Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The first days of babydom

He got up then and we tried to feed her. I tried alternating sides (with stops for changes and burps) for more than 2 hours till 2:30. By now, I felt ready to fall over, but we couldn’t make her stop crying when not latched. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. We were ready to send her back to the nursery (crying be damned!), but the nurse told us she was hungry. Almost crying myself, I told her I’d been feeding her for 2 hours straight. She suggested formula. Formula. The lactation Nazis had gotten to me. I couldn’t give her formula. It would cause nipple confusion and my milk would never come in! And then it would all be awful. She’d be a serial killer and never go to a good college. We couldn’t do that. Nope. It’d be ok. I’d just never sleep again. It’d be fine. God, take me now.

Finally, seeing our reluctance the nurse gave us a tip that I really think saved our sanity in those early days. She got a bottle of formula and a tiny feeding tube. The tube was run across my nipple so that the baby got the formula, but only when nursing. She’d never get the bottle (for bottle confusion) and she’d continue to stimulate me to produce milk. AND she’d get fed! There’d be a hope that she might settle and sleep – one day.

I think we might have managed to get 2 solid hours of sleep after that (yes, she DID go back to the nursery, thank you!). It was glorious. They brought her back and we fed her and by then, the activity was starting so we didn’t bother to send her back. We waited for my doctor to come and the pediatrician to come so that we could go home. We figured we’d be home by early afternoon. Ha!

The pediatrician ran late and didn’t arrive till around 1. She was the last sign off we needed before leaving, so it was time to pack up. Well, after the nurse gave us leaving instructions and went over our questions. And after we got stuff to the car (as my husband took everything that wasn’t nailed down!). And after I bought another nursing bra. And after I got dressed and cleaned up. And after I fed the baby between all those activities. Because she was hungry! Oh, was she hungry! And she was getting smarter – she’d save her worst fits for when one of us was gone. Look Daddy’s loading the car – you can drive Mommy over the edge! Look Mommy’s off at the lactation office – you can totally undermine Daddy now! It was villainously brilliant. I think we finally left the hospital around 6 – wondering who on earth thought it was ok to let the two of us leave with this angel! And scared we’d break her every step of the way. She cried for getting dressed, for going in the car seat, for most of the ride… Seriously – she knew we were total rookies and was NOT going to give us a break on that front.

We finally got home and I immediately changed into a button down for better access and hooked her on. That helped a little.

My Mom was there and had cooked us dinner. She ate with us and was leaving after to stay at my in-laws as my husband wanted our first night at home to be just our family. I’m not sure why… Certainly not in retrospect….

We ‘went to bed’ at a normal hour, but our new addition was having none of that. We’d moved the bassinet into our bedroom and had her next to the bed, but were up all night. It felt like the second we’d try to put her down / turn off the light, she’d cry. By the middle of the night, it was feeling like a reality tv adventure show – (wo)man v. baby! And baby was kicking our asses! No doubt about it. As soon as it was reasonably to do so, my husband called his parents (where my Mom was also staying) and said, come over as early as you can. Someone needs to hold this baby so we can sleep. They arrived about 9 and we were ready to hand her off at the door.

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