Overall, the experience was exactly what I hoped for. It would have been great to spend a little less time pushing and to have more spaced out contractions, but we were really fortunate to have a quick and complication free labor and delivery on my due date.
Labor really set me up for parenting. I thought pushing lying down on my back would be counter productive and I would hate it. And I ended up delivering that way. Partially because I was so exhausted that it was the best position to be in. Another side note here: Travis calls this pushing position "the Mitt Romney," as he misunderstood the actual name the the midwives kept calling it. And since then, I've changed pretty much every plan I've had for Lyra. She got some jaundice after several days and wasn't eating well; there went my plan of no bottles for a while. We gave her a pacifier around 2 weeks old when we hadn't planned on using one. I struggled cleaning the cloth diapers I was set on using so we are using disposables instead. I planned on her sleeping in her bassinet but she often sleeps in our bed; something I said I'd never do. I just really like snuggles and so does she. So yeah...welcome to parenthood, apparently. But she's been a good easy baby overall.
The last few weeks haven't been easy, but they haven't been the hardest weeks ever. The fatigue and sleep deprivation was overrated in my experience so far. I'm tired, but not a debilitating amount. Honestly, working nights was much worse.
Breastfeeding was a huge challenge. Lyra had jaundice at first and once my milk came in, we had immediate oversupply problems. Even though everyone says you're lucky to have a problem like that, you're not. It is still a problem. It has taken 6 weeks to be comfortable and be able to nurse normally without having to pump and/or catch insane amounts of leakage. We're still working on perfecting it. And I have 400 oz of breastmilk in my freezer. Plus 100 oz that I donated. That's a total of about 34 lbs of milk, around 4 gallons.
The messiness of parenthood was not overstated. I've had to catch my wildly out of control breastmilk in a wine glass. At one point I sent my mom into a fit of hysterical, turn-her-whole-face-purple laughter when I hung a couple of those bibs with pockets from my boobs to catch milk, saying I was going to patent that invention. I've been covered in projectile exorcist style spit up several times and had boogers sneezed on me. Once I caught projectile poop during a diaper change. Not to mention all the drool and spit. Lyra has this habit the past few days of licking my neck even when she isn't hungry. I think she thinks she's a puppy. Babies are weirdos.
Postpartum hormones are no joke. Happy tears, stressed tears, odd random tears, lots of tears! There were a few days straight I couldn't look at Lyra without crying because, "I love her so much" emotions overwhelmed me. "Raw" is the best word to describe the first postpartum days.
***Present Miriam checking in here. I can't believe I have a 14 month old. Life feels like it is back to normal but simultaneously completely different than it used to be. It still blows my mind a little that a whole other person exists now. I have a wildly fearless, fiercely independent, adorable, and scary smart toddler now! I can't really adequately sum up a year in a few words but I can say it's been quite the adventure.
Sarah here. Here's Lyra exactly one year later, photographed on her first birthday.
I also have to share a few things Miriam emailed to me later. It's possibly some of my favorite post-birth writing ever.
"So I got the word from you and the midwives that Lyra's birth was 'triumphant.' Birth was triumphant for me because I definitely had been doubting myself in the back of my mind after pushing for so long. The turning point I had when I realized she was actually arriving is still vivid. And side note here, during that moment you were the first person I really believed was being serious and not exaggerating when you said I was almost done. I figure my mom and Travis clearly didn't know what they were talking about (haha poor family who I never listen to) and the midwives just wanted to keep me motivated for more pushing. But when you said told me that Lyra was really almost there, that gave me my last bit of motivation because I felt you had no stake in when or how Lyra arrived. So just so you know, you were a very important part of my birth experience aside from the pictures. Just saying, next time you should probably include a selfie because sometimes I look in my birth book and I'm like, "Geez, where was Sarah?" ;)
Aside from that, what struck me was how supported I felt while simultaneously knowing I had to birth Lyra alone. Travis was my rock who had my back (mostly literally); my mom was there as moral support (it was one of those rare times, possibly the first time, that she couldn't step in and mom away my pain); and the midwives were there in my face for some focusing talks. So I never felt like I had anything but the best support, but I did have that moment where I realized there was no turning back; I was on my own to birth Lyra and no one else could actually do it for me. And it is awe-inspiring to realize I built and birthed an entire separate little human being from scratch. I appreciate everything about my body now that I really know how much hard work was put into it. And frankly I feel like such a warrior badass momma goddess every time I look at that huge noggin of hers. You can quote me on that."