The first few weeks were pretty crazy. I honestly don't know how this post will turn out because, well, I don't know if I've forgotten what it was like or not.
We didn't get home from the hospital until close to 11pm the night we were released. I didn't envision coming home that late and something about it bothered me, but really I was just relieved to be coming home together. Todd and I brought the baby in our car and my mom followed in hers; she would be staying with us for his first week. We were starving so we hit the McDonald's drive thru when we were almost home.
When we got home, we ate, passed around the baby, let him sleep in his Pack 'N' Play and on us...nothing too exciting because at that point all he did was sleep. I pulled out my pump and got to work. Before we knew it, it was time for bed...and I was nervous. He was 5 days old and it truly seemed all he did was sleep. At the hospital that day we had to keep waking him up to feed him, but he had been asleep for pretty much the last 11 hours. In all our time at the hospital, I don't remember having him ever wake up crying and wanting to be fed, so I was afraid he wouldn't wake me to eat (and he was supposed to be eating about every 2 hours). I said to my mom "So, now what? I just got to bed and wait for him to cry?" Her response was "Yep, pretty much." I look back now and laugh that I honestly thought he would just lay there and quietly starve. Now I know there is no such thing as a quiet, hungry baby.
I don't know what time it was, but sure enough I was awakened by a blood curdling scream that scared the hell out of me. The way I jumped up in bed you would think an air raid siren had gone off. Cue the first of hundreds of nighttime feeding routines to come, on what would at times seem to be an infinite 2-3 hour cycle. I have to say, although there was always something nice about seeing his sweet face in the middle of the night, I really hated those night feedings for his first 6ish weeks. There was a special kind of exhaustion (and by this I mean I'll be contrasting it to nursing) that came along with having to get out of bed, bring him to the nursery to change him, bring him downstairs to get the bottle and heat it up (whilst the kitchen lights sealed the deal on his wide-awakeness), 9 times out of 10 while he was screaming, going back upstairs to feed him (which took forever because they drink so slow at first, and keep falling asleep), burp him and keep him upright awhile, put him back down to sleep and then, as I mentioned in my last post, I would often have to pump to make the bottle for his next feeding which took 20+ minutes. By the time I was done, I had maybe 30-45 minutes to sleep before he would wake up again and we'd do it all over again.
My mom would often come to the doorway and ask if I wanted her to take him, or when I went in to change him in the nursery where she was sleeping, she would always offer to help so I could sleep. I don't know why, but I never really took her up on her offers during the night (yes, I sit here kicking myself now). I just felt like I should be doing it, that I'd have to do it myself when she was gone, so it didn't seem right to pass him off to her. That's not to say when I couldn't take the exhaustion anymore I didn't wake Todd up and beg him to get the bottle ready, or feed him. I usually did once a night and he was great about it, but I didn't really sleep while he helped, I just laid there exhausted and watched or closed my eyes and listened.
I remember feeling so anxious the first couple weeks, during the day, that I couldn’t sleep whenever my mom or Todd wanted to let me. I was so exhausted but so afraid to sleep because I couldn’t let myself “check out” and not know what was going on at any given time. I didn’t know what Ryan would do or need and when (looking back, all he did was eat/sleep/eat/sleep so I don’t know why I felt this way), and it wasn’t that I didn’t trust Todd or my mom, but the only way to describe it was that I was terrified to be asleep and not know what was happening every second. Once the first few weeks passed, after Todd went back to work and I was home with Ryan 24/7 and got to know his rhythm, I was more able to relax. If he went to sleep, I would make Todd promise to wake me as soon as he woke up, and then I could rest. A couple more weeks, and I was comfortable with making plans that would allow me more sleep. I would go over the “plan” with Todd – such as going to sleep as soon as Ryan did (during the day), then knowing Todd would change him and give him his bottle when he woke up, and put him back to sleep, and then wake me as soon as he woke up after that. All with the understanding that he’d wake me the second Ryan got upset.
The first month after Todd went back to work were rough. Honestly, I don’t know why. Ryan slept so much, but I still felt like I never had a free second. A lot of time was spent pumping and trying to nurse and keeping him happy while I pumped because it never seemed to fall during his sleep times. I remember one day I took my shirt off to nurse him and didn’t get a chance to put it back on until 4 hours later. Again, looking back, I don’t know why it was so hard. Right now everything is second nature so it’s hard to bring my mind back to that flustered state and remember how it felt – but it was hard.
I want to try to revisit his newborn stage again, but in the interest of starting more current entries, I’m just going to publish. Ryan is now 5 months and growing faster than I’ll ever record in this blog if I keep trying to play catch up. I need to skip ahead to “right now” because he is changing every single day and I know I will forget so much. Tonight or tomorrow I will start talking about now. I wish I stayed more current before, but it’s more important now that he’s got such a personality and is starting to learn and do so many things!
I’ll give myself a deadline of next weekend to post…