People always tell you you are going to be so tired, but they never explain why. Well we are in week 3, and I’m going to try to document what happened in weeks 1 and 2 in case we decide to have another.
Week 1: We left the hospital (I’ll write about labor in another post) and we drove home. Our baby pooped in the hospital, so she was sitting in poop the entire ride home. We changed her, and then she was crying, so I fed her with my breast milk. OR SO I THOUGHT.
The next day (Tuesday) we had our first pediatrician appointment where they weighed our baby. She had lost 10% of her birth weight, which meant I was not adequately providing enough breast milk. Upon hearing this, I started crying, because all through Monday night and early Tuesday morning, I thought I was feeding her. It turns out she was sucking very hard but not getting any milk. Poor thing! She must have thought I was playing a cruel trick every time I presented a teet! And we were both exhausted!
Anyway, upon seeing my tears well up, the pediatrician handed me a tissue box and started writing down the steps we needed to take to get her weight up: I needed to feed for 10 minutes on each breast and then David was to give her formula. “You’ll schedule an appointment for tomorrow, and then probably another one right after that to weigh her and make sure she is being fed,” the doctor said. While the pediatrician is writing this down, and I’m blowing my nose, David whispers to me, “Have you been drinking that broccoli smoothie? Your breath smells terrible!” This is exactly how it happened. He hates the smell of my broccoli smoothies, and it was consuming his thoughts in this moment. “I told you to step drinking that stuff!” he mouthed. Then we went home.
Earlier I had invited her grandparents over on Tuesday and asked them to help us clean-up our home and get the baby room set up. We needed and appreciated their help, but for me this turned out to be a terrible day for it. They arrived right after we got home from the pediatrician. We shared our breast milk problem, and each time I went for my 10 minute feeding for her, they looked at me as though I was a sad, insane person and recommended we just feed her formula rather than carry on this charade.
Wednesday we returned to the pediatrician for another weighing. The pediatrician appeared taken aback by my foul broccoli breath when I asked her my list of questions, but that did not stop me from going through the list. The doctor also said our baby had put on quite a bit of weight, my milk had probably come in, start feeding her less formula, and that they wouldn’t see us for another two weeks. I was excited but not ready to cut the umbilical cord tying us to medical professionals, so I was also nervous. We went home, and for the next couple days any time she drank a lot of formula I was happy she was eating and also very competitive with the bottles of formula that could accomplish in two minutes what it took me +30 minutes to do. I beamed in my heart when she rejected formula.
I don’t remember the rest of the week, only that we fed, changed diapers, and repeated this every two hours. My mom also came over almost every day, and when she had originally told me she had taken a month off of work to help, I was worried this would be too much time together, but it turned out to be amazing. She cleaned our bedroom – a task that I hadn’t been able to accomplish in over 8 years – brought me healthy food and made sure I ate it, and did all the laundry. I’ve been extra emotional and thinking about how much love my parents have for me was always touching, but now it’s extra touching. I’m also extra worried about everyone’s mortality, but I’ll leave those feelings bottled up for now.
Week 2: On Sunday our friends brought over lactation cookies, and I feel like these were a bit of a game changer. First, they’re delicious, so nom nom nom. I feasted on cookies for days. Second, I feel like my milk started really coming in. We also had some questions for the pediatrician, so we scheduled a Monday appointment to cover our list of questions. Week 2 was also exhausting, but less so than week 1. By week 2, our place had come together and was in a state we felt really good about. Before we birthed the light in our lives, I was reluctant to throw anything away. Afterwards, I was open to throwing all the things away, lest the clutter distress her gentle sensibilities.
The pediatrician’s office we go to has a rotation of doctors. We saw the same doctor on Monday that we saw on the previous Wednesday. She has an interesting bedside manner and gave us the impression she does not really care for children. She also said we should avoid going out with the baby for 6 weeks, because if they get sick in the first 6 weeks, it’s bad. David continued to chastise me for my use of broccoli in my smoothies.
David also went out on Monday night to play D&D. This was difficult and I wanted to call him back, but my sister, who was over with my mom at the time to help, discouraged me from doing so. We made it through Monday night, but just barely. On Saturday we had our two week check-in, and a different doctor told us what we wanted to hear: we could go out, just not let anyone sneeze on the baby, and that I didn’t have to wake our baby up to feed her every two hours, but also not to go more than three to four hours without feeding her. This was not a problem, because she does not allow me to go for more than 1.5 to 2 hours without feeding her. We slept little in week 2 as well, but I distinctly recall it being better than week 1.
Week 3: We’re on week 3. I’m glad I’m writing down notes that I remember, because I’m already forgetting a lot of distress from weeks 1 and 2. This week our baby is interested in falling asleep on us. I love this. I can physically feel when my milk has come in – it stings. I’m trying to figure out when to pump to make sure there’s still enough for her when she’s hungry.
Our baby has trouble pooping and farting. It’s a whole thing. She lifts her legs, squirms, cries. We comfort her and try to help, but there’s little that can be done. Also I read that if I’m gassy, she’s gassy. So I don’t know what I ate yesterday, but I was gassy, and I just thought, “Uh oh,” and sure enough she had a rough night. I tried to eat differently today, and I’ve been less gassy. You’re welcome, baby.
Things that have stressed me out this week:
1) She spits up more now. I can’t tell if it’s because I’m overfeeding or because I’m bad at burping her.
2) Burping her.
3) Sids. Sids always stresses me out. I don’t know how it happens, and it sounds like medical professionals don’t either, but I’m always worried about it.
Also I go back and forth between deciding she’s a genius and uh, decidedly not a genius. For example, one day she was amazing at tummy time, and then two hours later she grabbed a tuft of her own hair, pulled her head back and started screaming in pain.
And I think she knows when I’m panicked that David is out. When he goes out for prolonged periods, she gets extra fussy. Then he gets home and she’s a saint.
Okay that’s it for now. Sorry for grammar mistakes – I’m writing this with blurry eyes and it actually took me days to write. I tried to write the post this morning at 5:30am after she fell asleep, but then David asked for a massage for his shoulder injury. So I’ve been writing bits and pieces of this post throughout the day.
Also, I owe you three specific posts: a labor recap, some thoughts on nursing clothing, and how the dulcet tones of Adam Schiff demanding a congressional inquiry into presidential misconduct are music to a baby’s ears.