Much like this pregnancy, bringing Daphne home has been a much different experience than bringing George home.
I think the biggest difference was all the unknown the first time around:
- unknown job situation
- unknown of how to handle a newborn
- unknown of how long we would be in KY/TN
I remember being so anxious about our future and trying to keep this little person alive. It was hard to really enjoy those newborn stages.
I think we knew that having a newborn was going to be hard, but I don’t think we were at all prepared for the effects of being in the NICU, difficulties of breastfeeding, and general tiredness.
Tom also barely got any time off with George, especially since 2/3 of his time he did get from the Army we were still at the hospital with the NICU. This time he is off for 4 weeks right now, and will be taking another week or two when I head back to work in August. Having both of us here has been so nice.
This time we went in expecting the awful nights and set our expectations really low. I have been pleasantly surprised with the amount of sleep we are working with.
Breastfeeding has been tons better this time around. I attribute this mostly to the fact that we were combating a 10 day stay in the NICU with George where he learned how to feed with bottles and syringes. Daphne’s first time eating was through breastfeeding, so I think it has just been much more natural. Granted it has only been twoish weeks, so I know we still have many more milestones to get through. I just hope it continues to go well. All I know is that I have not been breaking down crying in her room in the middle of the night like I did with George, so that is a plus.
Another big difference is that we are not as paranoid. I remember not wanting to leave the house with George. Our trips were very minimal with him in the car, and I just couldn’t deal with the logistics of breastfeeding. This time around, we have been out every other day as a family of four. I have a much better nursing cover that makes things much easier and gives me the modesty I want to be out while feeding her. Plus as I said, she is taking to it a lot better than George. I also think we realize that it is much easier to take a new baby out for errands and eating out than it is to take a toddler.
I also don’t feel like I have to have my eyes on her 24/7. With George, I would not take a shower without Tom being home because I was afraid he would die while I was getting clean. With Daphne, I am in other rooms all the time whether it is to finish cleaning or organizing the new bedrooms or playing with her big brother. I feel fine leaving her to nap in her rock and play without watching her breathe every second. We thank the NICU for making us even more paranoid as first tie parents. This time we are a little more confident that we won’t kill the kid if we look away for a second.
It sounds like it has been all roses with Miss DC in comparison to Mr. Man. I will admit in a lot of ways it has been a lot easier. We are in a better place in life mentally, emotionally, and fiscally. That has a tremendous affect on how you approach being a parent.
However, having a toddler does make things more interesting. I can’t just sit around and hold Daphne all day which is pretty much what I did with George for the first couple months. My attention has to be split between two kids (and a husband and two dogs), which can be a little tricky. We have tried to keep George on as much of his normal schedule as possible. That can be hard when Daphne decides to eat right now and then George decides as soon as she is latched that is when he has to go potty. And he needs an audience to actually go…So making adjustments and forcing a toddler to change is never a piece of cake.
It has also been something trying to navigate the end of our renovation project with a newborn. Granted we moved when George was 2 months old, but having strangers in your house while you are newly home from the hospital and breastfeeding has been a little stressful this go around. Let alone I am still on a weight restriction so I can’t really help move anything into the new rooms.
There are good and bad moments with every transition I guess. However, I am trying to be positive this time around and try to enjoy these newborn moments as much as I can. Also this is a rare opportunity that I get to be home with my family over the summer months, so we are going to make the most of it. Our family is complete, and really what could be better than that?