The first 6 weeks: Things to remember

Dear sisters,

How have 6 weeks gone by since I gave birth to Calvin?! He seems so much bigger and expressive than he was 6 weeks ago. He seems to have grown into his face now :-). Over the past few nights I’ve been making mental lists of things I don’t want to forget from this time as I nurse Calvin during his two nighttime feedings. Though I’ve tried to take pictures and a few boring-to-anyone-not-related-to-me videos (that you’ll see interspersed through this post) it seems I never capture the cutest, sweetest moments on camera. Those I need to mentally save. So here are some memory prompts for when all of my children are grown and wonder what it was like for us when we were young parents.

This sweet but slightly boring video is so special now that he’s grown so much! He looks so different at 6 weeks than he did at 4 days.

I don’t want to forget….

1. How at peace we were in the hospital with Calvin. We both wondered if we’d feel overwhelmed or insecure or totally crazy. But overall, I remember just feeling safe and content. I didn’t think ahead too much to when we’d be going home, instead I felt very present in each moment. We were a bit annoyed by how many times nurses came in to check on us overnight, I remember feeling totally fine and wishing the nurses would leave me alone. Calvin was eating fine and sleeping well that first night and I remember thinking, “If this fancy birthing suite is really supposed to be the closest I can get to a home birth, next time I should just have a home birth.” I tried to gauge the likelihood that I’d come home and experience post-partum depression (I was sure I’d have lots of anxiety about silly things). I had a few moments of overwhelming happiness that made me cry (and made Kevin relieved that I wasn’t an emotionless Amazon who can give birth and act totally normal), the most memorable being the first time I sat down in our blue armchair and rocked Calvin when we came home from the hospital.

We didn’t take many pictures of the birth or in the hospital room, so I’m happy to have this little video tour. I’m a bit loopy in it, but that’s understandable :-).

2. How wonderful Kevin has been and how sweet it is to see him falling more in love with Calvin every day. The only time I cried out of sadness was the night Calvin didn’t really sleep well at all (he wasn’t fussy, just awake!) and I had to get up early to sing the next day. Around 5am I just cried to Kevin, “Why does he have to choose tonight to not sleep? I have to get up and do something that’s important to me! Waaah.” It was actually a really wonderful moment for the two of us. I fully gave up on trying to “keep it all together” and let Kevin take over. He took Calvin from me (and Calvin promptly fell deeply asleep in his arms, the little bugger) and let me sleep in. I spend most of my time as a mother feeling capable and in charge. But I need to know that when I feel like everything’s falling apart (because I’m not getting the sleep I crave) I have a partner who is supporting me all the time and will do whatever I need him to do.

I think lots of first time fathers wonder what it will feel like when the baby finally arrives. You hear the maxims, “You’re going to fall in love instantly…You’ll be blown away.” Kevin is a practical, even keel person who doesn’t often have emotional highs or lows. Love for him (as I’ve heard him describe it) is being able to laugh and talk and spend quality time with someone. You don’t get to do that with a baby right away. He was nervous that he wouldn’t feel as “blown away” as people say they are. What I’ve loved over the past 6 weeks is watching his enjoyment of Calvin grow every day. He’s loved him since he was born, but he gets so excited by each new expression and laughs at the little involuntary movements Calvin makes. I don’t ever want to forget the first time Kevin was pooped on during a diaper change. Calvin sneezed while the diaper was off and tiny bit shot out and landed on Kevin’s hand. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Kevin laugh longer or louder about something. We’re both so amused by Calvin’s farts and poops, it is just too funny to be holding a baby while he goes to the bathroom. Good thing we both have juvenile senses of humor.

This one may be even more boring ;-). It’s still incredible to see his squishy little face.

3. The silly things we disagreed on. Calvin is hopefully going to enjoy having two opinionated, strong leaders of parents. Kevin and I used to say, “I’m captain of this situation,” because we’d both be trying to take control of the same thing. In our first 6 weeks we’ve “discussed”:

~how tightly and how often to swaddle Calvin, Kevin enjoys a very tightly rolled burrito of a baby, I usually hold him until he falls asleep, then lightly wrap him when I put him down. Turns out both works well in different situations.

~whether or not to use a pacifier. After a week of Calvin only falling asleep while sucking on our fingers, we realized this baby really likes to be soothed through sucking and thought we’d save our fingers. The pacifier has been very helpful, and luckily, he doesn’t want or need it all the time, so Kevin (who wasn’t pro-pacifier) feels like Calvin won’t get addicted.

~when to move Calvin to his pack n play. He’s been sleeping well in his carseat, only waking twice during the night for half an hour or so to nurse/poop. It’s tempting to move him to his pack n play, but I’m not quite ready to have him more than an arm’s-length away. I love being able to roll over and see whether he’s asleep or not.

Even though we have differing opinions on things and we may have spirited discussions about them, it’s because we both care so much about loving Calvin. I’m guessing that the second time around decisions like these don’t seem as fraught with worry.

3 weeks old, what a big boy! Here I tried to capture his falling asleep post-nursing faces. His lips would flutter into smiles and frowns, his eyes would roll back and forth under his partially closed eyelids. It was adorable.

Now, at 6 weeks, Calvin seems like a whole new baby. He falls asleep by himself at night, I just put him down and he slowly falls asleep in his carseat after a nursing (sometimes he needs his pacifier, sometimes he doesn’t). As I write this he’s sleeping on a little bed we made him in between us on the couch. He lifts his arms and rubs his eyes and wakes himself up and falls asleep again. Then he holds his hands under his chin and Kevin and I melt.His most expressive faces are before/during/after a diaper change. He smiles and coos and looks into our eyes like we’re the best people in the world. Sometimes I leave his diaper off a biiit too long because he’s so happy and then I have to clean up an errant pee, it’s worth it though to see how stinkin (literally, bah dum chh) cute he is.

I can’t wait to see what he’s like in another 6 weeks. I watched a sweet little 6 month old in church today play with a crinkly piece of fabric with ribbons on it for 30 minutes straight. She was so precious. Calvin’s going to be so fun when he’s that age, but at the same time I’ll miss the snuggly, little bundle he is now. Such a paradox. Sisters, I wish you could hold him and play with him now. I hope the videos give you a bit of a feel for how sweet he is until you can see him at Christmas.

Love,
Jewel

 

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2 thoughts on “The first 6 weeks: Things to remember

  1. They do change so fast at this age! I love newborns in their wrinkled cuteness but I do love when they get a bit older and can respond and interact more. I’m excited for our Christmas reunion!!

  2. I love the videos! As far as I’m concerned, you could just set up a baby live stream. I think he’s been asleep every time we’ve hung out, so it is nice to see him awake. So happy for you. I imagine that watching your husband fall in love with your baby is such a heart-warming thing. I wish I could see more of all of you. Love, love, love.

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