Christmas Eve gift!

Is it odd that I post more with a newborn than I did before this small creature, whose survival depends on me (and my boobs) came into my world?

So we have a 3-week old (close to 3-1/2 weeks now) and things are going about as well as I think they can be. Despite my fervent hopes (and my apparently misguided belief that I am a laid-back person), I do not have a terrifically easy baby. Thank heavens the opposite is also not true — I do not have a particularly difficult baby — or at least I don’t think I do, but what do I know? First baby!

We’ve been dealing with a lot of different stuff lately — some breastfeeding issues, that seem to be mostly resolved; some colic-like issues (but pretty sure we’re not dealing with colic, as it’s a little too early for the classic presentation, and most of those issues can be traced back to the aforementioned breastfeeding issues); some weight-gain issues; and some mommy issues. At the risk of this being a little too TMI, we’ve been weaning off a nipple shield (which we did successfully, despite my belief a week ago that it would NEVER EVER happen); but that seems to have caused some freakouts by my baby when confronted with WHOA MILK; at our last weight check (before we left off with the shield) she still wasn’t back to birth weight at nearly 3 weeks (though she was gaining, and I am so happy we have a pediatrician who was very relaxed about the whole thing and never once suggested we start supplementing with formula, which I would do if she needed it, but would rather not do if she doesn’t). And the mommy issues…well, let’s just say I always hoped I’d be a laid back mommy, but it turns out that I am a huge ball of anxiety.

Maybe that last bit shouldn’t surprise me — I am, after all, the kind of person who always wants to “win” at stuff. I like to think that I’m not particularly competitive, but I’m really just deluding myself. Which is not to say that I am particularly competitive vis a vis other people. No, it’s more that I just want to be good at (OK, OK, the best at) whatever challenge it is that I’m undertaking. In some cases (cough cough, law school), that necessarily required me to compare myself to others, because I (and all of those others) were being evaluated on the same scale. But in other contexts (mommyhood), the metric is really just whether I’m doing all The Stuff Mommies Are Supposed To Do — and doing it well. Does my kid sleep well? Does she cry a lot? How does she poop? (Seriously.) And, critically to me right now, how does she eat?

Needless to say, my ambitious, achievement-seeking personality has had a hard time dealing with a kid who has not wanted to do all of those things that babies are supposed to do on certain timeframes. There were early pooping issues. (GOD, this is super TMI.) There was the shield issue. There’s the weight gain issue. And there are more potential issues looming on the horizon: potential Introducing A Bottle issues, Introducing A Pacifier issues, and continued Has She Gained Enough Weight issues.

And in the midst of all of this, I realized today that it is Christmas Eve. I mean, I knew it was Christmas Eve, but it wasn’t really something that was front and center of my consciousness. Part of it is that this is the first time I’ve ever spent Christmas away from either my family or Mr. D’s family. We’re not traveling for the holiday this year (obviously), and that’s made it easy to sort of forget about the holiday. Don’t get me wrong — we haven’t dropped the ball on the holiday. We’ve ordered and sent all of our gifts (and those relatives who are peeved at getting gift cards 25 days after I gave birth can suck it), we have our tree up (that was done before the baby arrived), and we have (perhaps ambitious) plans to make a special, though not super labor-intensive, dinner tonight. But I (still!) haven’t really internalized that today is Christmas Eve. Or that tomorrow is my little girl’s first Christmas, and our first Christmas as a family of three.

I’m not really sure what the point of this post is, other than to say that new parenthood is hard, and doubly hard at the holidays. I hope that I’ll look back on my anxious self in a few months and shake my head at what sleep deprivation wrought. I hope that I’ll look back and cherish this first Christmas. But for right now, man, it’s tough.

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Breastfeeding rocks.

I am wearing my favorite pair of (pre-pregnancy) designer jeans, the ones I paid retail for, they fit so well. They’re a touch snug in the waist, but luckily everything in my waist area is relatively squishy, so I just smooshed my gut into them and put on a loose top.

We are not a nocturnal people anymore.

It’s amazing how much more human I feel when the kidlet decides to go back to sleep after her middle-of-the-night feedings, instead of staying up to party the night away.

in other words, I think we’ve managed to clue her in to the difference between day and night — or at least to straighten out which one of those equals “awake” time and which one means “sleep.” Joy!

There’s a lot I don’t know about babies.

So it’s been a week. Well, a week and a day. Eight days. And my little girl is beautiful and perfect and delightful. She also doesn’t sleep at the right times, nor is she awake at the right times, so it’s a good thing she’s beautiful, perfect, and delightful. Otherwise, the fussing and crying from 6 pm to midnight, and the refusal to calm down enough to eat, and the falling asleep as soon as I start to feed her, and the staying awake after feedings instead of napping…well, all of that would really be getting to me. OK, it is getting to me. But I love that little girl, so I know it’ll all be OK.

Being the research-oriented person that I am, I have of course spent a lot of time with Dr. Google, trying to figure out what I can do about the excessive sleepiness, the evening fussiness, the feeding issues. And I think I’ve just about exhausted my need to read all about what other people think I should do. This is a good thing. When I’m drafting something at work, I know I’ve reached the point where I can start writing when I am sick of running more searches. Well, I’m sick of running searches, y’all. Everyone has a different opinion, a different solution, a different philosophy; what almost every source agrees on is that this stuff is totally normal.

It feels a little silly to not know that, but, hey, this is my first baby. And while I have younger siblings, they are step- and half-siblings, so I wasn’t in the house with them when they were newborns. I’ve babysat a fair number of kids, and changed lots of diapers, and even held my fair share of newborns, but I’ve never spent an extended period of time with a brand new baby. So I needed the reassurance — such as it is — of multiple online sources (and not the crazy wackadoo ones, but the respectable ones) telling me that this is Normal.

Anyway, that’s a long-winded way of saying that things are going as well as they can, given my daughter’s unwillingness to stay awake to eat and her propensity for evening fussiness (and cluster feeding, oh God, the cluster feeding).  We’re doing well. And I am more thankful than ever that I have four months (or, now, three months and three weeks) to spend at home with her.

She’s here!

Just a quick post from my phone to say that our daughter, Clara Margaret, was born on December 1, a mere 90 minutes after it was no longer her due date. I managed to push her out all on my own (no pitocin, forceps or vacuum) after 24 hours of labor (got the epidural around hour 15, though that was always in the plan).

I managed to miss my last day in the office as well as any pre-baby maternity leave, and I had to send two work emails from the hospital (yes, I know…), but I am so in love with this little girl that I just don’t care. I am so enjoying this adventure.