34 hours of labor. 2 false starts. 1.5 hours of sleep. 1 hour of pushing. Back labor that wouldn't desist. When Ian was born, I quickly moved from unbearable, piercing pain, to joy and exuberance. So strong are the endorphins that I no longer pleaded for sleep or rest. My body had just accomplished an unbelievable feat and I had been given the greatest gift of all. I wanted to shout from the mountaintops and share my great joy.
This feeling didn't leave me, but the lack of sleep and the physical exertion it took to birth a 8 lbs. 14 oz. baby definitely caught up with me. Those early days were filled with exhaustion, unrelenting soreness and pain, and a desperate desire to soak in as much of my newborn as possible. After all of those hours of labor, my body was weary, my legs shaky, my eyes heavy.
In the weeks after he was born, my one goal was to sleep whenever I could. I was content to stay home and try to sleep at any time possible. I went out or visited with friends, but that was the one and only thing I'd plan for the day. And that was fine by me.
Crying shook me to my core. One of the first times we were in the car with Ian he started crying. Desperately I begged Jim to stop the car, even though we would only be in the car for a few more minutes. Ian was crying and I was crying. What a sight we must have been! For the most part I could keep it together, but hearing him cry meant I needed to try everything I could to help him stop. It's amazing how we're designed. The baby can only cry to communicate and the mother cannot stand the crying until it's resolved. Other people would tell me that his crying didn't bother them, but it was impossible for me to allow it to happen.
How wonderful to be all that another being needs to survive! My body sustained him before he came into this world and it nourishes him completely now. I love the sweet time we share when he nurses. It's guaranteed time with him when we're visiting family and it's such a strong bonding time just between the two of us. It makes the hardest challenges worth it.
During the first three months of his life we were traveling so much. Mainly for rotations, but also to visit family for the holidays. Throughout each location I told myself that once we came home we'd get into a routine. This was our first full week at home and I felt the mounting pressure to establish some sort of normalcy and consistency. I'm still working this out.
Since there's always been the next place to live with the next people to see, I haven't had a chance to feel settled. But I also haven't had a lot of time by myself. Hopefully my spirits can stay high and my mind active. I always felt lower after the college year ended because I was not nearly as busy or surrounded by people. This may compare, in a way, even though I am still busy keeping up with Ian. I look forward to returning to the activities I enjoy while home and hope to stave off any blues.
I have honestly loved being at home with him. Hard with him doesn't compare to hard within a classroom of 27 students. Late nights, early mornings, crying fits, goopy poops, figuring out his cues... it's all a different kind of hard.
Whenever someone watches him for me so that I can get some extra sleep (Jim, Mom, Kim, or Stacy- thank you!), I feel like a different part of my brain is allowed to work again. Though I am much better rested than those early weeks, my body definitely knows it's not getting enough, with Ian waking twice in the night, usually.
I feel like the moments are fleeting and I want to get as much out of time with him as possible. The time is flying and I don't want to miss a thing.
I could do a better job of taking time for myself and time for me & Jim. Balance is certainly necessary. The time I do have is often wasted or filled with to-dos that really could wait until later. Checklists litter the house. I'm now making checklists that REALLY matter and some that don't. Oh checklists...
As with any life-changing event, there are adjustments and kinks to work out. Mistakes to make and learn from. New habits to lose and to make. Growth and limitations. As I've said before, it's a steep learning curve. I wouldn't want it any other way.
Thanks for making me a mama, Ian!