i remember when i was pregnant with river, everyone warned me about how difficult it would be. in our birthing from within class, we were told that adjusting to life with the new baby would be the new labyrinth that we would have to find our way through (if you've read the book or taken the class, you may know what i'm talking about ;). a couple people even told me i was going to wish i was still pregnant. that wasn't the case at all. river was an easy, content baby and those first few weeks were an absolute dream! everything about that fresh, new baby was wonderful. it took me almost a month to have my first breakdown. i looked around the house and questioned my ability to care for a three week old and a small apartment, i was sick of not being able to do anything and my body was not healing because even though i wasn't doing anything, i was still doing too much. i felt like i was going crazy. before that day though, it was smooth sailing, and the freakout was short lived.
not this time. freakout came on night number two. i got about an hour of sleep before austen decided to wake up and nurse for five hours. every time i'd lay down, put her down, or shift her position, she would wake up in protest. she refused her paci and only wanted the real deal. breastfeeding was painful thanks to postpartum hormones, and my uterus was contracting strongly with her nursing all night long. river woke up crying around hour four. we've been transitioning him to his bed for a couple weeks now, going in to sooth him back to sleep with a couple songs and holding his hand when he wakes up, but that night he wasn't having it. john tried for a while to get him back to sleep but river just wanted mama, and i couldn't bear to hear my sweet boy crying for me from the other room. all i could think was "he's going to think i don't love him! he's going to think austen's taken his place! he's going to feel neglected!" so at five in the morning, i found myself sitting on the floor next to the big boy bed, nursing a restless two-day-old, singing monkey and puppy songs, holding a whimpering two-year-old's hand, occasionally leaning over for a "beeeeeeg huck," (big hug) and fighting back (and sometimes giving in to) overwhelmed tears of insanity and sleeplessness. i really did wish i was still pregnant. after about an hour of this, and then attempting to leave him in his room by himself to cry it out for about thirty minutes, i decided both of us would be much better off if we all just slept in the same bed. it was way too heartbreaking. anything was better than this.
the third night started off great but was bearable only up until a certain point. i got a blissful two hours of sleep before austen woke up and wanted to nurse all night. she takes the paci during the day just fine, but at night she just wants the comfort of mama's breasts. i was doing great by the second hour (this isn't too bad! it's expected, really...), third hour (okay, mama's getting kinda sleepy, little girl. don't you want to sleep?), the forth hour (are you serious? how can a newborn stay awake for so long), but by the fifth hour it started going downhill. by that time it was about six thirty in the morning and john had to get up soon to lead worship, and river decided it was time to get up, too. while john was in the shower, river shuffled out of bed and i laid with austen (who finally decided it was time to sleep), exhausted, but knowing that i needed to follow him so he wouldn't get into mischief. it was a few minutes later when i heard a cough and retching sound in the hallway.
oh. my. god. NO!
expecting the worst, i called his name and asked him if he was okay. immediately, he started crying. "mama! river spit!" which, in toddler language, means, "hey mom, i just disposed of the contents of my stomach in the hallway!" i had no idea what i was going to do. here i was, recovering from birth and on two hours of sleep, my husband about to leave us for a couple hours, with a toddler who's throwing up and a newborn with no immune system. great timing. okay, if it sounds like i'm complaining a lot and i felt sorry for myself... well, you're right. long story short, by the grace of god, river and austen fell asleep right before john left and i was able to sleep the entire time, as well. river never threw up again and acted perfectly normal all day, so i'm guessing it was just a case of, "let's see how far i can stick my fingers down my throat."
the nights are difficult. much more difficult than it was with river. the days get better as they progress into the afternoon, and i guess we'll just have to deal with these long nights for the next few weeks. having a newborn with a toddler is very different. i expected it to be difficult, very difficult, but i don't think anyone could have prepared me for this. and it's especially hard to stay off my feet when i'm feeling fine. i'm getting tired of asking john for everything -- can you get me some water? can you fetch me that burp cloth? can you turn the light off? i guess i should just enjoy being waited on hand and foot, because it's not going to last for long. :)
with the first, everything is so magical. "babymoon" is the perfect word for it. you are just dancing on the clouds, so entirely smitten and absolutely in love. while these moments do exist and i am absolutely in love with this little girl, i am accepting that not every moment with this new one is going to be magical. at times it's going to be really tough, but i'm trying to take in each and every moment, remembering that they pass entirely too quickly. they are only so tiny for so long. i am lucky that river seems to really like his little sister. he is so loving, and as gentle as a clumsy toddler can be, and gives her soft kisses and laughs at her little squeaks and sighs. this is a new layer of sweetness that we didn't have with the first, of course -- watching big brother and baby sister together. our two children, our absolutely perfect, precious gifts from god.
answer: very dreamy. she's gonna be a heartbreaker.