Friday, September 17, 2010

My Life As a Mama- The Early Weeks

I'm excited to finally write this post. I actually have some energy and our little one went to sleep at 9:30 which means I get some free time!

The first few days home from the hospital were an emotional roller coaster for me. I admit I had the baby blues. I was so happy to have Evan home with us to begin settling into our new life as a family and our new roles. I would cry with tears of happiness just staring at my little guy. Then the next minute I would start sobbing because I suddenly felt like I wasn't capable of being responsible for another person or that I couldn't handle the immense pressure of this new responsibility. I felt overwhelmed. I would cry a couple times a day and sometimes they were gut wrenching sobs that I couldn't control. It was obvious that I was having trouble settling into my new role as Evan's mama. Luckily John was able to take 2 weeks off from work to help.

Feeding- I am breastfeeding E so there is that added dependency that I had trouble with as well. In the early weeks, E wanted to nurse almost constantly. Let me tell you, the books, magazine articles and other breastfeeding mom's made it sound so simple to is NOT that easy. It was SO painful the first 2 weeks that I thought I couldn't make it. I would scream because my nipples were so sensitive. At first we had a bad latch and that caused one nipple to be cracked and bruised. Each time I had to nurse I would cry from the pain. This was really important for me to do and felt like I was failing. I wanted to provide Evan with the best possible start to life that I could. After all the research I did, I knew this was the healthiest thing to feed him and I knew I wanted that special bond that forms through breastfeeding. So, I forged on. Each time I nursed I would say, "Nope I can't do this anymore, that's it, I'm done." One side hurt so badly I avoided nursing on it and ended getting engorged which brought with it a fever, headache and aches all over, like the flu. The only way to fix was to nurse on that side. It was excruciating. Yet, I kept going, with the support of my mom and John. E and I eventually got the hang of it, I toughened up and it didn't hurt as bad.

Sleep- I'm sorry, what does that mean? Is that english? Now, I knew I wouldn't be getting much sleep, but what I didn't know was what that would do to me. John and I both felt like zombies. We both had dark circles around our eyes and just looked run down. The sleep deprivation made me have even worse mood swings. It made me feel dizzy, helpless and hopeless. I had a hard time keeping track of the days. Evan would sleep during the day off and on and would scream, and I do mean scream, ALL night long. If he did sleep, it was for a short time and would only be on our chests, no where else. Eventually he slept in his bouncy chair. He would not and will not have anything to do with his bassinet. Because John took 2 weeks off from work, we were handling the situation together which, I think, helped me hang on to the last shred of my sanity. BUT when John went back to work it was just me dealing with it and it made me crazy. We have come a long way now. We have a bed time routine, supplement with formula twice at night (so he sleeps for a few hours straight rather than one hour), and mom and dad have their sanity back. He is also sleeping in his crib! People told me to sleep when Evan sleeps.

This is the face we saw most during those "dark days."

Sadly, I was wondering when I was going to start enjoying the experience. I felt awful feeling that way but it was SOOO hard for me those first few weeks (I call them the "dark days"). I am proud and relieved to report that we have moved beyond the "dark days" and we are enjoying being a family and watching our baby grow and change. He gives me smiles that melt my heart and they help to erase the terrible time I had the first month. I can't stop staring at him!

This isn't a smile, but he's not crying and I love that.

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