The First Four Weeks

Four weeks of life go by in the blink of an eye, and yet each week was so long. David will be a month old in just a few days. Having him has been both easier and more difficult than I thought it would be. It still feels surreal. The minute to minute caretaking is something I’ve done before with siblings and so comes naturally, I just do it. But then sometimes I look down at him when he’s crying and realize he’s crying for me. I’m mom. An entire world for someone. It blows my mind.

Our first month together has not been what I’d hoped for. I guess I thought because I’ve done so much caretaking in the past that this would be easier, which now I realize was naïve. But I’d read all the books and spent so much time preparing, I thought I was at least a little bit ready.

I think part of what’s made this month difficult is the fact that we had a cold go through the family. Poor David caught it and was sick for two weeks. It made sleeping difficult for him. It was painful to hear him cough and sniffle, difficult to watch him cry when he was not feeling well and there was nothing I could do but hold him.

Breastfeeding has also not gone to plan. We started off the first few days well, and then he had jaundice and I had to start supplementing, and then he had to be under the bilirubin lights for 24 hours. Technically I could have stayed that one more day in the hospital and pumped and tried to breastfeed every three hours. But at that point I still hadn’t caught up on sleep, I don’t think I’ve ever been that sleep deprived in my entire life. Leaving him at the hospital was painful but I needed sleep. So I gave them permission to bottle-feed him and went home. Since then pumping and breastfeeding has been up and down. Added on to that his cold made it hard for him to latch, and then I didn’t have time to pump. My supply has gone down despite all the pumping I do. And I like the freedom that bottle-feeding gives me. Still I can’t help but wonder if he’s missing out on some important bonding that we’ll never get back.

Despite everything being difficult I look at him and my heart is overwhelmed. He’s magic. He’s everything I ever wanted and dreamed about. Three years ago I secretly bought some baby clothes and hid them in a drawer, my partners at the time weren’t ready for children but I desperately wanted one. A few days ago I dressed David in one of those onesies.

We’re adjusting. It’s not as smooth as I thought it would be, but I’m breathing and talking through it and learning how to be.

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