Wednesday, February 4

The first week of life...

So we are one week into our new life as a family of four. And for the most part, things are going way better than expected.

This second newborn experience couldn't possibly be more different from my first. It's the complete opposite experience actually.  With Zachary, it was rather brutal, to be honest. He started crying at around the second or third hour of life and pretty much didn't stop until he was 4 months old.
He was inconsolable! The only thing that could stop his screaming was breastfeeding. So I breastfed him constantly... like every hour and a half, around the clock. Adrien would take a middle of the night shift for 2-3 hours pacing around the apartment "shushing" him (until he would almost make himself pass out) just so that I could get a little break. Those were dark days, my friends. Those were very dark days.
(Remember this post from 2 years ago? Yikes, it makes me tear up just reading it!)

But you guys! I think I may have hit the newborn jackpot with this one.
He is soooooooooo easy! Now, I'm well aware that he is only 1 week old, and that things are going to change.... but just for now anyway, I have a dream-baby on my hands. And I am so so so eternally grateful for this gentle start and transition into being a mother of two.

Because our little Noah was born small and a little bit undernourished, he has a lot of catch-up growth to do.  So he's in this quiet sleeping/eating/growing phase right now that demands very little of us, save for a 15-20 minute breastfeeding session every 2-3 hours. But there's no screaming, no crying for no apparent reason, only pure joy. Our biggest challenge so far is actually keeping him awake long enough to take in a decent amount of milk. He sleeps all day and all night when he's not feeding (even then, I'm not entirely convinced that he's fully awake). He even slept through his first bath. It's like he's still in the womb. But every day he has a little bit longer of a wake period, and he looks around contently at the world, sucks on his fingers, and takes everything in.

^^ 1. First bath. 2. Sleep smiling ^^

We had his first doctors visit yesterday, and he's gaining weight like a champ! What a relief!
With my first baby I was constantly feeling that I didn't have enough milk. This time around I have more than little Noah can even handle.

It's all seeming a little too good to be true at this point. But hey, I'll take it! For as long as it lasts...

^^ Zachary's initial reaction to meeting his brother was so precious & sweet. And (for full disclosure) about 1 minute later, this magical moment ended when Zac spotted the automatic hospital bed control buttons.... and let's face it, no newborn baby can compete with that! ^^

^^ big brother, little brother ^^

So how is Zachary adapting to all this change? Well, he's having some ups and some downs, that's for sure. He seems SO proud to be a big brother, and he loves to show visitors how well he can hold his little brother. And so far he has been very gentle with the baby.
But he's also had some mild breakdowns too... like when we tell him "no" to just about anything. He just seems more sensitive and testy overall this week, but I guess that is to be expected.
We are doing our best to give Zac plenty of undivided attention. And so far, thanks to Noah being asleep all the time, our routine hasn't actually changed all that much. I've still been able to put Zac to bed, read him stories and sing him lullabies every night this week.

During the day, Adrien has been taking Zac out of the house (to give me some quiet time with Noah) and going on highly exclusive "big boy adventures"... to the grocery store, or pharmacy, and Zac has been loving this. Yesterday they spent the morning at the Montreal Biodome, while I enjoyed a  leisurely morning of uninterrupted coffee & reading, a long bubble bath, and lots of peaceful snuggle time with baby Noah.
Guys, if you had told me that this is what my first week as a mother of two was going to look like I would NOT have believed you for a second!

^^ Wine & sushi were first up on the menu this week! ^^

^^ 1. Zachary happily helping me make banana bread while Noah sleeps. 2. Zac playing not-so-quietly beside his sleeping brother. 3. Zac enjoying some "alone time", listening to Raffi on my iPhone  with his awesome toddler headphones... he asks to do this on his own, and somehow I think the private time is really beneficial for him. He's processing & integrating so much right now. ^^

After having experienced an excruciatingly difficult newborn the first time, and now an unbelievably easy one the second time (and doing almost nothing differently on my end), I must say that I do think there is a bit of luck involved. It's too easy for parents of easy babies to judge parents of not-so-easy babies thinking they must be doing something wrong (and likewise for parents of difficult babies to compare themselves and believe they must be failures and doing everything wrong).
But in my experience anyway, it seems like babies are just born with a certain temperament. Some are irritable and need to cry all the time, while others are just innately calmer. Having Noah be so easy-going has definitely given me some redemption as a mother. Up until he came along I was under the impression that the reason Zachary had been so difficult as an infant was because of the many "parenting mistakes" I had made. But I'm parenting essentially the same way this time around, and the results are completely different.
Maybe it's not me after all, maybe it's just them.
And no matter what, I know now from personal experience, it all always works out in the end.


Juli said...

My daughter had a similar experience, but she had the easy baby boy first, then the "crabby" one! They all survived and now even "crabby" baby boy is a happy 7 month old :) Congratulations!

Tiffany Kadani said...

Oh my gosh oh my gosh so sweet!

Katja Maki said...

Congratulations! What a wonderful family you have! What a precious little addition and a unique Aquarian at that! All the best to you all.

Natalie said...

The pictures of Zac and Noah together just slay me. I can't wait to watch them grow up together and be the bestest of friends.

And I am so so so happy Noah is being so good to you. What a relief that must be!

Keep the posts and pics coming, I can't get enough.

Nicole R. said...

This post makes me so happy! The pictures of Zac and Noah are so precious!! I'm so happy for you that things are going well! You and Adrien are amazing parents, and I'm happy to hear that overall Zac is adjusting well! You guys rock and your boys are so precious! Lots of love to you all! xoxo, Nicole

Lady Grey said...

Thank you, ladies :)

Catherine said...

Félicitations encore ! Noah Lawrence is simply beautiful.
I'm really glad things are going so well as a family of four! Zachary seems like a great (and happy) big brother! As for being more sensitive and testy it'll probably tone down as the weeks go by. I already see a big difference with Leonard 6 weeks in (although asking to put on snow pants is still a guaranteed melt-down!).
And I'm happy you got the birth experience you were hoping for! Giving birth makes you find strength you never knew you had. Like a warrior who just won the most epic battle!

Lady Grey said...

Thank you, Katja.
ps: I just checked out your website, and oh my goodness your photographs are BEAUTIFUL!

Lady Grey said...

That's always nice to hear. Thank you, Juli :)
Also, your paintings are really gorgeous - you inspire me to bring out my old brushes and try my hand at painting again... it has been soooo long! xo

Lady Grey said...

Thank you, Catherine (and for all your support in general these past few weeks!).
You're awesome :)