Get ready for a story of being introduced to motherhood:
My perspective has wildly changed
Why having a newborn is challenging: he is so dependent
The baby literally takes over your life. You can't do anything like you used to do any more. Your old life is gone - passed clean away. Now, you have to change the baby almost every hour and feed him every two hours. This is not optional. In between, during the time you are not feeding or changing him, you have to prepare to feed or change him - make sure the bottles are washed (if you are feeding bottles) or the pump supplies are cleaned (if you are pumping), or try to get an hour of sleep maybe, while he is sleeping. Then, rinse and repeat. There is no "end" to this process. It continues. And continues. And continues. Even at night, you have to wake up every two hours to feed him. There is no stopping, and essentially, no real sleeping. There is no time for recreation. There is no time for anything else. If you want to go somewhere or do something, you have to make sure the baby is being watched or taken care of by someone first.
In shock: coming to terms with my new life
Walking around the block one morning a few days after Isaiah's birth, I felt I never again would be "free." I felt incredibly trapped - trapped in a schedule not my own. My personality type in particular hates that. There was one moment, as I was praying, that I wasn't sure I wanted to be a mom, and I regretted it - then I felt terrible for feeling that way and decided to immediately repent of that and embrace motherhood no matter how hard it would be. I was so overwhelmed, and completely unsure that I could survive this process. It has taken me three whole weeks to come to terms with it. I'm still scared, but less so than I was.
I am amazed by all parents everywhere - and that all those kids I see day in and day out at grocery stores at church and everywhere require so much labor, and everyone who has kids must face this amazing change. It gave me a new respect for people who have kids. Suddenly, they were heroes. I wondered how people could possibly survive with multiple kids or even want more than one. It seemed like a minor miracle.
The most stress I have ever known
Trip to Eggleston and first failures as a mom
When we first brought him home, I was trying to nurse him, and he got increasingly fussy and started not even wanting to eat. Then he got lethargic. He wasn't having the proper number of pee and poop diapers - they tell us to count them - to make sure he's doing ok. And after calling the pediatrician, they felt we should take him to Eggleston. When we got there, he didn't immediately respond to sugar water, and the nurses became very concerned. The biggest worry was that he might have an infection, which could also look like simple dehydration. They ran every test known to man and tried to give him a spinal tap, but that was unsuccessful because he was too dehydrated. They hooked him up to fluids.
Seeing my not even week old son hooked up to IV's and back in the hospital was incredibly emotional for us both, and I started feeling more like a mom in that moment, and realized I really loved my son, even if I didn't feel like I did initially - I didn't want this for him or anything bad to happen to him.
My milk hadn't come in soon enough for him, and he just wasn't getting enough to sustain him. The hospital gave him formula through bottles, and with that and IV's, he started perking up and being his normal self again - or what we come to expect as normal - from our short time with him.
The first night, my mom and Jackie, my mother-in-law, stayed the night with him at Eggleston, and we went home to sleep, because as that time, we were bordering on three days with only 2-3 hours of sleep and were feeling like crap. I was feeling lightheaded, and not sure I would make it unless I got rest. However, sleep was somewhat elusive. I kept waking up and having nightmares about Isaiah. The next night, John and I stayed the night with him, but the night nurse did the feedings for us. I slept much better close to him and knowing he was being taken care of. I got up to check on him at least one time. Finally he was released, and we were able to take him home again.
Coming back home from Eggleston and the nightmare of nursing
I tried offering breastfeeding to him at each feeding, and also an hour before or after eating, so he would be less hungry. Each time, I felt it to be like a wrestling match, and again and again, he would reject me. So, the whole thing turned into a time of rejection and emotional pain for me, that made me feel like a failure repeatedly, every two hours.
Then, there was pumping. When I wasn't trying to feed him, I was trying to pump every 2-3 hrs. John cleaned the supplies for me, so I didn't have to do that. But after I had fed him, pumped, the supplies were cleaned, we had thirty minutes before we had to do it all again. It was a nightmare. The pump I was using my mom had rented from the hospital and it was great, except you had to sit still and hold the pieces together on you the whole time (20 min). I didn't have a nuring bra the first two weeks and it was not hands free. It was incredibly stressful and labor intensive. I felt as if my life was forefeit to nursing or trying to nurse. Combine this with Christmas and visitors, that made continuous pumping with that frequency even that much harder. I wasn't able to do it as often as I should, with male guests coming. I should just have ignored people and done it anyway, I think now. But I made the mistake of not doing that, and my milk supply decreased. I tried for a week to pump religiously anyway. By then I had gotten a nursing bra.
Embarrassment: please go easy on me
The bad gives way to better: perks of motherhood
Although it is so much work, I am so glad I have my son. And I cannot tell you how grateful I am for John during this whole process. He learned first and taught me how to change diapers. He does everything he can to make life easier for me. He trades off feedings with me so I can get more sleep. He talks very sweetly to Isaiah. Indeed, to me, John seemed to form a faster connection with him than I did. He talks baby talk better than I do, and seems to relate better. I've always had trouble relating to babies. I think it's something I'll get better at with time. Seeing John interact with Isaiah has been a real joy. I love seeing their connection.
And that's all I can say right now. I look forward to the adventures to come! I am scared. I wonder if I can do it. But, I am trusting in the grace of God to get me through. Having a baby means trusting Him on a whole new level. It's scary, tiring and stressful but also wonderful. No, I don't think I would trade it for anything else in the world. I have to see this through. I want to see what happens. And yes, I even *still* want a second baby someday, even with everything I have told you and said – which is a minor miracle all its own. I am a glutton for punishment. Our Isaiah has to have at least one sibling!