back on my feet

A few weeks before Cameron was born, I read an article in The Daily Beast entitled, “Why Are America’s Postpartum Practices So Rough On New Mothers?” It discusses how our modern culture is so focused on a mother’s quick recovery after giving birth, in contrast to hundreds of years ago when family and other female “attendants” would keep up the home and care for the postpartum mother as she recovered physically. This practice of a “lying in” period remains in many cultures, but has mostly fallen by the wayside in the U.S. Many women go at it alone, or with limited help and support from their partner or family. The article points out the pressure put on mothers to be “Facebook ready” in just a number of days. It’s no wonder, too, that women feel a need to get back on their feet straight away, given how most American parents are eligible for only a short amount of time off work. There’s not really time to sit on the couch for long.

IMG_7423

The piece really resonated with me. It made me realize that my mindset has been to recover as fast as possible, but mostly because I don’t do that well sitting around for long. I get antsy. It was really interesting, though, to think about our priorities these days. What are we trying to prove?

DSCN0258DSCN0268

This being my second child, I assumed I knew what I was in for with the recovery. But due to a small complication with the birth, my recovery was much more challenging this time around. Two weeks in and I still couldn’t get around very well. (It really made me wonder how women who have C-sections do it. My hats off to you ladies!) Dan was thankfully off of work for a week and a half (yep, a whole 10 days), but he day he went back, I cried. My mom was due to arrive that evening, but the prospect of a whole day alone with a baby and a toddler seemed insurmountable.

DSC05423

Thankfully, my mom was here for almost two weeks to lift heavy objects, cook and clean, and entertain my wild Willa. Not to mention provide hugs and support when my emotions got the best of me. This week, we’ve had more family in town for Thanksgiving. But next week, it’ll be just me. And managing two kids day in and day out by myself still feels quite daunting.

DSCN0223DSC05443

I know I’ll get it figured out. I have most of my energy back. I’m focusing on the good, and lowering my expectations for what needs doing in a day. I’m just thankful to have two beautiful children, a fantastic husband and teammate, wonderful family to call on whenever I need them, and amazing friends who listen to me whine and are always up for a playdate.

DSCN0238

Let’s end this post with this fantastic picture my mom captured of our family. Willa’s just as wild and crazy as she looks, but gosh, I love her so.

Advertisements

meal train generosity + breakfasts out in nw denver

Prior to Cameron’s birth, a kind and thoughtful friend organized a “meal train” for us. I’d never before asked friends to cook for me, so I felt a bit uncomfortable making the request, but given the chaos that I knew would ensue after the collision of a new baby and a rambunctious toddler, I decided I’d take the help if people want to give it.

And boy, have they delievered! I cannot believe the generosity of food (and by extension thoughtfulness, time, and effort) that has been showered on us by so many. I haven’t cooked a thing in the past two weeks, and we have even more meals on the way. I am so appreciative of what everyone has done for us during this exciting and totally overwhelming time. I hope I can return the kindness to everyone in my own way.

So since we’ve been totally set on dinners and lunches (thanks to leftovers), when some stir-craziness set in, we hit the streets for breakfast. We finally got around to trying a couple of places that have been on my list for ages, and both were divine.

The Universal
2911 West 38th Avenue
Denver, Colorado 80211

DSC05404DSC05399^^the location is a bit odd. it’s right off a main arterial road. in a strip mall next to a domino’s and a H&R Block. but inside, a hipster feels right at home amidst the reclaimed wood, efficient but not overly friendly servers, and on-trend menu.^^

DSC05398^^we’d looked at the menu ahead of time, so we knew we wanted the custard toast and ordered it right away since it said it was a “20 minute dish.” we had the sausage scramble as our more healthful option, and then ate the custard toast for dessert. both dishes were phenomenal. the scramble was super flavorful and the side of potatoes was particularly good. sometimes potatoes are an afterthought, but these were perfectly crispy and well-seasoned. and the custard. oh my goodness. it was basically bread pudding for breakfast, which was exactly what this postpartum lady needed!^^

DSC05402^^breakfast was our first significant outing with cam; one week after his birth. it took a good deal of effort for me to get dressed and out the door at a reasonable time that morning, but it was totally worth it. good food is always healing, and the short-lived time that babies just sleep in their car seats is delightful!^^

//

The Noshery
4994 Lowell Blvd
Denver, Colorado 80221

IMG_7476^^the noshery opened earlier this year in the regis neighborhood. it’s exactly the kind of place i wish was in walking distance from my house, but luckily it’s only a short drive (or bike or run when i’m feeling better) away. the have great pastries, sweets, as well as breakfast and lunch menus featuring sandwiches etc.^^

IMG_7472^^baby + raspberry scone + latte. they have two sizes for coffee: small and large. small is a regular mug, and large is this mug-bowl. i had no problem drinking it all, but i’m picky about the temperature. once i’d had about 3/4 of it, the rest was cold. they were happy to put it in a to-go cup for me though!^^

IMG_7475^^this was just a couple days before the weather turned cold and denver got it’s first snowfall. i miss those pretty leaves already!^^

the first night home with a newborn

DSC05378

I’ve always been a concrete thinker. When someone tells me what they do for work, what I’m really wondering is not what their field or job title is, but what they actually do all day. More than once I’ve asked someone, “ok, so you go into your office, you sit down at your desk, and then what?” I like the details. I could give several other examples of this…Recently, I asked a friend whose house is always super clean, “Seriously. How do you do it? When do you clean? For how long? Tell me your secret!”

