Fake it till you make it!

When I called my mother to tell her that I was pregnant with baby number two, her reaction was very… unexpected. After what seemed like an eternity she mumbled under her breath, but Lelan is not old enough to be a big brother… I’m sure she was happy for me, but I’m also sure that in those moments of silence she was seriously wondering if I’d lost my mind.

If truth be told, I wasn’t fully prepared for this experience. But, then again is anyone ever? Sure, I was already a mom to a thriving toddler; I’d lived through the sleepless nights and uncontrollable crying… or so I thought. But, nothing, nor anyone can prepare you for the arrival of a new human being with its unique set of wants and needs. Throw breastfeeding into this mix and it’s a damn miracle that people keep having babies. The things I worried about, like the hospital stay, breastfeeding, Lelan’s adjustment, etc. turned out to be the least of my concerns and those things that I thought were manageable ended up kicking my already sore butt. Here’s an honest account of how we survived the first six weeks with our second baby.

Sleep: I had no idea how good we had it with our first born. Lelan was two weeks late and spent a week in the NICU before coming home and I’m sure those weeks had something to do with his temperament. Ravina was technically a week early and barely slept longer than 45mins at a stretch during the first couple of weeks. When she wasn’t sleeping, she was nursing. On top of this, she only wanted to sleep in my arms. Not even my husband could hold her in the beginning. And, no matter how soundly she was sleeping, as soon as I left the room she would wake up screaming. I was convinced she could smell me. My son, on the other hand, was going through a regression of his own and wanted mommy for everything. Basically, we did whatever we had to, to get through this phase and threw out any schedules or routines that were in place… During sleep times, I would sit at the edge of the bed with the baby in one arm and my son hanging on the other, all while trying to recover from a csection. Good times! On those nights when I had two screaming babies on my hand, I tended to the one who needed their basic needs met first. If my son woke up in the middle of the night, my husband took over no matter how long it took to get him back down to sleep and I primarily tended to our newborn. As much as I hate to admit it, cosleeping worked for us on those times when the baby refused to settle down. I would lay her down next to me, sometimes latched, and maybe get an hour of uninterrupted sleep. But, almost always, I woke up in a panic only to find her sleeping peacefully. I know it made my husband extremely nervous too since we are both sound sleepers in general… Thankfully, around 4 weeks, Ravina started distinguishing between days and nights and began consolidating her feedings. And finally, around 6 weeks, she has started sleeping longer stretches at night. Last night she slept for almost 6hrs without waking!

Feeding: Let me just say bottle feeding was/is a thousand times easier than breastfeeding. I knew it wasn’t going to be a cakewalk going into it. I had prepared for the cracked nipples and improper latching issues but I seriously did not have a clue as to what a time commitment it really was. Not only was I delirious from lack of sleep, I was attached at the boob to a tiny human who seemed insatiable. Some days it really felt like she was sucking the life out of me. Sorry little girl! Breastfeeding is soooo much more than just feeding your little one. It’s about comfort, security, relaxation, bonding… and on and on. And, my daughter needed me more than my son ever did as an infant. Some say it’s girls in general and others say it’s second babies who are more needy, but whatever the reason those first couple of weeks of breastfeeding were pure agony. Once I got through the hump, however, things became more manageable. The goal was always to do the best without subjecting to an ideal standard. I nursed as much as I could in those early weeks and when she lost a little bit of weight, I had no qualms about giving her formula. I give my daughter a bottle of formula twice a day now, to give my body a break and to prepare for going back to work. And, based on OUR daily needs I supplement more or less. I have absolutely no guilt or restrictions when it comes to this subject, whatsoever.

Bonding: I gave this subject a lot of thought, but mostly from my son’s point of view. I naively assumed that my husband and I wouldn’t have anything to worry about. Thankfully, Lelan has had the least issues out of us. Ever since we came home from the hospital, he’s been acting as if the baby has been a part of our family all along. His little heart is so big at times! It is so endearing to see him running towards the bassinet first thing in the morning or searching for her paci whenever he hears her crying. He has shown absolutely no hostility towards her, thank goodness! My husband, however, had it the hardest because the baby simply wouldn’t go to anyone else until she was almost a month old. There were no midnight bottle feedings he could help with. With a few diaper changes here and there and a toddler on the loose, there was no time for bonding with the baby. Besides, Lelan needed him more and he willingly took on the role of being his primary caregiver during those weeks. When my husband went back to work he could no longer attend to Lelan at night, so there were days and nights when I was burning the candle at both ends leaving me tired and cranky. Luckily, Lelan started sleeping better around the one month mark and we were able to resume his daily routine again. Ravina’s schedule is slowly becoming more predictable and she has been bonding with her daddy more and more lately.

