Earlier this week we decided to go out just the two of us for the first time since baby arrived. It’s been really hard leaving her, but since it probably will only get harder and harder the longer we wait and my parents being here to help out we thought we might as well give it a try.
So we went out for a drink this weekend, just a couple of hours and nothing super special but it was one of the best dates we’ve had in quite some time. I needed it more than I thought and it went a lot better than I thought it would. Probably also because the end of my pregnancy was so tough I couldn’t really do much but stay in and while breastfeeding feeling like a walking boob, I hadn’t felt like an actual person in a while haha.
We went to rooftop close by and we sat in the shade, it was so warm but up there was some wind and air and it felt so good. We had decided to keep the baby talk to a minimum and just focus on us and each other and even though we didn’t really do anything special it felt so amazing. It has been really tough, and probably is in most relationship with a newborn, you’re both tired and insecure and wondering if you’re doing anything right, everything changed suddenly and you did too, all of a sudden you’re parents and it’s like you need to find a way to be together in this new situation. So it hasn’t been easy. There has been some discussions and a lot of snapping at each other. So just going away for a couple of hours, feeling like ourselves again and just focusing on each other was exactly what we needed.
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.
I was preparing a lot of things during my pregnancy and one of them was the hospital bag. Just type in hospital bag on pinterest and you’ll see how many different suggestions pop up. Which is of course good, but also makes it a lot harder to know what is the right things for you. So here is a list of the things that I actually needed from my hospital bag.
For baby Now obviously this can differ a bit depending on the weather. Giving birth in the middle of summer in Spain makes it a lot easier to pack for baby.
A few onesies
For me I read all about all the different clothes and stuff I needed to bring, and sure it’s since you don’t know it’s good to have options so that you’re comfortable.
A top that will be easy to breastfeed in if you’re planning on doing that
Big as panties for those big as pads (the pads I got at the hospital)
A few skincare products
Contact and glasses
Clothes to go home in, comfortable clothes, no tight pants!
This is different for all people, but straightening iron, make-up and all that was definitely not something I needed.
Other stuff you might need, dependent on what you like and usually use and need. We spend a lot of time watching Netflix, but I also loved having my journal so I could right about all the things I had just gone through and was going through.
Speaker to play music (I didn’t use mine)
Laptop (with Netflix)
A lot of liquids, vitamin drinks and water
If I would pack my bag again I would definitely go more basic. But it’s also different for us who don’t really have anyone here. We couldn’t just ask someone to bring us something, we had what we had haha. And having never given birth before, obviously I had no idea. So hopefully this can be of help to someone else!
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 as you might know we decided to hire a doula pretty early in the pregnancy and we have been happy about it throughout. We’ve gotten great support, we had a great birth class and most of all it was just nice to have one person that was constant since we got different midwifes through the whole pregnancy. But by the time of the birth we really realized what an amazing decision it actually was.
First of all, we would have gone to the hospital a few times and been sent home if it wasn’t for her advise. We were in contact from when the contractions started and she helped us with advise on how to handle the pain. She came to meet us at the hospital and she helped out with the language and with explaining everything that was happening and what has about to happen.
She was an amazing support through the birth. I feel like I literally couldn’t have done it without her. She was there with us, talking us through it all, helping me handle the pain and understanding what was going on. And especially when pushing, Odi didn’t really know what to do, obviously, and she helped both him with what to do and me with surviving haha. She just knew what to do and say and how to say it to make me feel like I could actually do it! She also helped a lot just afterwards with just being there and being supportive. And in a little bit she’ll also do a home visit.
I am so happy that we made the decision to work with a doula and specifically with our doula, it was literally a perfect match and I am so grateful for her help that I don’t even know how to express myself. So if you’re in Barcelona, in need of a doula recommendation, you know who to ask!