Masthead header

Sisters

Avelyn met Jolie for the first time when we brought her home from the hospital, all bundled in her car seat, surrounded by blankets.  She looked her over and we told her, “This is your baby sister, Jolie.”  She kind of shrugged and seemed neither impressed nor dismayed.  Not a bad first meeting.

Cue to two hours later:  Avelyn had just woken up from a long nap and she came walking into our bedroom where I was seated on the bed, nursing* baby Jolie.  Avelyn immediately started bawling, and wailing, and trying to claw her way up onto my lap.  I tried to put my arms around her while Jolie fed, but it was no use.  Avelyn cried so hard that she was gagging and dry-heaving, so squarely did the reality of the situation hit her.  I felt so overwhelmed, like there was no way we could make this new family situation work, like I had betrayed my firstborn.  It was miserable.

Thankfully, within a few hours Avelyn had really warmed up to Jolie and since then has been an excellent helper, offering blankets and soothers and (somewhat overzealous) hugs and kisses for her baby sister.  When Jolie cries, Avelyn whispers to her, “Don’t cry, baby.  It’s OK.”

We have had lots of company around to give Avelyn some extra love and attention so I think that distraction has also helped ease the transition.  My parents are here and without their help I am quite certain I would be dead right now, since Steve has been picking apples since we got home from the hospital.  (Note to self: don’t have a baby in the middle of apple harvest.)

So that’s the sisterly update:  a startlingly rocky introduction but things are getting better everyday.

*Remember how I said nursing was going great?  Well, the honeymoon period ended as soon as my milk came in and my boobs ballooned to the size of medicine balls, making it impossible for Jolie to latch.  So, I’ve been pumping.  And you know what?  I love it.  It’s so familiar, and it frees me up to let other people feed her, all the while knowing she’s still getting high quality breast milk.  I know that some people love breastfeeding, but if e’er there was a women meant to bottle-feed, you’re looking at her.

Jen - I’m so glad things are going well with the sisters and with the pumping. :) Also so glad we got to chat for a few minutes today. It made my day.

Tracy - Let the sister bonding begin! Glad to hear things are settling in for the whole family :-)

Marie Green - Wow, a baby in the middle of apple harvest. Never did it cross my mind that the timing was going to conflict! Hope it continues to go well. I’m so glad you have extra help- not enough people take the postpardom recovery time seriously.

cassie - sounds like they’re getting along quite nicely. :)

Heidi - Pretty soon Avelyn will never remember a time without her baby sister. Enjoy the help while you have it and don’t forget to REST!

Rachel - Glad to hear everything is going so well..I have two girls and I LOVE the relationship they have.

Jennifer - I am so looking forward to all the exciting new stories you will have in the coming weeks. I too am terrified of what will happen when we try to have a second in a few years. I’m quite sure my Avelyn will have a royal meltdown. Glad you are doing well pumping this time around!!

little miss mel - It sounds like she is already coming around nicely! Yea!!

I loved to pump too! Way to go!!

Kerri Anne - Growing up with a little sister I felt so incredibly blessed on a daily basis. Of course there were the days I offered to trade her for other friends of mine, but my little sister really is one of my closest friends, and always has been.

(Jolie Grace is so beautiful. So happy! for you.)

Frieda - Another Reader’s Digest short story which I wish you would submit. Everytime you post a wonderful account of what is going on in your life I feel it should be shared with more than just us, your friends and family.

Perhaps some day you’ll have the opportunity to do just that.

Meanwhile… I’m so delighted Avelyn is getting to love her little Jolie. I hope they have a great relationship …. always.

Mrs. Wilson - I’m totally with you on the pumping. I much prefer it!

I’m glad your parents are there to help! What a blessing!!

Emily - Oh, GOD, that paragraph about Avelyn’s first reaction made my stomach absolutely drop. I’m so happy it is working out, but I cannot imagine what you must have felt like at that moment, especially with all those miscellaneous raging hormones we are blessed with after birth.

Sounds like things are going so much better now, though. Here’s hoping it just keeps improving! Jolie is a beauty!

Michele - Avelyn and Jolie are going to be best friends before you know it. My younger sister and I are very different, but I am now seeing what a blessing she is to me. Over the last couple years we’ve gotten close and I can’t imagine life without her.

I never thought of it being apple-picking season – That’s great that your parents are here to help you!

Glad to hear that things are going ok, I’ve been thinking of you!

rowan - I pumped for 6 months with my 1st baby… and it was awesome and way less stressful than trying to get him to latch. Good for you! You have to do what works best for the two of you :)

SarahD - Ironically my firstborn didn’t freak out until I placed his new baby brother on his changetable!! It has been a competitive battle ever since, but brothers are different than sisters…

Elizabeth - Yay sisters. I don’t miss those balloon days… thinking of you!

trish - If pumping works for you, go for it. It’s definitely easier with sibling rivalry than breastfeeding since my toddler likes to sit on my lap and play with the buttons on the pump and then can ‘help’ give his brother the bottle.

Jenn Tarver - Awww! I bet it broke your heart to see the meltdown, but I’m glad it all worked out.

I tried to breastfeed but it didn’t work. I was able to pump for a while, and it WAS nice to have someone else bottle feed her the breastmilk. Now she’s on formula and I’ve made peace with myself about it.

Yay for new babies!!!

ali - i love that my girls are sisters. love.

Susie - Good for you Amanda! I am sure Avelyn will be an amazing big sister once she gets use to the idea.

As for breast feeding, Kynan was an excellent nurser and I thought Ava would be the same, but she had other plans. Ultimately, you have to do what works for you and that is what is best for your baby. Happy mama= happy baby.

Margaret - Wow, what an emotional first day home…I’ve wondered how my girl will react when we bring home her brother and sister(I’m expecting twins) and have dreaded a reaction like Avelyn’s because I’m sure it’s pretty normal. I know it’s just a temporary period of adjustment, it’s just so hard to feel like you’re breaking your baby’s heart. As for the nursing, whatever works for you is the way to go. I couldn’t breastfeed because my milk never came in so my baby was formula fed from day one with what little milk I could give her as a supplement…I enjoyed it too because I got a good six hour stretch of sleep at night because my husband got up and did the five am feeding for me. I honestly don’t know if I could have coped otherwise. Sounds like your family is doing beautifully…

The Over-Thinker - Here’s to many happy days ahead, filled with a-bit-more-muted-zealousness :) Here’s to sisterhood.

Amanda Franks - Thanks for the comment on my blog today. Unfortunately Nick is only accredited in the Alliance, but we are definitely not opposed to the Okanagen, it would indeed be our second choice. We’ll have to see what God has in store.

And yay on loving the pumping! I’m glad Avelyn enjoyed Jolie more after her nap. Siblings are fun and a house full of female hormones is even more fun! ;)

LVGurl - It’s an interesting ride, this sister thing!

One day at a time…