“It’ll be hard, but worth it”, they said. However, they failed to mention how ridiculously draining the first few weeks are. Nothing in my life could have ever prepared me for having a baby, and that’s some scary s*%t.
What made it even harder was recovering from a C-section. You’re pretty much on bed rest for the first 6 weeks post natal. And that would’ve been great if I had that “village” behind me. Our village consisted of myself and my husband. Except that he had to go back to work a week after we got home from the hospital.
Matt was home for the first week and I’m thankful everyday that he was. He was able to do things around the house that I wasn’t. He waited on Bailee and I every minute and he even slept on the couch next to her bed that whole week. He spent hours consoling her and letting me get sleep.
He held my hand and rubbed my back during some of those notorious meltdowns all new moms have (and if you didn’t, you’re just really strong or a robot). He spoke nothing but words of encouragement and gave all the love he had.
After that first week, I spent most of my days and nights on the couch, and I let Matt go back to sleep in the bedroom. I closed the door so he couldn’t be disturbed by her at night. Now mind you, we live in a 39’ fifth wheel trailer, so there was no escaping her cries. But I tried. He was the sole provider of our family, waking up at 4am for work and not getting home until 5/6pm. I just wanted him to be well rested, even if it meant me being a zombie.
And a zombie I was. Being woke up every 2 hours at night for feedings. Or crying because she ninja’ed her arms out of the velcro swaddle. Spending countless hours walking, swaying, bouncing, singing, just to keep her cries at a minimum. And all this with no caffeine because I was breastfeeding. They were right when they said say goodbye to a decent night’s sleep for a while. So I would try to nap when she napped or I just relaxed on the couch while she napped on me and watched Fixer Upper. I spent 6 weeks sleeping on the couch because she was such a fussy sleeper. Bailee would only sleep 45-90 minutes max in her bed and it was draining. It didn’t help that she hated being swaddled after 3 weeks. So I threw all the rules out the window and had her sleeping on me at night. It was the only way she and I could get 3-4 hours of sleep at a time.
The hardest part for me was remembering to eat and drink lots of fluids. I was in fear of putting her down or waking her up just to make sure my nutritional needs were met. I never ate large meals, just snacked on what I could fit on my end table. I definitely wasn’t getting the calories I needed for feeding her. And she was feeding every 2-3 hours. Eventually I got to the point where I was buying easy stuff to cook; soup, Lean Cuisines, salad. I tried to make sure I was eating at least 5 times a day to keep my energy up.
All in all, I had a love-hate relationship with the first 6 weeks of the newborn stage. I loved being able to watch her grow, learn new traits, reach new milestones. But I hated being stuck at home, tied down by a nursing baby, and the abundant lack of sleep. It’s the toughest job I have ever had to do. However, I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.