I've had a few requests that I take some time and write about how we're doing & this post is long overdue!! I’ve been wanting to talk about how life has changed, going from a family of three to a family of four, but just as we were hitting our stride the holidays were upon us and it threw our routine completely out of whack—running here and there, shopping, decorating, holiday parties, visiting with family. Whew. I’m tired just thinking about it.
The short answer? We’re doing really well.
I think that I really had tried to prepare myself for the worst: for Liam to be horribly jealous, for Jack to have colic & cry constantly, for Rob and I to feel 100% overwhelmed 100% of the time. I remember lying in bed a few weeks before Jack was born, drinking in the silence, thinking, “My house won’t be this quiet for a very long time.” Liam has a very predictable bedtime and routine & even on the toughest of days, he’s rarely up past 8pm…but it took us quite a while to get there. (He slept through the night early, but his bedtime varied greatly in those first few months.) I was excited to meet my baby, yet sad that this (mostly) quiet little life we’d fallen into was about to be turned upside down.
As it turns out, Liam is not jealous, perhaps the biggest blessing of having 2u2. He acted up a little for the first week or so that we were home, but I don’t think that it really had anything to do with Jack—more, that his routine was off, he was sick, and that he wasn’t getting enough rest. My aunt watched him while I was in labor, my parents kept him the first night I was in the hospital and between being shuffled from here to there, he missed quite a few naps. Then, when I came home from the hospital, our attention was obviously a bit divided as we settled in. He was frustrated, could sense a change and couldn’t communicate that with us, so it resulted in some shrieking and hitting for a few days. It quickly passed (especially the hitting) once he saw that, while it may take us a minute longer to take care of whatever he wants or needs, we are still here for him, just as we were before and always will be.
Jack does not have colic. THANK GOD. He does have reflux. Because of our experience with Liam, we knew the symptoms and called his pediatrician when he was two weeks old. He’s on Zantac (3x/day) and it’s definitely helping. He’s not a crier. He’s had a few tough days where he was especially fussy (& we were tired and patience was thin) but overall he’s incredibly content. He sleeps A LOT which makes it easy to take him wherever we need to go. In fact, he's sleeping in 5-7 hour stretches at night fairly regularly!
Most days, we’re not overwhelmed. Our plan has been to divide and conquer—one kid each. If I have errands that need to be run, I take Jack and go do them. Rob stays home and plays with Liam and it’s relatively easy since we’re both doing things one on one. I have definitely felt like we’ve been good partners parenting two kids at once—probably out of necessity—there are two of us and two kids and it’s really not an option to have one person do all of the work. We each grab a kid & take care of that kid’s needs until we swap for a while. When we’re grabbing kids, I do tend to be responsible for Jack more often than not, but it’s simply because I’m breastfeeding. Plus, Liam’s in a total Daddy phase right now and always wants Rob, so it works out. But, of course, we both cherish our time with each of them.
Speaking of breastfeeding, we’re chugging along. I didn’t put the pressure on myself this time around to exclusively breastfeed Jack and it’s made things so much easier. I respect ladies who can do it, but I nearly drove myself to a nervous breakdown while nursing Liam. I constantly worried that he wasn’t getting enough, that my freezer stash wasn’t big enough, that I needed to get home to feed him so that I wouldn’t have to give him a precious bottle of pumped milk. It was exhausting & it made me very unhappy. So this time, I said that I would supplement from the beginning— Jack gets about 2 bottles a day and I nurse about 6 times a day. No, I’m not pumping every time he gets a bottle of formula. Yes, I know that in the long run it will lower my supply, but in the long run, I won’t be breastfeeding anymore. I said that my goal was to make it a month. I’ve made it almost two months so far. I feel like things are going just fine & I’m not unhappy with my experience this time around, but…
I want to go back on my anti-depressants and my anti-anxiety meds—both of which, I haven’t taken since we started trying to get pregnant with Liam. I’m feeling ok, but not at my best. I talked to my ob/gyn at my 6 week postpartum checkup and he was very supportive and encouraged me to go on them when I felt like I needed to. Wellbutrin is ok (if necessary) to take while breastfeeding, but Ativan is not. Wellbutrin is fantastic for my depression, but it makes my anxiety worse, so I won’t take it until it’s safe to take both… and that means quitting breastfeeding. (I’ve tried other anxiety meds that are safe, but they didn’t work for me.) My doc suggested that we stick with what works and reminded me that breastfeeding my baby isn’t the best thing that I can do for him to help him thrive—keeping his mother happy and healthy is. (I love that man.) I'll stick with it for now, but will probably wean him in the next month or two.
Speaking of my 6 week checkup, everything was great. Cervix and uterus are back to normal, episiotomy healed and I got the green light to return to all activities. Since we’re not aiming for 3u3 & I have no idea how (in)fertile I am at this point, I got the Depo Provera shot. Despite some scary reports of weight gain (and bone density issues with prolonged use) I felt like it was the right choice for me for now. I’m not interested in the IUD, I don’t trust myself to take the pill at the same time every day & I didn’t use my diaphragm once after Liam was born. If I gain weight because of it, I won’t go back in March for the next shot, I’ll choose something else. (After I’m done breastfeeding, I’ll consider Nuvaring again if I don’t like the shot. That’s what I used before.)
