Wednesday, December 10, 2014

One Month of Being Nate's Mama

I've been Nate's mom for one month! By the way, we call him Nathaniel, Nathan, Nate, bub, cutie pie, little stinker, handsome face, buddy boy, little man, and many other ridiculous nicknames, and you can also feel free to call him whatever strikes your fancy. Well, not whatever. Don't call him a butthead or a girl's name. Anywho. While I was pregnant, I read pretty much everything ever written on the internet about having a newborn; what to expect, sleeping strategies, feeding tips, etc. But there really is no way to prepare for what it's going to be like to have this tiny new human come live at your house and reply completely on you to meet his every need and soil every item in your house with various bodily fluids. But seeing as I'm now a seasoned expert at this mom gig (haha), I think I owe it to the internet to write one more post about what life is like when you have a brand spankin' new baby. The good, the bad, and the weird.

The good:

1. Having a baby that wants ME. I have spent a lot of time in my life trying to soothe babies who quite obviously want nothing to do with me. I'd be holding them and frantically trying to rock and bounce and soothe just right, and they'd be crying and staring at me with a look that clearly says, "Give me to someone who knows what they're doing; I hate your guts." I still have no idea what I'm doing, but as soon as Nate is in my arms, he instantly relaxes and looks so at home. It is more magical than I ever imagined. I thought it would be extremely draining being the one that the baby wants, and it is sometimes, but mostly it is a humbling and tender privilege to be that sweet baby's mama.

My little buddy.
2. A freshly bathed baby in pajamas. After our evening ritual of bath and lotion, I just sit and snuggle my babe and smell his intoxicating little baby head and fall in love all over again.
Homeboy loves his baths. He gets so zen.
3. Watching Cary be a dad. Oh be still my heart. I knew he would be the best dad ever. And he is so stinkin' tender to both Nate and me. I know having a baby will change our marriage, and it definitely gives us less time for each other, but so far it's just made me even crazier about that man. He was born to be a dad. When Cary holds Nate, Nate just stares at him, completely captivated. I stepped out of the shower one time to see Cary holding Nate in bed, reading his book aloud to Nate, and my heart was a puddle. Nate probably will be scarred for life from Cary reading "World War Z" out loud to him, but it was cute anyway.
I mean, really. Just the cutest duo I ever did see.
 4. Breastfeeding. I always thought I would hate it. And it was definitely a love-hate relationship in the awkward and painful learning stages. But now that we've mostly got the hang out of it, I just love feeding my baby with food my body makes specially designed for him. Breastfeeding used to weird me out so bad, and now it feels like the most natural thing I could do. Not everyone can breastfeed, and absolutely no judgment for however you feed your baby, but I am grateful that it's working for us, and grateful for those sweet moments. Pumping is still freakin' weird and I feel like a dairy cow. But being able to toss Cary the baby in the middle of the night and tell him to give Nate a bottle makes it oh so worth it.
5. I am actually loving this period of hunkering down and staying home and getting to know our baby. We venture out to the store or out to lunch every now and then, but mostly we stay home. I cuddle my baby, try to get things done around the house (which does take considerably more time than it used to), we go on walks when the weather is okay, and watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I only get to have my first baby once. Next time we have a baby, I will most likely be chasing around a toddler, and I won't have the luxury of staying home and taking it easy. So I am just savoring these days of just me and my little guy, and we both love it when daddy comes home. Also, I'm a total germaphobe and won't let anyone touch him, so laying low is good for everyone at this point.

 The bad:
1. The sleep deprivation. Oh sweet mercy. I knew I would be sleep deprived as a new mom, but I could not comprehend the depth of tiredness. Nate is such a sweet and alert baby, and unfortunately he thinks night time is the time to hang out and NOT sleep. He's slowly improving, but there was a solid week and a half or so where I could not get the stinker to sleep until 2 or 3 in the morning, unless he was in my arms. Woof. I also did not expect how much sleep deprivation would effect me. Postpartum hormones and sleep deprivation are one potent cocktail for going absolutely bonkers. I come completely emotionally unhinged when I'm severely sleep deprived. I cry over everything, feel detached from my baby, hate my husband, and get insanely anxious when I'm running on 3 hours of sleep. When I'm the throes of a crazy person meltdown, I absolutely can not find perspective. I am just convinced that I am going to hate my life forever and Nate is never going to sleep and life is ruined. Usually it takes Cary sending me to our room to sleep for me to snap out of it. And it's really amazing how restorative just a couple of hours of sleep can be for my psyche. I'm learning to hand the reigns over to Cary when I'm on the verge of a complete meltdown, and Nate is slowly learning to sleep better, so hopefully we'll figure this out and I won't have to run away to Vegas to become a showgirl after all.
Nice bed head, Nate! At least one of us around here is spending enough time asleep to get bed head...
2. The spit up. Nate is a very odd spitter-upper. He never spits up with any discernible pattern, and he doesn't often spit up in massive quantities, but every now and then he'll really spew. Usually right after we are both freshly dressed in clean clothes. He seems entirely un-phased by the events, so I'm sure he's just fine, but it's still gross.
3. The constant worry. Oh goodness, the worry. That baby can't so much as sneeze without me freaking out and googling his every symptom. The internet is so helpful and so awful when you are a new mama. I am really grateful for some awesome and helpful information I've found on the internet, but I have found about 500% more horrible advice and opinions. I'm slowly (very slowly) learning to trust my mama intuition and brush off the things I read that tell me that if my baby ever sleeps in his swing, he will never sleep through the night and probably will never get into college and it will be all my fault for not having the discipline to teach him from day 1 to sleep in his crib. Or conversely, if I don't hold my baby at every moment and feed him every time he makes a sound, he will never bond to me and will most likely end up in jail. People be trippin'.
He is obviously quite stressed too.
4. I hate changing diapers. A month in, and I still hate it. I thought I'd get used to it, and I sort of am used to it, but it's still the worst.
5. I also hate putting onesies on him. I feel like getting his giant head through that tiny neck hole must remind him of the trauma of birth.

