Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Three Weeks Down

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Little Miss Joanie May is three weeks old today. I am so, so, so, so tired that a photo and a short post is all I can muster this afternoon. Jackson started camp today (he’ll go twice a week for the next three weeks, and then six weeks from tomorrow he starts PUBLIC SCHOOL, OH MY GOD, I’M SO EXCITED), which is wonderful because, between dropping him off and picking him up, I have a little over five hours alone with Joanie. And since she sleeps a big chunk of the day, I had some grand plans for tackling my to-do list during that time, including lining up content for the next couple of days, but, after pumping twice (I get a lot more milk out by pumping than nursing, but I do both), bottle-feeding Joanie twice, getting dinner started in the slow-cooker, doing a load of laundry, making a batch of granola bars (oatmeal’s good for breastmilk production they say; also, granola bars = delicious), and changing about four dirty diapers, all I want to do now is nap (I’ve been averaging about four hours of sleep a night, which is torture).

I will say that I’ve been a little nervous about the three-week mark. Typically, that’s when the “baby blues” hit the hardest, and after Jackson’s birth that was certainly the case. I have such a vivid memory of when Jackson was three weeks old and he already had a cold and his weight plummeted to 4 1/2 pounds because he was too sick to eat and Drew had just gone back to work and my hormones were a mess and I was so insanely exhausted, and I stumbled into a nearby coffee shop in search for salvation, but Jackson wouldn’t stop screaming and everyone in the shop glared at me until I slowly backed out the door without buying anything. I remember walking down the block aimlessly, tears spilling down my face as Jackson cried and cried and I had no idea how to calm him down. Things are much better this time around, thank God. My hormones don’t seem nearly as wonky (thanks, in part, to having my thyroid condition properly controlled) and, when Joanie has crying jags, which have started in abundance over the last few days after we began thinking we might have produced the world’s most mellow baby ever (alas, no, she’s a true Condellberry, it turns out), I don’t freak out like I might have when Jackson was this age. Also, I do not ever, ever, under any circumstances, leave a coffee shop without securing a caffeine fix. I mean, really.

Now, good-night. I have exactly 40 minutes before I have to pump again, and I’m going to pass out and hope Joanie let’s me get some Zzzzz’s.

30 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Saatl July 28, 2015, 4:32 pm

    No one tells you this because it makes them feel terrible, but for the first 6 months, as much as you love your baby, you WILL think that you have made a mistake and ruined your perfect family of 3. After I have admitted this to friends, they all said they agreed and were too scared to say it. But, at about the 6 month mark, you will start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. At the 1 year mark, you will be out of the tunnel for the most part and everything from then on is uphill. Mine (now 4 and 2 1/2) recently requested to sleep in the same room because they couldn’t bear to be away from each other and they play together (while also attempting to kill each other). I can’t imagine not having that crazy, complicated sibling love in my house now. And, sorry about the coffee incident. No one should be without coffee. I wish I had seen it. I would have offered to snuggle a screaming baby for you for long enough for you to get decently caffeinated. Mamas have to stick together!

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    • Nookie

      Nookie July 29, 2015, 3:53 am

      One thing I really love about this site is its realistic stories like Wendy’s and yours, that allow space for the unknown and unsaid in our culture. I bet lot of people feel the same way but have no idea that anyone else does, as we don’t talk about it. So thank you for that.
      .
      And I hope the three mark passes just as well as the one week and two week and the 538th week Wendy, this part doesn’t last forever but you will have your daughter to laugh with over it one day.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom July 29, 2015, 6:56 am

      I never felt that way. My kids did have a much bigger gap between them but I never felt like I ruined our family by having a second child. We had given up on ever having a second child so felt extremely lucky to have the second and that feeling didn’t change. I did expect it to be hard work and it was but we knew that going into it. We also expected to make adjustments, you have to every time you have a major life change, and we knew it would take a while to settle into a new equilibrium.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy July 29, 2015, 7:58 am

        Yeah, I definitely don’t feel that way either about a second kid (in all honesty, it was after baby #1 that I had some of those feelings despite loving him very much). Maybe it’s because there’s almost a four-year gap between #1 and #2 — if I had a baby when my oldest was 18 months, I think I would have lost my damn mind — or maybe it’s because my expectations were much more managed this time, but as exhausted as I am and as challenging as it is in these early weeks to juggle a newborn’s needs and an almost 4-year-old’s needs, I am very happy we decided to have a second child. I know this stage will pass, we will sleep again, and Joanie will stop crying. I can’t wait to learn who she is and to watch her develop and to see Jackson enjoy having a sibling who can play with him, etc.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom July 29, 2015, 8:47 am

        I think knowing how quickly this stage passes helps with the second one. You know going into it that it is going to be tough and exhausting but you also know it won’t last too long.

