This baby thing is amazing. Over the past six weeks I have learned things about being a parent. Some of them are pretty obvious, others are things I never saw coming. I read every baby book I could get my hands on. I read articles and blogs on parenting, birthing, newborns, stages, what to expect and what not to expect. But none of those things really mattered in the end.
1. You can’t believe they let you leave the hospital with this tiny baby.
Wait, there isn’t a manual that goes home with me?! You stay in the hospital for a few days, the nurses are wonderful and check on you and the baby every few hours. You are encouraged and surrounded by people who love babies and want to help. But then you have to go. You can’t stay in that little hospital bubble forever, even though you want to because it’s warm and cozy inside and you don’t have to cook or clean!
2. Family rocks.
Whew! This one will be hard to write without tearing up. My family and Matt’s family are just incredible. My parents drove into town the night Jude was born and saw him when he was only an hour old. My mom then stayed the entire week after that to help. “Help” is an understatement. She took over all the cleaning, cooking, driving, and caring. She took care of Jude and me and my husband. I don’t know what I would have done without her. My mom made sure we were sleeping, stayed up at night with Jude, went to Kroger, cleaned our house, brought me candy, made sure I was drinking enough fluids, and drove me around to all my appointments. And that’s just an overview! My mother-in-law and two sisters-in-law also came and were extremely helpful, loving, and caring. They watched Jude in the mornings so I could sleep in, snuggled with him and just showed him how special he is! We just have fabulous family.
And then there is the family who is not connected by blood, but by friendship. Wow. We were overwhelmed with food and gifts being brought to us weeks and weeks after Jude was born. I still have a few freezer meals waiting to be thawed and eaten thanks to our friends. How blessed we are.
3. Post-pregnancy body is loosey-goosey.
My favorite quote from my doctor while in the hospital was something along the lines of, “Don’t worry about your body. You just made a human. Your husband will love you no matter what you look like. Eat up! You are feeding someone else! Don’t pass a Dairy Queen without stopping and eating ice cream. You should not pass up on good food. Eat!” I wish he had written me a prescription to “Eat Dairy Queen”. I’m pretty sure I would have framed it.
4. You know your baby the best.
There were a TON of questions I had when we arrived at home. How long should he be sleeping? Should he be eating more? When do I need to change his clothes? How about his diaper? Should he take another bath? Is he breathing OK? Does that sound like snoring? Luckily my mother was here the first week and made me feel so much more confident as a mom.
But the truth is, you know your baby the best. I know that Jude doesn’t like to be swaddled anymore, he likes sleep sacks. He likes to have his hands outside of the blanket, not tucked in. He likes to be on his tummy. The activity mat is one of his favorite things. His left foot kicks a lot stronger than his right. Jude loves to have his diaper changed; and he loves to pee while there is no diaper. People will give you tons of advice. And I am sure that never ends. Just learn to smile and nod, listen to their advice, but always remember that you know your baby the best.
5. Eat. Sleep. Poop.
Everyone tells you this, and it’s actually true- and not just for the baby, but you too. And honestly, when it comes down to it and I have to make a choice between those three, I pick sleep. I always pick sleep.
A huge shout-out to my sister-in-law Erika for capturing our new little family with some amazing photos. These pictures are my very favorites!