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10 Things on a Tuesday

1. Mochi is friggin’ adorable. Somehow, despite being only 3oz lighter but the same length as his big bro at birth, Mochi looks so much skinnier than Dumplin’ did. He looks like a little old man, with his wrinkles and skinny limbs, but also has these ginormous hands and feet. Mochi is very long and skinny, while Dumplin’ was a chunky baby right out of the womb. Their faces are totally different too. Dumplin’ has Asian eyes, and a button nose, but Mochi has these big Caucasian eyes and a flat wide nose. I’m so curious what they both will look like as they grow!

2. Tired, so so so tired. Well the mastitis last week seemed to cure my insomnia, but now we’re not getting any sleep due to newbornness. Obviously DW has it worse than me, but I’m only getting sleep an hour at a time. My in-laws are staying in the spare room, so I’m waking almost every time Mochi coos or cries. Dumplin’ also seems to be going through something, which is manifesting in frequent wakings at night. Last night he cried at 10pm, 12am, 2am, 4am, and 7am. Each time, I’m getting up and comfort feeding him for about 30 minutes. I’m running around doing errands and chores that my in-laws can’t/don’t/won’t really do during the afternoon, so no naps are happening either. Last night I was so tired that I went to bed after putting Dumplin’ down for the night, at around 7:15pm, and woke up an hour and a half later because Mochi was crying, but when I woke up it felt like I had slept 4 hours… That’s how tired I’ve been. Poor DW has been up all night nursing Mochi frequently while sitting in one of our living room chairs, because of her c-section incision and arm numbness and general breastfeeding challenges she’s unable to nurse comfortably in bed. 

3. Nursing. There are some advantages to having two lactating moms in the house- one of which is that when your newborn is losing weight or needs more fluids to flush out his jaundice, his other mother can provide him with milk while waiting for his gestational mother’s milk to come in. And what an awesome feeling to be able to top Mochi up a couple of times after he’s fed with DW. Her milk came in last night (day 4), but it’s also nice to offer Mochi a feeding here and there to let her rest a bit too. DW has been working really hard on her breastfeeding. It’s been tough though, as she’s developed blisters on her nipples despite Mochi’s decent latch. It’ll be better now that her milk’s come in though.

4. Workouts. They haven’t happened in over a week, and I am starting to feel like a caged animal despite being so tired. So I’m at the gym right now trying to sneak in a leg workout before Dumplin’s swimming lesson this morning. I feel weak and depleted, but it’s nice to give my muscles a bit of a pump. Once my in-laws are gone, I’m going to try bringing Dumplin’ with me in the mornings again, and letting him play in the daycare that we pay for anyways. 

5. In-laws. They’ve been here helping with things. I’m very grateful that they did come through for us and took care of Dumplin’ while we were in the hospital from Wednesday to Saturday. He survived. We survived. I think that we just have different expectations of what kind of help we need I guess. When my mom was here helping us after Dumplin’s birth, she cooked all of our meals, did shopping for us, cleaned the house, walked the dogs, and basically made it so that my only job was to soak in the amazing newbornness following Dumplin’s birth. She held him when I needed to shower or eat, or when I needed to nap. This is the kind of help that was very helpful. Now, my MIL is very good at babysitting, and my FIL is very good at walking the dogs and doing odd jobs, but they aren’t as big into cooking as my mom was, and I wonder if they’re a bit intimidated by my Celiac gluten-free diet (don’t know what to cook for me). They’ve been trying though, so that’s a recent improvement. We’ve also learned that we need to be more direct with what we need them to do for us. I think part of it is that DW and her parents don’t have a close relationship- there are still social graces in place, and we clean up the house and treat them as guests when they come over. Because of this, I feel like we don’t ask them to do the hard things- like waking up to take the night shift with the babies. I guess it comes down to communication.