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      • honeybeenicki

        honeybeenicki July 29, 2015, 9:02 am

        This one is my first baby (my other 2 were 5 and 7 when I got them) and I tell myself regularly that whatever is frustrating me will pass.

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      • Ika

        Ika July 29, 2015, 11:18 am

        I never felt that way either. My girls are 3 yrs 4 mths apart, which I loved, since the oldest was out of diapers, talking etc, but not too much time had gone by.
        My eldest does reproach me occasionally for giving her a sister, but they do love each other.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh July 29, 2015, 11:32 am

        Oh M! She’s funny. I think around 4 yrs is pretty perfect. That’s the difference in my sister and I and now we’re really close. Even though we did not get along for a few years 🙂

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      • Ika

        Ika July 29, 2015, 11:57 am

        Yeah, my siblings and I are 3 years apart as well.

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    • shanshantastic

      shanshantastic July 29, 2015, 8:43 am

      I relate completely. Mine are exactly 25 months apart and after a week at home following a NICU stay I just keep repeating “it gets better, it gets better” to keep it together some moments. But watching A with his little sister is just so heartwarming, he really loves her.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy July 29, 2015, 9:17 am

        Congrats on the baby! If you made an announcement, I must have missed it, so I hope you’re doing well!

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    • avatar

      booknerd July 29, 2015, 2:59 pm

      I do have those feelings, sometimes. Not about the second baby per se, but more like, “what the fuck were we thinking having a kid? Our life was fun! We were free!” Lol. And with my second pregnancy, I’m definitely like, “WTF! Our life wasn’t tough enough? We can still put them both up for adoption.”

      But yes, of course, I really love all of my family so much, that even with those thoughts, I wouldn’t change anything.

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  • honeybeenicki

    honeybeenicki July 28, 2015, 6:52 pm

    Happy 3 weeks Joanie! Mine will be 2 weeks tomorrow and I am also exhausted. I can’t imagine doing it while having a toddler too. I only recently started pumping and have been getting nothing out of it, so I don’t know what to do there. We had a little bout of jaundice with 5 days on the bili blanket and a huge drop in weight but he’s good now 🙂 I hope you are able to get a little time to take care of yourself Wendy!

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom July 29, 2015, 6:57 am

      It may be that the pump doesn’t stimulate a let down reflex. My second pump was like that. The only way I could pump with it was to breastfeed her on one side and then pump on the other side at the same time.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy July 29, 2015, 8:02 am

      Thanks, Nicki! I hope you are able to get a little rest. Sleep when the baby sleeps if you can! Everyone says that, but it’s good advice.
      .
      Not sure what to say about the pumping. I use a hospital grade pump and manage to get 1-2 ounces each time I pump (which is much less than average, but that’s because after a breast reduction surgery when I was 19, that’s all my body is able to produce). If it’s important to you, you could always talk to a lactation consultant. When do you go back to work? Were you planning to pump on the job?

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      • honeybeenicki

        honeybeenicki July 29, 2015, 8:34 am

        I don’t go back until October but I’d love to be able to leave the house for more than a few hours before then (plus I want to introduce a bottle to make sure he’ll take one). In my family, most people are completely unsuccessful breastfeeding so right now I’m just thrilled that its working for me. One of the LCs I talked to said some women just can’t pump, but we’ll work on it. He has an appointment tomorrow and his pediatrician has 2 LCs on staff.

        I suck at napping. I try to nap with him, but I just can’t sleep or it takes forever for me to fall asleep. But I’m actually getting an ok amount of sleep (years of insomnia prepared me for this I think).

