Thursday, 26 December 2013

introducing Kateri...and Merry Christmas!

It's hard to believe that our sweet babe is 4.5  weeks already. The time is flying by, though in some ways it already feels like she's been a part of  our family forever.

I know an update is long overdue. The postpartum rollercoaster has been too crazy and too exhausting for me to get to it until now, and even now I might just cheat by putting in a lot of pictures.

What a blessing it was that labour went so smoothly this time. I had some pre-labor contractions this time, but nothing like the weeks of contractions that kept me awake at night and left me completely exhausted that I had with Isaac. This time I woke up with mild contractions around 4am . I wasn't sure if it was the real thing but asked Sean to just wait awhile before going to work just in case. We kept waiting for the contractions to go away but instead they just kept coming and getting stronger. Around 11am we decided to call the midwife, by noon we were at the hospital and at 1:53pm Kateri Regina joined the world ex utero. With Isaac, I pushed for 2.5 hours, and then still needed a forceps delivery. Kateri was born after pushing through only 2 contractions! I was pretty amazed at how different it was. An easier labor has also meant an easier recovery, and though I'm still not 100% back to normal, I soon will be.

She was born so quickly that her face was a little bruised,
Sean took a week off work after Kateri was born and I took full advantage of it to rest and recover. Then my friend Caitlin came and stayed for almost a week to help out. I am so grateful to this wonderful friend and all the other people who have brought presents, clothes and food. Moms with new babies need support and I have felt very supported these past weeks.

As usual, everyone but Isaac is tired.
Isaac loves his baby sister; in fact, sometimes we have to protect her from the enthusiasm of his love. For the first couple weeks, when I had constant help with the kids Isaac had very little reaction to their being a new little person in the house. Now that it's down to just the three of us most of the time he's definitely been a little extra needy and temperamental. But after hearing some horror stories from friends of how upset their children got with the arrival of a new sibling, I think his reaction has been pretty mild.

Sibling love.
As for me, I'm still trying to figure out how to be a mom to two kids. Fortunately, Kateri is pretty easy going. Keep her fed and cuddled and she is happy. It now seems like it would be super easy if I only had her to look after (note: I certainly did not think it was "easy" when I only had Isaac. The first time around everything is and new and overwhelming and anything but easy). Right now, though, it's more challenging keeping Isaac entertained and safe when I also have to nurse/change/hold a baby. At first I would feel guilty a lot, like I was neglecting one or the other of them, but I'm slowly getting the hang of it and realizing that it may not be the worst thing in the world for either of them to have to share my attention. I also try to remember that a new baby is a gift, not just to the parents, but to the siblings as well. Isaac doesn't fully realize it now but (I hope) he'll be happy to have a sister to play with as she gets older.

Me and my babies!
Isn't she beautiful? I could just post picture after picture but I'll try and restrain myself.
Family picture at Kateri's baptism.

On another note: Merry Christmas!

Taken on Christmas Eve. She's already getting chubby!
It's been challenging, but really beautiful having a newborn baby around for Christmas this year. I've been too tired to do everything that I've wanted so Christmas has been pretty trimmed back this year. On one hand, it's a shame because this is the first year that Isaac is really old enough to have a clue what's going on (well, sort of anyway). I want to make it really special and fun for him. But, on the other hand, it's not really supposed to be about the presents, and the baking, and the decorations, right? We didn't get our tree until Christmas eve this year due to crazy ice storms and our own lack of organization, but we're thinking of making it a yearly tradition. First of all, the tree was free, and who can say no to that kind of bargain? It also made Christmas eve and Christmas day really special this year. The decorations were still fresh and intact (Isaac hadn't done any un-decorating yet) for the big day, which has been a great reminder to keep the focus on the main event.

Presents! Not the main event, but still pretty fun.
It's fun to have a girl to dress up.
This year, I've been able to look at Kateri and marvel at the fact that Jesus too was once such a tiny baby, so precious, but so vulnerable. Out of love for us, he put himself in that position: not even able to hold his own head up. I keep thinking of how Mary must have gotten up in the night to nurse Him, changed His diapers, soothed His cries, held Him close and smelt that newborn smell. Having a baby is very--I don't know how to put it--earthy. There are a lot of bodily fluids involved. I read somewhere how much poop becomes part of your everyday conversations when you're a new parent, and it's so true! Thinking of Jesus as a newborn, just like my little Kateri, makes me realize how truly human Jesus was. It is almost unbelievable that God would do that for us, but true.

Wishing you all the blessings that our God-made-man has for you this Christmas season!

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