6. Mental health. I’m still struggling with the anxiety, but now with a bit of depression too I think. The anxiety seems to be masked by the endless tasks that seem to need doing around here- I feel like I’m busy all day walking up and down stairs, fetching things, preparing meals, picking up crying babies, putting away dishes, opening doors for dogs, etc. I lie in bed and still can’t sleep, and when I do, I’m woken up by Mochi’s stirring sounds or Dumplin’ fussing in his room. I waver between missing my life before TTC (when I had zero anxiety or sleep issues) to smothering Dumplin’ with my endless love for him and being sad that he’s growing up so fast. As I thumb-type this post, I just feel like crying because I feel so guilty for not being overjoyed with life- I mean, we got our two take-home babies, and I should be happy now right? But instead, I am beating  myself up for being ungrateful and for complaining at all. 

7. Connections. I feel like I will get flack for this, or that I will upset people, but please understand that I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I am struggling to feel connected to Mochi. It’s only been 5 days, and I remember feeling overwhelmed when Dumplin’ came along too, but I kinda feel like Mochi is this stranger in my house. Maybe it’s my anxiety talking, maybe I need more time, but I worry that I won’t connect with him as much as I do with Dumplin’. Part of it is that everyone (including DW) has been referring to him as her baby. Like Mochi isn’t my son in the same way. I never ever referred to Dumplin’ as my baby. He was always our baby, who developed for 9 months during our pregnancy. That we were pregnant. Someone asked me today which baby was “mine”. I said both were our sons. What they really meant was which baby did I carry, and after correcting them, I felt kind of unsettled about it. When I got home and talked to DW about it, she made me feel even worse, when she was all proud about Mochi being her baby. I’m sure she’s just proud that she carried him and gave birth to him, but I felt like my role in his life was insignificant. That she was his mom and I was just her understudy. I’d sign his permission forms at school only if she couldn’t. It makes me feel like shit, not because I want recognition, but because in some weird way it makes me feel like it makes the divide even wider. Like I’m holding a friend’s baby, and not my son. It doesn’t feel the same as with Dumplin’, and I’m not sure if it’s just because I didn’t notice, or if because I carried him that I feel so secure in my relationship with him, but either way, I’m sure that I encouraged much more inclusive language surrounding our pregnancy and birth with him, and language frames things.

8. Dumplin’. This kid is doing so much learning these days. He is sitting so well by himself, and is making more and more connections every day. He’s learned how to make the faucet water come out stronger, so baths in the sink are chaotic now. He loves playing while on his tummy and reaching for things. He pets his dogs and watches as they play, giggling at their silliness. This is such a wonderful age, and I’m trying not to let it slip away due to the sleep deprivation and mental health issues. But he’s also been fussier recently- some separation anxiety- he doesn’t like when we’re not actively paying attention to him, and he has been waking up a lot more at night. Last night he woke up crying about 5 times, and the previous night about 4 times. He used to only get up 2-3 times maximum. DW has been focused on Mochi (understandably), so I think Dumplin’ notices the difference in attention that way as well. It’s so hard. I’m sure she wants to spend more time with Dumplin’, but with the c-section, she’s definitely not able to lift him. His grandparents are here for another day or so, and play with him and read him books, so he’s getting more attention that way.

9. DW’s recovery. Like I mentioned before, after 22 hours of labour, Mochi still had not descended, and was born via c-section. DW is up and moving around a lot, but her hands, legs, and feet are still super swollen. She still can’t bend at the ankles because of the swelling. She’s keeping mobile though. Yesterday we went out for a short bit to run errands. Her belly has gone down quite a bit every day, which is kind of neat to see. She’s got a rash on her back from the tape that they used to secure her epidural. It looks really really itchy!

10. Clementine. Our poor little chihuahua-pug was at the vet today because she has been limping pretty badly for the past couple of days. The vet suspects that she may have torn her ACL (ligament in her knee). She’s been quiet and not herself lately. I feel terrible for her, since she’s normally such an adventurous and spunky dog. He wants me to check in with him in two weeks to see if she’s still limping, and that they’d do a scope to see what the damage is and if they’d need to do surgery to repair it if she continues to limp as much as she currently is. Fingers crossed that she heals up quickly and that it’s only a sprain and not a full tear. 

