I LOVE being a mom. It is so freaking hard and I still love it. And it's nothing like I thought it would be. There is nothing like motherhood to show you how much you need to change and how much you, in fact, do NOT have things together.
Our hospital visit is a wonderful blur of a memory to me. I was told that the hospital stay kind of sucked, but I absolutely loved it. Despite being in some pain, everything was ethereal - the nurses were kind, Drew was a champ and Jolie was, well, very real. Drew and I were exhausted and undeniably elated. Those two days may become some of the sweetest in my memory.
We came home to a clean house (thank you, Renata!) and an overwhelming sense of responsibility. What would I do with this little, helpless baby with no nurses around and Drew soon returning to work? The first week was a challenge, and that's an understatement. We had a bout with jaundice, nursing issues and then a car accident to top off the first 7 days of Jolie's life. I'm pretty sure I've never cried more in a 7 day period - ever. The next 2 weeks were a recovery period; though there were some nights I felt like I couldn't do it anymore. I remember the first time I felt angry at Jolie and the first time (of many) I lamented, I never want to do this again! Why did we think this was a good idea?! as I cried my eyes out and Drew gently assured me that it could only go up from there. People asked me if I liked being a mom and sometimes, I lied when I said yes. Sweet Jolie was in the world and I was her mom, but it was harder than I thought...and my heart was heavier than I expected. Drew always reminded me that all first time moms go through all this muck and that I wasn't weird. In retrospect, the late nights really did take their toll on me. Though, even in the late night feedings, I was given grace in the form of a sweet, sleeping baby, her stomach full, diaper changed and needs met. Sometimes I would just sit in the dark and hold Jolie while she slept, taking my time to hold her close and smell her before putting her back in the cradle. Mmm, yes, those were sweet times.
Things started getting better once I began implementing a routine with Jolie. Drew and I decided before Jolie was born to give Babywise a try. I know it's super controversial, but it's principles worked wonderfully for us. Jolie began daily cycles of eating, awake time and naps. The first 6 weeks were pretty challenging. Jolie's little body had to get used to eating and sleeping, plus she was learning the difference between night and day. By week 8 though, we were averaging 6 hours of nighttime sleep and we both began to know what to expect during the day. Now, at 15 weeks, Jolie sleeps 10-11 hours every night - and so do I, thank goodness. I know Babywise and routines are not for everyone, but they worked wonders for my sanity. I received a ton of practical advice from Chrissy S. (thank you, thank you!), and since then have joined a forum with other Babywise moms.
Jolie has been exclusively breastfed since day 1 and, with the exception of maybe 4 bottles of formula, has continued to do so. I love nursing! That may sound weird, but I do. We're coming in to 4 months and going strong; and since we had such a rough start, I am proud of both of us! :) I'm hoping to continue for her first year; we'll see how it goes.
Right around week 8, Jolie began to smile! I definitely cried. We discovered she has a trademark dimple like me, just a little higher on her face. She crinkles her nose when she is happy, too, and I'm not sure where she got that from. Smiling babies are wonderful. Motherhood began to feel rewarding! Nowadays, Jolie smiles most of the day and coos and chit chats with me regularly. She is a little social butterfly already, sometimes interrupting a nursing session to look up at me and babble. She even wakes in the morning happy and cooing away!
We started off with nicknames immediately, shortening Jolie to Jo a lot of the time. I began calling her Jolie Girl, which has still stuck. Drew trademarked Jolie Bug early on and, surprisingly, that is her most common nickname! Jolie Bug inspired Jo Bug, Little Bug, The Bug, Bug...and with different activities, Water Bug and Bed Bug. She is The Bug. Drew also dubbed Jo's pajamas "P Jo's" (instead of PJs). :)
Jolie's entering such a fun stage of life! She really likes looking at books and loves her bouncy chair. She is very interested in words more than pictures; she likes contrast. Funny enough, her favorite things to look at are our Chinese scroll and her panda bear dangling toy. Proof of her heritage? :)
I can honestly say that now, 109 days later, I am having fun. I love spending the day with Jolie and getting to experience her little milestones. I know she's growing up fast and we're already talking about her being mobile and throwing tantrums...and I've already cried over her wedding day. Oh my.
Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He fills my life with good things...
Let all that I am praise the Lord.