Postpartum Diary: Julie @ 2 Months After Birth

IMG_0877.jpgMy daughter is now two and a half months old and this will be my last blog entry for this site. I thought a lot about how I would like to explain this part of my baby journey, what kind of "ending" might capture being a new mother. If you have been reading my entries since the beginning, you'll remember that this has been a very long journey for us. Our 4+ years of (kind of?) infertility left us making some difficult personal decisions. That decision is now our daughter. It took a lot to get her to us and we couldn't be more thrilled. She makes all the hard work, pain, sadness and confusion worth it.
If I could bring new motherhood down to one concept, it would be the struggle or relationship between and with poignancy and reality. I want to hold her little body close to me all the time: have her sleep on my shoulder; sing to her; look at her little face that now knows how to smile. It is so poignant. I want her to stay little forever so I can always be part of her baby noises and memorize the feel of her skin and her smell. The reality is two-fold: it's her job to grow and progress. If she's not, then there is a problem. And I also have to live my life without a baby attached to me. So much of having a baby is nursing, which can be upwards of six to twelve hours a day of sitting there, in the chair. So that means that much of the time she is awake, I am anticipating getting her down for her nap and the whole time she is sleeping, I anticipate her waking up so I can be with her. At almost every free moment, I am trying to figure out what I need: to eat, to go to the bathroom, to clean the house, to shower, to sleep, to try and get all these errands and doctors appointments done, keeping the rest of our lives moving. You might say, "Skip the house cleaning." But when you sit for much of the day in the house, clutter and dirt can drive one insane. I have been really working on mindfulness, particularly in the last 24 hours of truly enjoying every moment (which is so much easier if you have slept!) And of course, she is constantly changing and I am constantly adjusting to our lives.
 
I'd say we mostly have a little schedule. It doesn't always include any kind of sleeping routine but we are getting there. I'll be heading back to work in 3 short weeks and I'm sure I'll cry. I haven't been without her for more than an hour or two since she existed on this planet. Thankfully, my husband is extremely helpful and I use the weekends to try to catch up on sleep. This means the baby gets some bottles, but my sanity is worth more than getting slightly off track with the breast feeding. We are still struggling with her nursing, as she has what they call "disorganized sucking" and we are now going to occupational therapy. More appointments. But overall, I do see some improvement--I'm not in regular pain with the nursing at this time, just maybe 1 out of 5 times now. I never, ever thought that breastfeeding would be so deeply emotional for me and soon she will be getting bottles 3 days a week. It will be another adjustment getting back to work 3 days a week and figuring out how to pump for that time, then go back to nursing the rest of the time. Also, I am finally trying to get into exercising. One step at a time, literally.
 

I will end by saying that after so many tears and prayers, we finally got our baby girl. In 2013, I named a star after her in the International Star Registry--in hopes that she would exist somewhere, even if not with me. But now I have a star named after my daughter: Violet Star. I look forward to feeding her solid foods; being able to hoist her onto my hip; wandering around the woods, pontificating about life; teaching her about the trees and the sky; go camping and to the pool. As a wise friend told me: "You will spend the rest of your life doing things with her. Just enjoy this stage of her life." Maybe I can't etch every single second with her into my memory, but I can work to live mindfully and in the moment, with her in our world. I'm not sure if we will have more children, but for now and maybe always, our family is utterly complete. Thanks for letting me share.

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