Things I forgot about:
Showers are a joke. I would like to think I'm actually getting clean, but really I'm just fooling myself. For one thing, I'm still bleeding out the wazoo so, as gravity always does its job, blood is now dripping down my legs. Hot water on my breasts only makes them explode, so now sticky milk is dripping all over my belly. And since showers are the only chance I have to be alone, it's where I do my crying. So now I have snot and tears clogging everything on my face. But let's say that I somehow manage to clean off the blood, milk, tears, and snot while standing in the hot water, before it all starts up again. Even if that were the case (and it's not always), the second I shut off the water, I'm back to square one. The bathroom is all steamed up and I'm already sweating.
Wearing a pad for weeks on end = cruelest form of torture ever. Most of us are used to wearing pads for a short period of time. But when you're having a period that makes up for going 9 months without one, and you aren't allowed to shove a tampon up there, pads become your best friend and your worst enemy. They rub you in all the wrong places, causing sores and itches and burns. Sometimes I wear my stupid huge adult diapers instead of a pad just because they are a different shape and size and therefore will rub my raw behind in different places. Poor Rhenner is getting fed up with me stealing all of his diaper rash cream (not really - he doesn't even need it.)
The stinkiest phase of my existence. I have never sweat so much and smelled so bad as I do when I am breastfeeding every two hours in the dead heat of a Maryland summer. Sticky for days, I tell you. And it is immediate. Like I said above, the second I step out of the shower, it begins. If I don't put deodorant on my pits while I'm turning the hot water knob off, then it's too late. I might as well stay in the shower forever.
The two week turn around point. Everything is shimmery and glorious and doe-eyed for the first two weeks. I'm all snuggles and sleepy and precious with Rhenner, and I can easily lay him down in bed if ever I need a break. Or I can hold onto him and fall asleep at awkward and uncomfortable angles and waking up with his cute little cheeks in my arms makes up for the creaks in my body. But then something happens at two weeks - and I knew it was coming because Axton did it to me, too. "It" being turning into a zombie baby - a zombie baby who never sleeps and only cries and wants to be nursed constantly and jolts awake the second I try to put him down (which I try to do often because sleeping with him in my arms is starting to lose its preciousness, and the creakiness in my bones is starting to wear on me). To top it all off, Rhenner is not taking a pacifier like Axton did. It is really hard for me to watch him have such a difficult time falling asleep - sometimes even when I am nursing him - because there really is nothing I can do. I just have to let him get frustrated and overtired and work himself into a tizzy.
The Guilty Whispers and Wise. I told myself I wasn't going to read any "baby books" this time around. Well, I kind of listened. My mom bought me the Baby Whisperer DVD and I thought it wouldn't hurt to just get a review. Well instead of learning great tips and tricks on how to get my baby to sleep, it only made me feel guilty for already doing it all wrong. She told me (to my face!) that a baby is fully equipped to fall asleep on its own, but we as parents ruin those skills by rocking and holding them to sleep. I think that is the biggest load of bull I have ever heard. Saying that to new parents is in no way encouraging or helpful, and only guilts them into doing exactly as Tracy says. Well, I'm not falling for it this time, Miss Hogg. I don't believe that you know the only way for babies to fall asleep. I think you have some good ideas but I'm not going to beat myself up this time for not following your advice step by step. Same goes to you, Mr. Wise.
Being name shy. I remember I was the same way with Axton for the first little bit (a couple weeks? A couple months? I can't remember for how long). It was weird for me to call him by his name. Instead of saying, "I need to feed Axton." I would say, "I need to feed baby." I don't know if it's because he was in me for so long without a name or what, but it took me a long time to get used to Baby's name being Axton. It also took me awhile to not be shy or embarrassed to tell people his name. I knew Axton was a pretty different name, and a lot of times whenever people would ask, I would have to repeat it for them or spell it for them. This made me shy about his name for a little bit. I am noticing I am doing the same thing with Rhenner, and I am trying to get over it quicker - especially when I talk to Axton. I want him to know that baby's name is Rhenner and not 'Baby.'
