Confessions of a new mom

I've been both wanting to and dreading writing this post all at the same time.  And we'll see how far I get before the little one wakes up and is hungry :)

Karlyn will be 3 weeks old on Thursday.  Hard to believe!  It's crazy.  Since I've been home and off from work, I no longer have any clue what day it is.  The days and nights just blur together into one long continous cycle of sleeping, feeding, and diaper changes.  I don't think I knew what I was in forAnd before I go any further, if you'd rather not read about postpartum bodily challenges or the trials of breastfeeding, you may just want to stop now.  That's all I'll say.

I know I've posted a LOT of pictures...at the hospital, back at home, Karlyn sleeping (what she still does best.)  But pictures are easy to hide behind and don't always tell the whole story.  Pictures show a happy new family smiling but don't show the tears that come in the night or the doubt and fears that surface without a moment's notice.  I knew this was going to be tough-maybe.  I think it's really hard to know exactly how it will be if you've never done it before!  And you're just so excited to meet that baby and let's be honest - get it out of you- that you don't spend a lot of time pondering how postpartum life will be.

I'll be honest and say that it's been incredibly tough.  Two days in the hospital and a couple of 10 minutes sessions with the on-staff lactation consultant can't prepare you to feel 100% confident to care for this tiny, helpless being you're taking home.  I already wrote out my birth story but left out the fact that I had a 3rd degree tear during labor.  That was BY FAR the hardest part of my recovery and I'm still not completely healed.  Good grief, that was painful.  I didn't know until the day after delivery how bad it was until I asked my nurse.  "Um, it was a 3rd degree, and 4th is the worst."  Ah.  Awesome.  The pain from that coupled with new mommy emotions, lack of sleep, and complete panic that I was going to do something wrong and somehow mess up my daughter left me a wreck.  Maybe that's how I lost the weight.?  I'm sure it at least had something to do with it.  That and the lack of appetite I had after birth, which also surprised me.  I had to force feed for several days, knowing I was trying to build my milk supply and that I needed calories in order to nurse.  Luckily, that has come back and I'm eating like a champ :>  Peppermint Bark Haagen Dazs anyone?

Breastfeeding.  Karlyn is eating well too now and we mostly have that down.  I am so thankful to my 2 friends Rachael and Rachel :> who encouraged me to keep going and keep trying.  I was so ready to quit.  They had me using a shield at the hospital but then the pediatrician highly advised that I wean her off of that.  I was convinced that she COULD NOT not use it!  I tried half-heartedly without it a couple times but in the middle of the night with a crying baby, you do what's easiest.  I then decided to take a day and really work with her.  Again, I so appreciate advice from friends on what works.  After wrestling with it for a while, we're shield-free!  It can still take a bit but she is catching on and eating well.  I have a feeling she's going to have a hearty appetite just like her mama :>  I'm glad I didn't quit and I am even kind-of enjoying it again.  I love knowing I'm able to give  her such a great and healthy start.

The books talk about postpartum depression or "the baby blues."  I was sure I had em.  I cried when she was 6 days old, knowing I was about to have a 1 week old...and I WOULD NEVER HAVE THOSE DAYS BACK!  And Ryan and I had just fought.  And I didn't want her to hear that.  I cried because I thought I was a terrible mom and had no idea what I was doing.  I cried because I was exhausted and then I cried when I had no idea why.  I felt on the verge of a full-blown panic attack several times when I lost the above mentioned shield and could not find another one **at midnight** in this town to save my life.  I cried because I couldn't go to the bathroom.  I'm not kidding.  They don't tell you about that little lovely hardship and with the tear added in, it was downright awful. 

Somehow I/we have made it through though.  And in between all of that, we managed to take some cute pictures :)  But please don't let the pictures speak for themselves.  I'm not at all trying to be a downer but I wanted to come clean about how incredibly trying the first few days and weeks can be.  And believe me , I know we're still in them!  There are so many more challenges to come.  Ryan has been simply amazing and the most wonderful helper of a man I could ask for.  He I'm sure did not bargain on bringing home a certified crazy woman to raise his child and hopefully by now he knows I'm still me :)  Only sleep deprived.

So here we are.  I am happy today.  And joyful.  Because as our pastor preached about on Sunday, there is a difference.  I'm happy because today has gone well - and I went and got my hair cut :)  I'm joyful because I know that even in the trials and sorrows, God is always there.  He will hold us up with His right hand and keep us from completely falling.  He knows just how much we can take.  He knows that Ryan and I can do this parenting thing *with His help* and He will equip us with what we need to be Karlyn's mom and dad.

So these are my confessions.  Almost 3 weeks in and a lot left to learn.  But right now, I think a nap sounds nice. :>


Amanda Estes said...

You are an amazing mother and Karlyn is so blessed to have you and Ryan as parents! Know that we are praying for you and have that phone ready in June when I come calling :)

Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun said...

The first 6 weeks are the roughest. By far. Things DO get better. You are doing fabulous and all you described is 100% normal! I went through the same after M and will likely go through similar after B...even knowing what to expect. Hugs, momma!

Brandy said...

I found your blog through organizing junkie...It is so nice that you were so honest in your blog. I just wanted to send along some strength and positive energy your way...welcoming a new baby in to this world is so wonderful and yet SO overwhelming. So many things happening all at once. All of the things you are feeling are truly NORMAL and I think all first time mommies experience these types of emotions...(even second time mommies) :) Try to just take 10 steps back, a few deep breaths and just let things happen. Keep your schedule clear and free for the first 6 weeks at least. Don't plan big outings or visits...this is time for your new family to get to know eachother and your new roles in this world....breastfeeding is not easy...with both of my babies it hurt so much I couldn't believe it!!! Friends were a great help, I got in touch with La Leche League somehow, and just surrounded myself with positive, encouraging, breastfeeding friendly people. I have come to learn there are so many benefits to breastfeeding and that it is the best gift we can give our babies. I thought I would nurse for 3 months...my youngest is now 1 and still nursing 3 times a day...I truly never would have expected this!! My husband was so supportive which made a big difference also. He has learned a lot over the years, how to sterilize a breast pump, lol, that it is socially acceptable to nurse at the mall, and what I needed to feed our newborn and make him comfortable. (I honestly had to turn off the tv to let my milk letdown at the beginning of each feed-I couldnt be distracted - especially with tsn or some hockey game)! You will find what works for you, and I have also learned that everything is just a stage and will pass in time...whether it be feeding 5 times a night, or leaky diapers, or walking the halls at all hours trying to get a burp out, you and your husband will look back and say 'remember when'...we are at a stage now where we actually miss walking the halls and trying to figure out how to make our baby go to sleep:)...One other thing I would like to mention is that day time sleep is just as important as the night time sleep...if your baby sleeps well during the day he or she will sleep well at night...(we went thru so many stages and I ended up doing alot of research on sleep:)...my 3 yr old still naps every afternoon for 2 hrs and sleeps 10-12 hours at night...as does the 1 yr old! The Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg is a great book-I buy it for all my friends. page 34 and the EASY routine....
Wishing you all things wonderful....sorry for the long message...I just wanted you to know that you are not alone-and take one day at a time...even break the day up into chunks...we get thru 3 hrs at a time:)
In the Mommy bonds...

Jess @ MakingHome said...

Good for you for making it through those tough early weeks. I had a 3rd degree with Ethan, too, and remember how painful that was... and good for you for pressing on through the tough times in breastfeeding! Once you get into that "groove" it becomes such a sweet thing to just be able to feed your baby.

Hope you're continuing to press on through the hard stuff and enjoy these sweet days. Let me know if I can help, or offer any encouragement.