As I write I'm watching her all cuddled up in her yellow blanket and "I Love Daddy" sleeper with the purple, green, and brown polka dots. She has her head tilted, as she always does despite my attempts to reposition it, and is fluttering her eyes, stretching her arms and scrunching them up to her chin.
|I love Daddy!|
The past three weeks have been a haze of diapers and feedings with little sleep in between. I've been fortunate to have help. Her first week my whole family was here, the second week my mom was with us, and last week Chelsea came for a few days. Evie Kay and I've had just one day all alone until today. I'm so thankful we were able to spend her first couple weeks with people who love her so much.
|Her godparents Chelsea and Chad|
As the days go by I have fewer “pinch me am I a mom?” moments and more and more moments of wondering “how can I love something so much?” When people told me the memories of labor would dull I honestly laughed. But in three weeks I remember the pain, yes, but it is merely a pain overcome. I’ve not forgotten, but I don’t remember suffering. More importantly what I remember vividly are the happy moments. I can still feel the tears of joy in my eyes when they first put her on my belly. Not that I didn’t fall in love with Evie when I knew she was growing in me, but seeing her out in this world now I feel it’s real. I can’t jinx this!
Deep down there is some sort of maternal fear or instinct to protect her and worry about whatever harm could possibly come her way, but now I feel more in control to protect her. When I lost her big brother or sister the worse part was feeling out of control to save it. Now I can be mama bear and watch over her.
And watch I do. I watch her sleep, I watch her poop, I watch gulp milk, and I watch her smile. Oh, do I love those smiles!
But what I wait for are those moments when she’s awake and alert, just taking in the world. It is so amazing to see her wide-eyed, watching her listen to the world around her, watching her become more aware. I can play with her hands and feet and she responds to the touch now. I can make faces with her and sometimes she’ll even crack a smile when I tickle her chin or cheeks. On Friday she discovered she could pull Aunt Chelsea’s hair and since then she tries to capture mine (that is if I’ve managed to do something with my hair other than slap it up into a clip or ponytail).
|Playing with Aunt Chelsea's hair!|
Certain things have surprised me. She hates to poop! She gets all red, squinches up her face, squirms relentlessly and howls. Sometimes she cries to the point her little lips quiver. She has a specific poopy cry and a specific hungry cry. Sometimes when she’s gassy the only thing that makes her feel better is to lay her face down, belly across my leg, and the pressure relieves the gas.
She’s developed significant head control. She can on occasion sit up and hold her head upright, not squashed down into her neck or rolling. She can roll over onto her side if so inclined, but so far only does that when she’s awake.
Even more surprising are her little gestures, mannerisms, and faces that you’d never imagine are genetic, but must be because of how obviously inherited they are from Daddy. She furrows her eyebrows just like her Daddy, and it’s not necessarily an indication she’s mad just like Daddy. She sleeps just like her Dad, arms up and frequently blocks the light with her hand or arm.
She has little quirks unique to her, too. She blows in a little “O” when she finishes yawning. She nestles her little hands up under her chin when she’s stretching or eating. Cutest of all she when she stretches she sticks out her head like a little turtle and when she does her forehead wrinkles up and she looks like an old man!
Certain things about motherhood have been surprising, too. I knew it would be exhausting, but I didn’t realize it would be a happy sort of exhaustion. I went about 48 hours without more than an hour of sleep earlier this week because of cluster feeding. But, in the thick of it in the early morning I was rocking her and had a moment of sheer happy exhaustion! I was so worried I would become depressed or frustrated. But, somehow I’ve managed to not (yet) slip into any holes of despair and I’ve only really lost my mind with the crying once. And of course Daddy came to the rescue. I wasn’t expecting this mothering bit to feel natural. I was honestly expecting The Husband to well outshine my parenting skills, but so far he seems to have hit a learning curve more so than me. But, I know he’ll get there.
In terms of postpartum recovery I feel almost completely back to normal. My tummy still looks bloated because apparently pregnancy stretches your abdominals. Seriously though, it did stretch them differently than I would have expected. My abs are poofed out, but oddly poofed out to the sides too. Having the belly shrinking has been rewarding though. I can see how much weight I’d lost before I got pregnant and it’s really inspiring. Granted I can’t work out like a fiend yet.
The most surprising after effect of pregnancy is that somehow my self-awareness has evolved into a more positive body image. I’ve always been really hard on myself and hated my body, long before I was this overweight. But now I feel like my body has accomplished something rather than pulling me down. Some days I look at her and can’t believe she lived inside me for nine(ish) months. And finally these big breasts have been put to a good use! It is so rewarding to know my body has birthed and nurtured another life, a particularly adorable life!
(Side note to Chelsea, Mom, and Dad: “I’m not a door!”)
It’s been equally rewarding to see our little family evolve into a family with a baby. The cats have been adapting to Evie Kay well. Leah is still a little unnerved by her, but Binx is completely at ease. She cuddles with Evelyn and me and even tries to push her head into Evie’s hands to try to get her to pet her.
This morning I snuck off to the bathroom and while I was there Evie started crying. All of a sudden the cry got louder and more intense. I ran out to the cradle and there was Binx crying at the baby. Now Binx has imitated human voices and chirped at birds so it shouldn’t have surprised me, but there she was crying at a baby! Leah on the other hand runs to another room when she cries.
The Husband has been back to work for a week and a day. We’re still adjusting to the schedule and to what expectations are. But, I feel like we’re doing really well all things considered. I feel like we’re finding our way in the on the job training.
Hardest has been not having family around the corner. I feel as though they’re missing out on things. It seems like she grows over night and I can’t stand thinking they’re missing things!
We’ve celebrated so many firsts this week, all simple, but all so special. Evie had her first sponge bath, then her first bath in the tub once her cord fell off. She really likes the warm water being sprinkled over her, but still doesn’t like her hair being washed. She loves cuddling in a towel after getting out of the bath.
|First sponge bath|
|Getting ready for her first tub bath|
|Sleeping through her first walk|
She’s had her first visitors (one of my besties Karen and her cousin and our former coworker Billy), her first outing to a restaurant (to Muldoon’s and she slept the whole time), her first walk (with Aunt Chelsea and she slept the whole time), and her first shopping trip (to Target and she slept the whole time). She had her first holiday (an decidedly unromantic, but sweet nonetheless Valentine's Day with mom and dad). She’s had her first vocalizations besides cries. She now makes a soft little “eh” sometimes, usually when she’s contentedly wide awake.
It’s a good thing new parents get so little sleep, because honestly I’m scared if I close my eyes I’ll miss something! I’m so in love, so enamored, that the terribly long labor has honestly dulled in my memory already.
Happy third week Evelyn Kay!
I leave you with some more cute moments from the last three weeks:
|First video game!|
|We lost the baby!|
|A daddy face|