It amazes me, then, that despite the 998,230,301,394,720 things you can find on the internet about having a baby and caring for a newborn, there are very few outlines of what you actually do when you first bring home your baby. There’s lots of general advice about feeding and sleeping and taking care of yourself and the baby etc. etc. But where’s the step-by-step guide?

Both times I’ve had a baby, the first day home has caused me to freeze a bit. (More so the first time, but this time as well!) Nighttime comes, and we stand in our room with the baby, and say to ourselves, “Ok. Now what?” It doesn’t matter what advice you’ve read or which parenting philosophy you’ve “chosen.” In that moment, you have to do something.

So, if you’re one of the 5 people who read this blog of mine, you’re in luck! Because here’s my detailed version of the ins and outs of a first day at home with a newborn:

1:30pm – Arrive home after an uncomfortable car ride during which you noticed bumps on the road that never seemed to be there previously. Limp into the house hoping the neighbors don’t see you. You’re not quite ready to be cheery. Have husband carry carseat into house. Set it on the floor for the dog to smell.

1:45pm – Send husband to fetch a blanket to cover the couch. Lots of potential for messes in the coming days, and the last thing you want to worry about is cleaning the couch. Have big sister hold the baby before Dad takes her upstairs for naptime. Take a few pictures, but you’re not really feeling “photo-ready.”

2:00pm – Attempt to nurse baby. At this point your milk may or may not be coming in, but either way it’s important to offer things up. Change your baby’s diaper to rouse him, and then he’ll likely proceed to poop again while nursing. Rookie mistake.

2:30pm – Find some place to put the baby down. Perhaps back in the carseat, or in a bouncer or swing or lounger or other baby item everyone told you that you “needed.”

2:45pm – Have a snack. Perhaps a sweet treat someone sent you, or fresh fruit, which you’ll likely be craving. Hydrate.

DSC05333

3:00pm – Take a shower. Hopsital rooms have showers, obviously, but during both my hospital stays they seemed way too daunting. Showering at home, however, improved my overall mood tremendously.

3:45pm – Relocate necessary items from your room and the baby’s room to the downstairs. Having the nursey all “ready” always seems like a great idea until you realize you’ll be spending most of your time with your baby in the general living spaces of your house.

4:00pm – Settle onto the couch and nurse baby again.

4:30pm – Relax on couch while baby relaxes on you.

5:30pm – Friends visit! If you’re lucky like me, they bring you ice cream sandwiches. They hold the baby while hearing some version of his “birth story.”

6:00pm – The doorbell rings again while you’re nursing the baby again. (Take notes. This detail is a good one!) Out-of-town friend has sent the best local delivery option imaginable. Husband sets the table while you find a pillow or other soft item to sit on. You move the sleeping baby to the bouncer/swing/lounger that you’ve placed near the table. Take pictures. Eat more than you should have because you didn’t quite realize the still fragile state of your systems.

DSC053376:30pm – Move back to the couch. Nurse baby. Overwhelm yourself mentally with questions about breastfeeding that you likely won’t even remember in a couple days.

7:00pm – Say goodnight to  your toddler, not moving from couch. Upload a picture of the baby to social media. Nurse baby again in anticipation of visitors at 8pm.

8:00pm – Neighbors come over! They brought your favorite beer! Drink some! But not too much.

9:30pm – Neighbors leave. Nurse baby again. Drink a little more beer.

10:00pm – Head upstairs to bedroom. Settle gingerly into bed and nurse baby.

10:30pm – Have husband swaddle baby, because he’s basically a professional swaddler and you suck at it.

10:45pm – Place your baby on his back in the Pack ‘n Play, turn out the lights, lie down, and cross your fingers.

10:50pm – Baby starts wailing. Husband gets out of bed faster than you can, picks baby up, and bounces him for a bit. Baby is quiet until put down again. Cries.

11:00pm – Husband takes baby downstairs and holds him to get him to sleep.  You sleep, amazed at how much more comfortable your bed is than the hospital’s.

1:00am – Husband returns with baby. You take 5 minutes to get yourself to seated in the bed, and then take off the baby’s swaddle and pajamas so he’ll wake up enough that you can nurse him.

2:00am – Husband swaddles him again, and puts him back in the Pack ‘n Play. He fusses for awhile, but doesn’t fully cry.

2:30am-6am – Everyone sleeps!

6am – Nurse baby.

6:30am – Big sister wakes up. Time to head back downstairs to your couch. Real coffee awaits!