For this one I have to summarize a lot about the first two weeks in retrospect as I wrote nothing then. I didn’t write my own name then. I couldn’t. I didn’t know what it was. It felt like a crazy ride that I couldn’t get off. On occasion I’d catch a 2 hour nap while someone else held the baby, but it was rare that she would go 2 hours without eating. Sadly, it seemed her calm time was late morning – a time I find it very difficult to get to sleep regardless of the circumstances. Seriously – I began to really envy my husband’s already completely fouled up circadian rhythms because he could get to sleep at 10:30 when the baby would finally consent to sleeping in someone else’s arms. I couldn’t. I wanted to so badly. I was so exhausted, but I couldn’t.
Everything seemed crazy and the simplest tasks seemed impossible. On day 4 we needed to get her to the doctor – it seemed to take an act of God to make that happen. We started prepping hours in advance. My husband filled the diaper bag with every supply known to man (and woman!). My Mom stopped him and said that I probably wouldn’t actually need so many replacement bra pads (esp. as my milk hadn’t come in) in the couple hours we’d be gone. You should have seen the look he gave her in his state of sleep deprivation. I was fairly terrified to leave the house with her, but we finally made it there with a list of questions a mile long. I waited in the car while my husband checked her in (the doctor had advised we might not want to be in the waiting room as it was flu season). Somehow we survived that outing and then it was back to what soon began to feel like house arrest. It was February, so I couldn’t leave to go anywhere – it was so cold out and too much of a time of illness. I couldn’t find the energy to go anywhere anyway and I really felt like I couldn’t figure this stuff out. How did other mothers do it? Why was I such a loser and couldn’t? Why was my baby always hungry and why wouldn’t my milk come in? Was my body failing me?
I’d sit feeding her for hours on end, unsure I was actually providing any sustenance – only sure that I’d be doing this and only this forever. I might never get to eat on my own or leave the house or do anything. I was supposed to be doing sitz baths to prevent infection, but they were uncomfortable and therefore not how I wanted to spend my precious few minutes of free time. One day I was sitting on the couch switching her from boob to boob as she constantly fed when my mother in law sympathetically looked at me and said – ‘does it just make you want to cry?’ Oh God, like I’m not hormonal and messed up enough! Do you WANT to make me cry now? My husband looked at her and shut her down by telling her that that was NOT helpful – he’d already dealt with my crying far too often – while I composed myself.
Because the feeding seemed to be going so slow, I decided to pump some milk. The lactation consultant had suggested I could do this and use my own milk as a supplement (still using the feeding tube across the nipple) rather than the formula. I pumped for about 30 minutes and wound up with about two ounces. Another fit of tears! I was useless! My body was useless! I was so angry and hormonal and upset and bad at this. Towards the end, I tried “massaging” the milk out as the consultant had suggested. My husband started “helping” and it soon became clear that his ‘hand expressing’ had turned into fondling. I nearly bit his hand off! There was much yelling and irrationality to follow!
The lactation consultant called back a few days later and when I mentioned that I only got about 2 oz she told me – oh, that’s about right at this point. Seriously!? Why didn’t she tell me?! A few days later I was watching a baby show on Discovery (what one site loving referred to as – when babies attack) – it was on bringing the new baby home and it showed a Mom pumping in the first week and getting about an ounce. Oh man! Why didn’t I watch this earlier?!