First of all, this post is going to be all over the place. It's impossible to categorize and organize these thoughts so I'm just going to write...and not think. Stream of consciousness...
The first week of motherhood has been an amazing, terrifying, joyous, terrible, heartbreaking, fulfilling, emotional, numb, confusing, overwhelming, love-filled experience. Never in such a short period of time have I felt such a breadth of emotions.
The 48 hours in the hospital after birth were great. Visitors came and went, nurses came in to check on me and Nikolai every couple hours. There was a baby nurse and a mommy nurse. They'd take our temp, and my blood pressure and take blood samples and check my butt (for hemorrhoids, which amazingly enough, I don't have). Oddly enough, it felt safe just knowing there were doctors everywhere -- just in case.
We'd send Nikolai to the nursery for a few hours during the night so we could get some sleep, and they'd wheel him in after 4 hours, when he started to get hungry. I had a strict no formula, no water policy because the plan was to exclusively breastfeed for at least his first couple months of life. I was running on so many hormones and adrenaline, I barely even felt tired. V, on the other hand, was utterly exhausted, and he didn't have a nice comfy bed to sleep on like I did, but he refused to sleep at home.
All of our meals were taken care of. Even if we didn't eat hospital food, my parents would come and bring us rice and banchan and miyukgook.
The first night home was a whole different story. The stubborn person that I am, I didn't even have back-up formula on hand thinking that my colostrum would be enough to fill my little guy's tummy. But all he did the first night was cry and cry, with dry cracked lips, and a hoarse husky little voice because he was SO hungry and thirsty. The pediatrician had sent us home with a few bottles of glucose water because she noticed he was a little dry before we were discharged from the hospital. She said to give him just a few teaspoons after each feeding to make sure he stayed hydrated. The second I put the little spoon to his lips he'd stop crying, open his eyes SO wide, and start sucking for dear life. It was like a switch had been flipped inside him. It was almost robotic!
After about 8 hours of constant crying, I finally caved and made V go to the store and pick up formula. I could not stand any longer seeing my little one starve, and as soon as we fed it to him, he fell asleep, finally content. And so did we.
During these hours of crying, I kept thinking to myself, "What did I get myself into? I'm not going to be able to do this. He's a colicky baby, definitely not one of those easy children. I can't do this." It was devastating. V was beyond annoyed and kept asking if all babies are like this, and not knowing better I said yes. And he just couldn't get over how annoying it was.
Luckily, each day since then has been better and better, and I've actually been getting enough sleep at night. Nikolai seems to be a day sleeper, which is a bit problematic because it's a lot harder to put him down at night, but ever since my milk has come in, he's been a generally content baby. He only cries when there's actually something wrong -- a wet or poopy diaper, hunger, needing to burp. That's all.
A couple days ago, we took him to his first pediatrician appointment, and everything checked out fine.
When he was born, he was 8 lbs, 3 oz. His discharge weight was 7 lb, 8 oz. And at our appointment, he was already on the up and up at 7 lb, 13 oz. Whew! What a weight lifted.
Speaking of weight, I've already lost 20 of the 30 lbs I gained during pregnancy. So for anyone who's worried about that -- don't! It literally melts off.
The one thing you really worry about is whether they're eating enough (oh, and at night, whether or not they're breathing). But food is the one thing you can control. With breastfeeding, however, you never know how much they're really getting. So what I've figured out is that when he takes naps that are less than 2 hours, he didn't get enough to eat and I need to pump more while he sleeps to stimulate production during those hours. We give him a bottle of formula at night, and that extends his sleep time to about 4 hours. These 4 hours are crucial to existing the next day.
I've been anemic with low blood pressure since I've been home from the hospital. My second day home, I had a fever and my entire body ached. I thought it was post-labor trauma, but I finally took my temperature and realized I was achy because of the fever. For two days, I had a slight ringing in my ears, which made the baby's cries sound like cell phone rings. Very strange.
Finally, today, I feel just about 100%. I'm still bleeding a lot down there, but that's supposed to be normal. It's just annoying to deal with. It's like, for 10 months you don't have a period, and to make up for it, your body bleeds for an entire month after birth. Can't wait for that to be over!
It is terrifying to think that I am solely responsible for my son's life. That from now, for the rest of my life, I will have him to think about. To care for. To love. To keep from harm. From the grandest, most profound thought - the concept of motherhood - to the smallest, most trivial - like how I will manage to go grocery shopping with him in tow - it's all equally terrifying. But for now, the sweet smell of my baby's head keeps me from having a full on anxiety attack. There must be something to that. It is truly calming.
I've been in mostly good spirits since I've been home -- even with the first night of sleep deprivation. The only thing that's set me off emotionally, ironically enough, is my own mother, who's here to help, but has managed to be a double edged sword. It's not too surprising, I guess, but I am glad to know it's not being a mother that gets me down. Who knows, I may have a whole new set of hormones kick in this week or next and I could be bawling everyday.
For now, I am content looking at this little face.
|Brand new, just a couple hours old|
|First car ride|
|Nikolai and his daddy|
|First pediatrician appointment|