One Week with Baby Lennon
I look at my son and cannot believe that it has already been one week since I first laid eyes on him. It feels like he has been here my whole life. I am just so grateful that we decided to try for him, that we never stopped hoping for him and that we didn’t let my past experience with mental health stand in our way of creating him. I am just so thankful right now.
He is in my arms most of the day, so responding to comments is difficult, but I just wanted to thank every single one of you for your well wishes, congratulations and kind comments.
Life with Lennon is so much sweeter. Below is a little recap of how the first week with Lennon has gone.
Bringing Him Home
One of the main motivations for having a natural birth at a birthing center was that we got to come home only four hours after giving birth. The midwives believe that we get the best rest at home and after experiencing both a hospital birth and one at a birthing center, I couldn’t agree more. I got asked a few times if I was worried about bringing him home so soon after birth and honestly I wasn’t. I trusted the research showing that if a complication did arise for either mom or baby, it would typically show within the first four hours after delivery. I also never felt like I was “leaving” the birthing center entirely as they called me that night and the following morning to check in. We also brought him into the center at two and three days old. They keep a very watchful eye on both mom and baby during this delicate recovery process which has helped me feel at ease.
I plan to share our whole birth experience soon. I feel like I am still processing it, thinking about it and replaying it in my mind. It’s just too sacred and raw right now which makes it hard to get out on paper.
Winter is my little empath. This means she feels to the core of her which is one of her greatest strengths but also makes life harder for her to navigate. She goes from bliss to deep and big emotions within a short time span and we have done our best to help her navigate these emotions as she adjusts to her new life with Lennon.
I labored through the night. Lennon was born at 7:19 am which means we were home by noon. Upon bringing him home Winter greeted us at the door and yelled, “Is baby Lennon out of your tummy, Mommy?” She was so excited to touch him. She immediately asked to hold him, so we brought him in and placed him in her lap. As soon as the baby touched her arms, her lower lip started to quiver and she completely lost it. Although she was crying, she was able to articulate that she was feeling big emotions and that it was so strange for Lennon to be out of Mommy’s belly. She must have cried for five minutes. It was a really beautiful and raw response. I tear up thinking about it. Even at two years of age, meeting a newborn can have such a depth of emotions associated with it, and she felt every single one of them in the temple of her heart.
The next few days were so challenging. Winter was defiant, cried constantly and seemed really aggravated. Perry’s mother was here to help but Winter wouldn’t let her do anything. She didn’t want her to fill up her milk cup, give her a bath, read to her, nor put her to bed. She only wanted Mom or Dad. My heart felt so divided. I knew she needed me but I physically couldn’t tend to her needs. It also made both Perry and me very frustrated at times. For her to yell at us, say no constantly and test boundaries were (and still is) exhausting. And as much as we tried to wrap our arms around her and help her navigate these emotions, both Perry and I found ourselves raising our voices at her at times of peak frustration.
I think it wasn’t until day four when I saw a glimpse of Winter in her entirety. She seemed much more at peace and was beginning to understand that little Lennon wasn’t going anywhere. She did, however, ask me to put him in the basement (hehe). I am sure she will continue to say silly things like that in the days to come.
She’s also coined some pretty hilarious nicknames for him—names only a big sister can get away with saying. One morning she came downstairs, crawled into bed with us, looked at Lennon and said “Oh hey there little nuts!” We have no idea where she came up with it and it has stuck. She calls him little nuts at least twice a day :)
How I am Doing Emotionally and Physically
Lennon came out OP or sunny-side up, meaning the largest part of his head came out first. This makes labor and delivery particularly rough because as he dropped into the birth canal, his head repeatedly hit my sacrum creating very intense back labor. Poor thing had a bruise on his forehead the first two days from where his head hit me during labor. Winter was OP too…guess that’s the way my babies like to come out (head facing up as if they didn’t want to miss the party, hehe).
