Tuesday, July 31, 2007

State of the union

There is incredibly too much to say and little time to say much of anything, hence my inability to blog. But I guess I need to just get some things out there and not stress too much about what all I should be documenting. So here goes.

After my friend Holly had her second child I asked for the lowdown. She told me that the whole time she had been pregnant she had been worried about how much work it takes to have a newborn – how it had seemed so hard the first time and she wasn’t sure how she was going to do it again while caring for her older son. But once her second son came she quickly realized that the newborn was a breeze. Sure there was sleeplessness to deal with but really the bulk of her work, her motherly struggle, still revolved around caring for her two year old. Keeping him busy, happy, fed, clothed, and in control. The baby was easy as pie.

Holly was dead on. Ray seems pretty damn easy. It does help (knock on wood) that in comparison to Noah, so far Ray seems to be an easier infant. He sleeps a large portion of the day – still waking to eat every two hours, but often dozing back off. Almost every time I take him out of the house he sleeps through most of it. I’m fairly certain that in his first two and a half weeks that he has gotten more sleep than Noah during his first six months. Also, so far (knock on wood) Ray doesn’t have the acid reflux that tormented Noah during his first six months of life – which means a lot less spitting up and screaming. Of course Ray still has two more weeks before he’s out of the woods as the doc says reflux can pop up anytime within the first month.

So what is Ray like? Well he nurses – A LOT. He’s a hungry mungry. And oddly enough though I was told before that the poop of completely breastfed babies does not stink, and Noah’s didn’t, Ray breaks the mold. He is a seriously stinky boy. But he’s also cuddly, smooshy, wide-eyed and observant when he’s awake, and fairly good natured.

Why do we give our children names and then call them other things? For some odd reason Mark and I have taken to calling Ray by the name of Pete. Sneaky Pete, Stinky Pete, and Sweety Pete to be precise. Noah keeps reminding us that Pete is not Ray’s name. To which we can only reply “Yes, Bug, we know.”

Noah adores Ray. Several times a day he will fawn over him, muttering in a very high pitched voice “He’s SO little. He’s SO cute. Hi Ray! Hi Ray! Ray? Ray? Ray?” He kisses him, pets him and asks to hold him. That isn’t to say there isn’t some tension – but he really takes it out on us. Occasionally telling me to give Mark the baby so I can hold him, climbing on me when I’m nursing Ray, stopping in the middle of meals to say “I’m too far from my Mama. I need to be close to her” while moving his chair right next to mine and pawing at me while I try to eat, and crying for more attention from me particularly when he gets tired. The biggest battle we’ve waged thus far was the nighttime battle. Prior to Ray’s birth, whenever Noah has woken up in the middle of the night I have gone to him and comforted him back to sleep. But now that I’m nightly wetnurse duty this isn’t possible. There were two majorly sleepless night showdowns of tears and yelling – from both Noah and Mark – but since then Noah has been sleeping all night in his bed without calling out for either of us in the middle of the night. It’s too early to consider it a complete success, but so far so good.

How have I been feeling? Almost too good. I was so worn down and achey by the end of my pregnancy and the impact of birth on my body seemed so much less dramatic than last time that I was pretty much up and around the day after I got home from the hospital. However in the last week I started getting crampy and my bleeding increased significantly, rather than dying down as it should. I called my OB office with my concerns and the nurse practitioner asked me a million questions about how I’d been feeling and what I’d been up to before she outright scolded me for not taking it easier. “The postnatal recuperation time should be six weeks of rest and it doesn’t sound like you have taken one of them.” Ahem. But it’s been hard to curtail my activity when I just feel like there is little reason for it.

As for managing two kids, it’s a snap. That is when you have the fulltime assistance of your husband. I’m sure it will get tricky when Mark goes back to work after Labor Day. But I won’t think about that today. One thing that keeps striking me is how much more low key everything feels with a second child. First time parents are bundles of nerves, learning everything, worrying about it all. Mark and I worried about every little grunt and cry – constantly wondering “is that normal?” and always checking Noah’s breathing. With Ray we just assume he’s fine. I don’t well up with tension every time he starts crying. I don’t fear that if he starts wailing to be fed and I don’t attend to him immediately that he’ll feel neglected. It’s all old hat and we just kind of roll with it. That is as much as two over-researching, over-analyzing, overly sensitive folk can roll with it.

One thing I HAVE to mention is how surrounded and overwhelmed by love I often feel. We are SO incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful circle of family and friends. People so thoughtful and so generous that it really boggles the mind. We’ve had neighbors bringing us food and gifts. Family sending cards and gift certificates, and calling to check in. Friends coming to the hospital and dropping by the house to see the newborn soft pink lump. We even have blog pals crafting! Between Ray’s birth and my birthday my house was so full of flowers it looked briefly like a funeral home. And of course the warm wishes and emails from you folks were overwhelming warm and touching. Thanks. Really, it means a lot.

I have an excellent example of how great our families are. My Dad decided to come to the hospital spur of the moment after I called and told him I was in labor. He stayed in the waiting room almost the whole night and came in to see the baby just after he was born at 1:15 am. It was 5 am by the time Ray and I were put in our room and everyone was beat. I told Mark and Dad to go back to our house and get some sleep and I’d see them in the morning. Meanwhile my Mom had been back at the house all night watching Noah. Playing trains, singing and dancing, painting and trying to follow my ridiculously over detailed schedule. Her fiancĂ© Larry was also with her, he came bearing groceries – and they were spending the night. I knew it might be a little weird for all of them when I sent my Dad, whom had been divorced from my mother for 26 years, back to the house to sleep. But I knew that everyone wanted to be there with me, Mark, Noah and Ray and that it wouldn’t be a big deal. Not only were they civil, they seemed to all get along swimmingly. Larry cooked them all breakfast and after visiting with me for awhile the next morning they all went out to lunch and fought over who would pay the bill. I can’t tell you how great it made me feel. When I was telling my Grammy about how funny it was to have them all hanging out together she said “I guess they must all love you a lot” and I seriously almost cried.

And on a much more light and random note – I’m addicted to Dunkin Donuts iced coffees. I’ve been getting one almost every day since a couple of weeks before Ray was born (half caf and decafs while pregnant). I seriously might need an intervention.

And that’s all the time and all the thoughts I got at the moment.


Katiemagic said...

So sweet! Ray sounds like a laid back little guy. I'm so glad you're feeling good and enjoying your new family dynamic.

You guys are all so sweet and generous, just know you're getting back exactly what you give to all of us.

So thank YOU!

juliloquy said...

I'm so glad you're adjusting well (well, except for the bleeding, which I hope is better now). It's a relief for me to hear that it's going well with 2 because of course I'm thinking similar thoughts about how it will be for us in just a couple of months.

We'll call soon about a possible visit!

Missuz J said...

Awww. I've had several friends tell me that you really need to have 2 kids, mainly so that you get the chance to ENJOY having a new baby rather than FREAK OUT over the new baby every second.

I really am just thrilled to hear how well everything is going.


Anna said...

Thanks for the detailed update! So glad to hear you're well and things are moving right along with your little family. How nice to enjoy a baby! Gotta work on that myself one of these days...

Just tickled pink to hear everything is going so well!

lonna said...

I'm so happy that things are going so well for all four of you. I think that all of the advice to rest and nap when the baby naps (remember that one?) must just fly out the window when you have an active toddler/older child at home. How are you supposed to rest when there's so much to do? Actually, I think it's great that you feel great and didn't feel that you needed so much rest.