A month of loving Jasper already come and gone and moving into the second month! For him a month is all he knows as forever...and for me this past month feels like one long day. A long day made up of continuous 2-4 hour cycles of feedings, diaper changes, and short naps. And yet time passes too fast. Jasper has changed so much already and the inevitability of him graduating from high school promises to be a quick tomorrow.
We savor every moment that we can amidst adapting to our new life together. The sweetness of holding him as he sleeps. The sounds he makes...imitations of the calls of Canadian geese in flight and donkeys hee-hawing and baby terydactals snorting...the coos...the gasps. The smiles that emerge more genuinely every day. His amazing capacity to hold eye contact and look into rather than at our eyes. His positive reactions to our playfulness. His gentle, bright, and loving spirit. The obvious amount of strength he has already gained. And how he reveals more and more of who he is to us each day.
Jasper loves to be held. Especially when sleeping. He loves big bounces on the yoga ball. He loves to dance with his mama and to receive fuzzy whisker kisses from his papa. Jasper loves the "Super Jasper" cape his Aunt Jaime made him, strategically placed on his changing table to distract him, and his stuffed bird Louise who covers his face with her peck kisses. He loves bath-time and tummy-time. He loves looking in the mirror and at pictures of family. But more than that, he loves visits from family and being held by them while he sleeps. Jasper loves walks outside, and doesn't mind car rides. His favorite food right now is mama's milk, and his favorite spot is right next to the milk factory.
Jasper doesn't like waking up from sleep and he doesn't like waiting for his milk when he's ready to eat. Also, he doesn't like it when a meal is over. He doesn't like diaper changes nor does he like the gas that frequently moves through him. He goes from zero to sixty, as our lactation consultant observed, so quickly. But luckily for us, he can be soothed just as fast as we can change the diaper, or get him his milk, or bounce big on the yoga ball. Otherwise, he is pretty mellow and easy going.
We are so grateful for our little buddy. It has been amazing to watch him grow and to be the ones to hold him closest to our hearts. And yet, this first month was not all blissful. It was not glamourous. It was hard. And it was messy. I can say that now, looking back at the past month, as we start to emerge from the fog of it all. I had always felt that I was so prepared for motherhood with all of my experience with newborns and infants. But I see now that there is always a learning curve, for everyone, and that....well....this transition time was harder than I predicted it would be.
Blessed with an easy and smooth conception, pregnancy, and birth, it was apparently time for me to pay my dues in the early post-partum period. Granted, I didn't have it nearly as bad as many people do. And for that I am grateful. I am grateful for the strong network of family and friends who reached out and helped us through it all. I am grateful for a steady and supportive husband, more than willing to pitch in and tend the fire. I am grateful to live in a community where there are amazing resources to help with this transition time. I am grateful for our wonderful midwives who increased the frequency of our post-partum care. And, I am grateful to be coming out on the other side totally fine. How do women do it who don't have these support networks?? My respect for all mother's has infinitly grown this past month. I am in awe.
I don't want to dwell much here on our early post-partum issues, because I know they are small potatoes compared to those of others....so I will just sum it up real quick-like. Extremely painful nursing latch, mastitis, atelechtasis, decreased milk supply which led to Jasper not gaining weight for over a week and having to supplement his feedings with donor milk, having Jasper's upper lip-tie released, getting cranio-sacral for Jasper, doing everything I could to increase my milk supply (pumping, herbs, acupuncture, etc), feelings of stress and anxiety and overwhelm, lots of tears and being worn thin, and visits with multiple lactation consultants to find the right one, the one who we call the "Boobie Whisperer." Thank god for her. And thank god for our support network.
Now we are coming out of it all. The fog is rising. My milk has returned. The nursing pain is decreasing. Jasper weighs 2 pounds more than at birth. And Lucas and I have more time and energy to really enjoy our little man. And, man, are we in love.