Because of the back labor, I am still in a lot of pain. My tailbone feels like a hammer had hit it over and over and over again so my doula suggested that I may need to see a physical therapist if it doesn’t start to resolve in a few more days.
I did tear a little that had required four stitches. But for some reason recovery down there has been a lot easier than it was with Winter. I like to think it was all the essential oil I used during pregnancy, delivery and beyond that has helped me heal so quickly. I plan to do a post all about essential oils for labor and recovery soon(ish)!
Breastfeeding has also been 1,000,000 times easier this time around. There were a few days (day 3 and 4) where my nipples were raw and starting to scab. I went to Walgreens to look for a nipple shield and ended up crying in the pharmacy line because it was so long and I needed help finding them. I never found them and after going to two more pharmacies to look for them, I gave up and came home. Thankfully, my nipples healed really quickly and breastfeeding has been going much better now that my nipples aren’t so sore.
I am SO thankful I have the team around me that I do. I have talked to my doula every single day since birth and we had a really beautiful but hard conversation two days ago. For some reason, day 4 and 5 postpartum are always emotionally so hard for me. I think it’s because the adrenaline wears off and the sleep deprivation begins to become more evident. I had a few warning signs that I associated with depression and OCD that felt like a dark cloud looming over me and had a few intrusive thoughts about hurting Lennon or Winter. They scared me…like the living shit out of me. I’ve been so transparent about my past with PPD/OCD and I pray every single night that I don’t get it with Lennon. So having a few signs threw me off and I needed to talk to someone about it right away. My doula and I decided that I am calling my doctor to talk about dosage for my antidepressants and that I would attend a postpartum support group at my counselor’s center this week as well as a breastfeeding class at my midwives. We both think that being around other moms in the same phase of life would be helpful for me. Community really is everything.
My doula also suggested that I write a list of affirmations and scatter them around the house where I can see them. I need to fill my world with positivity and light as much as possible, just like I did before birth. I cried to her while in the bathtub. I let myself show fear but I also allowed myself to feel hope too. Winter happened to be in the bath with me and kept asking if I was sad. I paused my conversation to address her and I told her I was feeling overwhelmed but having her near me made me feel safe. She looked into my eyes and said, “Mommy, I am here for you.” It’s a moment I will remember for the rest of my life. My daughter has so much strength and I won’t shy away from showing her my range of emotions because I think it’s so important to model for her how to feel big emotions and then how to cope accordingly.
The last thing my doula said to me was the most significant. She said, “Nothing has been lost.” She kept repeating this sentence to me and it’s one I repeat in my head often. Nothing is lost. I am whole. And even if I do have times of emotional vulnerability, I have not missed out on the beauty of it all. I am present with my son, my daughter, my husband and with myself. Not one bad thought or feeling of doom and gloom can take that away from me. I am bigger than it this time around.
Sleep? What’s that? I keep reminding myself that at this point Lennon does not know where I end and where he begins. We are still one and that requires a lot of physical touches these last few days. I walk around with my shirt off and with Lennon nuzzled to my chest most of my day. We have a bassinet and a co-sleeping pillow and we try to find opportunities to put him in it like at dinner time or when we are playing with Winter, but he has yet to really take to either of them.
So what does nighttime look for us? He is nuzzled in my arms, skin to skin and I don’t sleep much from the hours of midnight to six AM (Perry takes him to midnight, so that I can sleep a few hours on the front end, and then gets up with with him around 6 so I can get another hour or two on the back end). So during the depths of the night, I just hold him, love on him, feed him and tell myself that this newborn phase goes quickly so to soak it all in. These moments are fleeting and I plan not to rush them.
Thank you to each and everyone of you who has commented, direct messaged, emailed and texted. I am so grateful to be in your presence and I could never articulate what you all mean to me. I will be taking some time off here and there as we continue to adjust to our new life. Please know that even if I don’t respond to your beautiful words, they are received and I am forever grateful. Thank you for loving on my family the way you do…
Photography by Kyla Fear