One month with my girl! Wow, easily the longest and shortest month of my life! I’ve been reminded by so many friends that I am the mama God chose for MJ and exactly what she needs. Blame it on hormones or lack of sleep, but for someone who has been an achiever her entire life… I didn’t realize how much grace I would need to give to myself. It’s a learning curve, all of it. And no manuals! Me, Kyle, MJ (and Sadie)… we’re figuring this out together! This first month has been one of the most magical times of my life while also one of the most challenging!
We left the hospital on March 19th! Kyle’s mom picked us up from the hospital. She had been in town since March 10th and wasn’t able to be with us at the hospital, so she was beyond ready to meet her newest grandbaby! My sister got into town on the 20th and Kyle’s immediate family got in on the 25th. Though Madelyn decided to stay put in my belly an extra week, God’s timing truly is perfect! Our family was able to meet MJ in those earliest days. Being 1000 miles away from family definitely isn’t easy to plan for the unpredictable arrival of a baby, but in the end it worked out perfectly!
I am so thankful to have recovered physically quite quickly. I’m so proud of what my body has done through a miscarriage, 41 weeks of pregnancy and recovery. On the flip side, emotional and mental recovery completely caught me off guard! I thought being a business owner would have better prepared me for sleep deprivation, nope! Those first ten days threw me for a major loop!
I will spare you the dirty details, but I absolutely came face to face with postpartum anxiety. Sleep deprivation + hormones + more sleep deprivation sent me on a rollercoaster of emotions. Praise the Lord for GRACE, a loving, supportive, understanding family, and friends ready to dive in with me and walk through those hard days.
This sweet time with my girl has been magical, absolutely magical! I mean, everyone says “nothing prepares you for the love you have for your child” and man is that so true. Like, I love her sooo much. I’ve found that it’s usually during times of great joy that fear tries to creep in and steal that joy away (I think this is an unfortunate byproduct of loss)… and those first few weeks postpartum were no different. I had to work through, talk through, and lay down a lot of fears.
Thankfully with some sleep, I was able to put this all in perspective and realize that I have to entrust MJ to the Lord. I cannot protect her from everything, in fact, I’m in control of very little. Welcome to motherhood, Shanna!
So looooong story very short, postpartum caught me off guard! But time… time is the great healer.
Before Madelyn arrived I honestly wasn’t sure I would love breastfeeding. In my mind I was totally prepared to pump and bottle feed if I preferred that route. Madelyn began to nurse quickly after she was born and guys, I’ve loved breastfeeding! It’s such special time with Madelyn, which I’ve been so grateful for these first few weeks. It’s such a calming, quiet time to slow down, process and just enjoy this sweet little girl! For the most part it’s gone really smoothly. She latched really quickly. I definitely was sore for a while and still get sore even now, but thankfully it was manageable. She gained her birthweight back by her 10 day appointment.
MJ sleeps really well and actually got into a eat/sleep/play rhythm pretty quickly. She eats every 3-ish hours, and then sleeps in between. She’s a very cuddly baby and loves being held, but she will sleep really well on the couch beside us so I’m able to work on my laptop a bit. At night she’s been building up to 3-4 hours even a few 5 hour stretches.
Hands down the hardest part of these first few weeks has been letting Madelyn sleep without the need to watch her like a hawk! I went through a few days right when we got home from the hospital where I was obsessed with whether she was breathing or not → see sleep deprivation → see postpartum anxiety. Thankfully, by the grace of God, we had a lot of family in town that could walk through these fears with me, watch her while I slept, and help me lay down my fear and go to bed. Thankfully the crippling anxiety passed quickly, and a manageable amount of anxiety replaced it. I pray each night for her protection, and go to bed.
We have a lot going on around the house. I’m still working-ish a few hours a week (Post coming soon on lessons I’ve learned planning & prepping for Maternity leave. What I would do again and what I wouldn’t!). We are also in the midst of a pretty major renovation projection going on at the house.
Probably like a lot of you… I’m a productivity addict. If I’m not doing something, I feel like I should be doing something. So sitting around keeping a baby alive feels like I’m not getting anything else done. I realized early on (but still working through) that I have to shift my mindset. I needed a way to turn off that achiever’s brain and soak in this season.
Since I have a tendency to take score, I decided to start counting one small win each day: whether that’s one load of laundry (which is a total win these days), throwing a pork tenderloin in the crock pot for dinner, taking a shower, or writing a blog post. Intentionally counting these small wins has really helped shift my mindset to rest mode and soak up this really special time.
March in Duluth, Minnesota is a really special time. After what feels like forever living in Winter, the days start feeling longer and a bit warmer (still cold, but warmer)! Our home sits on a ridge overlooking Lake Superior, and having such a beautiful view has made the hours of breastfeeding even more special. Two am feedings have been passed watching the barges come in. I love the way their lights reflect off the water. Five am feedings I get to watch the sunrise. The songbirds are starting to return as well as a lot of wildlife. We’ve had a little red fox visit a few times and lots of beautiful eagles soaring right past our window. This time has felt beautifully slow, and I love soaking up these moments that usually pass in a blur.
I LOVE watching Kyle be a dad. He gets up and replaces her paci in the middle of the night. It’s so sweet the way he loves on her and talks to her, and in turn loves on me by letting me stay in bed longer or doing the “dirty jobs”, hello diaper changer! He is a rockstar!
Some of my favorite times right now are having Madelyn nestled on my shoulder after she finishes eating. I also love the way she tries to eat my face mid-nursing while I have her up on my shoulder trying to burp her.
Madelyn loves going on car rides and thankfully does great in her carseat! She loves when I sing to her. A daily favorite right now: Drew Holcomb, You’ll always be my girl.
In the beginning she really loved bouncing, so we all took turns bouncing her on my pregnancy ball! She is just now getting into her mamaroo swing (5 ½ weeks in) but that’s been a game changer.
I’ve also been wearing her with the Solly Baby Wrap more which I really love so I can get a few things done around the house but still be close to her.
Madelyn LOVEs being warm (she’s a southern girl at heart), cuddling and being held.
She loves reading. Our favorite read this month is “Don’t forget to remember” by Ellie Holcomb.
Her eyes are bright, she’s super alert already and will track us around the house. She loves black and white images—we were gifted these Art Cards for baby. It’s still up for debate if she looks more like me or Kyle. Most people say Kyle but her coloring is definitely me—brown hair, blue eyes. Thank goodness she got Kyle’s eyelashes though, her eyelashes are long and gorgeous!
Let go of control, do your best, give extra doses of grace especially to yourself, ask for help!
One month in… it’s been so sweet. Not always easy, but so very wonderful! It’s the best kind of slow, soaking in each little moment of this new persons life. We are so grateful to be hers!
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April 18, 2021