baby, Parenting, Postpartum Diaries

Postpartum Diaries: Four Months

Elliot is four months old and continues to surprise us every day. He’s definitely growing into his personality and has developed a really adorable “serious look” when he meets new people. He’s also started daycare every weekday since I returned to work and seems to be having a blast.

How I’m Feeling:

Well, I returned to work last week and I have to say, the anticipation was much worse than the reality. I’ll be honest, I really didn’t want to go back to work, but since we’ve been paying for daycare for the last month, I couldn’t really afford to take off much more time. I was kind of a mess the weekend before I went back, but I knew he did well at daycare because we’d been sending him a day or two a week for the last month. That really helped my peace of mind as I wasn’t worried about him as much as just missing him. And being back at work has been great. I’m rediscovering how much I love my work and reconnecting with coworkers. Plus, so many people I encounter on my daily commute welcomed me back that I felt so missed and appreciated.

That said, I was dropped right back into the middle of our most hectic time of year. It’s our organization’s annual meeting and that means a lot of early mornings for me. Thankfully, I’ve done okay with my morning routine, and I’m grateful that Elliot has been pretty cooperative with his sleeping schedule so that I’ve been able to get out on time the last couple of days. I’m a little worried I’m going to crash before the end of the week, but for now, I feel like I’ve gotten through both the initial return and the busy period. Tomorrow, we take him to the pediatrician for his four-month checkup, which is a bit of a break for me because I won’t have to commute in.

The main thing that has helped me stay balanced during this transitional time has been my yoga and meditation practice. I talked a bit earlier this month about restarting my yoga practice last month, and this month I also restarted a regular silent meditation practice. Yoga helps wake up my body while meditation helps focus my mind. And when I started having some anxiety over pumping, I was able to use meditation to help relax.

Speaking of pumping, it’s only been a week, but so far I’ve been staying on top of Elliot’s milk needs at day care. Pumping is a weird break time, but it’s just become part of my new routine. And the hospital-grade pump my work provides is pretty awesome (I actually think I got a little too excited and may have set it a bit high last week, which caused some issues). I have my fingers crossed that that stays.

How Elliot’s Doing:

Elliot is generally a happy little guy. He’s still quietly observant of the world around him and loves to watch things happen. He loves watching me make my tea in the morning and is intently interested in the pour over coffee when we go to Vigilante Coffee on the weekends. He’s been going on more outings with us as we become more comfortable taking him out. We’ve been looking for a new house, so he came out to look at houses and we even stopped for lunch in a restaurant with him in tow with success.

He’s also started rolling over on his own, so pretty much all the time is tummy time. And he’s started playing with toys from his tummy as well as grabbing them while on his back. His physical development is really cool to watch and it looks like he’s already trying to figure out how to crawl (he can get his butt up off the ground and kind of does a little inchworm crawl). Dan and I are getting a little concerned that we need to start thinking a little more about how to keep him safe when he becomes mobile because that’s going to happen sooner rather than later. He also figured out how to get his legs over the edge of the bassinet, so we had to move him to a Pack and Play for the night while we ordered a crib!

Finally, Elliot and Sophie are interacting more. She’s become a little braver and more interested in coming near him to investigate, and he’s started reaching out to try to touch her and has become more interested in watching her. Luckily, she’s a very gentle and patient cat, so hopefully they make friends soon.

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Dan, Parenting, pregnancy

An Ode to the Other Half, Part One: Pregnancy Partner

So while this is largely a blog about my experience going through pregnancy, so far, parenting is going to be a partnership for us. And I’ve mentioned my husband, Dan, both in the “About” section of this website, and in posts when he comes up. But I thought I’d feature him a little more since he really has been a true partner throughout my pregnancy, and I expect will continue to be a true partner as I go through childbirth and parenting.

I’ve found an enormous amount of support and help as I’ve gone through trying to conceive, pregnancy loss, and pregnancy through the various subreddits of which I am a member on Reddit. And as I’ve gone through the last almost two years since we first started making plans for children, I’ve noticed that a lot of women complain about their partners. First, their partners don’t want children as much as they do. Then their partners don’t appreciate what they go through to determine when they’re fertile. Then, they don’t understand pregnancy symptoms or loss. Some partners seem to think that pregnancy symptoms are an exaggeration or that all pregnancies are the same, so if they’ve known one person who was pregnant, they know how their partner is going to react.

And this is where Dan seems to rise above much of the crowd: Through everything, he listens to me and believes me. It helps that he actually wanted kids more than I did at first, but he was supportive while I figured out what I wanted, rather than pressuring me. And then from there, he’s taken in all the information I’ve given to him, or sought it out for himself. He trusts my research and believes me when I tell him something about my body. And he’s not squeamish about bodies. I mean, he’s the one who had to go buy extra-absorbent pads during my miscarriage and incontinence pads when pregnancy made me start peeing myself.

This really showed itself in the first trimester of this pregnancy, though. I got hit hard with nausea, and he never complained about the fact that I could barely do anything outside of meet my professional obligations. He would let me come home and flop on the sofa rather than make dinner. He made one of the three dinners I could actually eat, and made sure not to eat anything that smelled bad to me. Heck, when one of his video games made me throw up, he never played it again. He took care of me, in all senses of the word. And he never expected any particularly praise or adulation for it. It was just what you do.

Luckily for both of us, my nausea faded as I moved into the second trimester and I’ve mostly been able to pick up my standard duties around the house. I’ve even started joining him in nesting (he got bit by the nesting bug basically as soon as I had a positive test and has been cleaning, organizing, and putting things together for months). And I cook most nights now. But he still supports me, mostly by picking up things that fall on the floor, or taking things up and down the stairs when I forget them. He does all our laundry, since our basement stairs are a bit nerve-wracking, even without the balance challenges of a growing belly (plus, I can’t actually bend over to pull clothes out of our top-loading washer!).

And he’s continued to take in all the information. He’s readĀ The Birth PartnerĀ and uses what he’s learned to connect with me about preparation for childbirth. When we packed our hospital bags, he pulled out the book to double-check things we might not have thought of, like a pair of swim trunks for him in case he wants to get in the shower with me to help me labor. And he’s continued, reading the childcare books that I’ve read, so that we’re on the same page. He reminds me to do my Hypnobabies exercises.

So I guess I wanted to take some space here to, yes, brag about my husband. He deserves it, and I think the rest of the world deserves a bit of praise for a husband of a pregnant lady because partners and coparents can be the butt of so many jokes about men falling short. But despite the fact that we both annoy each other on a regular basis, he’s one of the good ones.