8.24.2015

7 weeks, 2 days

Parenting is so strange. You feel gratitude for the tiny one in your life, snuggling him close and loving the way he snuggles you back, thinking about how this is probably the last time we have a tiny one. And then hours later you can be so up to your ears in parenting, so tired of the monotony and the disciplining and the whining or smelling like puke that you wonder if you really should have been a parent at all.

Chris and I had a conversation tonight about his bachelor days (and arguably my own bachelorette days), how we miss the freedom and the habits and activities we used to get so much joy from. 

At 7 weeks exactly I had a little meltdown because I was feeling incredibly burned out. Breastfeeding moms work around the clock. Instead of getting in bed and feeling happy that the day is over, I have to rally to continue to work all night. It seems like I've been nonstop working for seven weeks and, man, I was so tired of it on Friday. Noah is also having a hard time, missing our time together and acting out at times. 

I guess the truth is that we are all a bit burned out of this phase.

But we pull each other up as-needed. Just when we're about to go nuts, Noah will make a hilarious or brilliant remark. Aaron will smile and even giggle a bit. I will secretly buy ice cream for just me and Chris; Chris will queue up a Parks and Rec and we'll relax into it together.

Maternity leave is winding down for me and we now have a new phase coming - working mom of 2. I am daunted but also excited. I am ready for things to feel even the slightest bit normal again!

8.02.2015

Day 30

I went to a lactation group on Wednesday. In Brooklyn, that was where I made all my mom friends and got support for breastfeeding, which is SUCH a shitshow at times. (Seriously, mother nature, can you just subscribe to evolution? ENOUGH WITH THE PLUGGED DUCTS AND MASTITIS AND CRAZY LEAKING AND CLUSTER FEEDING. The modern mom does not appreciate this. And frankly? The caveman mom probably died from it.)

Anyway. I walk into the office for lactation group and immediately recognize my people. The women sitting around with tiny babies look exhausted. No one is wearing make-up. Everyone is half naked so they can feed their kid at ease. Babies are pooping through their diapers, being weighed to help champion this craziness and moms are offered colorful cupcakes and big glasses of water.

This is my version of heaven.

I already have a kid, so I've been through this before. But the sense of community that I feel when I walk into a room of people going through it at the same exact time? You can't replicate that. I joked with a woman next to me who was having a really hard day - and made her cry and laugh in the same moment. Sometimes even if I'm having a hard time with something, helping someone else through it makes me feel better. Funny, isn't it?

I am raising a beefcake this time around; Aaron has gained an insane amount of weight. I'm so proud of him (and me!)... but I'm also feeling the strain of it on my body. There's nothing like the ups and downs of these early weeks. Yesterday we visited the Oakland Zoo for the first time as a family of four, which felt like the hugest victory. And then we ended up in urgent care for Aaron's diaper rash, which has started bleeding.  That led to a night of cluster feeding and now I'm sitting here typing this with a plugged duct. Blech.

As painful as today is, here's the way I get through it: I keep thinking about the zoo yesterday. I think about what it was like to ride the zoo train with all four of us crammed into one row, holding my tiny newborn while Noah pointed to the emus and wallabies we passed. Smiling at Chris in disbelief as we said "holy shit, we're doing it!"

Life is going to give you tons and tons of busted kneecap times. The trick is not to spend energy reliving those; instead, think about the zoo trains. You gotta hold onto the "we're doing it" moments, knit them together, look back at your life and remember all the times you grabbed the victories.


7.24.2015

Day 21

Someone once told me that it takes 21 days to develop a habit or routine. No one has told that yet to Aaron, whose nights are either baller like 2 nights ago (slept in 2 hour increments in the bassinet!) or like last night (40 min increments only in someone's arms). It was a rough night.

However. 

I do think we are finding a routine despite the kind of night we end up with. I try to make it as long as possible during the night before transferring Aaron to Chris, who brings him in the living room. Some nights that lets Chris sleep for 5 hours before child care duties call! And then the second half of the night is about me sleeping, waking up when Chris brings me the baby to nurse and then I give him right back. This has worked for the last week or so.

I dread evenings because it means the night is coming but I keep trying to remember that this is only a stage and we just have to tread water through it. 

The hiatus from most social media has felt so good! In this fragile and quiet time I really want to be careful about what I have bouncing around my brain at 2am and, frankly, reading the NYTimes for the shitshow that is Donald Trump and the Republican party is enough crazy to entertain a person these days!

We've had some visitors which was helpful and I'm very grateful but now we have a few quiet weeks that I'm looking forward to as well. Nesting with this new little family and learning how we all need each other feels like exactly what I want and need.

This is more of a journal entry than a piece of writing, but I have a tiny person nursing on me and my brain is foggy and I mostly just want this all recorded, that things were bad and sometimes they got better and sometimes worse but overall we kept breathing and loving each other through it. 

Side note: we will celebrate our 4 year wedding anniversary next month and boy do I love the marriage I'm in. I want no one else beside me figuring out how to parent two boys.

Xo

7.14.2015

Day 11

"Five days in the bed
Five days on the bed
Five days around the bed."

This is what my midwife told me nearly every appointment before Aaron was born. The first two weeks postpartum, she explained, was really important to my healing - mentally and physically. We've been following this as much as possible, prioritizing sleep over everything else and we've got a tiny rhythm down now. It will inevitably change in 24 hours (because, newborns!) but I hold onto any pattern I can to get through each day. Chris and I high five before bed each night, congratulating our team for making it one more day. 

