You’re over one week old.
You’ve gained six ounces since Monday – six ounces in four days. You were down to 6 pounds 3 ounces on Sunday evening, but gained three ounces by Monday morning. Four days later, you were up to 6 pounds 10 ounces! My heart is full. The lactation consultant did a pre and post feed weight. You drank 50 mL from my right side and 18 mL from my left (which you had nursed from more recently). Our little Hoover! I melt into relief.
The first week was a little touch and go. I wasn’t sure if you were getting enough, you got super cranky most times we tried to feed. My milk was a little slow to come in. I didn’t know how to help you. You seemed to prefer the bottle of formula, but at least we got some formula in you. I was open to the idea that I might not have enough milk, that we would have to use formula. As long as I could feed you, nothing else really mattered.
Reaching out to a lactation consultant was the smartest decision I could have made after the first night home with you. She showed us how to use a tiny feeding tube to supplement with formula as you nursed. It was a hassle and a half, but it worked.
You amaze me.
Your umbilical cord fell off today. I was surprised by my slight intake of breath when I realized that it was gone, that which tied us together, intricately linking us during your womb time.
Our doula, Natalie, came today for a postpartum visit. She talked about how ours was her first birth – number five – where she felt like she could bring her full, authentic self into the space. She said, “At one point, I think my shirt was tucked into my undies...” to which your Papa replied, “I think mine was, too!”
She said that, from the moment she arrived, she was in awe of the joy we brought. Offering her food throughout, being considerate of both her and the nurses. She got teary thinking about how incredible it was – to bring a baby into such a joyful, loving space. She said the midwives commented on that positive energy as well. How I never got disheartened, even after the labor stalled and contractions moved further apart after the excitement hours before over 9 centimeters dilation, the midwife and nurse jumping out and down with the thrill that you were arriving soon.
She said, “There’s normally a point when I think, “What am I doing here? I have nothing to offer. I’m useless! But I never felt that with your birth.”
She asked how the end was for me. I told her that I wasn’t afraid. I simply knew that I had to do what I had to do to get you out. So I did. I pushed and pushed. Until then, we had been pushing 3-4 times per contraction, but at that point, I just had to keep pushing. We had made it this far, and it was up to me – my first ultimate Mama moment, instinct, drive, in full force. Just you and me, baby. I felt you slide out, a brief pause, and heard you cry. I saw your Papa gasp with tears of relief and awe. I left my body and mind, floated in some ethereal space of the most primal emotion I’d ever experienced.
You were finally here. Our spirit baby. Your time had finally come.
Hello, little one. Boy, am I proud of you. You’ve really mastered the latch! My milk is in, and all seems well. You’re more content, and you latch right on versus fighting my boob like a crazed, angry creature. Like breaking a wild horse.
The night before last, we were up until 2 am. You had some cluster feeding from 6-10 pm – . Perhaps a growth spurt? After that, Papa gave you a few ounces of a bottle, but you just wanted the boob. How far we’ve come! You were calm afterward, but your beautiful dark blue eyes were open and alert. It took about three tries until you finally drifted off to sleep. You then slept from 2-6 am, woke up for a feed from 6-7 am, then slept until 9:15 am! You even took immediately to the side-lying position, which, I have to admit, shocked me. You have such a strong spirit about you, my love, but you’ve been calmer this week.
Last night I was smarter and went to bed at 9. Papa gave you a bottle at 10, and I topped you off at 10:30 in bed. We all slept from 11-3:30, woke up for a feed from 3:30-4:30, then slept until 7!
We seem to have settled into some kind of rhythm that I know will continue to shift, but I’ll ride it blissfully for now. You’re doing so well. We’re all doing so well. I’ve had a few small breakdowns, but that’s par for the course with the milk letdown. No baby blues, and my wracked body is slowly recovering.
I feel as attached to you as if we were still physically linked, yet I still can’t believe that you’re mine, that you came from me. I’m in awe of you, this tiny, strong-willed creature. I don’t think it has yet registered how much you’ve changed our lives forever. It simply is. You simply are. Your dark eyes look at me, so dark blue they’re nearly black. They are the most soulful eyes I’ve ever looked into, and I lose myself in them, my sense of gravity shifted.
