Well, Russ is here and has been here for a week today – hard to believe the little angel we’ve been waiting on all year long is already 7 days old! Oh man, and what a week it has been. Of course there’s the lack of sleep, the adjustment to breastfeeding (and those BOOBS! Wooooowie!!), and the recovery process for me. But most of those things – at least, for me – have been going pretty well.
Russ is an amazing little person, and we feel so miraculously blessed to have him here, healthy and safe. Everything about him begs to be snuggled, photographed, and squeezed – his little ears, his (abnormally long for an infant) fingers and toes, his little chubby knees, his little poochy belly, the little wrinkles on his neck, his dark hair…oh, I could just go on forever. And the scary part is that it will all change and evolve so quickly, and no matter how many photos I take…this must all be committed to memory in some way, because it’s such a fleeting time. I’ve always been someone who was almost strangely aware of the passage of time and the brevity of life – and having a child heightens that sense even more. This has led to some amount of “The Baby Blues,” and I have to say, they are no fun. I had always heard of women dealing with this, usually in the first 1-2 weeks after birth, but it’s really something I wasn’t fully prepared for. And no matter how much you tell yourself “It’s all hormones, it’s all hormones,” certain things about motherhood rip your heart out. It’s the ugly truth behind a beautiful experience – you will never be stronger, nor will you be more vulnerable, then when you are a mother. I see that now, I realize just how much my parents loved me, and it’s a humbling realization to come to. I guess your children can’t even begin to grasp just how much you really love them until they themselves welcome a child. Pretty incredible stuff, but still, pretty heavy stuff. I’m praying to God that these feelings settle down soon – I know it’s “normal,” but I don’t feel normal right now and I hate that my first week with Russ has been colored by this sense of doom at the thought of him ever growing up, and by the overwhelmed feeling I have at how much I love him. I had to kind of corner my mother-in-law the other day (both of us in tears, at the time, talking about how amazing this little guy is) and ask her “You had a little boy and he grew up, he went away to school, he met a girl, he got married…please tell me it didn’t hurt as bad as I think it’s going to when Russ does it?” She promised me it really would be okay, and I hope that’s true.
As far as sleeping, Russ is a work in progress. We’re still learning his cues, and he’s still learning the difference between day and night, so things are moving along at a snail’s pace. I have to admit, the first couple of days home, I almost looked forward to hearing him cry so that I’d have an excuse to scoop him up and cuddle him. But now, I’ll admit, it’d be easier for me and Jon both if Russ was a bit better at calming down in the middle of the night. He seems hardwired to not want to sleep until around 2 am (this has been several nights in a row now, regardless of when we start prepping for bed). But the positive flipside of this is that, once he’s asleep around 2 (sometimes 3) am, he seems to stay asleep for 4, sometimes 5 hours. This morning, we were asleep from roughly 3 am until 8 am – pretty decent, I’d say! It’s amazing how you can get 4 or 5 hours of sleep and feel so great, when just a week or so before, you were getting 7 or 8 hours.
Breastfeeding has been pretty easy for me, so far. Engorgement…uh, not a lot of fun. Incredible new boobs…super fun! They’re only temporary, of course, but I’m enjoying them. But what I enjoy more is the bonding time I get with my son, the fact that I’m providing him nourishment and helping him grow. Not to mention, his immunity is getting a good boost from his food. Overall, I’m sure that I’ll be able to breastfeed Russ for months to come. I still need to get an electric pump so that I can keep a few bottles ready when Jonathan and I want a date night or when I have to be somewhere away from Russ for more than a few hours.
My recovery is moving along and I feel really good, actually – way better than I was expecting to feel, that’s for sure. I’d like to get a picture of my belly today to document the “regression” of the baby bump – it’s pretty wild! In the past week, I’ve grown a brand new appreciation for the stretchmarks I was so upset over weeks ago. I have two tattoos from college, both of which I would have removed if I had the money or resources – not that I hate them, they just aren’t relevant to who I am now and for the past several years. But these stretchmarks are a tattoo I will always have, proof of the 40 weeks that this little boy was growing inside me. I’m going to wear them proudly. I can’t go back and experience the pregnancy again – and though I know some women hate pregnancy, I loved it and have had a tough time adjusting to not feeling Russ move around in there and seeing my tummy jump when he hiccuped. But I can appreciate my body for what it is now, with the couple of stretchmarks I developed low on my tummy and the oddly wider belly button. Those things are a reminder of the most incredible journey and transformation of my entire life, so I’m going to be proud of them.
Jonathan has been an amazing dad and I cannot sing his praises enough. He makes me feel absolutely beautiful, has been endlessly supportive of me when I’m weepy or tired, has been all too willing to wake up whenever necessary to help with a particularly nasty diaper blowout…I seriously cannot imagine doing this on my own. This one week has made me appreciate single mothers even more than I already did. And Jon is simply a fantastic father. He is so attentive to Russ, so emotionally connected to me and this little boy. His commitment to our family is ever present and never wavering. I waited so long to meet someone like Jonathan, and we’ve had a wonderful four years just enjoying being married to one another. But to have this family with him now is truly unbelievable. I am so blessed.
Overall, it’s just been an incredible week and I can’t believe that it has passed so fast. I know that the weeks and months to come will pass equally fast, but I’m hoping that with the adjustments Jonathan and I are making now and the (hopefully imminent) passage of the baby blues, I can really savor each and every moment.
I’m just so in love with my boys. Both of them. 🙂