Saturday, February 23, 2013

An Update

I blog for lots of reasons. The primary would be that it has proven to be the most effective way that I can document our days, and if you go back to March 2009 and the following months, you'll find a detailed account of Lydia's first year. During the past few months, I've worked to get in the habit of blogging again so that Holden, too, can have a record of his earliest months of life. Keeping people updated on our life is important to us, especially since we're fortunate to have loved ones all over the country, and during the final weeks of pregnancy and the first weeks of infant-hood, I don't have the time or energy to take nearly as many phone calls as I'd like, so I find some comfort in knowing that people can get updates online. Our friends' blogs make us feel like we're still living a few miles away and getting to know their children well, so I like the idea of making that possible for others.

Then there times when I write posts like my last; when I just need to write for pure catharsis and when I really need people to know my truth and where I'm at. This always feels like a huge risk, as our culture in general doesn't seem to take well to honesty, especially honesty coming from women and mothers about frustration. I always know that some people who read will consider my writing as whining, but I've gotten over it. I know how good its felt for me to read honest accounts of motherhood, and I like the idea of offering that to friends who read who are in similar situations, and I like the idea of an honest account for me, Lydia, and Holden to look back on.

Finally, when I've allowed myself to be my most vulnerable on this blog--when I've taken the risk of being heard as a whiner--is when I've experienced the most resulting uplift. The messages and texts I have received since Thursday reminds us that we are, indeed part of a village, and encouragement is always at the ready. Three days later, here's an update:

  • Holden continues to be a not-so-awesome night sleeper, but he's only nine days old. As our friend Elizabeth reminded me, the first two weeks are not really indicative of anything. Last night was especially hard, but we're working through it and figuring things out.
  • I made another call to a different lactation consultant yesterday, and we have a second appointment on Monday to get a second opinion and hopefully a few more tips. At the encouragement of so many great friends and fellow moms, I realized that there is no such thing as too much support in this department. I have pumped instead of nursed on my right side for most of the feedings in the past twenty-four hours, and when I nursed this morning, I could tell a huge difference, and feedings today have not gotten progressively more painful as they were seeming to yesterday. I am alternating between using Lansinoh Soothies (hydrogel dressings) and Motherlove cream after feedings thanks to an awesome delivery by Brook (our doula), and as of right now, things feel much better. Yesterday I was very frustrated; it felt like things were getting worse again, and my right side was not emptying well, but that has seemed to resolve itself, also. Things are not great, but I am no longer panicking that this rocky start will mean that nursing won't work, thanks to the women who messaged me and let me know about their struggles that were followed by months of successful nursing. I've stopped panicking that Holden isn't gaining weight or getting enough milk, because there is nothing to indicate that this is the case. Certainly, the intense, intense pain that I was experiencing on Tuesday and Wednesday morning seems to have passed.
  • Nursing struggles with second children are not uncommon. Nursing has been so much harder this second time around, but its a good reminder that Holden and I have a learning curve and are getting to know each other in a brand new way; because this is our second time with a newborn, some things have come more easily and with less stress and anxiety, but one thing I'll take from these early nursing struggles is that Holden is his own person, and we need to get to know him in his own individuality.
  • Regarding Lydia, our friend Kelsey offered a really great reminder: we have given Lydia the lifelong gift of a sibling. Part and parcel with this is the newborn process and decreased attention. Robin also reminded me that we consciously chose for Lydia not to be an only child, for her to learn how to share her world with a sibling along with experiencing the companionship of a little brother. 
Bottom line: Thank you for the love and support. We are blessed to have so many amazing, encouraging, wise people around us.

**There are some more photo-heavy posts coming, but I left my camera in Forest Lake. It is supposed to make its way back to us today.

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