33 thoughts on “10 Things on a Tuesday

  1. You have so much in your plate, I can’t even imagine! Keep surviving one day at a time! My dog just had knee surgery to repair a torn ACL, so if it comes to that for your pup and you have any questions, let me know! I hope it turns out to just be a sprain!

      • Ours is a golden retriever. She had to have the more extensive surgery option (they break the bone and pin/plate it back together to heal the joint at a different angle basically eliminating the need for her ACL). I think for smaller dogs they recommended a less invasive surgery that basically replaces the ACL with a fishing wire type material. I hope it ldoesn’t come to that for you though! We are currently on week 4 of recovery and it’s been tough!

  2. I can’t even fathom the level of exhaustion you must feel. I wonder if the depression you feel is tied to the sleep deprivation. When I’m sleep deprived everything in life feels so much more grim. You can be grateful for the life you have and still complain about the shitty parts of it! Don’t beat yourself up for feeling the way you do. I bet anyone in your shoes would feel the same. Lord knows I complain lots about my life but at the end of the day I’m still grateful for it and love it (mostly!).

    As for the connection, I’ve heard from GP and NGP alike that sometimes it can take some time to feel connected to the baby. I am sure that connection will come in time. And in the meantime I really hope people (including your DW) can be more sensitive in the words they use to talk about whose son he is. Surely your DW doesn’t see Dumplin’ as YOUR baby (and not hers) so in fairness shouldn’t it be the same for Mochi?

    I really hope Clementine hasn’t torn her ACL! Poor little doggy. 😦

    • Thank you so much for understanding (you always do!). I think you’re right- it’s just a matter of time until I feel more connected to Mochi. I read somewhere last night about how I had 9 months + 6 months to fall in love with Dumplin’, and so far only 5 days with Mochi. So it’ll come. DW and I chatted about these issues last night, which was really good, because I think that with her parents around all the time this week, we haven’t had a chance to talk with each other about our emotions throughout this very intense week.

  3. Just to address the baby connections issue-I think this is one of those things that will quickly fade away. You aren’t wrong for the feelings you’re having or for it bothering you; I, and I think most people, would feel the same way if we were in your shoes. My guess is that it’s your wife’s way of handling the adjustment to having just given birth, and sometimes moms do and say weird stuff in that delicate window after giving birth. I think it’s good that you talk about it and let her know your feelings. You both are parenting these adorable creatures, so you need to let her know you want her on your team, you are both equal moms to these sweet boys. Adjustments are really hard, and you have a lot of stress any way you slice it. So be gentle with yourself!

    • Thank you. I think you are spot on with your assessment of it. We talked it out last night, and we sorted out all of these jumbled up emotions- on both ends. Thanks for reminding us that we are a team πŸ™‚

  4. I’m not surprised it’s taking a moment for you to feel bonded to the new little guy. If one of us were an anthropologist I’m sure there is probably some reason rooted in biology/hormones not to mention the sleep deprivation you both feel. One a shallow level, though, they both so freaking cute I might drive north and steal one. Or both. πŸ™‚

    Poor Clem! My Bullmastiff tore her ACL ages ago when I was flat broke! I swear I JUST paid that surgery off. The good news though is she was good as new fairly quickly. Maybe pain meds and rest will do the trick though and you can avoid surgery. Good luck with her.

    • Yes- I totally agree that there’s some biological/hormonal reason for the delay in bonding, at least partially. MPB mentioned to me about how it’s a common adoption phenomenon, so I read up on it a bit yesterday, and feel a lot better about it now. I think it’ll just take some time and scheduled bonding time. Thanks for the compliments too. They’re both pretty cute.

      Ouch- your poor bullmastiff! DW tore her ACL a couple of years ago, so we know how intense that surgery is. I’m glad your girl recovered so well.

  5. Man, both of your kids are so darn cute. They do look different from one another! I think I was somehow expecting a Dumplin’ clone (I was sure it’d be another boy!)

