Thank you all for your outpouring of love and congrats! Still in the overwhelmed stage of things, but thanks to reading so many of your journies, I feel like we have a solid handle on this.
That said, omg exhaustion. Today has been the best day for sleep by far and that was getting a solid two hours, plus a few one hour naps. Me, not baby, just to be clear. Lady Jr has been sleeping like it’s going out of style. Which is awesome. It’s me that’s the problem.
Crashing from the adrenaline rush has left me anxious and knowing I’ll have to wake up in just an hour or two to feed her again means I lie in bed thinking about how much I need to go to sleep like now, okay how about now, well maybe now, instead of actually sleeping. It’s getting better and will improve with practice, but oof – because she was born in the middle of the night, I went three whole days on about six hours total sleep.
But hopefully that was the worst of it. Lady and I are figuring out a schedule that lets us both get sleep and once my milk comes in, I’ll be able to pump a little and score an extra sleep cycle in turn. I’m so, so glad Lady has two weeks off and 100% understand why we need not just maternity leave, but family leave. How anyone takes care of a newborn alone is beyond me. The US is a cruel, cruel country.
But anyway, back to the good stuff.
I’ve been happy crying a lot. I cry when I look at my wife taking care of Lady Jr. I cry when I get sleep. I cried when Lady Jr had a poopy diaper, because all the painful and sore boobs were actually worth something. I cried writing her birth story. I cried when we were let out of the hospital. I cried when I made it through the first night at home.
Help, send tissues.
I’ve been healing well. Still sore in the bits, but my legs work and I finally pooped (which I cried about, too fyi) and we even went for the shortest walk around the block today. I am in awe of my body and what is has done. I should never have doubted it. I have taken two showers since we got home and they’ve been amazing. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised at how quickly my giant belly went away. I was braced to look somewhat pregnant for a while after birth, but I look more like I did at 10 weeks – that is, maybe a little bloated and soft, but in no way pregnant. No stretch marks, either – well, aside from the ones I’ve had since puberty. Only a stretched out belly button, which I’ll gladly take.
I’ve been sleeping on my back, although not as much as I’d expected. Apparently I’d become used to sleeping on my side and now it’s even more comfortable without the weight on my hips and belly. I don’t have to pee all the time and my heartburn is almost all gone. It’s been interesting exploring how much I can eat now – I’m hitting my satiation limit before feeling full, instead of the other way around (which was not fun, btw).
I still haven’t transitioned mentally to not-pregnant, though. I keep touching my belly, trying to feel her when she’s not sleeping on me. I forget that I can roll over and actually get out of bed without having to do this weird backwards scuttle. I haven’t even thought about laying on my stomach until just now. I’m still doing a funny wiggle to sit up, but that might be because my abs are really weak. And the very physical absence of my belly has been disorienting.
I think the most surprising thing so far, though, has been the absolute intense love I feel not towards Lady Jr, but towards my wife. She is amazing and she was so good and strong through labor, and she’s so in love with Lady Jr, and she’s taking care of me even while I’m trying to take care of her.
I love Lady Jr too, it’s just quieter. Softer. A little more stunned and shell-shocked. The intensity is lacking and sometimes I look at her and see this weird little piece of me instead of a baby, but I know that’s normal and that the really deep love will come. It often takes time for me to fall in love, but I know once I do it’s for life.
You made it all this way, so have a photo of my two favorite ladies: