Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ups and Downs

The first few days home with the new baby have been a little rocky at times, but all in all the good moments have outnumbered the not-so-good.

Walking in the door after driving home from the hospital was a little overwhelming for me. My world had shifted from a tiny overheated room with an uncomfortable bed and 24/7 room service to a whole house (and since we had turned the heat down during the warm weather over the weekend, the house was very cold when we returned). I remember thinking: "How am I going to be able to do all of this walking?" A trip from the living room to the kitchen was taxing, never mind going up and down stairs or to the bathroom several times an hour. Plus, adding Jude to the mix changes the game, as it's no longer possible to focus solely on the baby and my recovery. He needs to know that his Mum is still available to share some toast with him, read books before bedtime, and play some of his favorite games. After being home about a half hour, I felt a little lost. I couldn't figure out what to do first, or next, so I just sat in a chair and rocked the baby for a while. Luckily E Ben and Terry were able to take care of everything during my mental paralysis. By the time we got up the next morning, I was feeling stronger and less daunted by being in my own home.

The next day and a half went really smoothly. The baby nursed and slept, we had a few visitors, and an appointment with Doris which was really positive. The baby was nursing well and the feeding in the office was twice as large as we were hoping to see, a very good sign.

Thursday night hit us like a ton of bricks. We had grown used to the "easy" nights with Ada where she would nurse and sleep (as long as someone was holding her). Thursday night at about 10 everything changed. She woke up for the first time, with eyes wide open and no drowsiness in sight. For the next six hours, she alternated between crying, acting frantically hungry, and nursing. By the time she fell asleep at 4am, both parents were exhausted, and I started wondering if maybe breastfeeding wasn't going so well after all. I feared that my milk supply had started its slow decline, and that once again we were going to have to go through superhuman measures to keep this baby fed.

Our lactation appointment that day was somewhat reassuring, as Ada had gained 2.5 ounces in 2 days (the goal is an ounce a day). But the feeding was on the low end of acceptable, and we only got to a full ounce after switching back and forth four times. We left the hospital and drove to Costco to pick up a few things, and Jude basically lost it in the car. We had set up the car seats so that Jude was on one side, Ada in the middle, and I would sit on the other side. This did not work at all. Jude couldn't keep his hands off the baby and he didn't like having me in the back seat with him; he was too distracted by me to do his usual car-ride activities. After a lot of crying and a few wrong turns, we made it to the store. I went in while E Ben had a talk with Jude. Then they rearranged the back seat so that Jude and Ada have a space between them and I sit in the front. The ride home was a vast improvement and we haven't had a repeat meltdown since then.

After a relaxing afternoon at home and a visit to our Portland friends at the biweekly "Family Friday" party (where it was really nice to visit with friends and especially the other moms with babies), we got Jude home and had some fun family time before he went to bed.

Then I started feeling bad. My physical recovery, which had been going really well, seemed to take a step backwards with increased abdominal pain and other issues. The lack of sleep from the previous night hit me hard. And I started imagining all kinds of worst-case scenarios involving my possibly declining milk supply (pumping, supplementing, medicating, bottle feeding, etc.). Not that any of these are really so bad, but in my state that night, it just put me over the edge. Luckily E Ben has some experience with handling my postpartum emotions, and was able to calm me down and then he sent me to bed to get some sleep.

After a good night's sleep and a good night for the baby, I felt much better the next day. We had help around the house all day, between Terry and other family visitors, and the baby started feeding better. I also called the doctor and got a prescription for my medical issues. We had a good day and night last night, and the world seems rosier now. Ada is a lovely baby, and it is wonderful to be able to enjoy her during this brief newborn stage. We're still having our challenges (for example, she only sleeps well while being held) and I'm sure there are more to come, but I'm feeling good about our next few days and weeks.

I'll leave you with a cute photo from the other day. Ada is sitting in her bouncy seat contemplating her octopus toy from Liana.

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1 comment:

peg said...

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