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May 06

Happy Birthday Julianna!

One week old today – and I feel like it’s been initiation by fire in a lot of ways. The breastfeeding battles have subsided, for the most part. Julianna’s doing so much better, in terms of latching on. She’s nursing every hour, or hour and a half, falling asleep at the breast each time. It’s not perfect, not yet, but it’s so much better – no constipation, no disgusting smelly gas – and I can’t ever take it for granted, every single time she nurses, I’m grateful to whatever diety answered my desperate, tear soaked prayers that I be able to nurse her.

I’m still bleary-eyed and exhausted. All the time. I’m now at the point where I just doze off whenever I sit still long enough. I’ve given up on being able to read an entire Harry Potter chapter to Jess, I manage about half before falling asleep on her. But last night, Julie latched on while I was still in bed, so I’m hopeful that eventually, the night feedings will be simpler and less disruptive. At this point, I still get up and go into the living room, flick on the television and nurse her in there. But on the upside, I don’t think I’ve ever been as up to date about current events, because I watch a ridiculous amount of news these days. The light is so bright at night, so I don’t read, I just watch CNN.

The other two kids are adjusting fairly well. No resentment towards the baby, no aggression – they both appear to be fully in love with her. Jess believes with her whole heart that if she’s home, there’s no good reason that she shouldn’t be holding her. In fact, if she’s not holding her, she’s pretty bitter about it. We’ve had some behavior issues, and at least one temper tantrum where she cried because nobody loved her anymore. But for the most part, she’s been wonderful with her. She holds her and rocks her and coos at her, she’s born to be a big sister.

Sam is also doing well – he never calls her anything other than Baby, which I think is adorable. He holds her at least once a day, but never for very long. He likes to coo at her, and gives her what he calls “little pats.” But he’s very proud of being a “big brudder” and tells strangers on the street about her. He’s also been a little more prone to meltdowns over little things, but mostly he’s been great about having her. From the very beginning, he just very gracefully sort of transitioned a lot of his needs over to Marc. He’s very clingy with him, wants to spend all of his time with Daddy, not in a way that makes me feel like he’s mad at me, but more like he’s just very sensitive to the fact that Julie needs me now, and it’s easier for him to get immediate attention from Marc.

All in all – it’s been an incredible week. The hormone-soaked Sunday, where I sobbed just all day long, that was the day that I realized that I loved this little girl with all that I am, the same way I feel about my other kids. Having done this now three different times, for me, it’s always a shock – how MUCH you feel. How suddenly, your whole world boils down to what your child is doing or feeling. If she’s sick or unhappy or screaming like a mad woman at the prospect of nursing – it’s devastating. And although I’ve bounced back in a lot of ways, gained some emotional equilibrium, I still feel very vulnerable re: Julianna. It really is like your heart is just out there, and it’s so scary sometimes. She’s so tiny, and so fragile – and I don’t know that I’d survive without her. I’m constantly trying to balance out time for the other two, making sure that I’ve hugged and snuggled them enough, provide them with love and discipline, not to lose myself in this newborn baby love. I feel outnumbered now in a way that I wasn’t before. With two kids, you can still mostly meet both their needs, maybe not 100% of them 100% of the time, but close to it. With three – it’s a lot harder. With one of them being a nursing infant with feeding issues, it’s close to impossible sometimes, and I’m beginning to think I’ll just always being running slightly behind, trying to compensate for making them wait.

But I wouldn’t trade this past week for anything. Having Julianna is everything I hoped it would be and so much more. I can’t wait for the rest of her life – watching her, and the other two children grow and develop is making me happier than I’ve ever been. And I’m so blessed to have these children, and this husband – this life.

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