The newborn haze was thick. So much so that Murdo even told me I had become a different person at times. I was overly worried and confused about breastfeeding and establishing my milk supply, going from obsessing over exclusively breastfeeding, to ready to give up to supplements, and back again. Nerve damage and an opened incision from the C-section left me in pain, unable to move and use my body the way I wanted to, the way I needed to. I didn't expect recovery to be easy, but I was certainly not expecting to have to wait a full eight weeks before I could complete simple tasks again, the way I could before I was pregnant, back when I put my socks on every day without ever appreciating how awesome it is to be able to put your own socks on.
It really is difficult to see a way out of the haze when you're in the middle of it. They say it just takes time, that the newborn stage is the hardest part and you just have to get past it. But when sleep deprivation turns the days and nights into one long tunnel of feeding, changing, rocking, crying, it's hard to see the light at the end. It's there, though. I only know this because I made it out alive.
And you guys, what a light it is! Sometime around the beginning of April, my incision finally healed and I was able to lift things, reach things, drive, walk around the house comfortably instead of shuffling slowly with my back hunched over for fear of another stitch popping. Breastfeeding started to click, just like that, and Little Murdo more than doubled his birth weight by the time he was 10 weeks old. He gave me his first smile and started becoming more aware of his surroundings, and in the weeks that followed, quickly went from hungry, wiggly, fussy thing to kicking, smiley, still hungry, I-can't-believe-how-lucky-we-got good.
Example: After sleeping through the night for the first time last week, he woke up at 5:30 for his morning feeding. I was so proud as I watched him on the monitor screen, kicking in his crib and sucking his thumb and cooing to himself. I knew he had to be hungry and was all ready to get up and feed him when just like that, he soothed himself back to sleep and slept for another hour. High fives, kid. You're the best.
Little Murdo is 16 weeks old now. We're getting back into a routine of sorts, in the loosest sense of the word. Making time to prepare a homemade meal is still a struggle. After going back to work and realizing just how many hours of the day I'm not with my son, every minute I am home I just want to spend making him smile, not making dinner. So we've been eating a lot of takeout and fast food, or making quick smash burgers in the cast iron skillet, or throwing a bag of Trader Joe's orange chicken in the oven. On one Sunday I made a double batch of corn chowder and froze half, and I'm hoping to do more planning ahead like that, but then other things come up. Like having to parent by yourself one Saturday because your husband decides he needs the time to dig up and replace all the soil in the raised garden bed and then plant 20 tomato plants in said garden and in containers all around the yard. Twenty! I suppose, come mid-July/August, the meal problem will be solved: tomatoes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, all day, every day!
All that said, for any of you reading this (Hello? Is anybody even out there?), I wanted to give you a heads up that although the title up there is Happy Jack Eats, the conversation around these parts, like every part of my life since starting this food blog in 2008, has changed. I struggled briefly with the idea of shifting focus, going from food blog to what? Mommy blog? Lifestyle blog? And then realizing, who cares? I started this space to write, and over the years it became my space to both escape and connect, to learn and make sense of things, and I don't want to let it go. So I'll let it change with me, and for anyone still following along, I'd love for you to stick around while I learn to navigate this new chapter. There will still be food and the occasional recipe, because I still love to eat (and I can't wait to start feeding Little Murdo solid foods), and there will still be photos, because I invested in an expensive camera so I sure as hell better use it. But mostly, there will be stories and photos of family and everyday life, which really, at its core, is what this blog has been about all along.