Each pregnancy is different. Each labor and delivery are different. Each baby is different. And, of course, each postpartum experience is different.
There has been the norm... sore nipples, the weepies, a sense of uncertainty and adjustment, and maybe even a little grief for what has been lost in the gaining of a new family member.
But there has also been a lot of things unexpected. Some good. Some not so good.
I knew that there would be an adjustment period for the other two kids in our home once their baby brother was born. I just didn't realize that this would be the hardest part of having a new baby. Donut doesn't seem to understand that she cannot pick up the baby, press against him while he is nursing, feed him popcorn, or knee mama in the abdomen while she is still very sore. He-Man is having a hard time adjusting to things not being like "the old days". Man, is he my son. As much as I adore new babies, I do NOT like change and it takes me a while to start feeling normal again. And I feel sad about how things have changed and will never be the same for quite some time. What I find so intriguing is that my five year old is experiencing the exact same feelings and can eloquently express them verbally.
"Mama, how many more months are you going to be like this?" he asks.
"Hopefully just a couple more weeks and I'll start feeling better, buddy. Do you want to talk about it?"
Tearfully he climbs on my lap with a tissue blubbering, "I just want things to go back to the old days."
Pretty "tuned in" for a five year old.
Late-onset soreness and other physical problems
For the first few days following the birth, I felt psychotic but I was physically fine. Saturday I suddenly started to feel tender and sore everywhere. Then the fever set in and I was experiencing full-fledged mastitis due to a few blocked milk ducts caused by some "milk blebs" or, as a good friend of mine calls them "colostrum boogers". Sunday was bed rest and ice packs for me.
An easy baby
We've never had an easy baby before and we almost don't know what to do with him. He's soooo easy. When he cries, there is a reason. Once you take care of the problem, he stops crying. He likes the vacuum and the blender. He sleeps well in the crib, the bassinet, our bed, car seat, whatever. It certainly helps with bonding when you feel as if you can actually meet the baby's needs. What a novel concept. And what a blessing.
Support and help from friends
I'm totally overwhelmed by the emails, facebook comments, prayers, phone calls and FOOD being offered to us during this time. When I had He-Man, my in laws made some food for us once and two people we don't even know brought us food (that we weren't able to eat) from our church. I had NO friends who brought anything. Mostly because any friends of mine lived far away. With Donut, we had two friends bring food. But I only had a few more friends at that time in my life. Today, I have so many people in my life... people who I can call friends. I told the Captain tonight that the number of people bringing food and dropping by to help out and offering to do whatever they can is just a testament of the extended family I have created for myself and the children. I may have lost my parents but have gained a gigantic support network in the meantime and it's made that loss so much more bearable lately. I am so thankful and I love each and every one of my friends so very much. When you have no family of your own (meaning blood relatives), your friends have to take the place of the support network that would normally be made up of your aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, and parents. Thank you all! You know who you are.