The first week home I didn’t think we (read: I) could do it. Everyone said the turning point is 6 weeks, and we made it! Tomorrow our little guy will be 7 weeks old. I think, “Seven weeks, already?”, but then sometimes it feels like he’s been here a lot longer.
Our first night home was a beating. Poor little guy hadn’t pooped all day. I even asked about it at the hospital, but because it hadn’t been 24 hours they weren’t concerned. Well, 2AM rolls around and he still hadn’t had a dirty diaper and he let us know. Screaming and crying for at least an hour and a half, but felt a lot longer. At that hour in the morning anything seems logical. I remember asking Jesse if Henry didn’t like the gown he was in – I mean really? God bless neighbors who let you call them at any hour. Our neighbor, Angie, gave us some pear juice that we mixed with water and put in a syringe. Immediately his stomach settled, and he went to sleep. We woke up to a full – very full – diaper the next morning and we celebrated. Then we were off to his first appointment at the pediatrician.
I’m really glad the first night wasn’t indicative of what was to come in the following days and weeks. Don’t get me wrong – the first week home was rough. I think I cried more than Henry. There was so much to figure out and we were trying to communicate with someone whose only form of communication was crying. And we were exhausted. For some reason, after the first week home it just seemed like we turned a corner and things started getting better. Still tough, but better.
I knew it before Henry was here, but it was reaffirmed after he was born that we have a really incredible family and an amazing community of friends surrounding us. My mom and/or dad were over almost every day the first two weeks. There was one night my mom stayed from about 5PM-4AM to do our laundry and hang out with Henry so Jesse and I could sleep. I cried about that, too. (Clearly, I cry to cope.) If she hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have even had clean underwear. Our home group came to mow our lawn and clean up the house. Two friends came to walk Roger because he was not getting any attention from us. And oh the meals – I don’t think we would have eaten if it weren’t for the dinners brought to us.
Unmet expectations are really disappointing. I tried to walk into motherhood not expecting anything, because I’ve heard a lot of stories where things just don’t work out as planned. Our expectations of delivery didn’t even work out! Disappointment is what I feel specifically with nursing. For something I’ve never done I had high expectations for my success with it. I assumed all through pregnancy that I would be able to breast feed, and planned to do so for the first year. I haven’t been able to exclusively breast feed from day 3. We tried everything to try to get him to nurse exclusively. I play through every scenario in my head, trying to figure out what I could have done differently or what went wrong, but that doesn’t change where we’re at now. Henry gets breast milk and formula. He’s healthy – which is the goal. I still feel disappointed, though. Is my son healthy? Yes. Am I trying my best? Yes. Do I love him? Yes. I think as women our identity is so wrapped up in being a mom, so when we feel like we fail at some aspect of it, it’s devastating. I wish I could say I’m on the other side of this. The truth is I still cry about it. I still wish it had worked out as planned. It’s a daily battle to remember that how Henry is fed isn’t ultimate – providing for him, loving him and shepherding his heart is. At his one month appointment he weighed 9 lbs. 12 oz!
Now we’re trying to work on a feeding/sleeping routine. It’s gone pretty well, so far. Scheduled naps were a game changer for me, because some days it was a win just to eat breakfast. I’ve been trying to read a lot (which can sometimes be dangerous) about sleep training, schedules, etc. I’ve found one blog to be really helpful, but have been learning to tweak it to what works best for Henry. He started sleeping from 10PM-5/5:30AM pretty consistently at about 4 1/2 weeks. He even slept till 7AM once!
There have been lots of tears, lots of laughs and excitement, and lots of moments where we think “Oh crap. We have a kid!” in the past 7 weeks. It really is the toughest thing I’ve ever done, but I love it. We’ve seen him start to respond to us and smile, and that really makes it all worth it!