In all honesty the last few days have been a huge struggle. The postpartum hormones have hit me hard. I’ve been in a bad cycle of feeling guilty, crying my eyes out and not taking care of myself. The stress and exhaustion of course effecting the baby so she haven’t slept very well, the breastfeeding has been a bit tough and then on top of everything it turns out she’s not gaining weight.
I was up half the night with her having stomach ache, and of course I want to make it on my own so it took too long for me to ask my mom for help, and helping is literally the reason why she’s here, yet it makes me feel so awful leaving her cause there’s this voice in my head telling me that it means I can’t do it on my own. eventually I let my mom take her so I got a few hours of sleep. But when I woke up the feelings of not being good enough and not being able to do this was just overwhelming and I spent most of the morning crying. My parents and Odi were all there trying to tell me that I’m doing great and that I will be able to do this but nothing really helped, I just felt so worthless. And of course being completely exhausted didn’t really help. Eventually I managed to calm down and we went to the baby nurse, cause they wanted to see her again to make sure she’d start gaining weight, and it turned out she hadn’t. It’s not the end of the world and they recommended us to supplement with some formula. But with all these feelings already bubbling around in me, I cried all the way home. It was like that voice in my head found yet another thing to bet me down with and it just wouldn’t stop.
I’ve had a lot of talks with my parents and my mom especially who is trying to tell me how great I’m doing and that it’s completely normal to feel this way. That maybe we don’t talk about it too much but most of us spend a lot of days and nights in tears in this situation, wondering what the hell we’ve gotten ourselves into and how the hell we’re gonna survive this. And no matter how much you tell yourself that it is just that, completely normal, it’s so overwhelming and so hard to deal with. What makes it even harder is that everything really goes hand in hand. If you’re stressed your breastfeeding will suffer and the baby won’t get enough to eat, and she’ll feel your stress so she’ll cry and won’t sleep and you’ll be exhausted and even more stressed, so you don’t sleep enough, or eat enough, and that makes everything worse all over again.
This is so real. And to be honest, you sit here and wonder if it’s ever gonna get better or it this is just your life now. And then, you wake up the next day, maybe having had an okay night, gotten some sleep, had some breakfast, and sitting here typing in your computer with a seriously adorable baby sleeping next to you, and just for a moment it feels like it’s all gonna be okay.
Oh how wrong I have been all these years thinking that people are just being ridiculous. These mommy hormones are completely mental. This has probably been the biggest chock to me out of all the chocking things regarding pregnancy and having a baby. She is like a drug to me. I cannot be away from her because I feel like I’m in physical pain. Even if she’s in the next room, if I don’t hold her for too long I just start crying for no reason. It’s completely insane.
And then there’s the guilt. I touched the subject a little bit in the post meeting my daughter for the first time cause literally a moment after giving birth to her I felt it for the first time. But since then it has happened a few more times. Like yesterday. Emma had a bad night, so I had a bad day since I hadn’t been sleeping much at all. I was completely exhausted and all the emotions was just too much. She also seemed to have a bit of a stomach ache and I couldn’t do anything about it. Odi came to hug me and out came the waterworks, I just cried and cried. So my mom told me to fed her and then she would take her for part of the night so I could sleep, at least until she needed to eat the next time. And I felt so bad. I realized that I needed to do it, and so I went into my bed and cried for a while before falling asleep.
It’s so completely messed up. Even though you know intellectually that it’s completely normal and reasonable to need a few hours of sleep, and that it doesn’t make you a bad mom or a bad person, the guilt is just there, it just shows up. I am working on leaving her for short moments and during my parents stay we will give it a try to leave the house without her for a little bit, but it’s so hard, and it’s completely shocking to me, how strong these feelings are.
So I apologize for ever thinking that people were just being ridiculous, not that I ever said to anyone, but still, I feel bad. I am now in my bedroom and going to take a nap while Emma is in the livingroom with Odi, patting myself on the shoulder, baby steps!
My parents came to visit the other day. It was a good time, cause we got about a week with her alone to find our own way and then my parents arrived to help out at the exact right time. It was really weird for us though. Most people are in a baby bubble for a while but they have people coming to visit probably from the first or at least second day. We have really been in a bubble and it kind of made the whole situation even more unreal since we were alone with her here all that time and nobody actually met her.
It was really emotional for all of us, seeing my mum with her, and I guess for my mum to see me with her. It feels amazing to have them here but it also makes me a little sad since it makes me think of all the people who are not here to see her and won’t see her for another 2 months. It’s hard to be away from family and friend at a time like this. Not that I would want to live anywhere else, but I would just want them all here right now.
When they’re here we’re also gonna take some time to be just us, which will be hard, since I can barely be away from her at all. But it’s good to practice to go out and do stuff on your own. It’s also good to have them here to suggest going out for lunch and stuff like that so we’re not completely stuck in the house but slowly and surely taking baby steps out of our bubble and comfort zone.
It’s been a week with our little girl and we are doing good. I has been a huge transformation and we’re still getting used to it and getting to know her and ourselves in this new situation. It is completely overwhelming and feels completely natural at the same time.
