I’m feeling grateful for so many things today. My long list includes:
- Roo. She was incredible when I was in labor. Things got very intense very quickly, and I came close to panicking multiple times. But Roo grounded me, kept me focused and helped me calm down. And in the time we have been home she has done countless loads of laundry and dishes, talked me through multiple meltdowns, and taken excellent care of both of our kids.
- The staff at the hospital where we delivered Sprout. There was the orderly who tried very hard to say encouraging things as he pushed the wheelchair when we came into labor and delivery (despite seeming terrified that I was about to give birth in the elevator!). There were the nurses and techs who asked “is there anything else you need?” each time before they left the room. There were the nursery staff who were willing to give Sprout her first bath in our room rather than in the nursery so that we could be there.
- Our extended family. On Sunday morning we called Roo’s parents and told them I was in labor. We explained to them how we were overwhelmed because there were so many baby preparation tasks that we hadn’t yet had a chance to do. They came over and did many of them for us. And then they took care of Tadpole while we were in the hospital. My mom came up the day after Sprout was born. She helped take care of Tad while we were in the hospital and has been staying with us since we came home. She has uncomplainingly done a million things to keep our household functioning. She will be going home on Monday, and I’m not sure how we’re going to manage without her.
- Sprout’s breastfeeding skills. Our experience has been very different with Sprout than with Tadpole (whose breastfeeding saga is here). Sprout nursed well beginning in the first hour after birth, and has continued to do well with it. It’s amazing that someone so small and so new could somehow know how to do this complicated thing! Breastfeeding is still incredibly hard, and we don’t have everything figured out yet. Sprout has had multiple stretches of up to two hours at a time when she screamed inconsolably and refused to eat (particularly fun when they occurred from midnight til 2am). But after upping the frequency of feedings today (to every two hours during the day and every thee at night!) that has gotten better. It makes such a difference to be spending these early days making relatively small adjustments to make breastfeeding work better rather than struggling to figure out how we’re going to feed our kid.
- Tadpole. He has been so sweet with his little sister. He loves to give her kisses and demanded that she be present for his bedtime tonight. He makes up funny names for her and tries to console her when she is upset. We occasionally have had to remind him to be gentle with her, and he’s still figuring out how to interact with her. I’m sure that there will be bumps along the way as he adjusts to her being a permanent part of our family. But so far he is handling everything really well.
- Feeling that our family is finally complete. On Wednesday evening I sat on the couch nursing Sprout. Tadpole curled up next to me, demanded that I put an arm around him and asked for me to read him a story. It was a scene that I have imagined a million times and was finally coming true!
I’m overwhelmed, deeply exhausted, and unsure how we’re going to get through the next few days and weeks. But I’m also feeling incredibly lucky and grateful.