, “Thy will be done.” Bouncing Harris around the room all day long and comforting Evelyne’s crying is what He has for me right now. I don’t really enjoy it, but I’m trying to embrace it because I know it is an opportunity for more fruit in my life that was given to me from His love.