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy July 29, 2015, 9:22 am

        I suck at napping too. I took maybe 10 naps while I was pregnant, which is a record for a nine-month span. I have not taken a nap yet since Joanie was born, much as I’d like to and have tried. Mostly, I don’t feel like I have big enough chunks of time with Jackson around as much as he is (and he doesn’t nap) and keeping up with housework (because I’m a neurotic neat-freak and have to tidy up and clean every day) and doing a minimum amount of DW work. Things will ease up for me when Jackson starts public school (it’s right next door, so the commute couldn’t be shorter and he’ll go 30 hours a week) and his sitter will then take over with Joanie three mornings a week. And maybe by then Joanie won’t be staying awake ALL NIGHT LONG. Ugh. She was the same way in the womb, too. Night time meant party time. My little night owl.

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    • shanshantastic

      shanshantastic July 29, 2015, 8:47 am

      I second the pump quality. I couldn’t pump for anything with Arthur but this time I got a Medela Pump In Style through my insurance and it is a dream – I’ve already pumped more in a week than I did the whole time before.

      I did find that pumping too often kept me from getting much, so I’m doing it every 4-4 1/2 hours instead of every 3 like I did in the hospital. I also skip the middle of the night pump in favor of some uninterrupted sleep.

      I hope the LC can give you some good advice as well!

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      • honeybeenicki

        honeybeenicki July 29, 2015, 9:04 am

        I have a pump in style advanced. I’ve only tried to pump 3 times (and got a total of 1/2 an ounce). I’m hoping it’ll just take time.

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      • avatar

        Vathena July 29, 2015, 10:40 am

        For most women, the supply is most abundant in the morning, so that is a good time to pump. Also, your supply may increase over time as your baby gets better at nursing. I had to do a ton of pumping to get my supply up after my daughter was born – I had a c-section with complications, and lost a lot of blood. I never got more than an an ounce or so for the first month, but after that I would get 4-6oz every time (I tried to pump once daily, before noon). Hang in there! (I also had a PISA and loved it as much as it’s possible to love a breast pump!)

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    • avatar

      booknerd July 29, 2015, 2:54 pm

      We had jaundice, too! It was really scary. That was probably the scariest part of the first year for me, so good for you for getting through it. Internet hugs!

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  • avatar

    ktfran July 29, 2015, 8:27 am

    Wendy, I love reading the heartfelt stories about your life. I often get a little teary eyed. I’m sappy.

    I also love the dichotomy on this site, such as Wendy and all the mom’s/new mom’s vs. the relationship folks vs. the singletons. It’s so diverse and respectful. It really is a great on-line community.

    Alright, I reached my nice/thoughtful limit for the month. I guess I need to be extra sarcastic for the next two days.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom July 29, 2015, 8:48 am

      I love sarcasm!

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      • avatar

        ktfran July 29, 2015, 8:57 am

        It’s the best.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy July 29, 2015, 9:17 am

      I love the diversity here, too!

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    • avatar

      booknerd July 29, 2015, 2:52 pm

      I love reading about everyone’s experiences, too!

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom July 29, 2015, 11:09 am

    She’s beautiful!!!

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  • avatar

    booknerd July 29, 2015, 2:52 pm

    Come on ladies, having an 18 month old and a newborn will be a piece of cake, right? Right? Lol. I go through cycles of being absolutely terrified to thinking it won’t be so hard. Oh god. It’s going to be so hard. Right now my 13 month old is in a phase of waking up between 2-4 am and just being awake for up to two hours. It’s like he’s bored and wants to play. And it’s hard to have any willpower to stick to his sleep training and put him back in his crib when we are all so tired.
    He’s really fun, most of the time. And he’s so cute and so smart already. He knows all the titles to his books and will go and pick out the one I ask him to bring to me to read to him, or he knows his colors and things like shoes, cup, dog, etc. it’s amazing watching him learn every single day. Yes, I am extra sappy with these pregnancy hormones.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy July 29, 2015, 3:43 pm

      our niece and nephew are 15 months apart and I think my BIL and SIL about lost their damn mind in the first few years, but now the kids are 7 and 8 and things seem pretty great — the kids play together really well and are good friends. I think like anything, having kids close together has its pros and cons, just like spacing kids apart three or four or more years apart as its pros and cons. You’ll have a challenge on your hands at first, but in a few years, I bet you’ll be so happy to have the newborn and toddler years done and to have two kids who can be friends and entertain each other well.

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      • avatar

        booknerd July 30, 2015, 9:36 am

        Thanks, Wendy.

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