Today marks Oliver’s one-month birthday!
Time Flies When You’re Caring for a Newborn…
I keep saying that the past few days and weeks of my life have been, at the same time, the fastest and the longest of my life. And it’s so true. I can’t say it enough.
A month ago today we welcomed into the world our first born, baby boy, Oliver.
We have finally gotten into [what you can kind of call] a routine. A big part of it is knowing what to do and how to do it. And getting efficient at it! The 2 a.m. diaper change that took a half hour when we first brought Oliver home now takes a swift five minutes. The hour-long nerve-wracking nursing sessions are now 30 minute breast milk bottle feed-burp-swaddles. The frantic cries are less and less as we learn what our little dear wants or needs from us to be happy and comfortable. Most of the time it’s food.
But a lot of the time it is to be held, and stroked, and loved. And that is the greatest. He is starting to gaze into our eyes and focus on our faces when we feed him, and he has longer stretches of content alertness during the daytime, where we can have fun interacting with him and talking to him, often able to get a string of smiles to appear on his chubby little baby face. There is something about baby smiles! And even more something about your baby smiling. Love.
I’ve been out of work for almost two months now; I took vacation beginning on September 27 for the week before he was due and then the little bugger was nearly two weeks late! I had already become stir crazy sitting around the house, just passing by those last few weeks of childless freedom. Looking back, I can’t believe how “easy” life was at that point. I’m so happy Kevin and I got out the times that we did, taking a day trip to Vermont, going to the Big E Fair with Dan and Sarah, apple picking in Western Massachusetts and visiting a small farm to pick out Halloween pumpkins (which we never got to carve before our little bundle arrived!). There was no packing of bottles and diapers and wipes and burp clothes. No bundling of baby into a car seat. No packing of stroller into the trunk. No timing of pumping of breast milk. There are so many more steps to what we do now. It has been quite an adjustment. The thing is, though, the adjustment is never really stressful. Because you have this instinct to just do. There are no other options, there is no other reality. This is your life now, and your life is to take care of this little person that you brought into the world. And you just do. You don’t have the time (or energy) to really think about how much more work it is to leave the house now (until you sit down to reflect and write a blog post). And you don’t really care, because it isn’t about you anymore. That is the biggest lesson I’ve learned so far (aside from completely relinquishing all control and accepting that nothing is going to happen the way you thought it would), and the mantra I keep repeating to myself when I don’t want to get out of bed to warm up a bottle in the wee hours of the morning: it isn’t about me anymore. And then I toss the covers down off my feet, swing my legs over the edge of the bed, stumble to the dresser, pat around in the dark for my glasses, stumble back to the side of the bed where Oliver’s basinet is, and then pull my little bundle of love out to feed him. And at that point I’ve already forgotten that it’s 4 a.m. and that the floor is cold and that I don’t want to be awake. Because there is some magic that happens when you soothe your baby and they gaze contentedly into your eyes. You just melt.
So a month into my leave with the baby, I realize I must begin to plan for our return to work, as I only have a little more than one more month left on my leave. We tossed around a bunch of ideas: work opposite shifts, have Kevin’s mom stay with us, send him to day care, hire a nanny. I’ll spare you the details, and share that ultimately, a nanny was the best decision for our family. We have been in the process of interviewing them over the past week. We have couple more candidates to go before we make a decision.
At this point, we are both planning on returning to work together on December 29, about a week earlier than I had originally planned for myself. Since Kevin is going back that day regardless, I figured we might as well return together. That and, well, I’m kind of ready again to have responsibility outside of baby care. Not that it isn’t the most amazing thing in the world – because it is! – but I love my job, and I still have the desire and need to be a part of something bigger. I’m really looking forward to balancing my work and home lives together. I’ll revisit that statement in 3-4 months and let you know how it’s working out…
In the interest of trying to develop some sort of schedule, it’s time to go shower while I have a chance, and then pump for the babe and then hit the sack!