This post is dedicated to Maggie and Josh Stewart. If you remember, before Jack arrived unannounced, Maggie kept Max 3-4 times a week. She was wonderful and she still has a special place in his heart. From time to time he'll ask, "Where Maggie go?" You can read more and the Stewarts here: http://littletenderness.tumblr.com/
Well Maggie moved to Louisville, KY with her husband because he is now in seminary there. But they moved as a family of 2.5. That's right, Maggie is pregnant with their first child and we got to be around for the first half of the pregnancy.
I remember when she said "I want to tell you something" to which I blurted out "You're pregnant!" I had told Chad the day before that I thought she was pregnant because she had that glow and flushed pretty cheeks and she looked sleepy (the first trimester is this sleepy that can't be described or understood until your pregnant.) She was barely pregnant at all but she shared the news with us-- and we were so excited for them!
Well tonight, Josh posted on Facebook that they're headed to the hospital and they expect their sweet baby girl, Naomi, to come into the world sometime tomorrow. I was at the gym when I read the update and I started crying-- the ugly cry- I was so excited! I picked up Max from the Kids Klub and told him Maggie is having her baby and all night he's been going around the house singing "Maggie having baby" to the tune of the ABC's. I keep thinking of them and praying for the labor and delivery and now I've compiled a list of my top 10 pieces of advice for the new mom because there is nothing else I can do, ha!
Lauren's Top 10 Pieces of Advice for New Mother's:
1) Seriously, sleep when the baby is sleeping. You've heard it a million times because it's true and because it's hard to do. But even if you have to wear dirty clothes because you need to do laundry SO bad, still sleep when the baby is sleeping.
2) Ask for help. Like for everything. If you need someone to bring you the baby, bring you dinner, help with the dishes, etc, ASK. Even if you felt like so and so was fine and had to it together by such and such week, she did not. No one does. It's hard at first, it's a huge life change, ask for help.
3) You're the mom, so you can set whatever rules you want. If you don't want people to hold her for a while, then people don't need to hold her. If you want everyone to wash their hands twice while you supervise, then that's what they should do. If you don't want anyone to touch her hands because her hands touch her face, then that's the rule.
4) Don't let the nurses at the hospital, the lactation specialist or the pediatrician make you feel like an idiot. Answer their questions, hear them out, and then remind yourself that God chose you and Josh to be her parents and He will give you what you need to do that job. If you start to feel like you're the most horrible parent in the world when any of those people are around, ask them to step out for a minute and pray. Then call someone you trust if you need to, but don't get pushed around.
5) At some point, you're going to lose it and fuss at Josh like you've never fussed before. You may even begin to think he's the most horrible person in the world. It's not Josh. It's sleep deprivation. And it's the devil. The devil likes to capitalize on a new mother's sleep deprivation. Cut him off at the pass- when you're head starts to spin, your eyes start to flash and you start to yell, call it for what it is and let it go. You'll feel totally different after a nap and/or a good cry.
6) Any other time that you start to yell or act crazy, it's out of fear. It can be tiny fear, or big fear, but it's out of fear. So when this happens, remember that you and Josh are on the same team. And he does love her like crazy- he just doesn't have the hormone surges that you do.
7) Around 3 weeks, you'll hit a rough patch- it'll be bad. I call it the 3-week hump. I remember telling Chad that all I do is feed a baby and asking why I even bothered to wear a shirt. This struck when Chad went to the bank- to me it felt like he went on a luxury trip, because if I wanted to leave the house, it took hours and hours of preparation and I could only be gone for about 30 minutes before it was time to feed the baby again. Just hang in there- it will all even out, it will become your new normal, and it will be amazing!
8) Get the baby on a schedule. But don't start this until she's 2 weeks old. Until then, just love her, enjoy her, smell her, feed her, change her, and then love her some more. Then, at two weeks, get on a schedule. It doesn't have to be a certain schedule- do whatever works for you- but then do it around the same time every single day, whether you're home or on the go. Babies love it, they thrive with a schedule AND you'll always know what she needs. Note: if the baby is supposed to eat at 3pm and she's ready to eat at 2:45, let her eat!! That is basically 3pm and it's not messing up your schedule. It took me a lot to get there although is seems really obvious now!
9) Be committed to breastfeeding for 6 weeks. It's going to hurt at the beginning, it's going to be really frustrating, and you're going to be able to find something or someone who is willing to talk you out of it. But God made it for babies, it's always ready and the right temperature, it travels well, it's full of nutrients, and it gets easier! If after 6 weeks it's still not working, or something is off, then feel free to move forward as you see fit. Then tell yourself you tried, your worked hard, and you are in no way a failure. Special notes: if after the initial soreness heals/ goes away, you start to feel sore again, call you doc immediately-- it's probably thrush and you want to get medicine right away. If you start to feel like you have the flu, achy, and a fever, it's mastitis, call the doctor right away.
10) You are a great mom. You are Naomi's very best mom. You prayed for this child and God blessed you with her. God has equipped you to take care of her. And this time is very short- although in the middle of a sleepless night it will not feel that way. This will fly by- you'll never have it again- because next time you'll have Naomi and your next bundle too. Soak it up, don't rush getting your life back together, don't rush to the next stage when she sleeps or sits up or plays. Just enjoy every single moment and spend those quiet middle of the night moments praying and thanking God for your girl. It's amazing what a little thanksgiving does for your perspective and your tiredness :)
We love y'all, we're praying for y'all, and we're SO excited for you! Can't wait to see pictures!!
**If you're a mom and have other tips to add for Maggie or any other new mother who may stumble across this, please do!!