I’ve successfully carried my child in my belly for 41 weeks, got him out, and got home from hospital. Now what? Now is a process of learning how to co-exist with this little new life, our bundle of joy and how to take care of him the best way possible while not forgetting about your own needs.
The very beginning seemed to be quite hard yet manageable. He slept for about 2-3 hours, woke up, got his diaper changed, got fed, and went back to sleep again. The difficult part in this was the every 3 hours bit, because that means that I can’t get a good night’s sleep of 8 hours straight. However, me and my partner did manage to play around this. Since we both stay at home and take care of the baby, he has as much time and energy as I do. So we basically slept in shifts, and I pumped my chesticles dry before I went to sleep every night so my partner can have some bonding time bottle feeding the little nugget during his night shift and I could have about 5-6 hours of sleep until I woke up from the feels of explosive boobs.
Now that he’s a month old, his sleeping patterns have changed – he is actually being awake more. Therefore, he needs our attention more, so now it is much harder than in the very beginning. He can now be awake most part of the day, and then sleep-eat-sleep-eat at night. Now I have learned that I really need to sleep whenever he sleeps at night. I can no longer afford to use it as “me time”, otherwise I’ll regret it later when I’m in zombie mode due to not being able to shut my eyes for a minute.
The level of hardness, I guess, is proportionate to how poorly I’ve been feeling. Namely, the more I’ve recovered and able to do more, the harder and energy-consuming everything gets.
Life also wasn’t too bad until the baby started having tummy troubles. He would have lots of gas, or he would seem to be constipated or just have tummy ache, trying to push something out, contorting and writhing, kicking and punching the air, his face red from pushing. All these troubles started when he was about two weeks old and they have stayed with us since, with some good days here and there too. Every time he lands a nice juicy poo in his diaper is a gleeful moment because that means that all that pushing and effort has a result now, and even if it’s just for a moment – the baby feels relieved and is not in pain. Although, I don’t really understand how he can start the pushing process again right away – he just does it all the time, whether there is something to push out or not. Being careful and concerned parents, we have combed the internet and Youtube to find the best remedies for baby tummy troubles. The things that help are: 1) massaging the tummy in circular clockwise motion, 2) pushing baby’s knees into his tummy to let the mean farts out and doing bicycles with his legs 3) bouncing on a fitness ball or bouncy-walking. I was very happy when I got the fitness ball – it is a miracle and seems to solve any problem. Just bounce on it with the baby and he’ll calm down, stop pushing and very likely fall asleep, even if it’s for only a moment. The ball is a must-have for every new parent. For tummy troubles we are also giving him simeticone drops, which seem to help too.
Before I gave birth, I was very determined to try and do without a pacifier. Ironically, we have 4 pacifiers at home, even we haven’t bought any ourselves. Two of them were gifts from grandparents, one was a gift from maternity hospital, and one came in a free package of samples from a pharmacy. I thought that giving child a pacifier is like cheating him and it’s only a mute button to make a lazy parent’s life easier. Also giving a pacifier could cause nipple confusion for the child and result in him chewing my nipples instead of sucking. However, my determination lasted three weeks until I gave up. The pacifier is a big help in helping a tired baby fall asleep and keeping him asleep when he starts tossing and turning, waking himself up. It helps him calm down when diaper needs to be changed because that is a tragedy for the kid 90% of the times. My partner’s theory is also that it actually helps with the pushing by relaxing the child because sometimes that’s all it takes for the stuff to come out. Mostly it just calms him down and satisfies the sucking reflex. I do at least try to use the pacifier only when it is actually necessary, rather than just sticking it in baby’s mouth whenever.
The other problem is that he spits up a lot of food, wasting my good precious milk. However, this is what my partner is more concerned about. For me it is just a bit annoying that I have to clean him or myself up. My partner thinks he has reflux desease. I think he spits up excessively when he does all the pushing, and that’s the reason it all comes up. Sometimes he’ll be perfect and not spit up at all, or it will be the normal teaspoon amount of spit-up, but then other times there is so much of it that I wonder if there is anything left in his tummy at all. But because the baby doesn’t seem to be too bothered by this himself and does keep gaining weight, I think he’s alright.
