The First Week.

We survived our first week at home with two kids!  I feel like I am so behind in writing and updating that I have no idea where to start, so I’ll just jump right in.  And of course, I’m writing about the first week as the second week is about to come to a close, but I’ll catch up eventually.

Last Saturday, we all ventured home as a family of four, and brought Graham home to the little house that we love so much.  It felt so surreal to finally have in the space that we’ve pictured him in for so long now!

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Also, for those who are unaware, this is what one day postpartum typically looks like – about seven months pregnant!

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We brought Graham home just before Cullen’s naptime, so it was nice to have a few hours to accommodate before big brother was up and running around. 

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Total happiness. 

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We didn’t have any family coming right away this time, as we knew it would be important – both for us and for Cullen – for us to adjust as just four at the beginning.  So we spent the first few days in a haze of figuring out our new normal. 

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Casey and I both found our arms very full most of the time, but Cullen luckily didn’t seem to affected by Graham’s presence. 

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I honestly don’t remember what we did on any given day, but it was nothing like the first week we spent with Cullen.  Back then I remember camping out at home and only leaving for occasional short walks to the coffee shop or around a few blocks.

With a toddler in the house, it was much harder to hibernate inside all day (not to mention the gorgeous sunny week of weather!).  But of course, I was pretty physically limited in what I could do, which I actually found a bit frustrating.  Mentally I felt great, and it was so fun to all be at home together – I wanted to go out and DO things!  But we kept it really simple and tried to find fun things for Cullen to do at the house, so that Graham could snooze and I could rest and heal.

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This is what mealtimes look like now as a group of four.  We’ll need to figure out a new solution once Graham outgrows our beloved pillow!

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Those first few days involved a lot of this…

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Many people have asked me the big question – how is Cullen doing?  The good news here is that Cullen has been wonderful.  A true sweetheart in every sense of the word.  I’ll talk more about his transition in another post, but overall it has gone really well.  It feels like he understands that Graham is part of our family already, and he hasn’t shown any aggression or jealousy so far. 

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With that said, he also hasn’t had to compete for attention yet.  He spent the whole first week with me and Casey both at home, which was a really fun treat for him (for all of us, really!).  And currently (week two) my mom is here, so he’s on cloud nine.  The true test will come when I’m home alone with both, and he has to learn a bit more patience and independence.  But for now, it’s going really well.  He leans over and gives Graham these sweet kisses on the head, and it totally melts my heart. 

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Graham is the world’s sweetest baby, and he fits right into our family like he was always supposed to be here.  Don’t let the pictures fool you though – he absolutely hates being on his back.  I think he might have some reflux issues going on (headed to the pediatrician for a checkup tomorrow!), and he wants to spent all of his time either being held or sleeping on someone’s chest.  That is all wonderful and snuggly and fabulous, but definitely makes it harder to manage Cullen with my arms full of baby most of the time. 

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He also loathes the swaddle.  Here I thought I had all this experience, and the second time around would be so much easier since I’ve already figured it out once before, but – surprise! – this is a totally different baby.  My old tricks aren’t really working, and we’re definitely in the learning curve of figuring out how best to soothe him and make him happy.  So far this Ergo Swaddler is the only one he will tolerate, and it has helped quite a bit at night.  Straight jacket for the win!

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Because of his refusal to sleep on his back, nights have been a little rough.  He doesn’t actually cry too much, but he’s really restless and obviously uncomfortable flat on his back.  He much prefers a good chest snooze.  The nice thing is that the second time around, I’m a lot less concerned about things like “bad habits” – and knowing how fast it goes by from experience, I’m soaking up all the chest naps I can get before they are long gone. 

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He also loves the wraps and carriers, which is great.  I absolutely loved babywearing with Cullen, and it is so fun to do it again!

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Our first week at home was, of course, and adjustment – but overall it was absolutely wonderful.  We haven’t had a week together as just our family, without Casey working, in years.  It was so, so nice to have him home.  And he definitely needed the time off to soak up Graham and adjust to newborn-hood again himself. 

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Since we were limited in what we do while I was still healing and recovering, we tried to come up with fun family activities to do at the house.  We set up the pull-out couch, popped popcorn, and had a “movie night” (starring Elmo of course).  We did puzzles, found new fun toddler iPad apps, and painted our family of pumpkins.  We disconnected from the outside for a bit, and really just enjoyed each other.

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We ate takeout pretty much every night, and went to our favorite breakfast diner in the mornings.  Casey and I stayed up way too late each night watching episode after episode of Breaking Bad.  We baked muffins, and all piled into bed together in the mornings, and of course, we continued to get to know little Graham. 

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This is him at one week old – looking so different already!

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He is eating really well, which is a relief.  I had a really great breastfeeding experience with Cullen, but I know every baby is so different and I couldn’t count on things necessarily being easy.  But so far so good, and things seem to be going well.  He has quite an appetite!

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He still a really sleepy guy, and it’s a treat when we get to see his gorgeous blue eyes.  I’m looking forward to when he’s awake and more interactive, but for now I’m happy to just take in all his sleepy snuggles. 

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As for me, I’m doing really well.  Having been through this once before, it all seems a lot less scary the second time around.  I’m enjoying each day and savoring each stage, as I know how fleeting this newborn phase is from experience.  Instead of Googling things and calling my pediatrician nurses’ line, I’m trying to just relax and have fun. 

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With that said, the postpartum period is what it is – no matter how many times you might have done it before.  I spent all of last Tuesday crying – pretty much sun up to waaay after sun down.  Wednesday I cried some more.  Thursday I cried a little less.  And the tears were for many different reasons – happy and sad.  Mostly happy.  But the hormonal and emotional changes are real, and man are they intense. 

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Physically, I’m doing really well.  I had a really tough recovery with Cullen, and that was one of the things I was dreading most about this pregnancy experience.  Thankfully, a much shorter labor – despite being way more intense – seems to have left me in better shape for recovery.  I still had a few stitches and tears this time, but nothing compared to what I went through the first time around. 

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My body is certainly very different and still has a long way to go, but I’m amazed at how much it’s changed in just one week.  I came home from the hospital still looking very pregnant, and a week later I’m wearing my old jeans and only carrying about 10-ish extra pounds. 

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I have no plans to do anything about those pounds any time soon, as I’m definitely still in the healing and resting stage.  I’m really trying to take it easy these first two weeks while I have help around, so that I’m in as good of shape as is possible when I’m finally on my own.  It’s hard though with a 30 pound toddler who wants to be picked up, and a big infant car seat to lug around now.  I definitely overdid it the first few days I was home, so I’ve stepped it back significantly and am hoping it helps!

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We have a long way to go, but so far things are going really well.  After this weekend, I’ll be on my own – and that’s when the real fun begins, right?

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We are so happy to have little Graham in our family, and I can’t wait to see how he continues to change and grow in the coming days and weeks.  It is already happening way too quickly!

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Thank you for all your kind congratulations and sweet messages!  We are so grateful to have a wonderful network of support – both virtually and here in Seattle!  More to come…