The second kid is much different than the first- or maybe it's purely that we are different parents. I have posted 2 or 3 things on social media since A's birth but consumed nothing. I go between the NYTimes and people.com. (Just being honest!) I sleep much better when I'm not worried about anyone outside this fam for the moment. It won't last forever but it's been great for these early days.

We also just really adore this baby. He is eating like a fiend, the total opposite scenario from when Noah lost weight for the first 10 days. Man are we grateful that we're not panicked about our kid's hydration levels this time around.

But we know what's coming. A charming little boy who uses his words and smiles at us and wants to wear certain pjs or hear his favorite stories before bed. That has been proven out through Noah and we are loving the early age with Aaron so much more because we can see the light down the tunnel.

Someone's ready to eat again so this is the end!

7.11.2015

Day 8




Last night I got in bed at 7pm, hoping that I could get a little more sleep with the extra time front-loaded. When I saw that it was midnight and I hadn't slept yet because our second son Aaron had been cluster feeding all night again, I was in a bad place. (Hi blog I haven't written on in months... I had a baby a week ago.)

So finally at 2am I sent Chris to the living room with Aaron so I could have a shift of sleep. And I ended up with about 4+ hours, interrupted by a few more feedings. 

There is a short list of things that are getting me through this period. A book
called The Obstacle is the Way that I read right before he was born. Another book that I'm too tired to look up right now about a woman named Amy who lost both her legs and then became an Olympic snowboarder. The concept called Stockdale syndrome of a military guy captured in Vietnam who always believed he'd get out of there but never put a timeline on it so his heart was never broken. 

And I also thought about sitting in the sun today for 10 minutes. I haven't left my front door in 8 days and I thought about how it would feel to have sun on me. Nights are so hard around 5pm because you start to brace yourself for anything but sleep. 

So now I'm in the sun for 10 minutes to drink some water and tea (this kid EATS) and to feel some sun and breeze before I'm needed inside. (And JUST as I typed that, Noah woke up from his nap. Time to go.)

Future self, you made it through newborn phase #2. Current self, you're doing it. One hour at a time.

1.14.2015

34.



This morning before my feet hit the ground, I thought about my beautiful life, my husband, my son, my work, the sunny warm weather that I'm getting for my birthday this year. I'm very grateful and I'm still learning lots. xo

Also captured at 33323130292827 and 26.

1.03.2015

2015: H-O-M-E.

One of my favorite traditions is to sit down in the last few days of a year and do some planning for myself. Depending on the year and what I've stumbled upon, the exercise is different - but for the past couple of years, I've done Susannah Conway's Unraveling workbook. The first half of it focused on 2014 and looking back; the second half looked forward at 2015. I took a few hours while we were in New York for Christmas to do the 2014 work and then finished the future work back here in California this week.


People, this is so worth doing.

First of all, it is always a mind bender to read your thoughts from the previous year (mostly because you realize that you basically always knew what you had to do and how you needed to get there, magic really). But also I find it incredibly helpful to theme years, to designate a word that hovers in the background of the next 365 days, casting clarity and grounding me when I need it.

Last year I picked the word "energy." And HOLY MOLY how the energy showed up. I taught workshops on introverts and extroverts. I talked constantly about my internal gas tank, monitoring what I needed most (quiet? social? time with Noah? time away from him? etc.) in a mindful and meaningful way. I mean, it really kept me sane. I made decisions about which work to take on based on my energy levels and how much traveling I was doing. And it wasn't like I woke up every morning and said OK ENERGY, HOW DOES IT APPLY TO THIS DAY?? It just hovered behind everything: a theme, a piece of the floorboards beneath me.

The word really came to greet me in the last few months of the year as I handled the first trimester of this pregnancy (oh... uh... I'M PREGNANT! I guess I haven't said that here!). I was SO wiped out and needed naps upon naps to function. I resisted for a while because naps? Naps are for people avoiding things. Except NOPE, naps are for people who need more energy. So I napped my heart out for a few months to keep the rest of my life on rails.

Energy. It was a great word. It was a great year.

But now it's 2015. And do you know what kind of year I need to manifest when the previous year has been all energetic and powerful? I need a year of home. Not 100% at home, but I need to do some nesting and root-growing and embracing this house and our community here in Berkeley. Because come late June, I'm gonna have another baby to contend with. And it will sure be nice (and necessary) to have friends and a community to support us as we navigate life as a family of four.

Home extends farther out than just a physical space, though. Novels feel like home to me - I need to read more of them. I want to cook a little more. I want to bake. I want to know a few of the regional parks like the back of my hand. I want to check out a few churches, try an exercise class, find a favorite restaurant. I want to spend more time in San Francisco, getting to know the streets and the sights and the coffee shops. Life in Berkeley doesn't feel like a semester abroad anymore, but it does still feel less than established and 2015 is the year to work on that.

And when all is said and done, writing truly feels like home to me too. So I'm going to be doing a lot more of it for work, but also some personal stuff here as well. Because there will be much to write about and process this year. Of that I am sure.

Happy, happy new year, friends. I hope your 2015 is off to exactly the start that you need it to be. And if it's not? Well you're always one decision away from changing everything. That's just the truth. xo