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  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 :) 


Rachel Weaver said…
The postpartum feeling is soooo specific. It somehow has managed to catch me off guard each time. I'm glad you're doing well. You certainly don't look the part of the sleep deprived new mama- you're still glowing. Do you ever not glow?
What a beautiful post. You look radiant with happiness and your girls are the most beautiful little beings. Darin must be one proud papa! Best wishes to you all xx
Amy Beatty said…
awe!! that baby!!!!! such a cute snuggler xoxoxo such words of wisdom xoxo I have this one very painful memory locked in my mind from when bella was a new born and Jare was being a big bugger all day. I don't remember what he had been doing but I just lost it when I was nursing bell and he did something to her BUT the thing is I don't remember what Jare or I did. what i do remember however was the look on darins face. and he did not like what he saw or heard. cause truth is, jare was still a baby and I had totally forgotten that. it breaks my heart over and over again. but those days are the best. very dreamy. I can just remember walking jare to the park every day and just letting him play as long as he wanted and bell and I just chilled mostly... did a couple little slide rides or some light swinging :) I miss the park. so weird I never thought I wouldn't be there everyday anymore. I always felt that they would stay little and we would be doing the same things forever even though they really grow like weeds!!! Just love it fully. you are so right and wise as a young momma. just bursting with love xoxoxoxoxoox you guys are just the sweetest family I know. P.S. love lucy in her cat jammies reading xoxo and handsome Ute, big one year old. It makes me sad and mushy inside. I don't get to see them enough :( love you soooo much my love and I'm so happy everyone is taking care of you xoxo
Cel said…
I'm still not a huge fan of babies, but now that my friends have several babies between them all, I'm learning a lot about mothers. I do my best to be there for them. I'm a napkin-ninja, there to catch the drooly dribbles before they fall on mom/furniture/floor so she doesn't have to change into something clean for the umpteenth time or stoop to wipe more goo for the zillionth time. I just really love how they are little extensions of the people I love, which makes it a whole lot easier for me. And so I find it wonderful that there are now two little mini-you's sprouting and growing into amazing ladies in your care :)
Milla said…
Oh sweet Polly girl! How you have brought so much joy to those around in your first days. Your mama and papa and sister, family and clan seem beside themselves with delight and love. You look like the most beauteous little bean and seem wide open to the world. Give your mama an extra snuggle for me.
Teeny said…
oh you guys, I remember feeling the same way last time (as in last time you had a baby! Baby Lucinda!) ....I feel like my heart is warmed and happy that you are parents, that is was always meant to be you two and babies. Lots. I like your kindly reminder about what new mamas are going through. I went to visit one of my closest friends the other day, she was still in hospital after having her fourth baby. And she was taking it in her stride; she sent me a message the next day to say she was at home and having trouble sitting down, that is, keeping still and resting. I think she has forgotten how much she needs to be moving slowly and connecting with the new one. love you and yours xoxo
Geny said…
You look so beautiful, motherhood definitely makes you glow. I definitely know what you mean about the first 6 weeks (and to some extent the first year for me), it is like a whole different world and feeling, like your life is sort of standing still while the rest of the world keeps moving. Baby Polly is so sweet and Lucy looks like the best big sister. I would love to bring you some treats at some point and meet the new little miracle. I will msg you on FB. Lots of love to you!!
dolly anna said…
first of all, i'm so glad you live near a place where little lulu can swing. :)
your advice is spot on. those first days with a new baby blend days into nights as if we've traveled into some strange fairy land where there is no time and all is bewitched.
aye. you are a earthen mamma to the core, as depicted in all of your photos!

Kimberly said…
Lovely Heath!!! And that picture of you at the end...looks like a high school pic. How do you do it? Love you so much!!!

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