What has surprised me the most are all the emotions I’m dealing with and it’s completely normal I guess, with the hormones, but oh god how strong they are. Being away from her for too long literally hurts me. I always kind of thought that people were just being a little ridiculous but it’s so real and so strong.
We’re slowly finding somewhat of a routine together, except for when she decides to change it up and keep us up all night. And I am working on incorporating my own routine into that too. Even if we need to rest and just be it’s also important for me to find my way back to my self care routine, or at least a new one, to take care of my mind. We’re taking our time and finding our way and we’re doing great, I think.
So we got home from the hospital and the first thing to do was introducing little Emma to the dogs. She was sleeping so she didn’t even notice them, but they were really confused and also excited. We put her down in the car seat for just a little so they could smell her and then we decided to wait a while. They were confused and a little stressed for a little while but they got used to her being around pretty quickly.
It was so amazing to come home. But also completely surreal. All of sudden we’re just here with this little baby. She slept most of the evening the first night. And we just sat on the couch just letting it all sink in. Anna came home and got to meet little Emma for the first time.
We’ve just spent the last days figuring it all out, trying to learn and get to know her. I had decided to breastfeed, and one would think that the baby just latches on and that’s that. But it’s actually quite complicated. What position to hold the baby, for the baby to latch properly, for the milk to come in, which usually takes 3-5 days. And the pain…
The personal at the hospital tried to be helpful but I ended up just feeling super stressed and I was questioning if I even wanted to breastfeed. The baby is of course also more fussy since she’s not getting proper milk and you try and try while it feels like someone is ripping your nipples off. But when we got home I felt more comfortable and got tips and advice from our doula both with how to do it and also for creams and tricks for it not to hurt as much.
With some practice and the most amazing nipple cream we started to get a hang of it and the milk finally came through. It made everything a lot easier since when she’s hungry she eats and then sleeps, while before she would latch on for a while, still not be satisfied, cry again and then it went on and on like that. Now she sleeps like an angel.
I do believe that we’re pretty lucky. FOR NOW (I will probably regret saying this) she’s easy to get to sleep, the breastfeeding is going well and she’s just so cuddly and cute.
So I meet our daughter for the first time, and we stayed in the birth room for a while to just be and let it all sink in. After a while they came to move us up to our room. And during the next 48 hours that’s where we were. I’m really happy with our choice of hospital, it was such a great choice. The hospital and the personal were really amazing. But spending 48 hours in a room is not fun, no matter if the room is good and the personal is nice.
I got a proper bed, Emma got a proper bed and Odi got a sofa bed. We got checked on and we got served food. We got to sleep and shower and rest. And we got to start to get to know our little girl. We also of course called around to everyone to let them know that she had arrived and all the grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles were overjoyed.
It’s all kind of confusing and overwhelming. I all of a sudden life was completely changed and there was this little creature needing us and non of us ever changed a diaper before. But slowly but surely we started figuring it out. It is a bit stressful to have people running in and out all the time and you feel a little watched. So eventually we were just longing to get home to get some space and find our own way.
It was a huge relief to get to leave the hospital. They had us waiting for like 4-5 hours more than they initially said so by that point we weren’t really nervous anymore but just impatient. And finally we got to leave. She slept the whole trip home and it was amazing to come home with our new little family member.
After 36 hours and the traumatic experience of pushing a baby out of your body, and all of a sudden she’s there. She’s just there. And all the movies show you that as soon as they give her to you all the pain goes away and you just sit there and cuddle your beautiful baby. What the movies don’t tell you is that there is still a placenta to give birth to, and probably stitches to get, and that the baby actually almost looks dead when it first comes out.
For me it was so hard to understand that what they put on my stomach was actually a baby, and that it was my baby, and that I just gave birth to her. I was dizzy and confused and exhausted and I just wanted to lay down properly without my legs in the air. But I needed to stay where I was. So she was laying on me but my arms were weak and my mind was focused on getting the rest of the pain over with. So our doula made sure she stayed there.
All I could think was just that I didn’t want this painful moment to be the first meeting with my baby. I wanted to be done with all of that so I could focus on her and it felt like it took forever. Finally, it was done and I could put my legs down and lay in a some what okay position and even if I was obviously still in pain, there wasn’t more to be done by me or to me. And I could hold my baby girl properly for the first time and really look at her.
It was actually really scary to feel that way. To feel like I didn’t want to hold her at first. It felt wrong somehow. And especially since you have this picture in your mind of it all being happiness and smiles as soon as she’s out. And the picture of feeling that instant connection. It really had me worried that something was wrong with me.
But nothing was wrong with me, I was traumatized from the experience, completely exhausted, confused and dizzy and in a hell of a lot of pain. But as soon as it was all over with, really over with, I did get to feel that connection, however unreal it felt to be holding a baby that is your own child. Seriously does it ever start making sense?
And still, she’s completely unreal to me. Sometimes I just need to sit and stare at her for a while. It completely blows my mind that it was her in there all this time. And now she’s here. And today we’re leaving the hospital to take her home!