    You’re so right, that the words we use frame our experience of things. Negotiating this shift in your family dynamic is sure to be a challenge, but I just wanted to say that I don’t think it’s necessarily all about biology or being/not being the gestational carrier. With Dumplin’, your focus was undivided – there was a 2:1 ratio of moms-to-baby, and of course there was more pressure on you in terms of sleep deprivation and breastfeeding, but he was the centre of focus for both of you. Now you’ve got two babies and your attention is split – I think it makes sense that even that alone would create a different relationship with Mochi than with Dumplin’.

    I’ve found it helpful to have particular things that I do with J – bath time was especially nice for bonding. I think maybe there’s an element of fake-it-till-you-make-it; make sure you don’t pull back because of the different bond, and it’ll build. Try not to stress about it too much, and don’t worry about upsetting other people – it’s not like you’re saying “hey, being the gestational parent makes you love your kid more”. You’re allowed to feel how you feel, and it sounds like a difficult thing to work through at a difficult time.

    Also – my in laws stayed with us after J’s birth and didn’t cook at all (because I’m gluten-free and Di’s vegetarian and they’re meat-and-potatoes people). Which is to say, I feel your pain.

    Also also – it is so awesome that you’ll both be able to feed both the babies!

    • Thank you for sharing your insight. I think you’re spot on about how what I’m going through is totally natural. I like the idea of having a particular bonding activity with Mochi too. Thanks too for reassuring me that I’m entitled to my feelings, whatever they may be. I’m sorry that your in-laws weren’t as helpful in the food dept either. I think I remember you being ready to have your home back to yourselves…. As we do right now too πŸ™‚

  6. Be gentle with yourself. Sleep deprivation makes everything ten times worse. It seems totally normal that you haven’t felt as strong a connection with Mochi yet. That’ll come with time. I hope those around you start using more inclusive language, which should help that process. You have two (completely beautiful) small babies at home and are exhausted. I would find it odd if you didn’t complain about stuff. I can’t imagine juggling all that, plus an injured dog. Complaining does many mean you’re not grateful for your life. Don’t beat yourself up!

    • Thank you so much for making me feel better about how I feel. You’re right- we are so overwhelmed with everything going on, that I need to cut myself some slack. I am craving routine too, and with everything so chaotic right now, it’s made me a bit on edge.

  7. I hear you on the in-laws vs. the help your own mom offered. Sounds a bit like our situation. My mom was all over the kitchen, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, changing diapers, feeding bottles, etc. When his parents came to help, they really just wanted to play with the babies and run and grab takeout or groceries, don’t even know how to change a diaper or have a clue how to comfort a baby. It’s just not the same as the comfort and assistance my mom could provide and has created a lot of pent up anger, resentment, and lack of trust in their abilities with the babies.

    You have so much going on. Try to be patient with yourself and DW as you adjust to your new normal. But I would definitely stand firm on the language that’s being used re: Mochi. I cant help but think this type of insensitive language would not be used referring to the child of a heterosexual couple. So there’s no excuse for anyone using this type of language to divide your family unit.

    • So interesting that you’re in a similar grandparent helping situation as us. It’s so hard because in a way, they’re still helping so you feel bad complaining, even if it’s not exactly what you need. I’m hoping that eventually we will get better at communicating and teaching them how to help us more in the ways that we need them to. Yeah, I think that people use this language because they don’t know how to differentiate between babies and pregnancies. I hope that when I’m feeling more resilient and assertive, that I’ll be more likely to take those awkward moments as teaching opportunities.

  8. Your family is so gorgeous, all of you.

    In my experience as the NGP, it took a minute for me to connect with our first born child. I think a large part of that was never having a child before (since it felt easier with the subsequent three children) but I felt scared and ashamed of how awkward we were together for the first week or so.

    It takes a minute, I think, to accept a new person into your life without the aid of those surging GP hormones. It also took a minute for me to find comfort in asserting my place in his life as his full parent because those first few weeks are very GP/newborn heavy. Our hospital pushed hard on the GP connection. People visiting push hard on the recovering parent.

    It was easy to fade into the background in these conversations with strangers but once I felt more comfortable with him, I found my voice was stronger. I could say “hey, he’s OUR kid” and not feel one ounce of doubt about it. (Doubt from others, of course. I never doubted he was my kid. I think I doubted how to show it to the world who was all too willing to sort of shove me aside.)

