“First we had each other. Then we had you. Now we have everything.”
Here is our most recent round of family photos/newborn photos of Archer. They were taken by my friend Rachel at The Hive House. (It’s pretty much the most adorable and versatile whole-house studio ever). These were taken when he was about three weeks old. Since he’s younger than a month old here, I’m considering them newborn photos and I’m using them for our belated birth announcement!
The past few weeks are challenging to describe. But maybe if I had to choose only one adjective, I think “challenging” is the one that sums everything up the best. Initially when we came home from the hospital, the difficulty level on life itself just seemed to be cranked high between managing the demands of a newborn, healing up from a C-section, and then taking on the task of making Christmas magical for our older three. And then Joe went back to work just as the girls got off school for winter break and I was home with everyone by myself for the first time (believe me, there were some tears, mostly from me.)
But we did it and we’ve made it about 5 weeks now! Archer still doesn’t have much of a schedule. I never know if he’s going to lay down for a 15 minute nap or a 2.5 hour nap so it makes it slightly difficult to plan life. Sometimes he and I sleep in our room, sometimes we sleep in the living room so the other family members can get a break from the crying and get some sleep. Everything is just day-by-day. He also spits up all the time, so between washing my clothes, his clothes, plus sheets, blankets, and burp rags, the quantity of laundry has increased by a substantial amount.
I’ve been all of the place emotionally. I am equal parts sad and relieved that this is our last baby, because holy buckets infants are a lot of work. They are also sweet and snuggly and smell like heaven (when they don’t smell like old milk). We’ve had some blissfully cozy moments snuggling by the fireplace this winter which have been nothing short of heaven.
I also find myself anxious about not being able to give every person in this house the amount of attention they need/deserve… everything from making sure homework is done, bedtime stories are still ready, everyone is hugged and bathed, etc. but I’m hoping those feelings will subside as more time goes on and we get into a groove, especially when I no longer fall asleep while sitting up. I’ve also been feeling a little stir-crazy since it’s mid January and not the easiest to just take a leisurely walk outside in fresh air, but I’m sure it’ll feel amazing once spring comes and we can open the windows and go for strolls.
The way friends and family (from near and far) have been spoiling and taking care of us has made my heart so full. We were sent delicious, homemade, time-saving meals. We were gifted diapers. We had neighbors able to have our big kids over from time to time. I got goodies from friends including chocolate, cozy socks, bath salts, face masks, dry shampoo, and wine. I didn’t realize how generous people were going to be by the time baby #4 arrived, and it has been absolutely wonderful to feel cared for and loved on. I kind of cant wait for the next round of babies being born so I can return the favor!
A few other things that have helped:
While I’ve been sitting and nursing around the clock, I took to reading books instead of being on my phone. I found that social media, especially during the holidays, made me anxious and feeling like I should be doing more, looking cuter, baking, ice skating, sledding, etc. I did not need that. I managed to finish 2.5 books in the past couple weeks which made me feel pretty good! Also, as an alternative to scrolling, I started watching some stand-up comedy on my phone instead which has actually gotten me to LOL. It’s helped with mood-boosting and helping me not take myself and things too seriously!
Also, baby-wearing around the house has helped too. I can manage to do a few things (like put away laundry, pick up, or prepare simple meals) while having Archer not cry. Joe has also been on top of all the deep cleaning (and will wear Archer while he vacuums) which has been much appreciated. And Rosie, my little mama, is always willing to hold Archer, talk to him, and spend time with him if I need to do something quick (like go to the bathroom).
Lastly, the freezer meals I prepared before Archer’s birth turned out to be a lifesaver as well. It was wonderful to not have to worry about what to make for dinner/having to do dinner dishes for about a month! Highly, highly recommend.
I guess to summarize, things have been harder than I was anticipating, but we are getting through it and probably doing better than I think we are. I’m incredibly grateful that Archer is here and healthy and I can’t wait to see him grow and fit in with all of his siblings.
Thanks again for all of the support and love during this crazy time in our lives!