Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The First Month

Well, here I am over two months since writing last. And now I'm working on two entries in the same day. Tomorrow will be one month since the birth of our new daughter, Veronica Margaret Burdullis. Time is so strange; moving slowly in some moments and then faster than I can fathom.

Veronica was 8 pounds 14 ounces when she was born. Four days later she had lost a little weight as most babies do their first week. She was 8 pounds 9 ounces. Ten days later she weighed 10 pounds 8 ounces. And this morning I got on the scale with her and she is over 13 pounds! I've already had to begin putting away some of the clothes she has outgrown. A little bittersweet. Happy to see that my milk is doing its job and that she's healthy. Sad to see that it is already going by so quick.

Needless to say, she is growing very quickly and thriving. She is already smiling at me occasionally and has become much more alert in the past week. She enjoys hearing me sing and will stare up at my face with wide, doe eyes and a look of such intensity and love. One night, I was rocking her to sleep and she was gazing at me in this way. I thought that I might be distracting her and keeping her awake, so I hid my face from her. She immediately began crying. When I was in view again, she quieted and stared once more. I did this a few times and each time she would begin crying. I am totally in love with her and apparently, the feeling is mutual.

Our first week was spent with non-stop nursing. Hence all the growing.  When I was telling this to Jenny, she wondered aloud why God designed women so that their milk doesn't come in for a few days. I thought about it and although it was frustrating at the time, I saw the beauty in it. It means that for the first several days, mother and baby spend almost all of their time bonding. And it forces mom to sit and rest so that she can begin recovering from the birth.

The past weeks have been unpredictable. I am usually a schedule kind of girl and of course there just isn't one right now. And there are times when I am eager for a schedule, when I am anxious for the days when Veronica will sleep through the night, when she will be able to communicate with me in other ways than crying, when she won't need to be settled back down when she spits up for the millionth time, when my clothes and her clothes won't be perpetually damp, when I feel like I can make plans with a bit of certainty, when I can give a more equal amount of time to Joshua, Noah and Jason, when my body looks back to normal, etc, etc, etc.

But there is a beauty in having several children that makes it easier to put these anxieties aside. I've been through it before. I know what to expect. I have more confidence. And hopefully without sounding arrogant, I am a better mom than I used to be. It's a natural process that occurs. The longer you practice something, the better you become. This doesn't mean that I think I am Supermom or anything. I believe this happens with all mothers. For the past six years, I have worked on skills that help immensely when adapting to life with a newborn: flexibility, patience, time management, staying calm in the midst of chaos and being more comfortable with lowering my standards when needed.

People have asked me how I am doing many times over the past month. Why is it that I want to make life sound harder than it is? I feel self conscious admitting just how happy I am. I find myself giving answers that focus on my tiredness because I feel like people's assumption is that life is really hard right now. But really, it's not. Life is great. I have never felt so much joy as I have the past month. I'm really not that sleep deprived. Veronica wakes two or three times each night, but I am usually back to bed within thirty minutes. And I am better at dealing with my tiredness. My body has recovered quickly. I have continued to have a parade of friends and family bringing us meals and gifts. The parade is ending this week, but after such a long break from cooking, I am excited to begin again. It's one of my favorite things.

Life is so good. For the past six years, I have also continued to work on living in the moment. It's a lifelong journey, but I have definitely gotten better. And just as I did not want to wish away the last five weeks of pregnancy, I am making that conscious effort once again. Sure, I'm tired. Sure, I can get overwhelmed. And most definitely sure, I can get hormonal. Just ask Jason. But that's all part of it.

And most of the time, I am really enjoying it.

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