Since I had a C-section, Jack and I stayed in the hospital for a couple of days. They wanted me to stay one more night but at this point, I just wanted to go home, so I was able to get discharged one day early. Bringing Jack home was scary. The fact that they just give you this small, helpless little human who is your sole responsibility is terrifying. There is so much preparation for the birth that the next steps are almost an afterthought. You get home and you’re like, now what?
Those first couple days were brutal. Although Jack slept a lot he also cried a lot especially at night. Now I realize he had that whole daytime/nighttime confusion thing but at the time I couldn’t figure out why he was crying. We tried everything. It killed me that I couldn’t find a way to comfort him. I also think the little monkey was hungry because my milk hadn’t come in yet. The frustrating thing about C-sections is that your milk tends to take longer to come in (which we weren’t told about until after a couple of days).
In those first few days, I was what you call a zombie mom. I hadn’t slept for ages. I had been up for 40 hours in labour and then didn’t sleep much in the hospital so by the time we got home, I was an emotional mess. Going through the motions but barely coping. Dave was a great help, taking Jack as much as possible so I could get some sleep here and there.
Jack had lost a bit of weight after being born (12%) and the next two weeks, were constant visits to our midwife to get weighed and to see our progress. We were on a 3hr feeding schedule. I would breastfeed then hand Jack off to Dave who would feed him a bottle of the breast milk I was able to pump from the prior feed, then I would go pump. After the breast milk bottle, Dave would bottle feed him formula. Basically by the time we were done all of this, the whole process began again. It was exhausting. I never knew how excited I would be to see the pump filling up which meant my milk was finally coming in. Jack started to gain weight and by 2 weeks my milk was in and we have been exclusively breastfeeding him since.
I cried all the time in the early days. I cried when I was happy, tired, frustrated, overwhelmed and sad. All the time. I remember taking Jack out for a walk on day 5 and I started to cry because we were taking him for a walk for the first time. Eventually those tears went away though as my hormones leveled out.
Dave going back to work was hard on me (again I cried) because I had his support for the last 2 weeks and all of a sudden I was supposed to do this on my own? What? But I managed. I really wanted to take this time to figure this motherhood thing out. I didn’t ask for much help. I just wanted to spend this time with Jack and find my footing. Well when I say, I didn’t ask for much help, I mean I didn’t ask for much help physically but I was constantly reaching out to my mom friends for advice and support. The best part of my day was having Dave come home. Not because I wasn’t managing but I loved watching him spend time with Jack and it gave me a much needed break.
Those first weeks flew by. We were really lucky to have some nice weather at the end of March so we were able to get out for walks a lot. Jack didn’t much like going out in the bassinet though. He had to be asleep or he would cry. I got caught in the mall once when he would just not stop crying. I was trying my best to get to the Sears changing room so I could feed him as I knew that would stop the tears. Someone actually had the nerve to come up to me and tell me I was suffocating my baby. Excuse me? She was lucky I didn’t punch her in the face but I knew me getting angry would not help Jack calm down so I just calmly told her to walk away. It still makes me mad to think about.
I think Dave and I found our footing pretty quickly and Jack thrived. It’s amazing how you just adapt to this new life and you figure it all out. My favourite moments in the early days were breastfeeding Jack as I just felt such a connection with him, having him sleep on me which just made my heart explode and watching Dave interact with Jack. Pure love.
Parenting isn’t easy. Parenting a newborn is downright hard! If there is one thing I will say as advice for new parents (which was advice given to me), is those first few weeks and even few months, it’s all about survival. Do what it takes to get through it and you will. And trust your instincts, they won’t lead you astray!
Photo credit: Alison Lewis