Monday (5.21.18) was my first official day back in the office since having Emmaline, and although it feels good to be able to have my hair down and eat my meal while it’s hot, I miss my hubs and girls!
I worked up until I birthed Emmaline because I wanted to maximize my time with her after she was born, and even though I feel like I walked into work exhausted every day leading up to to her birth, I am so thankful I pushed through.
Let me start by saying I had the delusion that my maternity leave was basically going to be a 6 week vacation. Ha! Oh Sarah… sweet thing. 😝 Honestly, I had forgotten that newborns don’t sleep through the night, they cry often, and (even if you’ve done it before) nursing hurts a lot at first and it doesn’t help that the baby eats ever 1 -3 hours. I had completely forgotten how truly exhausting those first couple months are – physically, mentally and emotionally. But amidst the sleepless nights and endless feedings, we were able to enjoy time together as a family of 4.
I wanted to do a little “Maternity Leave Overview” post so relive some of my favorite moments of these past 6 weeks and share some of my thoughts and experiences of round #2.
What We Did
Maternity Leave is basically the longest paid time-off you’ll ever get, so I really tried to take advantage of the blessing. Most days we stayed home – slept in, caught up on chores that took even longer than usual to complete, work on projects, binge watch something, etc. Actually, while on Maternity Leave I finished 2 shows (one was Psych that Aaron and I started around Christmas time) and watched all of the Marvel movies in the order they were made with Aaron before we went and saw Infinity War in theaters.
We had a lot of family trips to SAMs Club and Wal Mart, church, hanging out at our favorite park, running around the McWane Center, exploring the zoo and we even snuck in a weekend getaway to Floridia. To be honest, a good amount of time was spent wrapping up Highlands College homework and preparing for graduation. My mom was also able to come into town again for Mother’s Day and we dedicated Emmaline at church.
How I Felt
I was completely caught off guard with my emotions this round, and the first two weeks were rough to say the least. With Rylie, I was very emotional throughout my pregnancy but was holding up well after she was born. But with Emmaline, I wasn’t as emotional during my pregnancy but the first two weeks of her being home I was essentially a mess. I did some research and I decided I was basically experiencing the beginning symptoms of postpartum depression. Thankfully, with prayer and life-giving perspective from people I trust, I was able to catch myself before I spiraled and took necessary steps to prevent PPD. For me, that included getting out of the house once a day, even if that was just going to the store or a park.
Once I got out of my postpartum funk, I really enjoyed spending the extra time with my family. We shared lots of laughs which always fills my soul.
Aaron’s + My Relationship
Adding another baby into your family is a big deal, especially when it’s no longer just one! Before Emmaline was born, we had settled into a phenomenal routine and comfortability. We had regular date nights out of the house and we had uninterrupted time together after Rylie went to bed. But once Emmaline came home, that was no longer the case. Having quiet time together became impossible and even if Rylie wasn’t with us, Emmaline was. Date nights were put on hold and my new goal was just to have a decent conversation at some point in the day that didn’t involve him handing me a burp cloth or asking him to hold Emmaline while I changed Rylie’s diaper.
But I gotta say, Aaron was made to be a dad! He has such an effortless relationship with Rylie and it’s obvious. Aaron was such a blessing to me and frequently made me meals, cared for Rylie, and even held Emmaline occasionally so I could take a nap.
Since we are no longer in Highlands College, we had our first date night since we’ve had Emmaline on Tuesday (5.15.18). It was the first time we left both Rylie AND Emmaline. Aaron and I had such a great time, and I was reminded how fulfilled and refreshed I feel after hanging out with my best friend. So yes – after 7 weeks, date nights are back in full swing and I am super excited about it 😃
At first, Rylie was very interested in the new baby. But, just as Aaron and I suspected, the day came when Rylie realized that the “new baby” wasn’t going away, and she was taking a lot of Mom’s time and attention…. which was not okay. This resulted in a ton of fussing – something Rylie is definitely not known for and was hard for me to handle as a mom. I thought Rylie felt replaced, and it broke my heart to see her so distraught. It turned into “if Rylie is upset, I’m upset.” Basically, a 1 ½ year old was dictating my emotions. Once Aaron lovingly pointed this out to me, I realized how silly it was, and I made a point to keep myself in check and trust that Rylie would eventually calm down.
A couple days later I had both the girls all by myself for the first time. I had laid Emmaline down on the floor after changing her diaper and her pants were off. Rylie grabbed them off the couch and knelt down next to her 2 week old sister and started placing the pants on her feet. “Are you trying to put Emmaline’s pants on?” I asked. “What a big helper!” and Rylie looked at me with such a big proud smirk. Suddenly, God turned the light bulb on in my head. She wanted to help. Shortly after, I needed to feed Emmaline. When it came time to burp her, I asked Rylie, who was playing with her toys on the floor, “Rylie, would you like to help me burp Emmaline?” Not knowing what that meant but liking the sound of her name being associated with the word “help,” she quickly stood up, walked over, and let me take her hand to teach her how patting Emmaline’s back would cause her to burp. Again, sheer joy came on my baby girl’s face and I realized I had found my ticket to keeping Rylie’s and my relationship in a healthy place.
How Our Family Is Adjusting
Altogether, I’d say we’re doing great to adjusting to having two littles! Rylie loves to help and asks to hold her sister at least once a day (and by “ask” I mean hold both her hands out towards Emmaline 🙂 ). She gives her the sweetest kisses and loves sitting next to her and stroking her hair.
Aaron and I are pretty much on a man-to-man game (he takes Rylie because she’s more active and I take Emmaline because I’m her source of food) but we do a good job of tag-teaming who is doing what.
Our family rhythm is still being shaped and molded, but we are well on our way to finding our groove! 😀
Overall, I am so thankful for my 6 weeks out of the office so that I could focus on my family. Even though I’ve had to come back to reality, I am at such a peace because Aaron and I sat down and talked about our schedule and when we are going to be very intentional with our family time.