Work + Life: On Top of the World

By Autumn Manning, two-time mama

1713.jpgI am in heaven at home with my sweet little girl Marin. She arrived two Tuesday’s ago, a little earlier than expected. I went to bed Monday night a little worried because I hadn’t felt her kick in a few hours. At that point in the pregnancy, every website and at every doctor’s visit – the same thing is stressed over and over again: Make sure you feel the baby move.

So when I went to bed Monday night having not felt Marin kick in a few hours, I had a slight nagging worry but nothing too major. A sleepless night and several hours later, I was a little more worried since she hadn’t moved at all throughout the night (which was unusual for her) but still wasn’t too upset. At 8 sharp, I called the doctor and asked if we could monitor her heart, just to make sure.

At the doctor’s office, they hooked me up to the monitor and assured me we were all good once they heard her little heart, strong and steady. Phew. We could move forward as normal! Only 2.5 more days and we would have Marin. Well, that was the plan until my doctor called me at work, saying she would feel more comfortable if we went ahead and delivered. “A mother’s intuition is nothing to ignore, and since we are this far along, I would just feel better delivering today” she said.

Six hours later, I found myself laying on a hospital bed, arms strapped out at each side, a large curtain separating me and the surgical team, sterile area versus non-sterile area, when I heard her cry for the first time at 5:18 in the afternoon. It was the most perfect, beautiful sound I had ever heard.

2-days-old.jpgSo sweet and tiny, her cry brought tears to my eyes and all of the anxiety I was feeling about the unknown dropped out of my chest and onto that operating room floor. There I was, unable to move, in a state that was so vulnerable in every way. I was unable to move any part of my body, completely exposed from the surgery, and my heart was spilling over with so much love for my little girl. I felt so alive, so awake. And then there was Morgan. His head popped around that curtain with a cheesy, ear-to-ear grin at the sight of his first daughter. “You should see all of her hair!” he said. Like that surprised me! If anyone knows my husband, they know he has plenty of hair to share. 🙂

We welcomed a million visitors at the hospital. I didn’t care how tired I was or what the nurses told me about getting rest. I wanted everyone we knew to share in our joy. When Miles arrived that evening, he welcomed his “baby yister” with the rest of us. It was strange how old he looked all of a sudden. Everything about him was suddenly more mature…more like a big kid instead of my little baby boy. He has been great with Marin from the very beginning. He hasn’t shown any signs of jealousy or anger towards her yet, with the exception of the first time he saw her nurse and whacked her in the head while saying, “Get off mommy!” Other than that, it has been great!

So far my experience at home with a newborn has been wonderful and easy. I know there are new moms out there that HATE me for saying that, but believe me, I think Miles took the cake on bad baby behavior. Marin rarely cries, is nursing great, and sleeps all the time. I am living in fear even as I type these words, afraid that I will jinx everything. After about her 3rd day home, though, the madness began as I started to get her on the schedule that worked so well when Miles was a baby.

My parenting style is probably the exact opposite of the moms who practice the attached parenting method, although I don’t think there is anything wrong with that method. It just wouldn’t work for me or Morgan. My day is filled with nursing Marin every 2.5-3 hours, then trying everything under the sun to wake Marin up after she eats so that she doesn’t “fall asleep on the breast” as the books put it.

You’d think this would be easy, but apparently my breast milk is filled with Ambien or something because my child simply DOES NOT WAKE UP! Waking her up is like this insane game where I am forced to think more creatively than I have ever had to: tickle her toes, massage her little back, undress her, play the radio in her crib, rub a wet wipe across her feet, run water through her hair, anything and everything to get her to wake up. This is insane sounding, isn’t it? Who in their right mind tries to WAKE A SLEEPING BABY?! Me, of course, but then again I might not be in my right mind.

After the 30 minutes of trying to get the kid to wake up, I keep her awake for about 20 minutes before I let her nod off to sleep. Although, it’s more like screaming and clawing her way to sleep rather than nodding off. The point is to get her to fall asleep on her own rather than needing me to get her to sleep. It’s sheer misery listening to my sweet angel cry and cry. But, I remember going through this with Miles. It did finally pay off and he is the #1 best sleeper ever. 🙂

As for me, I am recovering well. The incision site seemed to feel fine just one week later, so I feel like I am ready to get back in the swing of things. About every 3 days I get very overwhelmed and just break down and cry, cry, cry. I think a lot of it has to do with the postpartum hormones; there are times I just feel like I want to crawl in the closet and have everyone leave me alone. When I wake the next morning, though, I am on top of the world. I remember feeling this with Miles, only 100 times worse, so I am thankful for how everything is going so far. Mostly, I feel extremely blessed. I look at my kids and my husband and just lose my breath. Who could ask for more?

Read more about Autumn’s quest to be both fabulous mom and fabulous employee by clicking here!