Baby - Owen is one month old today. He weighs 9lbs1oz (up from 7lbs6oz birth weight). I can feel the difference. He feels solid and heavy in my arms when I lift him and I am amazed that my newborn is already changing so much. He is more alert and aware and interacts with us. We can leave him alone for a few seconds on the activity mat and he is able to entertain himself just by looking around. He makes the most adorable grunting "snarfling" noises that are his way of communicating like a cross between a piglet and a little old man. He is starting to respond to my voice when he's crying, showing that he knows me and knows my voice will be followed by milk. Basically, he is growing up and doing it so quickly. I am torn between loving watching him change and panicking that I didn't appreciate his "newness" enough during my emotional post partum rollercoaster.
Me - I am doing much better emotionally and physically. I was thinking back to how I was a month ago, a week after giving birth - in so much pain that I couldn't walk, engorged, burning breasts and a tornado of post partum hormones. Now? Just some soreness, no more bleeding, and hormones are starting to regulate. Breastfeeding continues to be hard. I've decided to give my left nipple a break to let the skin grow back. But that means every time I feed I have to feed on one side, pump on the other, which doubles the entire time required to feed the baby. But the fact that the skin is starting to grow back just may be worth it. But, in the meantime, I've started to feel more confident in my latch and started to relax and enjoy the feeding sessions. I've also been taking on more and more responsibility because my mom has gone home now and so I am the primary baby-caretaker during the day. Even though B's parents are here, they aren't really helpful in the way that my mom was and I'm pretty much on my own. So, that feels good and it's a nice transition to next week when I am really on my own. I also have been going on more outings and walks, etc, which feels great emotionally.
Also, my body is starting to feel like my own again. It's really nice to have it back. Actually, I'm pretty happy with how it's coming back. I still dodged the stretch marks and I am pretty happy with how I look. The DD breasts help to balance things out a bit, so the leftover "curviness" matches my luscious breasts. My lower stomach is still loose and soft and squishy and I get some weird pains down there. I imagine that will take some time to really come back. The sad thing is, I look like a sex symbol to my husband, but don't want him near any part of me that is remotely feminine. Rub my shoulders? Sure! Touch my breasts? Hell no. Stroke my hair? Yes please. Get anywhere near my vagina? Yeah right.
Us - It has been interesting what having a baby has done to B and I. We've always been really close and really good at tackling hard times. But this has been unique. Because the really hard labor and the ordeal with breastfeeding is something that B just can't help with. And that is driving him crazy. We can't really "be a team" about it. I think this is a good thing because sometimes we can be too reliant on each other and this is a good lesson for us. And since he can't "fix it" for me, he ends up exasperated and wanting things to be better and so he withdraws. But, in terms of caring for Owen, we are doing great. We split things up and both have things that we are good at and I adore watching B sing Owen to sleep (which is something I am not good at!). I think that we will need to start to make time for just the two of us, but that's a ways down the road. Last night we both had a glass of wine together and Grandma took the baby and we watched a couple of episodes of The Office. It was really, really nice.
Other Stuff - I went to a Mommy and Me Group today at the Birthing Center. It was interesting. First of all, it was SO nice to get out and be around other Mommies and their babies. I loved seeing all of the women breastfeeding so openly (I have decided I despise nurse covers) and to see the beauty in so many different shapes, sizes, and colors of women feeding their babies. I noticed that I fed Owen with so much more ease just by being around them. I definitely felt the fact that I am not as "hippie" as the other moms there. For example, all of the other babies were cloth diapered, all of the other boys were uncircumcised, and all of them co-sleep in the same bed. But, at the end of the day, they were all just going through the same things as me. One lady cracked me up when she said that she feels her only purpose in life right now is to "be a milk cow."
We had to go around and answer three questions - What is your purpose in life? What makes you strong? What are you grateful for? Now, the questions were a bit cheesy and a bit grandiose to answer in a quick moment. But, I answered that my "purpose" is to enjoy life and continue to seek balance. I am strong because of what I have been through in the past month and also because I have learned that only I can do those things and no one can rescue me or help me with my job as a mother. And I am grateful simultaneously for having had the experiences of the last month and also that the first month is over and we are moving forward.
So what about you? What is your purpose in life? What makes you strong? What are you grateful for?