Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Family Matters

I love babies. They are all innocence and sweetness and promise of the future. My brother's oldest daughter had her baby today. Welcome beautiful baby Christian. Everyone is healthy and happy.

When I was pregnant with T, I talked to him (well, actually to my belly) all the time. I wanted him to recognize my voice when he was born and I wanted, more than anything, that mother/child bond to be instant and unbreakable.

My blood pressure was high during pregnancy, so the day that I went to do all the pre admittance paperwork at the hospital, they checked my blood pressure and it was high enough that they admitted me immediately. My c-section was scheduled for the next day, so it wasn't that big of a deal time wise, and to be perfectly honest, I was miserably pregnant at the time because T was so huge, so giving birth a day early sounded like a win-win situation to me.

My pre-admission appointment was sometime around lunchtime. The only reason I remember this is because I hadn't eaten yet and once I was admitted, I couldn't eat at all. Even being admitted that early in the day, it was after 10 pm with T was finally born. Turns out I was already having contractions anyway, so there ya go.

Once it all started happening, it seemed to happen so fast. I remember the anesthesiologist bringing R over to me all scrubbed out and masked so it took me a minute to recognize him. I remember feeling so much pressure but no pain and all of the sudden, I could breathe again. My first true, deep breaths in about 3 months. I heard T cry immediately and heard the doctor and the nurses laugh as he peed on them twice before they got him from the table to the scale. I remember hearing them say he weighed 11 lbs and 15 ounces, and being grateful once again that he was born and healthy.

I remember the look on R's face as he saw T for the first time and how happy I was that R looked at T like I felt about T. Love. Joy. Devotion.

And then eventually, I was wheeled back to my hospital room. T was in the nursery, and Mom and R went home. I don't know if it was the excitement or drugs or what, but I couldn't sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night, a nurse came in to check on me and saw that I was awake so she brought T to me when he got hungry. I tried to breastfeed, it went absolutely horribly, and I freaked out. Where were all my warm fuzzies and nurturing thoughts? T refused to breastfeed, so I held him until he calmed down and fell asleep. He had one of those round soothie pacis from the hospital and he would take that with no problem. Over the next few days, I and the lactation consultants tried everything we could think of to get the breastfeeding thing to work. Not happening. One lady, who totally freaked me out anyway, kept trying to just shove his face onto my boob. T was not so impressed with this plan, and if a two day old can have a temper tantrum? He had a massive one. Whenever that lady was around, it was like he could sense it and he refused to try and latch.

By the time we left the hospital, I was a combination of freaked out and stressed out, and more tired than I'd ever been in my life. And hello!?!?! I still looked 44 months pregnant. At that point, it was no longer a consolation that I could take deep breaths. GAH. My first week of motherhood was absolutely nothing like I imagined.

We finally got home. Finally. Mom stayed with us for a couple weeks and the day we took her to the airport? I cried all day long. I had pulled a muscle in my shoulder/neck from trying to support T and breastfeed (which was still going horribly), so after we dropped Mom off at the airport, I had a doctor's appointment, which I also cried through. Sigh. That night? T cried all. night. long. So did I. I had no idea what I was doing, and I knew it. I knew there was something wrong where T was concerned, but I couldn't actually put it together. Now I realize I was probably having post-partum depression or severe hormonal fluctuations, but then? I just thought I was the worst mother ever to exist.

Not long after that, I decided to pump exclusively and suppliment with formula. Our lives all immediately improved. T, being such a large baby, needed more food than the average newborn. In fact, his whole life T has eaten way more than textbooks say he should. But my kid? Is lean and muscular and not a bit overweight, no matter what the stupid BMI chart says.

T was three weeks old when we drove from South Dakota to North Carolina via a few day stop in Oklahoma. At three weeks? He could roll over from his tummy to his back. We have it on video. I attribute it to his extra large head. In Oklahoma, I quizzed my sisters in law about why T was so cranky and fussy. They told us to try the gas drops. It helped to some extent, but R and I spent some tense nights in a hotel room trying to get him to stop crying. When we got to NC, we had a meet the baby thing for friends and family, and my friend Angie pulled me aside when I walked her to her car and told me that what was wrong with T was that he was hungry. Having already started fearing transferring my food issues to T, I asked her if feeding him too much was going to set him up for a lifetime of overeating. She wisely told me that if I fed him too much? He'd spit up the extra, which would let me know how much he needed to be full.

That night R and I tried out her theory. Any of you who've had a baby probably know that look of peace and satisfaction a full baby has. That was the first night T ever had that look. From that point on, he would sleep at least six hours at night if he was full. The crying mostly stopped and slowly, my doubts about my ability to be a good mother faded too.

Of course, they are back times two at certain times now, but hey? Isn't that a part of parenthood anyway?

Welcome Baby Christian! You are so loved.


Sadie said...

Wow. I got stuck on 11 pounds 15 ounces! The first few weeks with a baby (especially the first one) is so fun and confusing and tired.

kris said...

All the baby books in the world could not have prepared me for the first few weeks with my first daughter. Such a very hard time. I remember those doubts about my ability to be a good mother. And the crying . . . both mine and my daughter's.

We had added complications. My daughter spent some time in ICU, and I got very very sick.

It got better. But it was hard at first.

Daily Dose of Dahl said...

Agreed, Sadie!

That's exactly it, Kris. I was all arrogant and over confident in my baby readiness. I knew that the maternal instinct would be strong and immediate.

Not so much for me.

Even if you ask 100 people and they tell you the bare bones truth of their experience, your experience may be nothing like any of them.

I think that's the beauty and horror of motherhood - it's such an intense, individual experience.

I'm glad that you and your daughter recovered. NICU is scary!