    I hope you’re able to get out and about soon, catch some sleep, hit the gym, and find a new rhythm as a family of four! You’re all just so lovely. Enjoy it!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, and words of encouragement. I find your experience very comforting as well. I think you’re right, about how the first few weeks are so GP/newborn heavy, and that once I feel more comfortable or bonded to Mochi, that I will speak up more.

  9. I think your feelings about Mochi are totally normal. I would guess it is a combination of these things: 1) Second baby always feels like the intruder, no matter who birthed him/her! My parents told me (I’m second of two) that they weren’t really sure they could ever love me as much as they loved my brother in the first week or two after bringing me home, haha. Obviously that changes (probably quickly), but it’s normal to feel like the foreign new human is a stranger. It is! 2) Your connection is different because you didn’t carry him. That is true for all dads, all NGP’s, and probably a lot of adoptive parents. Don’t feel guilt about it. You have to develop your own connection over time, because DW got 9 months to do bond. 3) Rude and uninformed people saying things about yours and hers. This will probably continue for a long time, but brush it off and correct them when you feel like it. Your family connection will balance out when those pressing immediate needs fade away (feeding, waking in the night, and diapering). I know of a lesbian couple who had 3 kids five months apart and they said it DID feel like “hers” and “mine” for the first year or so. After that, they said their connections to all three kids were stronger and more balanced. I think this is really common, and it’s not a problem. Just be patient and work on developing a connection to Mochi.

    • Interesting that your parents admitted to initially worrying that they wouldn’t be able to love you as much as your brother, and that it all worked out in the end. I said this exact thing to DW last night when we discussed my fears as a parent. You’re right though- I just need more time to bond with him. She’s had a 9 month head start. Thank you for your supportive comments πŸ™‚

  10. I expected an immediate bond with our baby but it took a few days, and I carried her! Also, we didn’t know her sex for the entire pregnancy and I think in a way, I really hasn’t visualized who was in there in a substantial way. It was something I totally didn’t expect, but I think there’s just so much adjusting to do! As far as language goes, I do find myself calling the baby “my baby” or “my love” or any number of pet names, but also make it a point to say “look at how cute your daughter is” etc etc. to my wife. I think it’s natural to have a little ownership over your baby (I would do the same if my partner were the bio dad), but I think it has to go both ways, otherwise yes, it feels exclusive.

    • So interesting that it seems to be a common predicament amongst new parents, gestational or not. Thank you for sharing your experience. I feel so much better about all of this now.

  11. So I am late the comments, although your page has been open on my computer since you wrote it yesterday. Late is better then never, maybe? πŸ™‚
    I read in one of the comments above that you did some reading on the bonding/attachment after adoption, was it helpful? We had to take so many courses through the adoption process that I feel like it was drilled into us that it would happen, and so I was completely and utterly surprised when it didn’t. But, from what I can tell it’s by far the norm that people don’t bond right away. But anyways, I wouldn’t worry too much about it and just see how things unfold over the next few weeks/months.
    Also, I so hope your dog heals up in no-time! It’s never fun being injured, and something about a dog being injured just breaks my heart!
    As always, keeping you in my thoughts. This adjustment to two little babies has to be hard so please try to be kind to yourself. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you for being there outside of this forum, especially right when I needed it. You planted a seed that led to me understanding this a lot more and beating myself up a lot less about it. As far as I can see, you and Mr. MPB are such excellent parents, and you continue to be a great support to me. ❀️ Yeah Clem is looking better today already… I hope it’s just a sprain.