Have you heard the saying, fake it till you make it? Well, that’s been my motto for the past few weeks. Slowly but surely I’m getting the hang of how to parent two under two. Seriously, there’s never a dull moment around here! There have been episodes of epic meltdowns and serious crying, but nothing that hasn’t been manageable and thankfully, nothing that has lasted more than 10mins. I had no idea how much of a type A person I’ve turned into since becoming a mom. I’ve come to appreciate the predictability of a monotonous routine and without it, I feel a bit lost. But, as with everything in life, if you stick with it, it does get easier or maybe you just get better at faking it, whatever the case maybe it’s a helluva ride and I’m just thrilled to be on it!

Hello Pumpkin!

Today was the perfect day to go pumpkin picking with my family. Lelan’s eyes lit up when he saw the patch. He kept trying to pick up the biggest pumpkins and sticking his fingers inside the rotten ones… haha! He is such a boy! His biggest reaction came when we took him into the corn maze. He kept repeating WOW as he ran through the maze all wild eyed and bewildered.

As soon as we got to the farm, Ravina had a major blow out. I panicked for a moment when I realized I hadn’t packed a spare outfit. But, thankfully it was manageable and after a quick diaper change, I settled her into my Solly baby wrap where she slept peacefully the entire time.

On the way home, Rob and I were reminiscing about the time we went apple picking. It was one of our first outings as a couple and I can still remember the feeling as we held hands walking through the corn maze. Today, it was a special treat to relive the experience through the eyes of our 1 year old son. Wow seems like the perfect exclamation point to this beautiful day!

Ravina- 1 Month Old!

Dearest one,

You came into this world so peacefully, yet the force of your being is still reverberating far and near. In the month that you’ve been with us you’ve made an impression so deep and profound that it has forced us to reevaluate our priorities… I’m not the same mother that I was to your brother and neither is your father. We have grown up and out, extending ourselves to fill in wherever we are needed. You have changed us fundamentally for the better.

From the beginning, you’ve been your own kind of baby and I’m embracing the fact that our journey together will be its own saga. Every time my mind tries to draw a parallel to the experience with your brother, I’m quickly reminded that there is none except for the fact that both of your hearts once beat inside me. You are opposites in many ways. But, you’re cut from the same cloth so I’m not ready to paint you into your corners just yet.

The first few nights with you in the hospital were blissful and I’m grateful for that time together! It was just you and I mostly and we really got to soak in without any distractions. Once we came home, however, there was a lot going on with everyone trying to adjust to your presence. I won’t lie, those first few days and nights were hard, but I’m sure it was hardest on you, my doll. Yet, you hung in there with us and as the weeks passed we have started adjusting to a new normal around each other.

During your hospital stay you lost a fair amount of body weight and came home all skin and bones. So, we’ve been on a mission to fatten you up. I’ve been breastfeeding mostly with nightly supplementation of formula. During the first couple of weeks you were waking up every hour to feed, which was a shock to the system. But, thankfully we both survived it. Now, it’s anywhere between 2-3 hours and I’m getting very good at feeding you on the go. At your 1st month visit you weighed 8lbs 1oz. and measured around 21inches long. You are still a petite little thing, but, oh so lovely that you take my breath away!

Last week, your thatha and paati came to visit from North Carolina and couldn’t get enough of you. And, before that your great aunt Kay and your aunt Kate visited you. Papa and grandma have always been here and last week great grandma stopped by for a quick visit. Other than a couple of neighbors, we’ve not had too many visitors. I’m sure you’ll meet more of the family around the holidays, but for now it’s been nice to be holed in with you.

By far your biggest fan is your brother! He adores you and loves rocking your bouncer and giving you kisses. He can’t stand it when you cry. Just today he brought me your paci when I was trying to console you. He calls you ‘baybee’ and doesnt seem to mind sharing his space with you. I’m most looking forward to seeing your relationship blossom.

I hope things settle down a bit more in the next few weeks and we get to see more of your personality. There are so many firsts that await us in the coming months which are far more exciting, but getting through this first month as a family of four is my greatest accomplishment to date. Welcome to this crazy, wonderful family, my darling girl! You are so loved!