Here we are. Four weeks into life with our little Rainbow, Zachary. Time really does fly.
So how is it, you ask? Oh my. I have so many answers to that question!!!
Amazing. This little boy is mine. My body grew him and nourished him for 9 months plus 2.5 weeks. Zachary is a blend of mom and dad. He has Dave's ears and nose, my lips and eyes (I think!) and definitely my personality, as far as we can tell. I look at him and still can't believe that a few short weeks ago, he was in my belly! How did he fit there? How did we both get through this, alive? Is this baby really mine, to keep forever?!?! I'm amazed. Amazed at how God blessed us, and how God helped my body and mind and spirit get through this, at how beautiful this baby boy of ours is. I am amazed.
Do you like my kicks?
Hard. Taking care of a newborn is a full time job. For two people. I can't imagine how some women do this alone, whether they are single moms (God bless you all) or if their hubbies have to go back to work right away, this is a tough job and if Dave wasn't here to help me I think I'd go crazy. Especially that first week after recovering from surgery and Zachary being jaundice...it was really, really tough. He has just a few days left before returning to work and I am just now feeling like I may be able to manage life with this tiny human on my own for a few days as he works and sleeps. Zach has turned out to be quite a fussy little thing, I'm not ready to call it "colic" just yet, but if it gets worse, that is what we may be dealing with. He cries, a lot. It's almost like if he isn't sleeping, he is crying, sometimes for no reason. We check his diaper, we feed him until bursting, we cuddle, we swaddle, we play, we quite down, we sing...nothing really helps. It's hard doing all we can and still hearing him cry, it's heartbreaking. And it's hard not to worry, but I remind myself that he is a newborn...and they are know for their sleeping-eating-crying-pooping cycles. Still, some days are tough! I'm reading the Happiest Baby on the Block and the 5 s's have been saving us all. Poor little guy, he still wants to be in mommy's tummy! I know we post a lot of happy baby pics, and pics that make you think our world is so nice and pleasant, but I want to share reality with you!! Life with this baby is hard!! But I am learning that it doesn't matter, because all it takes is one sweet look, or one almost-smile, and all the hard melts away...
Rocking with "Janou" - my mom.
Fun. Every new little look. Every new little movement! Some of Zach's moves I actually recognize...he will do something and I'll be like..."oh THAT is what you were doing in there!" I'd feel that same move in my belly. He hiccups all the time, and for the last two weeks of my pregnancy he would get the hiccups every day. It's so cute! As the days go by, he is awake and alert more and more. His eyes will stay open and he will make new and adorable faces. It's so much fun to watch him grow and see new things that he can do. He is smiling on purpose!!! He smiles involuntarily all the time, but they other day I went to peak on him in the Rock n Play and BAM, a smile came out. It melted my heart!
Mommy and baby, both very sleepy!
Frustrating. By this, I mean breastfeeding. I had this beautiful image of me nursing a sweet baby. easy peasy. Everyone told me that newborns can be hard, but I never really heard that breastfeeding could be such. a. struggle!! I know it isn't hard for everyone, and I guess the women who do struggle with it may be afraid to admit it because there is such a HUGE push for breastfeeding. Every where I go, "breast is best, please breast feed, are you breast feeding? YOU NEED TO BREAST FEED." It's best for him. It's best for you. Etc. Etc. Well, news flash...not everyone CAN do it. Me included. Oh believe me, I am STILL trying. Even though plenty of my friends and all of my family have basically said, "Give it up Tina! You are driving yourself crazy!" See...Z and I got off on a rough start. He breastfed right after birth in recovery, but then...I was tired, he was tired...my nurse at the hospital that night kept telling us to do it, but never really helped us or taught me any techniques or anything. His sugar dropped overnight, he was too tired to latch. By the time the LC got to me the next morning, he was jaundice. He HAD to eat. Time to pump him with formula. Ugh. It was such a disaster, and we have never caught up. We had to stick to a strict 2 hour feeding schedule, had to be formula so we knew he was getting nutrition and exactly how much, but I could breastfeed around that. Um...except for the fact it took almost 2 hours to feed him through the syringes, and we had to nap, and eat too...and then it would be time to feed him again, but he had to be under the bili lights as much as possible...
...long story short, now his appetite is so big that I know my body will never catch up. I still try, and he will get a bit of my milk here and there, but he never learned how to latch onto me and I have to use one of those little medela shields. He gets very frustrated, and I cry almost every time. It's tough because I WANT to do it so badly, but it just doesn't seem like it is going to work the way I want it. I've talked to LC's and our pediatrician and they all say to keep going...but it does drive me crazy, and it drives Z crazy, and I know it drives Dave crazy to see me so upset when it doesn't work the way I want. Still...I wish it would. We try a little in the morning now, and then again at night before bed, so at least he is still getting SOME breast milk, but not the amount I want. Le sigh...
Time for bed!
Tiring. Parenting a newborn feels a bit akin to swimming in the ocean and trying to keep your head out of the water. It's exhausting! Caring for this new little human, his whole world revolves around us and our whole world revolves around him. Feeding, changing, consoling, cuddling, playing, and then doing it all over again. No one can really prepare a new mom for how much work it is. Thankfully, Zachary sleeps awesome at night. We have to wake him up to feed him, now only every 3 hours, and usually after some rocking and cuddles, he goes right back to sleep! I hope he keeps that up forever!!
Grandma (Dave's mom) loving on Z.
Heaven. Honestly, having him here is Heaven on Earth. At least for me, right now. No matter how hard it gets, or how frustrated we are, or how many tears I cry (and cry and cry) I can't thank God enough that Zachary is here! That he is mine!! That I can hold him and love on him and be with him as much as I want. After losing Jackson, my arms felt so empty which was totally foreign to me, because I never ached for a baby before him. My arms and heart have been aching for a year now. They still do ache a little, and that feeling will always belong to Jackson, never to be quenched because he is not here. But, my arms are FULL. This "Rainbow" baby of ours came screaming into this world to fill them. I look at him and see God's promise being fulfilled. Dave & I, and Ashley and our entire family, we have been abundantly BLESSED by Him through Zachary. God has allowed us to bring home this beautiful bundle, and has entrusted us to love him and take care of him and raise him. I feel so, so blessed. I thank God for the journey he has brought me on this past year, even though my heart was so broken. It led me here, to this moment, and this little sweet baby. I can't even believe it. I'm grinning ear to ear! I know the journey isn't over, and who knows what else God has in store for us, but if I have learned anything this year, it is that He can bring us through everything. He can turn bad into good. He can turn sorrow into joy. He can turn tears into big smiles. He can use everything that happens to us to help us understand Him more.
There's still so much to write about, but I'll save it for another day. I'm working on Z's birth story, so hopefully I'll post that in a few days. It takes me about 4 days to write a post now, because there is a tiny human that demands my attention quite a bit of the day;)
Thanks to EVERYONE who helped us get through the pregnancy, the birth, the aftermath of the birth, and those of you who are still praying for us as we figure out this whole baby thing. We couldn't have done this without you, and I really mean that. I wish I could kiss you all. Or throw a party for you. Maybe we will? How fun would that be?!