Is seven weeks too long to wait to post a birth announcement on your blog? Perhaps. For that I’m sorry. If you follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, blah, blah, or blah then you’ve picked up on the fact that I had that baby I had been promising was on its way for months. And it took me this long to write about it because, well, what do you even say about something so huge? After the first week passed, we were in the thick of the realness of this child having come into our lives, and words to describe it were getting harder and harder to find. We were thrilled, terrified, mystified, exhausted, nervous… all emotions we continue to feel on a daily basis. Even now, I don’t know how to put it all into words. So let’s start with this… Sailor Joan Sheppard was born on October 21, 2015 at 2:24am, weighing 6 lbs 12 oz, and was 19.5 inches long. Labor was a total of about 15 hours from when I was at Target with my mom in the morning starting to feel cramps to when she arrived. People always talk about labor being 10 hours, 20 hours, 40 hours, and I always used to think that meant they were screaming that whole time. Not the case. It escalates. The first several hours were mild cramps where I wasn’t even sure if I was in labor, and it didn’t get really real until about 8pm. Parts of it were easier/better than I imagined, and other parts were harder/more painful and dramatic than I imagined. Maybe some day I’ll tell the whole story, but what I can say is that when it was over I breathed a huge sigh of relief and gave myself a big pat on the back for finally conquering something I had intensely feared my whole life. It is… doable, somehow.
Our first weeks with her have been amazing in so many ways, and incredibly challenging in others. Amazing because I never knew how my own kid would be able to turn me into a baby person. I’ve always been awkward with babies and kids, not knowing how to deal with them. I’m probably still that way to some degree, but I now see kids totally differently. We love watching Sailor’s every move, learning all her little tendencies, and seeing how she grows before our very eyes. She’s an awesome sleeper at night, so we have actually been able to sleep too, and function as somewhat whole humans during the day. Very grateful for that. We still can’t wrap our heads around the fact that we made her, and now she’s here in the world. Challenging because it’s impossible to get anything done. And I’m a person who likes to get things done. I’m certainly not the first new mom to make this observation but I never understood what it meant until I find myself sitting in the living room all day with this baby on me until it’s dark but still no lights get turned on, and I’ve been staring at the messy kitchen and undone laundry for 3 days straight. Not cool for a Type A person. Yet pretty much 100% unavoidable. I will say it does force you to give yourself a break from your expectations of yourself, as hard as that may be, and focus on this new little being.
But the biggest challenge so far? Breastfeeding, hands down. Without going into too much detail, HOLY SHIT. I have gone back and forth about how much of this to share because on one hand, TMI. On the other hand, I can’t believe how little I had been prepared for what to expect, and I wish I had seen as many blog posts about breastfeeding as ones about nurseries. So I’m not going to be the one to withhold information that might help keep soon-to-be new moms informed and prepared for the possibilities. Breastfeeding has been so damn hard for me. When she was about five days old, it became excruciatingly painful. Like, I could barely feed her without crying for a good 5 weeks straight. Apparently this is very common. What the hell? It’s something that has made it extra hard to leave the house (with or without her), hard to heal from the whole process, and hard to actually enjoy her which is the worst part. It’s only just now starting to get better, but we’re still not in the clear. My OB put it into words pretty well. He said there are 4 main parts to having a baby: getting pregnant, being pregnant, giving birth, and breastfeeding… and you don’t usually get all 4 to go smoothly. I was lucky to have the first 3 go pretty well, so I guess breastfeeding is my kicker. I’m hoping we’ll get to the days where I can see why other women actually enjoy it.
So there you have it. A birth announcement 7 weeks late, accompanied by random thoughts all across the board from joy and wonderment to terror and pain. I guess that pretty much sums up what the first 2 months with a new baby are like. Other moms out there, I’d love to hear about your experiences too, and I look forward to sharing more about my adventures in mommyhood from time to time. And I’ll definitely be sharing more photos from our newborn/nursery shoot with Heather Kincaid in the coming weeks!
Photos by Heather Kincaid