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June 13, 2013

Hobbling Out in the World

IMG_20130613_162020We made it to the Farmers Market yesterday, my first outing since coming home from the hospital. I had to hobble there while clutching my incision, and for the first time ever, we had to implore our slowpoke daughter not to walk so fast, but we made it and it was lovely to be in the world, even if the soundtrack was a bagpiper dueting with steel drummer on a version of Jamaica Farewell. We also came home with strawberries and raspberries, so it was definitely worth the trek. I’ve elected to spend today in bed though, partly because I don’t want to overdo it, and also because Iris was up most of the night, scarcely sleeping for more than an hour at a time.

It still remains true how much easier this experience of having a newborn baby has been. Part of this is because we skipped the stage where Baby loses 11% of her body weight and breastfeeding is as difficult as it is constant. Iris had surpassed her birth weight as of Monday and she’s doing very well, bouts of misery aside (which can be attributed to diagnosis:Baby). Partly because we knew what to expect in terms of the all-night fussiness and the problems which have no solutions. (This time I have not once paged the midwife because the baby refuses to go to sleep.) I am not resisting having Iris in bed with us when required, which was a huge hurdle before–everyone had warned that it was the slippery slope to the end of life as we know it, but now I know that it isn’t. I have not googled anything newborn-related to seek advice from uninformed, hysterical women who are as desperate as I am, and as I result, I do not feel so desperate. The holy trinity of a queen-sized bed, my smart-phone in the wee hours and the placenta pills continue to bolster us. My husband who is not going back to work anytime soon. All these things are making these days quite different than the last time we went through them. Also the knowledge that these are probably the last time we’ll go through them. It seems to me that having a second baby is like getting a tattoo after all.

When we went out into the world yesterday, I was not surprised to discover it was still there. It doesn’t seem surprising that life has gone on normally while our family has been changed forever. Iris’s arrival has not so shaken the foundation of our existence as Harriet’s did, mostly because we were parents already and have not had to weather the explosion of becoming so, and also because Harriet herself ties us to the world, to the pattern of ordinary days. Stuart gets up in the morning and takes her to school, and she comes home with dispatches from the world beyond the four walls of my room. She demands meals and bedtime, stories read, games played. “Pay the most attention to me,” she demands, ever comfortable with voicing her needs. And so we have not been able to be sucked into that funnel cloud of newborn mania, crazed internet searches, middle of the night despair, logs of inputs and outputs. Downstairs we have the Hospital for Sick Children Baby Care book, and if you open it you will find the marginalia of a madwoman. There is a chapter on sleep habits, and I went through it with a pen underlining every single bit of text. Obviously, the notes were unhelpful, and I’ve not opened that book in quite some time.

Which is not to say that I didn’t cry this morning after being up all night when the bad baby still wouldn’t settle. But I had a nap and then I felt better, and I’m looking forward to walking a little bit farther tomorrow.

3 thoughts on “Hobbling Out in the World”

  1. Harriet looks as pleased as only a big sister can. I know. I am such a sister. Thank you for your lovely posts and for this sweet photo of your two girls.

  2. Heidi says:

    So so lovely. So so happy for you. x

  3. Laura says:

    This gives me hope for the (if and when) next time around.

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