My baby is a week old today! It’s still hard to believe that she is actually here. It seems like it just barely happened, but it also seems like it was a hundred years ago. I guess time plays tricks on you when you’re incredibly sleep deprived. Oh my goodness the lack of sleep. I don’t remember the last time I was this tired. In fact, I probably never have been. I was discharged from the hospital on Saturday, but little Louisa had to stay 2 extra days, which was heartbreaking. You’d think that we would have gotten some sleep being at home without her for 2 nights, and maybe Jason did, but I had to get up every 3 hours to pump so that my milk supply didn’t disappear (and so that I could take the breast milk to the hospital for them to feed her so they wouldn’t give her tons of formula). She finally came home Monday afternoon and we were so glad. My mom had only gotten to hold her once before they whisked her off to the NICU for phototherapy and she was feeling pretty deprived.
So far I love being a mom, and I’m trying to enjoy every last minute, but there are times when the tiredness catches up with me. There was a moment last night where she wouldn’t go to sleep and I was so frustrated I almost cried, but luckily I have a fantastic husband who miraculously woke up at just that moment and volunteered to hang out with her while I got a few hours of sleep. About an hour later his lack of sleep caught up with him as she tried once again to bust out of her swaddling, and I had to take over again. She’s kind of a strong willed, stubborn little thing, which isn’t surprising considering both her father and mother are obstinate themselves. She hates being swaddled (most babies will only sleep if swaddled) and wriggles her arms until they pop out – she likes to suck on her fingers. She also tries to wrestle me when I’m breast feeding. It’s almost comical (except in the middle of the sleep-deprived night) because I know she’s hungry, and eventually she gives in, but for those few minutes she tosses her head around and punches at me with her little hands like she just wants me to know who’s boss. I wonder how much fun her teen years are going to be?
When she cries it breaks my heart. So much so that I find myself almost desperate to figure out what is wrong with her and make her stop – not because I hate the sound but because I don’t want her to experience anything bad and I feel almost guilty that she’s in some sort of distress. My mom, who has been here since Friday and just left today, kept trying to convince me that babies sometimes just get fussy and that it’s okay. I’m almost there. Almost. I still want to scoop her up and make all the badness go away, but I’m learning that she just has fussy times and that if we rock, bounce, feed, change, burp her eventually something will work and she’ll settle back down.
All in all I think that Jason and I are succeeding at this whole parenting thing. The breast feeding is going well, much to my delight. My mom, aunt, and Grandma all had troubles with it and therefore never did it, so I was afraid that the same thing would happen to me. But luckily there was a fabulous lactation consultant at the hospital who patiently taught me how to do it, and now it’s working out well. Jason is great. He is so cute with Louisa, he sings to her, he talks to her, he sometimes just picks her up so he can stare at her because she is so darn cute (I do the same thing). He has been off of work this whole week so he takes turns being up with her in the night and has been washing dishes and running errands while I recover from childbirth. One failure, on my part, is that I can’t trust that she’s going to be okay while I’m asleep so I will drift off for 3 minutes, then awaken if she makes even one tiny little snuffle so that I can peer over the edge of her little bassinet and make sure she is still breathing. Do all moms do this? How long until I get over it? It’s even worse because I’m so near sighted that in order to see her I have to put my glasses on. The nights that we all slept in the hospital room together I actually slept with my glasses on, which is wholly ridiculous, I know.
As far as recovery goes, it hasn’t been as difficult as I would have imagined. Perhaps it’s just because my labor was so fast and easy, but other than some slight pain in my lady parts after being on my feet too long the days that we had to go to the hospital to feed the baby every 3 hours (and then wander around keeping busy until the next feeding time) I’m feeling pretty good. It still hurts occasionally when I sit down, and I still feel some twinges in my abdomen as well, but mostly it has been a breeze. Plus, I think I’ve lost 10 pounds in a week, which is very encouraging. I know that most of it was baby and placenta and fluids and other such things, but hey, 10 pounds is 10 pounds.
Tomorrow is our first follow-up pediatrician appointment. I don’t know if they make everybody have one, or if this is just to make sure her jaundice really did go away. I’m pretty nervous about it, and am super glad I’m not doing it by myself. It will be the first time we’ve taken the baby outside since we brought her home, and I get stressed just thinking about it. I’m not sure why, it just seems so daunting to get her ready, get her in the car seat, remember to bring everything, find the pediatrician’s office, hope she doesn’t cry in the car on the way there, hope there’s a place to breast feed if I need to, hope she doesn’t scream bloody murder in public, etc. etc. Wish us luck.