Afterglow: Sisters, Post Partum Care, the First Week
ahhhh the newborn days!
our nesting-in period has not been all that different from last time...except this time we also have a lovable, spirited one year old girl spinning her merry way through our newborn days!
lucy is loving her new baby sister. she's busy as can be, needs mommy more than ever, and takes frequent time outs to kiss on her "beebee." ""pawah," she calls her. she's mostly very sweet with her, giving lots of kissies and hugs. but occasionally a bit of mischief gets into her, and she pats polly's head too hard, pulls a sock off her tiny foot, or squeezes her delicate little hand. we constantly remind her to be "soft" and she will pat her own arm and say it. she's too young to actually discipline, so we are trying our best to role model and keep the tone as balanced and gentle as possible around here.
WELCOME HOME! (my mom had the house immaculate...thank you marmy!)
the six weeks after a baby's birth they call the postpartum period. it is a fragile and fraught time. never did i realize, before becoming a mom, what a strange and profound time this is for new mothers; they are truly in another world and the time will pass as a haze to them. i'm sure you know this already, but if you meet a new mother out and about or visit her at home, here are some handy things to keep in mind:
1. she is bleeding. maybe heavily! and even when the bleeding dies down, she is still healing "down there." she is wearing maxi pads, which are no fun. thus, she is probably really uncomfortable but trying to forget about it. you don't have to mention it, but if you want to bring her a new pack of pads or some soothing sitz bath herbs, it sure couldn't hurt!
2. she is swollen. everything feels swollen for a while after birth. everything down below, the belly, the breasts... i even read that your eyes can be swollen and puffy and bloodshot. which really helps propagate that oh so attractive exhausted-new-mama look.
3. she is sore. for a few days after birth, the muscles really ache! i'm talking about the neck, the arms, the shoulders, the back. everything you were straining without even realizing it during pushing. i felt like i had the most epic work-out of my life! not to mention the sleeping in odd propped-up positions as you nurse your baby all night. massages come in very handy those first couple weeks.
4. she is emotional. oh yes, oh my goodness, oh YES she is e.mo.tio.NAL. i will never forget mary's words to me last time around: "when the tears flow, the milk flows." never has there been a truer statement, and it makes sense in a primal and wonderful way. you are pouring forth from your body. it is no coincidence that the "baby blues" hit about four days after birth, coinciding precisely with the milk coming in. for me it's not so much blues though, just a very sensitive and over-wrought time when i cry about nothing and everything: i cry because darin is going back to work, because i love my baby so much, because lucy seems so innocent and precious to me, because our friends bring us meals. i am lucky in that i like to cry, crying is always healing and therapeutic for me, and it is also pretty rare. so these hazy, woozy, newborn days of milk and tears are vibrantly special to me. just don't mind me if my eyes are red and swollen ;)
5. she might be irritable. i think this goes along with the hormonal changes that make you weepy as your milk comes in. mama isn't sleeping much either, so don't pay her too much mind if she snaps at you a little bit. then she'll probably cry about it afterward.
6. she is sleepy. duh. you already know this. don't expect much from any human being this sleep deprived. just pat her on the back and tell her what a good job she's doing and don't make her get up.
7. she is hungry! breastfeeding mamas need to eat and drink a lot. bring food. bring snacks: fruits, trail mix, corn bread with honey butter, soup, chips and salsa, oatmeal cookies, you name it. she'll eat it.
we've had so many good visits and soooo many delicious meals and treats. like, i have a hundred thank you cards to write, and i will gush my way through them weepily because seriously, we are so lucky and loved.
our little polly has entered the sweetest community. i think she feels it already; she's a content little lady.
newborn days are quiet, dreamy, beatific. sublime. everyone is sleepy. it's like a fairytale spell is cast over the household.
most precious little handmade newborn sweater set from my friend becca.
we go around introducing polly to everything we love, who we are. i tell her, this is your sister lucy. she is a lot of fun. she can't wait to read with you.
cousin Utah came to visit on his first birthday, looking so dapper in his slightly undersized suit. Polly was five days old. nana and papa came over in the evening and we stayed with the babies while addie, darin and art went out for a celebratory drink.
Utah is the best kisser.
Lucy shares her love of coloring and drawing with all who enter.
on polly's one week birthday, we took an outing to the park.
lucy never ever wants to stop swinging.
thank you all for your bright and kind words about my birth story. it's been quite the sweet first couple of weeks. i am getting used to our new routine; Darin is back to work; Lucy is busy as ever, and Polly is awake more and more. i'll be back as soon as possible. love to your mother :)