Today Linden is 16 days old... sixteen! What?! It's not so much a surprise that the past 16 days have flown by, but more so a surprise that I've actually survived them. It certainly hasn't been all rainbows and unicorns over here, folks. I'm tired. I'm drained. I'm flustered. I'm stressed. But I'm also totally in love. I'll go ahead and warn you though... this post isn't overly poetic or lovely. It's pretty nitty gritty and real.
The first night home from the hospital was easily, hands down, the worst night of my life. Not only did I forget to fill my pain med prescription before coming home (emergency c-section, woo!), Linden refused to be soothed. Nothing we tried would work. He'd just scream and scream and scream. 7:30am Saturday rolled around and we finally got him to calm down enough to sleep with Mike in our bed. And then at 7:45am the banging on our roof started. Yeah, because apparently it's a totally brilliant idea to replace your roof (with a tin roof, nonetheless) the morning after you bring home a 2 day old newborn. I think I got all of 45 minutes sleep between the unbelievable pain (I couldn't sleep in our bed because I couldn't get up thanks to my incision), the screaming, and the hammering on the roof. My mom came over around 8:30am and I just cried. And cried, and cried, and cried. She was able to go fill my prescription and I tried getting sleep any time I could.
Sunday was a lot of the same... pain, crying, and hammering. But it was the following week that I was concerned with. Mike headed back to school on the Monday following Linden's birth and I was left with Linden and Toby, all on my own. I don't really remember much now that I try to think about it, but I know it wasn't easy. I've had a lot of trouble breastfeeding thus far, and usually that would end up with me crying four or five times a day (on a good day!), and just feeling like a failure. I finally called the lactation department at the hospital that Thursday, in absolute tears, begging to be seen. Luckily they were able to squeeze me in after a pediatrician's visit (you know, the fourth in five days...). The consultation went well, but it all started slipping away again once I tried to implement everything at home. I've seriously never felt so defeated in my life. Linden was losing weight, we had to start supplementing, and the cycle of "Worst Mom Ever!" just kept repeating itself. I know most of it was/is due to my hormones, but man, it was/is hard.
The weekend came and I was so relieved. Mike was be here to help me and Toby headed to his grandparents' house. But Linden decided that weekends are no fun for him and that's when he really wants to get upset. And of course the roof work continued. A family friend who has worked in the maternity ward as an RN for a while came by on Sunday to help me with breastfeeding at home. Those 2 hours were life-changing. I felt like I could actually do it for once. Of course we're still supplementing and still having some challenges, but I'm hoping I can hold it together and power through. I never knew how hard breastfeeding was... It always seemed like it came so naturally for so many mothers. Of course I have a whole post written in my head about this topic so maybe I'll get around to actually typing it up before long.
This week was a bit of a doozy because Linden has been very fussy (thanks first growth spurt!) I haven't slept in our bed in over a week and a half, but instead have been building a pillow fortress on the couch and trying to catch a few minutes of shut eye in between crying spells. Mike finally migrated out to the couch with me, and I often hand Linden off around 5am so I can get at least an hour of sleep before waking Toby up for school. Speaking of school, Toby started kindergarten this week! Yesterday was his first full day and he'll go 3 days next week. I wasn't sure I'd be able to get it all together to drop him off, but it went smoother than expected. I hope the same can be said for next week. I totally cried after dropping him off this morning because he said he didn't need me to walk him in. He totally had it. He was eager and willing to head straight into a brand new school all on his own. I cried because I was overwhelmed with pride (he's so independent!), fear (I was so worried he'd be scared) and exhaustion (because newborn). I breathed a sigh of relief when we picked him up from school and he said he had an amazing first day.
Right now I'm just trying to survive. I'm seriously in survival mode. It's hard and exhausting, but I know I'll miss these first precious weeks once he's bigger. I'm trying to not let the stress get the best of me. It's difficult since Mike is in school full-time and I'm trying to work and juggle the baby. Most days I am confined to the couch for all hours of the day unless Mike is here to relieve me. He's been amazing though... taking the baby as soon as he gets home, letting me grab an hour or two of sleep while he manages dinner, bath time, and tucking Toby into bed. It's an adjustment for all of us. I've been reading a lot of breastfeeding articles and watching a bunch of videos, and I just keep trying to remind myself that every mother goes through this tough phase. It's normal. I'm hoping the Baby Blues don't wash over me. For now I'm just trying to remind myself that this precious little creature was created by my body and I am fully capable of nurturing and sustaining it. Some days I feel like I might be at my wit's end, but then he snuggles into the crook of my arm and all seems right with the world.
I know, it's not the overly sweet and poetic post I had thought I would write about our first couple of weeks at home, but it's the truth. I definitely want to remember all of the amazing/magical/sweet moments of being a new mom, but I also promised myself I'd be totally honest with my experience (if even just for my own sake). Luckily I have several mom friends who had babies around the same time as me and I can lean on them for support, guidance, or just general commiserating. We're making it... and that's the important part. I'm so grateful for this experience, but I certainly didn't expect it to be this hard haha. Naive, much?