I can’t believe Clara has already been with us for a whole month! The final two weeks of pregnancy felt like they lasted an eternity, especially after passing her due date, so newborn life in comparison feels like it’s speeding by. We’re living hour to hour as we figure out parenthood, and sometimes that makes the days feel like they disappear a bit.
I’ve definitely cried a few times about how time is slipping through our fingers so quickly. We spent so long trying to get here and now that she’s in our arms, I just want to pause time and enjoy her while she’s still so tiny. Every day I can see her stretching out and becoming more alert, and of course I automatically panic and imagine bawling on the day we send her off to college. I’ve been freezing time for my photography clients for years, but only now do I understand firsthand the desperation to hang onto these sweet memories before they disappear. I’m so excited for all of her milestones to come, but it’s bittersweet that the tiny little baby I met on the day she was born has already grown up so much.
Before she was born, I had a lot of worries: would I feel a bond with her even though I’d never met her before? Would motherhood be all that I hoped it would be? Would our marriage suffer after having a baby? Fortunately, none of them came true. I cried when she was born, and my heart grew more than I thought was possible. Although the days of nonstop diaper changes can be tedious, I wouldn’t trade them for anything. And the last worry couldn’t have been farther from the truth…I knew E would be a great dad, but he has blown away all my expectations. He has been the most doting dad and caring partner through birth and newborn life. I feel truly lucky to have him by our side.
I don’t mean to paint a dishonestly rosy picture of motherhood, because this first month has reduced me to a puddle of overwhelmed tears more than once. But overall, despite the many challenges, I absolutely love my new job as Clara’s mom. All of the hard things are worth it because she gives my life new purpose.
When I say “hard things,” I basically just mean feeding. Man, this has been the single hardest part of her first month. From my experience working with newborn mamas, I knew going into it that breastfeeding would be hard at the beginning…so much so that I took classes, read books, and met with a lactation consultant during pregnancy. I always thought I would just power through the tough parts because everyone always says it gets better with time. But unfortunately, my body decided otherwise, and after battling through nursing sessions, pumping round the clock, and then choking/reflux from an allergy to cow’s milk protein, we really had to get creative and figure out another solution. I’m still sad that exclusive breastfeeding didn’t work for us because I had been looking forward to it for so long, but I know fed is best and I’m grateful we are able to keep her happy and healthy with the help of formula.
Some favorite memories from Clara’s first month:
• The way her face lights up with sleepy smiles when she starts dreaming
• Her first real, wide awake smiles at 3.5 weeks!! I thought I imagined it, but I’ve seen a few every day since then. Be still my mama heart ♥
• Going into spontaneous labor the day before our scheduled induction, and driving to get fast food with E for one last indulgent meal during early labor. Driving over speed bumps was not so fun, but that food was everything!!! Good fuel for 40 hours of labor!
• Getting to know her the first few days in the hospital = pure magic. Also, being in the hospital with so much social interaction and room service for meals felt like a vacation after being cooped up at home by ourselves all year!
• When we got discharged from the hospital and E and I were like – “why are they letting us leave the hospital with this baby? Don’t they know we have no idea what we’re doing?” And then I sat next to her car seat on the way home to make sure she was still breathing because…first time mom!
• Her fascination with her black & white board books! She just stares and stares at them with wide eyes!
• Seeing E fall in love with Clara during her first few days. He would hold her and just start crying happy tears. I’ve always believe he would be a great dad, but I could never have expected just how amazing he would be in his new role.
• Hearing E speak Spanish to Clara (we are hoping she will grow up bilingual like he did)
• Singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on repeat because it’s one of the only nursery songs that we can remember! We need to brush up on those, haha!
• Getting to take her newborn photos. After more than a decade photographing my clients’ babies, it was so surreal to get to do these for my own baby!
• Giving her first nicknames: Clarita (“little Clara” in Spanish) and Clarasaurus (because of the strange and adorable grunting noises she makes all the time). I call her “love bug” a lot, too!
• Our first attempts at family walks around the neighborhood…we mostly just went to the mailbox and back! We spent more time getting ourselves out the door than we did actually walking, but we felt accomplished every time!
• E playing “horsey” with her…always makes her stop crying without fail!
• When she falls asleep on my chest. I’m sure that’s what heaven feels like. I just keep kissing the top of her little head and wishing she would stay forever.
• Burping her in our lap…she grabs onto our wrist with her tiny hand and looks all around the room with alert, wide eyes
• Tummy time on our chest and feeling like my heart will burst with pride when she lifts up her head to look at us!
• Staring at the window and the closet door like they are the most fascinating things she’s ever seen
• Her first tiny baby coos…totally melts my heart every time!
• When she started reaching out for her bottle and holding it with her fists…we couldn’t believe it!
• The “batwing” swaddle hack that we had to use to keep her arms down at night because she busts her arms out of Velcro/zipper sleep sacks like a mini Houdini
• Her “flying squirrel suit” aka her sleep sack that lets her keep her arms up by her face during daytime naps
• Meeting our families on Zoom (we “dressed her up” with a bow to mark the occasion)
• The way she makes a cute “smack” with her lips when she’s happily finished feeding
• Salsa dancing (badly) with her in the living room
To wrap up this post, here are some favorite images from her first month! ❤️ I’m hoping to write one of these posts every month for her first year, and I’m looking forward to sharing more soon! Thank you for reading!
Moments after meeting her for the first time. Absolutely exhausted and couldn’t care less in this moment. My girl! (Thank you to our absolutely WONDERFUL doula Emily Newberg for snapping these for us!)
Getting to know her during recovery at the hospital. Cannot say enough wonderful things about the team at the Brigham!
Heading home from the hospital! Underneath those smiles, we were terrified! 🙂
Dressing up for our first pediatrician appointment on day 4.
Took her newborn photos on day five. I’d been dreaming about this image for so long, and it was surreal to see her safely bundled up in the wreath I made for her during pregnancy!
“Waking up” from her sleepy first days 🙂
When dad passes out but baby is ready to party…this is one of my very favorite images of them! I promise I was right there making she was safe! 🙂
One of my favorite things about her is watching her stretch when she wakes up from a good nap!
Not sure how long these blue eyes will stick around…it will be interesting to see how they change as she gets older!
Forever indulging in letting her nap on my chest…
This pretty much sums up newborn life in one photo: pumping while giving her a bottle with one hand and eating oatmeal (to boost my milk supply) with the other. And of course, the ever-present burp cloth! 🙂
She hasn’t actually napped in her crib yet (she sleeps in our room for now) but I had to document how tiny she looks in it right now!
My two favorite people!!!
Nap strike pose! 😉
Couldn’t resist just *one* matching outfit while she’s still too young to protest 🙂
Her little burping face kills me!!!
Finally, a few family portraits taken by Annmarie Swift. These are such a treasure to me and I will cherish them forever…our first week at home as a new party of three! Thank you Annmarie!!