Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Love Plus One, It's not all about me, but it should be.

2 Days Old

Baby Blues by Rick Kirkman & Jerry Scott

In little over 48 hours, we came home to a new chapter in our lives. It is no longer us two but now us three. We are a family.

We introduced the dogs to our new addition. The night before, hubby brought home a dirty diaper and a swaddler to introduce the dogs to BG’s scent. Both dogs greeted BG with sniffs and wagging tails. Z-girl seemed more interested in my arrival home. I gave her a pet and a kiss.

I wish the hospital or someone offered a crash course on how to take care of a newborn before you leave. Sure we took infant care classes but nothing prepares you for the feeling of complete lack of knowledge that you will feel the first few days at the hospital and at home. Something tells me I’m going to feel this way for awhile.

I have a feeling of exhilaration yet apprehension. So many things to think about. So many things to do. So many things to worry about. Push Push Push those thoughts out. Focus on the now. Focus on the baby. Focus on caring for myself. I’ve spent nearly 12 years focusing on my husband and myself and now I need to switch gears.

Unfortunately that isn’t as easy as you think it is. Yes, motherhood instincts to protect your child kick in pretty quickly, at least for me, but it’s much easier to focus and care for an adult human than it is for newborn. I know that doesn’t make sense. On paper, newborns need love, food, diaper changes, soothing and sleep. Sure, these things seem easily accomplishable for an average adult human but they aren’t. First, you need to ascertain which of these items is what she needs. Second, you need to provide it for them.

Love, I’m pretty sure came with the pregnancy package. I love my BG more than anything in the world.

Diaper changes aren’t fun, especially when I can’t tell if she peed or not. These super absorbent diapers make it difficult. The vaginal hormonal discharge also scares the bejesus out of me but I think that has mostly passed. For the most part, I can change a diaper, albeit reluctantly as she cries holy terror sometimes while we do it.

Soothing, I’m fairly certain I can do. She seems to like being in my arms and listening to my voice. She especially likes stories, bouncing and when I sing her a song. It’s actually one of the few things that I feel I’m providing for her.

Sleep, well, she likes to sleep on my chest. She has a long stretch of nap usually around 5am. It usually coincides with hubby’s sleep shift. Hubby and I are trying to get into a habit of him sleeping around 4am. When he goes back to work, it’s going to be super hard but if we can try to develop a shift schedule at night, he can get some shut eye.

I think hubby and I knew this would be hard but had no idea it would be this hard. Hubby actually thought that there could be a schedule developed within 3 days. I told him no. I’m new to this but I’m fairly certain any type of schedule, feedings, naps, outings, etc… would take at least a good month to establish and it would always fluctuate.

Still he tried to incorporate everyday family of two items immediately which didn’t quite work out. He tried to get us to go to Target but didn’t realize that her feeding would run into the time frame. Since I’m new to breastfeeding (BF’g), I wasn’t quite comfortable yet with the public BF’g. Plus, BG isn’t keen on car rides just yet.

Being dazed, confused, in pain and a newbie, I went along with some of these things, including 3-4 hour absences from hubby so he could go to the gym, do his personal errands, etc. Looking back, I should have been more selfish. Yes, it is healthy to get out of the house and have some ‘me’ time and one of us should have some level of sanity but all my hormones felt was abandoned. I didn’t feel sacrificial but I did feel like I couldn’t even pee at the hospital by myself and here I am in desperate need of a shower and some sleep and my husband is worried about being a ‘fatty daddy’ and went to hit the gym.

Now, don’t get me wrong, my husband is not a clod. I think both of us are at a stage where we need to learn to let go of our past life a little, retain some and start new pages in our book of family.

During the first few days, you and your spouse will fight. You will argue. You will be irrational. As a woman, I can say, it is normal and to be expected. As a good friend said to me, “You did just give birth to a human being. I think you deserve a little more coddling but you need to coddle your baby. Your husband should be coddling you.”

Your hormones have dropped significantly so you’re completely loopy. One moment, you are laughing you tush off, the next you’re crying because you feel isolated and out of control. Moments later, you’re in total awe, wonder and enchantment because your baby just cracked a smile while she was napping.

I guess this entry is to say, you will drive each other crazy but in the end, you need to hug and be more understanding. Hubby needs to be more understanding of my needs (and not just display it by yelling at me for not napping.) I need to be more understanding that I most let go and most importantly be more expressive of what I need from hubby and not just think he’ll figure it out.