So my last post was basically a woe-is-me rant about how hard motherhood has been for me. I call that brutal honesty. Now let’s focus on all the awesomeness that having a baby has brought. Because it really is amazing. Here are just a few things that light up my life daily:
Watching Ben on the baby monitor when he wakes up. He stares straight into the baby monitor, smiles, and chews on his hands. ADORABLE!
Bathtime. This is seriously one of the highlights of my day. He is so freakin’ cute in the bathtub because he’s got chubby rolls all over and is starting to kick and splash the water and giggle like crazy. Oh, I just love this time with him.
His giggles. My heart just melts into one puddle when he laughs. I want to bottle up his laughs and bring them with me wherever I go because it honestly zaps away any stress I have.
Waking up and going into his room to get him. (Yep, Ben sleeps in his crib in his own room and has been since week 3. More on that later.) 99% of the time he greets us with the biggest smile and laugh. It’s so damn cute. Chris and I fight over who runs into his room first.
Having his little hands reach up and touch my face and grab my hair. Pure innocence. So precious.
My list can go on and on. So was the adjustment to motherhood really tough? YES. Is it all worth it? HELL FREAKIN’ YEAH.
Hi! I’ve been on major hiatus and if you didn’t know, I had a baby boy named Benjamin! He was born November 23, 2013 and weighed 7.5 lbs. Labor and delivery was EASY PEASY. I knew I wanted the epidural because I’m a total chicken when it comes to pain and had nothing to prove by braving labor sans medication. Ben was due November 28th, but on November 22nd I started having contractions in my lower back and buttocks – OW! After several hours of inconsistent but painful contractions, I went to see my OB so she could tell me how dilated I was. I really thought I was at least 4-5cm dilated but NO! I was only 1cm and NOWHERE close to real labor. So I decided to get induced the following morning if nothing happened that night, which was torture because the contractions kept coming but weren’t regular enough to jet off to the hospital.
We delivered at St. Johns Santa Monica, which is like the Four Seasons of hospitals. The labor and delivery wing is new and freaking amazing and gorgeous and quiet. I swear we were the only ones in there because you cannot hear ANYTHING. We checked in at 11am, I got the epidural at noon (which, by the way, did not hurt AT ALL – my anesthesiologist was insanely good), I got a small dose of pitocin at 1pm, they broke my water at 3pm and then at 6:30pm I started pushing. And in between all of that, I just chilled in my bed watching Bourne Supremacy and The Hunger Games and pushed out the baby while watching the UCLA football game. Yeah. Awesomeness. Little did I know that everything to follow would be much, much harder.
– Recovery. Everyone talks about how labor and delivery can be painful but no one ever told me how horribly painful the recovery would be. I know everyone heals differently but for me, I couldn’t walk for two weeks and didn’t feel “normal” until 6 weeks later. No one every tells you that you’ll be using squirt bottles, witch hazel, mesh underwear and pads!
– Sleep deprivation. I expected to be sleep deprived but I had no idea what it felt like. Now I know why sleep deprivation can lead to car accidents. For weeks I could not focus, think, function properly or do much. This all led to some major meltdowns.
– The sound of crying. I seriously have PTSD from some of Ben’s earlier crying episodes.
– Breastfeeding. Um, it’s NOT easy. You have to deal with the baby latching correctly and milk supply. They tell you your milk supply comes in on the fourth of fifth day. BULL! Mine didn’t fully come in until MONTH two. Thanks to my lack of milk, poor Ben got dehydrated and developed very high levels of jaundice, which forced him to shrink a few CM and lose more than 10% of his body weight. Which leads me to my next thing…
It’s OK to formula feed if you need to! Don’t let the breastfeeding nazis scare you. At the end of the day, baby needs to EAT. I wound up supplementing a bottle here and there with formula and it was like Ben became a different baby. He went from screaming his head off all day (probably because he was STARVING and I didn’t know any better) to peacefully napping in my arms. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion regarding breastfeeding vs. formula and I’m just sharing my experience. We are so fortunate to live in a society that has options for feeding a baby so take advantage of it and do not feel guilty! I felt so guilty and was so stressed out at first. But once I accepted that it’s ok to feed formula, it’s like I became a different mom. I was happy and could enjoy my baby rather than yank my hair out because I didn’t produce much milk.
Things I learned:
– Ask for help! No, DEMAND help! From anyone who is willing. You’ll need it.
– Get a support system in place ASAP. With crazy hormones running through your body, sleep deprivation and all these new changes you’ll have a few meltdowns and that is totally normal. The best thing I ever did? I reached out to girlfriends with babies for support and it really helped me through some of the tough times. Knowing that you’re not alone and that it WILL get better is enough to keep you going.
– EAT! I was so consumed with feeding the baby, watching YouTube videos on how to properly swaddle a newborn, and catching up on sleep that I forgot to eat. Not a good idea especially if you’re breastfeeding. You’ll wind up shaky, cranky and with more meltdowns than you can handle.
– Watch YouTube! That’s where we learned to properly change, swaddle, bathe and soothe a newborn. When it’s 3AM and your baby is crying like a madman, you will NOT want to flip through those damn parenting books.
– Introduce the bottle ASAP if you’re hoping to get dad or family members to help out with feedings. Forget about nipple confusion. We were forced to introduce Ben to a bottle when he had jaundice and needed to be fed every hour for 24 hours to regain some weight and I am SO thankful we did. Apparently there is a short window when the baby will learn to take the bottle and if you miss it, oh man it’s going to be hard to get him to suck on anything other than mama’s nipple. If you plan on breastfeeding exclusively GOOD FOR YOU! But some of us don’t want to feel totally restricted. I happen to LOVE the bottle. We still bond, Ben gets fed, and everyone’s happy.
But it’s not all tears and sleep deprivation. Motherhood has also turned out to be kick ass and awesome in so many ways. I’ll save that for my next post 🙂
Below, Ben as a newborn. Those days were so precious when he was tiny enough to lay on your chest. So innocent and adorable. I really treasured that time but I’m not sad to see it behind us! 🙂