Random bursts of milk. All I have to do is think about Rhenner and the all-too-familiar tingling (tingling? Who am I kidding? This isn't a mere tingle, this is the weight of Niagra Falls pushing to spill out of my poor, mangled nipples) hits me. I have caught myself walking around the store or at a restaurant with one hand pressed against each of my breasts, trying to keep myself from leaking all down my front. I'm not sure which looks worse: two wet circles around each breast, or a hand pressed against each breast.
Things that are new:
The obvious. Now I don't just have a baby to take care of. Now I have a baby and a two-year-old. A two-year-old who is currently testing my every last strand of patience. Whenever I ask him not to do something, he grins his devil grin and does it again. Or if I tell him not to go into the road, he runs off in exactly that direction, turning his head around to laugh at me while I try to chase him down with poor Rhenner bobbing off my boob. I have only had two days on my own, without help from either my mom or Adam's mom, but I already know this is going to be hard. H.A.R.D. H to the ard. Difficult. Trying. Challenging. Tough. A slap in the face. I have asked myself, on more than one occasion, "You were barely handling Axton on his own. What in the world made you believe you could add a NEWBORN to the mix?"
Our house. As much as I love our little home and our big yard....it has added so much stress to our lives. Before baby came, we were stressed about getting the house "done enough" for us to move in. Now it's stressful trying to find time to continue to work on the house, and, in the meantime, live in the house in its current conditions. As of right now, we have no finished closets. There is no where to hang up anything. This means all of our clothes are shoved in awkward nooks and crannies, or else they are still in boxes, hiding in laundry baskets, wrinkling in the dryer, or strewn across some random piece of furniture like our bed or the couch. Clothes are my worst enemy right now as it is, what with me being several sizes larger than I normally am - it is so hard to piece together a decent-looking and decent-fitting outfit, and I tend to wear the same couple of shirts over and over again. I can't find the boxes that contain my post-pregnancy clothes so I am trying to make something work with what I have. And not having closets is just making it trickier. With everything else going on, can't I just have one thing that is simple? Like, what I wear for the day?
Quicker recovery. What a difference it makes to not have stitches! What an absolute difference it makes to not have pushed for two hours!! No broken blood vessels in my eyes, no puffy cheeks, no extremely sore lower half (only minorly sore). I am definitely feeling so much more able and agile than I was with Axton. I am so grateful for this, it makes me feel like I will return to "normal" a little bit quicker this time around.
More help. Last time, my mom's return flight left two days after Axton was born. This time, she didn't buy a return ticket until Rhenner was born and she was able to stay for 10 days after he arrived. It was such a blessing to have her help while I tried to get settled into a new routine. Then shortly after she left, Adam's mom came. I have been thinking that the older Rhenner gets, the easier it will be to take care of him and Axton (that's probably not true, but I like to tell myself it is) so the longer I have people around to help me, the better off I will be when they leave.
Coherent thoughts. I had terrible writer's block when I first had Axton. I had so, so many thoughts swirling around in my brain and I just could not formulate the words to make them into sentences that made sense (My thoughts are stars I can't fathom into constellations). I didn't even know if my thoughts were thoughts, that's how lost I was. It was just bits and pieces of a random puzzle, or several different puzzles. It was all so confusing. I have had so many people try to tell me that going from one kid to two kids is the "hardest" and just as many other people tell me, "No way, going from two kids to three kids is definitely the hardest." But to be honest, I think going from no kids to being a mother is really the hardest, and everything after that is just equal hard but never as hard as that transition from Not-Mother to Mother. So anyway, that was a a bit of a tangent. I'm just saying I'm glad I am not as completely lost as I was when I had my first baby. I at least know that my child will sleep eventually, he really doesn't stay this small forever, and I really should just listen to my gut and everything will turn out alright in the end.
3 years ago