Speaking of weight, I’m thrilled to report that I’ve lost a little over 20lbs since Jack’s birth—and since I didn’t gain anything while pregnant with him (or Liam), this puts me at my lowest weight I’ve been at in over 3 years. I’ve got a ways to go, though. My goal is to lose another 20lbs by May, when my brother gets married. I plan on trying to go back to the gym at least a few times a week while Liam’s at Mother’s Day Out—they have a nursery & I feel comfortable with Jack being there for an hour or so. Luckily, Wellbutrin tends to make me lose weight, too— the last time I went on it after being off of it for a period of time, 20lbs melted off of me in a month. If I can just lay off the Chocolate and Peanut Butter covered Banana Chips and make some healthy eating choices, I know I can do it. (This isn’t my final goal weight, just my first goal.)
We had our first night, just the two of us, last night. Liam’s an old pro staying with his Marmi & Poppy, but this was Jack’s first overnight. I missed my boys like crazy (called about 4 times), but the break was lovely, especially as Rob heads back to work tomorrow from a gloriously long paternity leave. We hung out at home (him playing video games, me perusing Pinterest), then headed to a movie (Young Adults), before wandering around Whole Foods buying yummy food (that we don’t really need and really probably can’t afford). We went to bed when we were tired and woke up this morning when we were rested. I spent the day doing laundry & cleaning my closet. I took a leisurely shower and got dressed. And dried my hair! And curled it! And put on makeup! before we met my parents along with my aunt and two cousins for dinner. We are so lucky to have a break now and then to recharge our batteries, both individually and as a couple. I know it can be exhausting for my parents (it is for us!), but we are SO grateful.
So, that brings us up to date. Tomorrow, Rob heads back to work & it will be my first day home with the kids all day by myself. (I’m not going to back to work until next week.) It will likely be a long day! Since I get up with Jack super early to nurse him, Rob got up with Liam & then took Jack for a few hours so I could get a few extra hours of sleep. Now that paternity leave is over, I’ll be up with both boys whenever they wake up—it’s likely that I’ll wake up to nurse Jack and by the time I get him settled, Liam will be starting to wake up. I’ve GOT to start going to bed earlier!!) Luckily, Liam still takes a very reliable morning nap, so there’s a good chance that I can nap then if I’m tired (and Jack cooperates). I wish the weather was nicer—I’d love to take the kids out tomorrow but the high is 39 & the low is 24. Staying cooped up in the house makes everyone cranky.
I've had some requests to write about the things I’ve learned in my (almost) two months as a mom of 2u2...Not much, lol. Here are my tips.
- Have a completely babyproof enclosed area for your oldest child. You will have to walk away to care for your younger baby and you need a place where you can put your older child unattended for a few minutes. (We turned our dining room into a playroom for Liam—it has no furniture, foam pads on the floor and all of his toys.)
- Have extras of all of your necessities. Thought you had no time when you had an infant? Multiply that by two. It’s like having twins, only one of them is running around the house getting into everything you don’t want him to while the other is crying in the swing. Things like swaddle blankets, zip up outfits, crib/bassinet sheets and burp cloths—buy more than you think you need. You’ll probably never do laundry as often as you should and it sucks to wake up and realize your baby’s bed is soaking wet and you haven’t washed your extra sheet from the last time that happened (the night before). Ask me how I know.
- If you use a pacifier, try to introduce a different type than you did with your first child. Liam loves his Avent pacis—I’m afraid he’ll never give them up! We started with the Gumdrop pacis from The First Years for Jack and he’s taken to them. Liam has picked up Jack’s pacifiers more than once, put them in his mouth, then promptly spit them out. So, when we’re ready to break Liam of the habit, Jack’s pacis probably won’t be an issue.
- Get a good, easy-to-use baby carrier. We have a Moby & and Ergo—both of them I love for different reasons. The thing is, I don’t think either of them are right for us at this moment. I love the Moby Wrap—it’s perfect for snuggling up tiny babies and getting things done around the house. What I don’t like is having to drag it through the parking lot to put it on when I take it out in public. Sure, it’s easy to tie once you get the hang of it, but it’s impossible to keep it off the ground while you’re putting it on. And if it’s raining? Forget it. The Ergo, I adore for older babies, but I don’t like it for young infants (even with the insert). Liam seemed to get comfortable in it when he was around 6-7 months. We recently put him in it on my back and took a walk around the neighborhood and he LOVED it. It didn’t get much use this past year while I was pregnant, but we’ll definitely be using it in the spring with Liam on my back, or Jack in the front. For now, I’m looking at a Petunia Pickle Bottom Sling—something that I slip over my head and slide Jack into. I need something that I can quickly put on, pop Jack in and then put Liam on my hip when we have to run in places like dropping him off at school. If I can discreetly nurse in it, even better. I’ll probably order the sling this week – wish I had it now!
- Get a good light-weight, easy to fold double stroller. We use ours all of the time. We bought the Baby Jogger City Mini & we LOVE it—can’t say enough great things about it.
- Take lots of pictures. (I can’t recommend my Nikon D3100 enough. It’s awesome.) Sometimes it’s hard with both kids running around, but I want to capture just as many of Jack’s sweet moments while he’s tiny as I did with Liam. They change so fast…and when I get a great shot of them together? It’s like my heart explodes.
Sorry my “real” posts have been few and far between, but life is all around me right now and I’m just doing my best to keep up! I’ve got lots of pictures that I want to post (Christmas & our recent trip to the kids’ Science Museum) and I’ll try to actually get some words out from time to time as well! I have every intention of posting letters to Jack, a year in review post & a fun little quiz I was recently tagged on, it just may take some time.
Happy 2012, friends!