  12. I just typed a massive comment on my phone and then dropped it. And it went out of the comment screen and lost the whole damn thing. Aaargh! The short version is I hope you’re doing okay – you have a ton of stuff to do and I don’t know how you’re managing it – I’m glad DW is recovering well – and I think it’s okay if there is a slight lag in the bonding between you and Mochi compared to Dumplin. Sometimes we don’t even bond with the baby that we carried straight away. And you’ve had so much on your plate. It’s not the same, but because I breastfed F, my husband said he felt as though I was keeping her all to myself. I gave up breastfeeding the boys (and hated myself for not being able to carry on), so he helped out so much more with feeding, whereas with F he could only hold her (which she mostly cried about in the first month or two) or change a nappy (again, crying). It’s only now she’s reaching six months and really responds to him with smiles etc. that he feels more involved and like it’s his daughter and not just my baby. I know it’s different, and that you ARE able to feed mochi (which is amazing – it would have been SO brilliant to have had a spouse who could boob for me in the early weeks when F was constantly starving and my milk was building up), but every baby and birth and circumstance is different. Very soon mochi will be as much a part of you as Dumplin is and you won’t give a second thought to who carried whom, you’ll just be a happy family of four. Lack of sleep and anxiety skews our perspectives on pretty much everything. Take it all in your stride and hold on. The dust WILL settle soon. xxxxx

  13. PS I’ve just reread some of your post and I completely agree that the language is not helpful – my instead of our is a big deal and will not help you to feel that you are a cohesive family unit. Have you talked this through again or left it for now?

  14. They’re both absolutely beautiful!! I can only imagine how difficult this is. My niece was 18 months when her brother was born and she regressed badly. She woke up screaming every night for a very long time. I don’t know how my brother and SIL survived. I don’t think they thought they would. I wonder if the smaller the age gap the bigger the adjustment. But you’re doing great. Even if you’re just hanging on by your pinkies you’re hanging on and that is amazing. Sending you so much strength in the meantime.

  15. Wow…you have so much going on. It’s no wonder you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed and out of sorts. I hope that as Mochi gets older you’ll be able to develop that bond more. I can understand how it would feel hurtful for him to just be called DW’s baby. Sending you lots of love and I hope that things settle down with Dumplin’s sleep. I’m sure he is just reacting to the change and the chaos that comes with a new baby.

  16. I encourage you to continue and breast feed mochi and use that time to bond. You relationship will come in time, i promise *hugs*

    6 months in and my baby is now reaching his arms out for me, my husband feels like chopped liver from day one and he cant do what you can (nursing) – we have no one else around, so its been us two there from his birth and my husband took a month vacation off since he was born but still that connection between mom and baby just gets in the way of dad being able to spend time. You wont have this problem, in time things will be great, hang in there and i hope your wife is feeling better soon. The epidural thingy might hurt for a while, mine still does but be sure to ask the doctor if tape can be removed to help the rash.

    Remember these days will go soooo fast so enjoy every minute and take good care of yourselves, take lots of pictures too of your beautiful family.

  17. Those boys are so darn cute! There are so many things going on for you right now (sleep deprivation, some depression, aches and pains, 2 babies at home, a healing wife, 2 dogs, and IN-LAWS!) that it may not just be that you aren’t feeling connected to Mochi…it could just be that you aren’t connecting with things in general, if that makes sense. Give it some time. Once your in-laws are gone and it’s just the 4 of you, you will see how quickly you will fall into a rhythm, into a routine, and you’ll wonder what you were so worried about in the first place. I don’t think that I didn’t feel connected tot he boys when they were first born per se, but I do know that it took some time to feel like this infinite love that everyone talks about. I never really brought it up because of this fear of being judged, but honestly, it took a good month before I as totally head over feet for those little guys. Big adjustments take time. Give it to yourself, ya know, the time, to get re-acclimated to this new life. Love you friend…and sending hugs your way…

    • You are so right- I was feeling all out of sorts with all of the things going on. As a creature of routine, it really messed me up. The in-laws left yesterday, and I had a good sleep last night. Things are getting better, and I appreciate the reminder that I need to be less hard on myself. I hope you guys are doing okay, and that all the babies and Mary are healthy. Thanks for the love. Sending love to your lovely bunch too πŸ’•

  18. In terms of connection, I birthday Dylan and it still took me a solid 4 months to be connected to her where as with Carter it was the most overwhelming emotion I had ever felt at birth.
    It’s normal.
    It will balance out.
    You guys are such strong women. Happy Mother’s Day!

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