The thing I'm struggling with most is attending to two children. I long to give them both equal time and attention, and it's just not possible right now. It will be easier once I'm recovered physically, but even then, it will be different. Different isn't bad, it's just new and it's an adjustment for all of us. Anna is coping remarkably well, soaking up her special Daddy time and all the attention from her grandparents. She is, of course, acting out with me as well, which is to be expected. My hormones, which have me at once crying happy, tired, flustered, grateful, and you-name-it tears, don't help my ability to respond appropriately, which tends to make it all worse, and then I beat myself up. Like I said, this is the most difficult part for me.
There is, of course, the lack of sleep, but that is not much different than it was with Anna. While we are getting up more often at night to feed Leo (the doctors want him to eat every 2 hours), he isn't having trouble nursing, and for the most part, he's very sleepy throughout the night - premies tend to be dopey and tired. Neither Blake nor I cope very well with extreme sleep deprivation, which does make our communication strained at 3am when neither of us can formulate a coherent sentence. Unfortunately, we started off on the wrong foot in the sleep department. My water broke at 7pm on Monday night. Between waking Monday morning and giving birth to Leo at 8:33am on Wednesday, I'd slept maybe 90 minutes total. After that, the adrenaline made it hard to sleep. Now, our nights look like this:
--Wake up and go to the bathroom. Tend to 'war wounds.'
--Express milk from engorged breasts so Leo can latch.
--Nurse Leo. Spend numerous minutes trying to keep him awake. Give up and resort to the dreaded diaper change.
--Change his diaper.
--Nurse him again now that he is screaming and awake.
--Often, change another diaper, because he likes to poop after we've already changed him, of course.
--Put ice packs on engorged breasts.
--Lay down to rest and realize that I need to get up again in less than one hour to feed him again.
Despite all of this, being a mom for the second time feels less worrisome. This time, we have a clue what to expect. While I still cringe when I hear his pained gassy cries (hoping desperately that he doesn't have colic like Anna did), I do feel more confident that he'll be OK. Not that I don't worry...I wouldn't be me if I didn't! Every day I'm filled with emotions: pure joy and gratitude for Leo and Anna, frustration from lack of sleep and not knowing how to do it all, awe at the miracle of birth and life. I'm also feeling bittersweet about this time, knowing that Leo is our last... this newborn phase is short, and despite the sleep deprivation, I don't want it to end. Part of me wants him to stay like this. Most of all, I feel full of love for our family of four - our family is complete. I just love having him here.