We have been a bit lazy parents when it comes to bathing him and going on walks. He is not that dirty and the bathing process ir a bit too much to do it every day, so we just make sure that his eyes, ears, face and all the crevices are clean and dry by using cotton and warm clean water. As to taking walks, I wasn’t up to carrying the pram cot downstairs, since I shouldn’t lift anything heavier than the baby while I’m still healing. Plus the weather isn’t always nice. Plus we both are just tired and busy with baby and it’s at the bottom of our list of priorities. We have only lately started going out on walks with the baby more.
It is amazing how quickly he is growing. At the 1 month GP visit he was weighed and has gained 1.2 kilograms since being discharged from hospital. He has grown longer too, he barely fits into most of the new-born size clothes, which initially looked like loose sacks on him with dangly leg parts. He’s learning something new every day, for example a new sound that he makes, or noticing and observing toys. The best new skill of all – smiling. It just melts my heart when he smiles, even if it’s for a split second. I’m so happy to see him just hanging out in his pram cot, having a good time, being a happy baby, making cooing sounds. Still, the times when he’s asleep are the best anyway, because that means I can actually use the toilet, shower, and maybe even eat something.
Even though me and my partner are mostly tired (I’m actually good half the time because I’m being wiser as to when I sleep now), we are both mostly covered in puke, pee and poo, and me – leaking milk from my breasts, being new parents is the best experience, and it’s so rewarding. We have a little continuation of ourselves, something that we grew from a little dot, a cell. It is especially rewarding in the funny moments. For example, the baby was laying in my lap and suddenly an atomic poosplosion happened in his diaper, and I could literally feel the warm goodness on my legs. Later it turned out that the goodness was actually poo that had leaked out of his diaper and onto me. And that shit is like turmeric – it does not wash out. I’ll forever have yellow poop stains on my fairly new pajamas. 😀 LOL!
Another time he had fallen asleep in my arms but needed to be put in his crib. That is always dangerous – one wrong move and he wakes up and you can start over again, making him fall asleep, waiting long enough and then attempting to transfer him to bed. It’s like handling a bomb. 😀 So, I was already at the crib, ready to lay him down when I couldn’t help but sneeze. The terrified “about-to-cry” face on the awoken baby was so priceless, so funny. So he was looking at me like I’m the most evil creature in the world, curling his lip downwards, while I was uncontrollably chuckling about it. 😀
And then just little moments, like him continuing sucking the pacifier when there is no pacifier in his mouth, or him coughing or sneezing in my face. 😀 Or his face when I’m washing is bum under the warm stream of water.
As to myself healing from the childbirth process – now, five weeks after I feel OK and healed. Warning – gross stuff coming up! :p I still have to see what my gynecologist says when I see him in a week. I haven’t dared to look at myself down there, even though I probably wouldn’t see anything too awful, I just don’t feel the need to look anyway. Hopefully my tears have healed now and stitches have come out. I did get a bit of a scare two weeks after labour. The bleeding had started to lessen, which I was happy about. But then the flow increased again, and one day when we were out on a walk I felt a big lump falling out of there – that was a blood clot, about the size of a peach. In addition to that, my crotch felt like it’s been smacked with a bat. I freaked out about that a bit, called my doctor, and got an answer that blood clots like that are normal, and unless I feel dizzy and weak and get high temperature, I shouldn’t worry. Then, a week later it happened again, only this time the clot was twice as big. Ew! But now that all is behind me and after using up about three packs of pads and a big pack of panty liners I only have a bit of spotting going on. Can’t wait to have a nice soak in a bath – haven’t been able to have one in the healing process. Also, the one thing I’m looking forward to and afraid of at the same time is making love. If there is a lot of sensitive scar tissue down there, it might not feel nice. The only thing to do, I guess, is to wait and see.