Having a newborn after getting used to a semi-independent little boy is similar to jumping into a freezing cold pool on a hot summer's day. It is a shock to one's system.
Here we are in week three and we are all still standing. How am I doing it? Well, it is very similar to how I got through the last two years; with a lot of help from our family and friends. I'm somewhat ashamed to admit it, but I have had help almost every.single.day from returning home from the hospital with Tiny T. I know so many moms who dive on in and are total superhero moms. I'm not one of them... I've learned to ask for and then accept help. It's so much better for everyone and generally people want to help. My mom also reminded me that there is no need to be a martyr. If someone wants to unload your dishwasher or throw in a load of laundry, smile and say thank you.
This is exactly what I've done. I knew on some level that going from one to two children would be taxing, overwhelming, challenging and tiring. What I didn't count on was the emotional side of it. Splitting my time between a helpless newborn who is relying on me for everything and the an active 3 1/2 year old who has grown accustomed to a busy day with Mommy has been hard. I find myself hoping that Toddler T is doing ok with the transition. I worry that he feels I am passing him by for this baby but then when he skips off to spend the afternoon with grandparents, I'm sad that he seems so grown up.
There are enough practical challenges to adjusting to a new baby - must we add hormones to the mix?
In all seriousness, we've had a few challenges.
The hospital had run out of pump attachments, so I started off my breastfeeding journey totally engorged and about 2 hours away from developing mastitis. Latching was a challenge and Tiny was losing weight and turning a lovely shade of pumpkin. Luckily (or unluckily) for me, I had become engorged when Toddler T was born, so I was able to get back on track in a few days. The things that helped; a marathon pumping session to drain all of the milk (think ONE HOUR and 8 OZ of milk), percocet to help with the pain, moist heat to help the milk let down, massage and a brief check in with the lactation consultant from my pediatrician's office.
Once I got passed all that, Tiny T made great progress with his weight gain and started to lose his pumpkin hue. I continued to feel better every day but was SHOCKED at how swollen my feet were. When your UGGS are too tight across your ankles- you are in a SORRY state. Mr. T and I started to eek out a routine for the nights and we were doing ok... Until, Toddler T started sniffling. Then he woke up in the middle of the night complaining of being 'chilly'. Then we got an automated call from his nursery school alerting us that a respiratory strain of the flu was making its rounds. Toddler T began to cough more, sneeze more and was generally miserable. Around this time, I noticed that I was feeling the same as Toddler T. So, out came the Lysol spray, Clorox wipes and masks for me and Toddler T.
The good thing was, my mom had been staying us for the past week- so we had a ton of help. If it wasn't for her, I'm not sure we would have come out all smiles after a week of being sick.
But here we are, getting through each day. Some days have been better than others. Some have been worse. Today has been a good day. Toddler T is feeling better after starting antibiotics yesterday. Tiny T, gave us 2 nights with a 4 hour stretch in between feedings and I got out for a pedicure!
The two things I keep in mind are that - Tiny T has completed our family and the newborn phase is temporary.