Lily came home from the NICU on December 31, 2016.
I was on maternity leave until March 17, so I’ve only been back at work for a couple weeks. It’s hard being back at work, but it was so, so much harder being a stay-at-home mom. I’m not cut out for it. I’m a much better mom when I get a “break” by going to work.
It’s still so crazy to think that I’m someone’s mother. Lily’s four months old now, and sometimes I’ll be concentrating on something and it’ll just hit me — whoa, I have a kid. I’m 100% responsible for another person’s life. It’s daunting when those moments hit, but thankfully (I think), I don’t have too many moments where I have time to just sit down and think like that.
Lily is doing great. She’s about 12 pounds, and she grew two inches in height between her two-month appointment on February 1 to her four-month appointment on March 27. Hopefully she’s going to be tall like her daddy (or at least a couple inches taller than I am!). She’s smiling like crazy and giggling a little bit, sleeping and eating on some semblance of a schedule, and trying her hardest to sit up. The pediatrician was pleased with her milestone development. She may have some delays, but that’s normal for a preemie. Preemies are usually caught up to their peers by age two. Until then, we measure milestones by Lily’s adjusted age, which is seven weeks younger than her actual age.
Life with a baby is… different. Crazy. Happy, sad, and terrifying. A whirlwind. No, a tornado. It can change drastically from second to second. There have been moments where I’m holding a screaming baby with tears streaming down my face because I can’t console her. And there have been many more moments (thank god) where I’m leaning over her crib to pick her up in the morning and her face lights up with an ear-to-ear smile that melts me, no matter how little sleep I’ve had. Her facial expressions — whether she’s glaring at me because I’m trying to put a headband on her or she’s giggling because she’s getting her diaper changed (which she loves) — are the funniest expressions in the world.
The first few weeks, when she was basically a potato with no personality and all take-take-take — those weeks were so, so hard, and no one really prepares you for just how hard they are. That “glow” of motherhood that you see on TV or in the movies is crap, or at least it was for me. But I’ve never been a baby person; I mean, before I held Lily, I’d spent maybe a couple hours total holding other people’s babies in my entire life (and usually only because they were forced on me. News flash: Not all women go ga-ga over all things baby.). But I love my daughter with an intensity that I can’t describe, an intensity that brings tears to my eyes no matter how mundane the moment is. I still don’t want to hold other people’s babies, but I want to hold mine for as long as she’ll let me.
Within the last few weeks, now that flu season is winding down, we’ve started to venture out into the world with baby in tow. It’s a totally different world, filled with diaper bags and strollers and colorful toys, but so far it’s pretty cool. I know it won’t always go smoothly, but that’s okay. That’s life with a baby. Never thought I’d be the one saying it, but it’s totally worth it.