Motherhood

10:02 AM

I can't believe my baby girl is a month old today. I swear it was just the other day that I strapped her into her car seat for the first time and we drove her home. But it wasn't just yesterday because today V is almost three pounds heavier, barely fits in her newborn clothes, looks at her mama and papa and is sleeping for three to four hour stretches at a time! 

To say that having her was a life changing experience is obviously an understatement and I've had so many thoughts and feelings (and incredibly strange nightmares which apparently are common) swirling around in my head the past couple of weeks. I thought I would take a moment and share some of the things I've learned so far about motherhood so far:
  • When baby clothes say "0 to 3 months" they might as well say three months because an average newborn will drown in them. One of the first things we did after coming home was make a Target run so that I could buy packs of Gerber newborn onsies which is what she lives in most of the time. 
  • I have never had more respect or admiration for my mum and all mothers out there than after I gave birth. As a matter of fact it brought tears to my eyes to imagine what my mum had to go through in the Soviet Union to have me. She was all alone in a cold delivery room with angry nurses and midwives yelling at her. There were no ice packs, tucks pads, motorized beds and sweet nurses who bring you fresh cups of water every hour. There was no husband to soothe your newborn when you were too tired to do it yourself. In fact she had to lay in that iron hospital bed alone for five days and only see me for feedings every couple of hours. Labor and postpartum are some of the most difficult things I've gone through and I can't imagine how much harder it was for my mum. I called her from home a few days later just to tell her how grateful I was for the sacrifice that she made for me. 
  • Swaddling is your saving grace with a newborn. I literally don't know what we would do without it. We both read "Happiest Baby on the Block" and tried swaddling V the first couple of nights but we were so paranoid about doing it too tightly that she inevitably always got her hands out and it ended up being a waste of time and a disaster. Then in desperation I reread the swaddling section and gave it another try. I did it as tightly as I possibly could and ladies and gentlemen... it worked!! Like magic! And has continued to every day ever since. She instantly relaxes the moment she is swaddled - her brow becomes unfurrowed, her breathing becomes more even and usually in fifteen minutes or so she will be asleep. And so I can't say it enough: swaddle, swaddle, swaddle!
  • Speaking of my mum again I can't express how wonderful it has been to have her for support and advice. She is never pushy about it and always waits until I ask but simply knowing that I can go to her for anything has been so helpful. Every time I've felt like I was at a loss as to my recovery or as what to do with V I feel instantly better after putting a call through to mummy. Even husby admitted that her Russian "old wives tales" end up being useful at the end of the day! And you better believe she swaddles like an expert too!
  • I don't really like breastfeeding. I don't hate it but I have a hard time with the frequency and also the fact that I can't really do much of anything while I'm feeding her. Perhaps it will get better once her feedings space out a bit but right now I find it uncomfortable, incredibly time consuming and at times exhausting. After all they do say you burn an average of 500 calories a day when breastfeeding!
  • Watching papa bear take care of V has been one of the most moving things about having her. He is so attentive, doting and a complete natural and I can already tell these two are going to be best friends. But even beyond that he has been my rock through this whole experience; from her delivery to home. While I have been resting he has been cooking every meal, cleaning, taking care of Birdie when I can't and drawing baths for me. I feel so incredibly blessed to call him my husband and V's papa. 
  • I learned that you can take that number of dirty diapers you think she will have in your head before delivery and multiply it by three to get the actual number. Or maybe it's just V and the fact that she routinely likes to dirty her diaper seconds after you put on a fresh one...
  • And last but not least the most important thing I learned was that no one can ever describe to you what loving your baby feels like. The way feeling her breath on your face as she falls asleep after a 3 am feeding can bring tears to your eyes. The way you miss her when she's been in the car seat right behind you for just half an hour. The way you want to give her the absolute best of everything and prevent a single tear from ever running down her cheek... It is so visceral, so powerful, so lasting... It's a love like no other.
Those are my lessons learned so far. We'll see what the next month will bring! 

And thank you again for all of your support!! You are simply the best!



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