Anyway, my last post was about Riley's birth. I'm not sure how to describe the month after that...'rough' might be a good word to start out with. This is my blog so I'm going to be real here and say that I struggled. I think I thought that everything would go smoothly--sure, I'd lose some sleep here and there, but overall I would just be swimming in feelings of love for my newborn and none of the hard stuff would matter. While I definitely loved my newborn (I mean look at him...who couldn't love that?), I encountered many things I wasn't prepared for...
1. Endless Crying. I'm not just referring to Riley, but to me as well. I cried ALL THE TIME. The combination of stress and no sleep overcame me and I found myself bawling my eyes out. I have memories of just sitting in the rocking chair, holding my sweet baby and crying. It was an emotion overload. I consider myself a strong individual, so this all came as a shock to me. Postpartum Depression was also a factor here I believe. I never thought I would get the "baby blues," but I got smacked upside the head with them. Despite having this amazing, beautiful baby that truly made me SO happy, I didn't smile often. I remember Daniel (and a few other people) noticing that I was not happy. Amidst all of this I had to go back to work less than 4 weeks after giving birth. I'd say it wasn't until month 4 or 5 that I improved and found ways to keep the baby blues at bay.
2. My Need for a Support System. Thank GOODNESS I had my mother and sister staying with me that first week or I think I would have had a full-blown mental breakdown. They rocked Riley when I just couldn't listen to his crying anymore in the middle of the night. They offered so much support by comforting me (during all the crying, see #1 above), cooking meals, grocery shopping, and cleaning. My husband was also amazing. The first few days are so rough because I was trying to heal from birth while taking care of a newborn. He would help me to the toilet and the shower (embarrassing!) and even help change my "dressings" down there when I couldn't by myself (MORE embarassing!). He never complained once about any of this.
3. Breastfeeding Didn't Go Perfectly. I am incredibly pro-breastfeeding so making sure that this was a possibility for me was very important. I read all the books beforehand and did as much preparation as possible. I knew there was going to be some discomfort, but holy COW I had no clue. It took over 6 weeks before I didn't cry every time he breastfed. It hurt SO bad! I went to a lactation consultant who helped with his latch and things got better from there, but WOW. It felt like he needed to be fed constantly. Every time I sat down for a break he started crying and it was time to feed again...for 40 minutes every time. It was practically on an hour, off an hour. This was a major thing that contributed to #1 above. I knew I was doing the right thing for my baby and thank goodness I was COMMITTED to breastfeeding or I would have given up on week 2 or 3 for sure, but MAN was it tough. It's still tough! I constantly struggle keeping up my milk supply and it causes me a lot of stress. Pumping enough bottles to give to the babysitter every other days is a NEVERENDING struggle. I will totally admit that I can't WAIT to ween this kid when he's a year old! I will miss breastfeeding, but NOT pumping!
4. The Unsoothable Baby. Before I had Riley I thought that babies would just rock in the swing, or just chill with their pacifier. I couldn't anticipate that I would have a baby who liked none of this. He hated the swing. He hated his car seat (at first). He hated the pacifier. NOTHING WORKED. I have friends whose babies just chill in a rocker for an hour or so just fine, but I never got that experience. To this day he is still pretty high maintenance like that. He never took the binky. He only plays on his own for maybe 5-10 minutes and then gets bored and needs attention. He hates napping. He won't just chill in his high chair OR the swing OR the jumper OR his play mat. I guess it's just his personality. Essentially all this led to me getting very little time to take a breather, which of course constantly contributed to #1 above.
Now, I know this sounds like a lot of complaining and above all I am SO grateful to have an amazing son who truly fills my life with joy. Still, I want to put it out there that a lot of women portray this perfect life online through Facebook and Instagram with their newborns that can make you feel bad sometimes. I felt like a TERRIBLE mother. I mean, what mom cries that often when they have so much to be thankful for? I am sure it made it look like I didn't love my new son, but I did.
On day 4 of having a baby I could no longer stay in the house--it's just my personality. I HAD to get out of there, so we went to a mall and just walked around with the baby in the stroller. It was delightful, but I had several ladies in the stores telling me I should be at home and not out and about already. Little did they know that getting out of the house that day kept me from just spending hours crying in my room.
Maybe there are women who have these just lovely months after they give birth where everything is snuggles, and bonding, and pure happiness. Maybe. But for me that was only part of the experience and I want other women who struggle with some of the same things I did to know that they are not alone.
That being said, here are some things I have LOVED about having a baby!
1. Everything He Learns is Exciting. Seriously. Daniel and I were just reminiscing about this yesterday. We exploded with excitement that first time he smiled, laughed, held something in his hand, reached for the birds above his playmat, cooed, rolled over, said "dada," crawled, ate food, etc. Each new thing he learns brings me so much joy! And it's adorable!
2. He Loves Me...SO MUCH. I can't describe how it feels to have this tiny human that thinks you are thebomb.com. His eyes light up when I enter the room and he comes crawling to me as fast as he can! He reaches for me when he's sad. There is something so fulfilling and beautiful about this unconditional love and need. I ADORE watching him look up and me while nursing and just smile out of nowhere. Seriously...I melt.
3. Watching Daniel Become a Dad. Dads are hott, guys. Daniel has become an amazing dad. I know he has struggled with a lot of things since having Riley, but he is such a trooper. He helps me however he can and usually does so without complaint. Riley loves him so much. I say, "Where's Dada?" and he frantically looks around the room, hoping for him to come through the door. When Daniel gets home from work and bursts through the door, Riley FREAKS out, waving his arms all around, smiling, and making his crazy pterodactyl noises! Basically, watching Daniel become an ever better person because of Riley has been amazing.
Because I haven't blogged in a while there are so many things I have missed, but here are a few milestones I want to remember, and a few of my favorite pictures for each week/month.
First smile: About 2 months old
First laugh: About 3 months old
Ate rice cereal: 4.5 months old. Now he eats everything.
Rolled over back to front: Just shy of 5 months old, On Christmas Day, 2013. We were all opening presents in Dubai and he just did it out of nowhere! What a great present!
Rolled over front to back: About 5 months, 1 week old.
Crawled: 6.5 months old. He was in a HURRY to get moving. This has been a huge blessing because now he can entertain himself for longer periods of time which has helped immensely with my sanity!
ONE WEEK OLD
THREE WEEKS OLD
ONE MONTH OLD-BLESSING DAY!
TWO MONTHS OLD
THREE MONTHS OLD
FOUR MONTHS OLD
FIVE MONTHS OLD
SIX MONTHS OLD
SEVEN MONTHS OLD
EIGHT MONTHS OLD
Again, we LOVE this cutie and we feel truly blessed that he is ours! I will hopefully keep this blog MUCH more updated on the Faulk comings and goings! I will also have to do some flashback posts to write about some of the great things that have happened to us these past eight months!