Three weeks old today. You had your first bath in your little turquoise tub yesterday (still at the sponge bath stage)...and your first little diaper rash.
You’re more alert. I think today is the first time you stared out the window because you heard birds singing. You also looked around your nursery. You seem to enjoy it when I kiss you on your changing table. You receive the kisses with smiles. I know they’re not “real” smiles, but they’re magical all the same.
You almost always sneeze three times, and you have tiny alfalfa hair after your bath. I cherish the tiny curls behind your ears and at the nape of your neck.
You finally have some rolls – and growing cheeks! Your fingers have grown tiny dimples. You weighed 8 pounds 2 ounces at your two-week appointment, and you are 1 ½ inches longer. Our little Hoover...You will be tall, my love.
You’re a little more human every day. This is the first time I can see how quickly time will pass and you will change. I think you look like your Papa, but I’m hoping you grow into more of a Wolff...I’ll love you fiercely regardless.
We visited Mema and Pops for dinner, and they remarked how wide open your eyes can be now. You’re also starting to track with those beautiful wide eyes. You’re so alert and looking at me more, studying things. Mema sang to you, and you just stared at her, completely transfixed. A reminder to sing to you more, my love.
I see you changing in small ways. Your cheeks are a bit pudgier, your limbs have some small rolls..and your belly! Your torso is pear-shaped.
My milk is finally whiter, no longer the yellow hue of transitional milk, and your Papa successfully did your nightly bottle feeding! He was so excited, as am I. Sleeping for 4-5 hours on a regular basis?! I can get on board.
So many tiny milestones for all of us.
I read this in The First Forty Days book:
You are two people now, but for a few precious weeks that will never come again, you and she are in many ways still one.
What a mythical, soul-affirming idea. It makes the challenging moments not only more bearable, but grounding somehow.
You just used a pacifier for the first time! Small wins. You fight it, so I’m not convinced it wasn’t a one-hit-wonder. Your little mouth is so tiny, like a bird, and you have a strong gag reflex. TBD on the pacifier situation.
Then, after that small win, you napped for no more than ten minutes from 11 am-8 pm. WTF?! WOMAN! Unacceptable. Your Mama got teary a few times, at a complete loss. And then she ordered a swing. Thank goodness nights are good now! Funny how night feels like a reprieve after a day like today. Most people say it’s the worst part in the beginning.
You like James Blunt? Papa played and sang “Beautiful” as he rocked you yesterday, and it put you to sleep! The three of us danced and sang. Was it our first real “family moment?” It felt like the most precious moment yet, basking in the glow of you, our baby girl. Later we did a three-way kiss on each other’s cheeks, our faces burrowed in so close. I used to do that with my family: we’d hold Leah up and the four of us would kiss each other’s cheeks, back and forth.
I think I fell more in love with you these past few days. It has been all awe and wonder and disbelief and survival mode until now. It still is, but it’s also unbelievable heart surges of joy and oxytocin pumping love for you that fills every cell until it overwhelms me. “Soul” is the only word to begin to describe it.
Every nap, I pray you stay asleep. You just feel asleep on your own for your late-morning nap. Another glorious first. Now just stay asleep…
Each day is a new day.
You are one month old today – and, finally, as your Pops says, just when I think I can’t stand anymore, something shifts. In this case, you’re sleeping during the day again. You slept for about 10 minutes at a time all day for about five days, and it was killing me. Now you’re in the swing that is, after our third or fourth attempt, working. This is a happy Mama.
It’s strange, but I’m finally moving out of survival/take care of you mode and into the “Holy shit – you’re my baby!” mode. You’ve kind of been this foreign creature until now, even though you’ve changed so much. Pudging out, turning toward voices, looking around, the Moro reflex slowly dissipating...It’s incredible, watching the tiny shifts.
Surprise: you enjoy baths?! Or you’re just quietly uncertain. Bath aside, I think you truly enjoy getting your hair washed. You stay silent with this calm expression as I massage lavender baby shampoo into your perfect round head and pour water over it.
I’m starting to recognize your hungry fuss/cry – quick breaths, whines, sudden medium-sized bursts of fuss. You’re so pathetic! I’m learning, little one.
You make so many sounds – like a baby dinosaur. And, as Mema said, you just want to move! You fuss when you get bored. You like to see new things, change the perspective. Watch out! God help me.