Life with my Smudgie is slowly settling into a routine. A routine notably lacking in sleep but full of snuggles, kisses, explosive diaper changes, breastfeeding, and love.
Lawyer Guy returned to work last Tuesday after his week off. I was fairly terrified, not so much of being able to handle Smudgie on my own as much as worrying my mental and emotional state wouldn't be able to hold up to the hours of alone time sure to come. Fortunately, my mom and mother(s)-in-law either don't work, took off time from work, or were temporarily in the area, and have been visiting me every day LG is at work. Even if they're only here for three or so hours, it still gives me some adult conversation and a pair of arms to hold Smudgie for an hour or two so I can grab a little nap.
Thankfully, I think I'm doing well emotionally as a result of all this help. I had a little breakdown last week after a particularly exhausting night and an argument with LG. But a half-hour of crying, my mom's visit, and a quick solo walk around the block once LG got home helped me feel in control again. I didn't like feeling emotionally unwound like that, but I'm glad I was able to persevere through it and I'm hopeful that I won't have too many more such moments as my hormones re-regulate.
I also feel very lucky that breastfeeding has not been too much of a struggle so far. We learned last Monday that Smudgie had essentially regained his birth weight in only four days of feedings. My supply seems adequate and I treasure those early morning quiet times when I can kiss my baby's soft little head and stroke his hair. He latches on quickly and eats greedily--sometimes even choking himself in his hurry to get that milk down! There's a bit of pain at the beginning, but it's not unbearable and I'm working to get the latch exactly right to cut down on even that amount of pain. Our (non-flaky) doula recommended a local Lactation Consultant as well, and I'll be setting up an appointment with her if I run into any problems in the next few weeks.
Despite enjoying breastfeeding, I'm really looking forward to pumping next week and introducing the bottle in about 9 or 10 days. I can't wait to skip that one feeding each night and let LG take over and maybe get 4 or 5 hours of sleep in a row. Bliss!
We went for our first family walk around the block yesterday-- the whole family, including Bella! We picked up bagels and donuts from a local place, finalized our birth announcements order at the stationery store, and stopped off at the local breast-feeding/baby-wearing store to pick up breast pump parts and nursing tank tops. It was a crisp and lovely fall day, the sun was shining, and I felt so close to Lawyer Guy. I spent so many months walking those uneven sidewalks dreaming of this family that I now have. Amazing.
Bella's doing well with the adjustment, by the way. She spent over a week staying with her grandmas while LG and I tried to get into the baby-watching groove, but came back to the fold on Thursday. She's intensely interested in Smudgie, but as long as she can see him and see what we're doing with him she's content to sniff his feet or head and settle down on the couch or at the end of the bed for a snooze while I feed him. When he's crying and she can't see him--we're standing and he's in our arms or we're changing him or he's in his stroller--she gets worked up and barks. But she's made such strides over the past few days, we're confident that she and Smudgie will be grand friends soon. Already she runs to peep in his crib in the mornings after her walk.
The only real snag we've hit has been a strange case of blistering around Smudgie's diaper area. He gets little white heads that occasionally blossom into puffy, liquid-filled blisters. Our pedi sent us racing to the pediatric surgeon in Manhattan last week when she saw the first one, worrying that it was infected. But it turned out to be fine, which helped keep us calm when more blisters appeared over the following week. We'll be taking him in to a dermatologist tomorrow morning to figure out what exactly is going on, but we're trying not to worry too much since these blisters don't bother Smudgie at all appear to be totally harmless once they've burst.
There are little challenges all the time-- moments when I worry that putting him in a swing or his crib to sleep during the day rather than holding him the whole time is taking the easy way out or when I stress about over- or under-feeding him. But as of now, the good moments far outweigh the trying, and that is a wonderful blessing.
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