Just chatting with Abby.

 The weird:
1. Smelling so bad. All of the time. I constantly smell like sour milk, spit up, and B.O. I had (still sometimes have) absolutely awful post-partum night sweats. Combined with leaky boobs and a baby that consistently leaks from both ends, and I actually shower more now that I have a baby than I did pre-baby. One night, Cary snuggled up all close to me and whispered tenderly in my ear, "Let me watch the baby while you take a shower. You smell really bad." It was really romantic.
2. Baby acne and postpartum acne. Nate and I could be on a mother-son Proactive commercial. People of Proactive, let me know if you want to get on that opportunity. It could be really darling.
3. Can we please just talk about how foreign your body feels after you have a baby? The belly you have been cultivating for 9 months is suddenly gone, but leaves behind some saggy skin and stretch marks. Your boobs are all kinds of out of whack and leaking and weird and often two completely different sizes. And as this is a family blog we aren't even going to mention your unmentionables. It is a war zone. Everything just feels a little out of sorts after birthing a tiny human.
4. Umbilical cords and circumcisions. So much weirdness.
"Well what did you expect Mom? All of this used to be inside of you and now it's outside. It's bound to be traumatic."
 5. It's still just really weird that an actual baby lives at my house. It's weird to write "diapers" on my shopping list. It's weird to carry a car seat out to the car. It's weird to have baby paraphernalia covering every surface of my house. It's awesome, but it's weird.

Cary brought him back from getting dressed after a bath with his first little faux hawk. We love messing with his hair and laughing at the ridiculous faces this baby makes. We should probably just start saving already for this child's therapy.
 What a month it's been. Not to be too cliche, but it's been the best of times and the worst of times. So much love and so much worry. So much happiness and so much stress. It feels like he was born yesterday and like he's always been here.

What a ride, Nathaniel Cary! We are so excited to watch you grow. Just don't grow too fast. I've started putting away newborn clothes you've outgrown, and it hurts my heart just a little bit. Even when you are keeping me up at all hours of the night or spitting up directly down my cleavage, I feel so blessed that your sweet little spirit joined our family. Looking into your bright eyes feels like peeking straight into heaven. We love you to pieces, baby Nate.


  1. I felt like I was pretty prepared for motherhood since I'm so old and I've been around a bajillion kids between my sisters and friends that have anywhere from 1-5 kids, and being in primary and all (btw, did I tell you I got released?! Hallelujah!), but I was blessed with a pretty easy going baby. Even in her easy going-ness, I've had moments where I thought I'd lose my mind like you described above. The one thing that hit me out of nowhere was the postpartum hormones+sleep deprivation. You would think that God would find a way to fix that and not make you crazy when caring for a completely helpless human being. When Ty left, I definitely had moments where I accidentally let her cry herself to sleep because I literally could not handle holding her bc I was so upset. I knew she was safe in her crib, and I knew nobody would hurt her there. The best thing advice anyone ever gave me was to put the baby down when I started to feel "unhinged." I don't feel like I normally get angry very quickly, but postpartum hormones + sleep deprivation changed that for me. :P Not sure if she's a good sleeper bc God made it that way bc neither of us would survive Ty's deployment if she wasn't.

    But you're right. Parenthood is the worst and the best all at once. I'm a worrier and I'm constantly looking at our baby monitor to make sure she's breathing. I always wonder if I gave her some mental disability if I didn't place her gently enough on her changing mat. Am I not reading her enough books? She watched 3 minutes of TV, is she gonna develop ADD?? I seriously think like this all day everyday. I guess at the end of the day, she loves me, and I love her and thats all that matters.

    Love the pictures :) <3 Glad everything is going well!

  2. the "bad' and the "weird" made me laugh out loud. It's like it was yesterday! Seriously though, it does pass you by and you do get sleep and don't end the day with 23 mystery stains on you! you're doing so awesome. and he is such a cutie.

  3. and with the previous commenter, it is always something...I am currently "worrying' about if we are reading enough and since he's watched elf for like the 4th time this week if he's ruined for life. WHATEVER--he's alive and happy. and we're alive and happy. win.

  4. Such a relatable post. Nate is such a handsome little baby and I just want to snuggle him! Also, your third to last picture where Nate is laying down but looks like there is a pair of boobs hovering over him. It took me a second to figure out what it actually was lol.