Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Curse you, Hormones

Y'all, this is ridiculous.

It finally happened. The day I have been anticipating with great urgency and longing for so long has come and passed. My fourth child, my little surprise, is here with us, safe and sound.
   Considering how bad things could have gone during her birth, I am not exaggerating even a little bit when I say I tearfully thanked God tonight that June was safe and healthy and alive today. What happened was this: Signs late in my laboring pointed to there being an issue with her umbilical cord. Her heart rate dropped drastically with each contraction. My amazing doctor watched her monitor like a hawk and checked me repeatedly, just waiting for things to progress just enough so that I could push the baby out to safety. As soon as I was able, she set me to pushing. The longest labor I have ever endured ended with the longest delivery I have ever pulled off. (It was still pretty quick, just longer than the others. And by that time, I was exhausted, so it was pretty tough).
  With a pop and yet another gush, out came my baby. Immediately, the doctor announced the issue: the cord was wrapped three times around her neck. Like a scrub-clad cowgirl, Dr. Newton whipped that cord off of my tiny baby's neck in no time. And then came the big reveal.
   It's a girl!
 With teary eyes, I looked up at Stephan and said, "It's June! June's here!"
Stephan was crying happily as well. My aunt, who was there taking pictures for us, was wiping away tears between shots. I glanced at my mother who, for the first time, was able to be present for the birth of one of her grandchildren, and saw her sobbing wildly with a huge smile on her face. After all the praying and anxious waiting we had been doing in that delivery room, hearing our second baby daughter cry heartily was the best thing in the world.
 Since then, adjusting to her presence in our lives and the addition of another to our family has been pretty routine, as far as my past experiences with bringing home kids has shown me. Unlike the first to and even better than the last one, this little baby took to breastfeeding right away. Like, seriously, she was rootin' and latching on not even two minutes after she was placed on my chest. Of course, my excitement was premature, as she soon fell off the best breastfeeder in the world bandwagon when my milk didn't come in right away and she got frustrated. We're still working on that...
 As for her siblings; they are in love with her. Even Belle, who I thought might be too young to truly grasp what's going on (her title of "baby" being yanked from her and bestowed on the newest girl in the family), loves to kiss June and give her snuggles. The boys argue over who's turn it is to hold her. Just tonight, they begged me and Stephan to let them sing her a lullaby before they went to bed. I couldn't bee happier with how well they're taking to having another baby in the house.

    Since we've been home, we've had meals and groceries brought to us, people volunteering to help however and whenever they can, and a fantastic amount of moral support in the form of encouraging words and prayers. In short, thus far, transitioning from a family of five to six (six!) has been relatively smooth and enjoyable.

So, why the title, you might be wondering. Well, perceptive reader, it's because hormones are trying their best to ruin these first few, precious days for me. 
  How? I'll tell you how!
I'm sad about the weirdest things.
 I'm almost done with the small pack of newborn diapers they gave us in the hospital when June was born. That makes me sad.
I'm less sore and more capable of picking back up my full slate of house-managing responsibilities every day.
 That makes me sad. ( not because I don't want to take up my mop and resume active housekeeping, though I'm not entirely thrilled about it).
June's gross little umbilical stump is already loose and looks like it might fall off in the next two days.
That makes me sad.
June's stinkies are already transitioning from nasty, green-black tar, to a brownie-batter consistency. A very good sign that I'm succeeding at this breastfeeding thing.
And that makes me sad?
     I'm sure you don't have to hazard too many guesses before you stumble upon the reason for my melancholy. It's the relentless, unstoppable progression of time! Sure, sweet baby June is only four days old and still quite the floppy newborn, but I know all-too-well how quickly this stage in life flies by! My first born, my tiny, premature baby Noah, whom, at the time, I thought would never grow up because those days of just me and him staring at each other and doing little else seemed to crawl by, is six years old now.
I'm sad because I cant stop thinking about how quickly life moves nowadays. It doesn't help that I really, really, really enjoyed the wonderful, nurturing attention all the fantastic staff at the hospital gave me, Stephan and our baby. (I almost cried leaving the hospital because I knew that that would be the last time I was walking those hallways as an outgoing patient with my new baby in my arms. I'm almost crying thinking about it!) It really is like a mini vacation with the worst introduction and the best souvenir.
  It also doesn't help that I have three other children to keep me busy and remind me of how brief every moment is. You guys, Belle was my baby girl two seconds ago. Now, she's HUGE! I'm in the midst of planning her second birthday party, yet when I sit in the red rocking chair in her room, there are four pictures of newborn Belle above what will soon be June's crib, and it feels like those were taken just yesterday! (aaaaaand I'm crying again).
   These past two nights have been tough. Nothing crazy; just your classic newborn adjusting to night time/ daytime routines kind of stuff. As I sit in bed with my squirming, screaming newborn, who has suddenly forgotten how to breastfeed, I naturally get frustrated. But, dear readers, you'll be happy to know that I've learned. I've finally learned! Now, instead of resorting to the book's response of letting her cry it out, I've been tucking her in close to me and praying over her until she finally falls asleep. She'll figure out this whole night vs. day thing eventually, but the chance to hold her tiny body close to mine and watch her succumb to sleep will pass all too quickly, this I know for sure. There will be times when I will lay her down and let her learn to self soothe, but it wont be this night! And now that my milk has come in, I do believe even these long, tiring nights are reaching their end. And that makes me sad.

    I'm not trying to bum anyone out, readers. I'm especially not trying to discourage soon-to-be mommies with my list of woes. If anything, I want to encourage those new mommies, and everyone else, to be in the moment! Look up from your phone. Put down your cameras after the fifth or sixth picture. Soak in what's happening around you and how you feel in that moment. Try your best to imprint as many specific details in your mind as possible, so that when you blink and realize a few years have passed, you can close your eyes and recall those memories with as much clarity as possible.
  And praise God for the good and the bad moments. He's got this crazy, awesome plan laid out for us that only He knows the full picture of, and He's using every moment to prepare us and shape us for what lies ahead.
  And hug your babies, no matter how big they are.
"Behold, children are a [a]gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward." Psalm 127:3