Our sweet daughter Ella Rose was born on May 8, a whopping 7 pounds, 1 ounce. She is even more beautiful than I thought she’d be, and my heart is so full.
Over the last month, we’ve had family in and out of our home to visit our newest addition. It’s been a crazy whirlwind, but I’m really grateful. All of the extra helping hands have allowed me to get the rest I need while also caring for my newborn. (Yes, I even needed a break from blogging! I've been working on this one post for over a month now, but mama duty calls!)
All ready to go home from the hospital!
Here’s what we’ve learned about Ella over the course of a month:
Ella is an excellent eater and a super pooper!
She took to breastfeeding immediately and I’m pretty sure it’s her favorite thing to do. And three blowouts in her first week home proved that her digestive system works pretty well, too!
She has been a wonderful sleeper - thank goodness!
In the weeks leading up to delivery, I had a bit of anxiety about losing sleep at night. I have never functioned well on less than 7 hours of sleep each night, so I worried about interrupted sleep. Thankfully, Ella has already slept for long stretches at night. And when she wakes, I’ve been surprised to find that waking to feed her hasn’t been as exhausting as I thought it would be. (Well… until it’s time to get up in the morning!)
She’s a little dramatic… but calms quickly when she gets what she wants.
They say you can’t spoil a baby, at least for the first three months. I hope that’s true, because when miss Ella wants something, she makes sure we know it! But usually once we’ve figured out what she wants, she doesn’t carry on any further.
Ella is going to be a daddy’s girl for sure.
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve handed her off to my husband for a bit of a break, and immediately she calms down. If I wasn’t so grateful for his magic touch, I might actually be a little jealous!
I love watching her personality grow as the days and weeks go by! We’ve learned when she’s happy, when she’s fussy, and what each varying cry means. I worried that caring for a newborn would be an intimidating learning curve for me, but she’s taught me to have patience, give myself grace, and go with the flow.
As for me, here’s what I’ve learned about motherhood:
The things that worried me the most about caring for a newborn have actually become some of the sweetest moments.
Don’t get me wrong - the 3 AM wake up calls and cluster feeding evenings have been challenging. But being able to provide comfort for my baby while seeing her soften and smile as I hold her is an irreplaceable feeling.
Sacrificing my needs and desires in order to care for my family has been a challenge.
I believe this is the task that God has called me to do, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard! I find myself fighting off feelings of bitterness - usually out of sheer exhaustion - when I can’t even eat a meal in peace or take a shower. This is an adjustment that all new wives and mothers have to make, and I’m learning to submit all over again - this time, to serve the needs of both my husband and my daughter.
I have learned to accept and ask for help when I need it.
I threw my pride right out the window the moment my L&D nurses helped me go to the bathroom after giving birth! (Side note: shouts out to nurses. I have a whole new respect for y’all after my time in the hospital! You are amazing!)
For real though - I couldn’t have made it through the first few days and weeks with my newborn without help from my husband, mom and mother-in-law. They made meals, took care of Ella so that I could sleep, ran errands, and cleaned my house for me so that I didn’t feel like I was drowning.
Getting things done can no longer be a top priority for me.
I have always loved crossing tasks off a to-do list, but these days I’m lucky to accomplish one thing outside of caring for Ella. I often have to remind myself that she is only a baby for a short time. Cherishing these moments with her is far more important than vacuuming the house.
Taking It All In
It’s hard to describe the moments after we arrived home from the hospital with Ella. It just so happened to be Mother’s Day - my first, but not really. Just a year prior, I was grieving the loss of my first pregnancy on Mother’s Day. This year, I brought my second baby home.
We introduced her to our dog, and I walked her to her room. I sat with her in the chair, and rocked her to sleep as tears streamed down my face. This moment was all I had wanted - and after years of waiting, God granted me the sweetest blessing.
Everything has come full circle. Just yesterday in church, a dear friend and sister in Christ said to me, “It seems like just yesterday we were grieving!” And how true that rings! In the course of a year, God brought me from longing to expectant, to grieving and longing all over again, to expectant and joyous over my two beautiful babies. One we still grieve and long to meet one day, and the other we have the privilege of knowing and raising.
I am certain that God’s plan for me in all of this was good. All of these experiences from loss to joy strengthened my bond with my husband, made me a better mother for Ella, and taught me to choose joy in every circumstance. As I took in these first moments at home with Ella, I thanked God for all of it.
Everything has changed, yet it feels like we’ve had Ella forever. Our life as a little family has been so sweet over the last month! I’ll be sharing more updates here and there as we grow, but for now, thank you for following our journey up to this point. I hope our story has inspired and encouraged you in your walk, wherever you’re at.
With a grateful heart,
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