Here is 'Part One' of my reflection on this past year.
This by far has been the most breathtaking, wonderful, and yet hardest year of my life. This time last year I was preparing for my life to be turned upside down by the most precious bundle of joy. I would have already had two of my baby showers. Things were finally getting real and I was SCARED. Yes I am finally admitting to the world that I was really really scared. I was terrified of what my life would become with a new addition to our family. I was terrified that I would be an awful mother. I just felt like I was clueless. I had read everything and anything about babies. I read as many blogs I could possibly read and yet I still didn't not feel completely prepared. I kept asking myself how I was going to balance my current life with my new life? Will I be able to stop Desmond from crying? Will I know his cry? (everyone one says you will know their different cries)
Was I going to be able to go back to work? Will it hurt? (Giving birth was something I was scared to death of) So MANY questions ran through my mind...
I knew I would survive and I knew I would learn how to do everything... but it was the fear of the unknown. I always kept a brave face... even when I just wanted to cry. Don't get me wrong, I was also extremely excited! I could not wait to become a mother! I just did not know what to expect.
The first few weeks
The first 24 hours were exciting and challenging all put together. I for one was extremely tired from being in labor for over 17 hours. I breastfeed him and enjoyed being able to have the skin to skin contact while doing it. I loved how tiny he was and how he depended on me. All he literally did was sleep, wet his diaper, cry, and eat. I remember being told that he would eat every 2 hours... but they didn't tell me that he would eat for a total of 30-45 minutes at time...This meant that if I started feeding at 1pm... he would eat until 1:45... then he would eat again at 3!!! You had to start counting from the moment he ate. This meant I was a feeding machine! This also meant that I would begin my new routine of NEVER sleeping again! Okay maybe not never but definitely lots and lots of sleep deprivation. I thought I could handle the no sleeping because the first 24 weren't that bad but that wore off the next day.
(Side Note) I am not going to lie... breastfeeding hurt A LOT... but I was determined not to feed him formula...Lots of people around me kept telling me "don't worry, just feed him formula... You won't produce that much so feed him formula... He will get hungry.... you drank formula and you turned out fine... He will sleep better if he drinks formula" This was all extremely discouraging. I felt like people were already giving up on me. I am not the kind of person to quit so I didn't stop. I fought through the pain. I couldn't wear bras and shirts rubbing on my breast killed me. I leaked anytime he cried and even when I fed him the other one would leak. This was extremely embarrassing and annoying. It got me mad that I had to keep changing shirts. (if we didn't have house guest I would have walked around with no shirt!) I hated it! This is something I cried a lot about. I didn't think I could make it. I was completely uncomfortable. I kept asking myself " Will my nipples ever stop hurting? Can I survive this? Is this normal? Is it worth all this pain? " Yes is the answer to all the questions... it gets better!!! Just when I thought the discomfort would never go away it did. It went away around 7 weeks. Even though I was discouraged at first, I am still breastfeeding and he is 11 months!! YAY it's totally possible! You are not alone. You CAN do it!
First 5 days of Desmond's life - AKA- still at the hospital
Life at the hospital was okay... I would have rather been at home laying on my own bed instead of their hospital bed. Yeah it was enjoyable to be able to have a bed that moves into every single position but boy was it hard. I also just think I was uncomfortable from the surgery and the dumb underwear. The underwear was like wearing some kind of net that could be stretched to go above the surgical cut. I actually remember reading a blog where a mom said it was amazing. Granted it let me make sure nothing tight hit my wound but at the same time it irritated my butt. TMI- I know. But like I said earlier it's time for me to be brutally honest with everything that went on. I did take a bunch of those net-like underwear's home with me and wore them until they were all gone. Ha. I didn't want anything touching the wound and I had the longest period ( it's not really a period but you know what I mean). I then wore granny panties until the wound healed.
Anyways back to the hospital...It was nice having doctors and nurses to ask all the questions Hector and I had. We also had the opportunity to order a meal three times a day. Hector couldn't have his own meal but I made sure to order more than I could eat so that he could have some. The food had very little flavor but I could order an appetizer, entree, and a dessert! Did I ever mention I love love LOVE food?! The first day I could only eat a liquid diet mostly because of the C-section and that kinda sucked. But the vegetable broth was tasty.
I think one of the hardest parts of staying at the hospital was actually having lots of visitors. Don't get me wrong I loved seeing all of my family and friends and I wanted everyone to meet little Des.... but at times it just got to be very very overwhelming. We constantly had people coming in and out from 9 am to 7 pm. There was a day when we had around 12 people there at the same time! Not everyone could fit in the room. People had to take shifts to hang out in the room. It was also awkward telling people every hour and half that I wanted them out so I could feed. I really didn't want anyone to be in the room for the fear of being judged about how I breastfed. I felt very vulnerable. I also wanted that emotional bonding time. I felt embarrassed to ask people to leave when I had to get up to go use the bathroom because the gown I wore was open in the back and people could totally see everything! It was also hard keeping conversations going because I was so exhausted from the lack of sleep. The pictures of me at the hospital showed how tired I was. On top of being exhausted my hormones were going crazy. I was an emotional wreak. Desmond had also been diagnosed with jaundice and I couldn't deal with it. I hated the fact that he always had to be in the light and that I couldn't just hold him.
If I had to change anything about the hospital I would have told people the exact hours I wouldn't mind getting visitors. Next time around I don't want people coming the entire visiting hour times. I do want to reiterate that I loved seeing everyone!!!!! This is just how I was feeling during the time.
The day we brought Desmond home
This was the best day ever. I remember putting him into his little monster outfit and putting him into his car seat. He was so tiny! My mom and Doris helped us pack up all the things we had. We had way too much stuff. ( There are many things we brought to the hospital that we definitely didn't need... That will be for another post- ' What not to bring') I still can picture the nurse who pushed me out of the hospital. I was excited but scared to bring Desmond home. I could not believe Hector and I were parents and that we had a little baby who would depend on us for at least the next 18 years of his life. The day was very chilly and wintery. There was snow flurries coming down from the sky. The nurse helped me into the back seat so that I could sit next to Desmond. Desmond just made little mouse noises and sat there not really doing anything.
After walking three flights of stairs to get to our apartment we finally made it to our first home as a family of three. The house was a mess!Or so I thought. I nearly had a panic attack because I was way to tired to do any kind of cleaning. There were presents from my surprise work baby shower all over the living room floor and then more gifts on the table from my baby shower my aunt hosted. Both of which I missed because I was three weeks early. There were shoes all by the door, computers and papers on my dining table, and lots and lots of cupcakes in the kitchen. I tried my best not to worry about it and went immediately into my room to decompressed. Hectors parents had been staying at our apartment while we were in the hospital. They stayed for another 3 weeks in our tiny apartment....
The next morning we had to go back to the hospital so that the doctors could check Desmond's bilirubin which is something they monitor in babies that have jaundice. They do this by pricking his foot and taking small vials of blood. When they called our names to go to get it done I walked with Hector to the room. As soon as I saw the needle I said " Sorry I can't be here" and I walked out of the room. I remember thinking 'How can I leave him there? Am I really this weak?' But honestly I just couldn't bare watching my son get pricked. I didn't want to see him cry or be in pain.
A few hours later I got a call from the doctor Tsai with the results of the test. She said " Hi Samantha, Desmond bilirubin numbers have really shot up and I think it's best that you come immediately to the hospital to get readmitted" All I could really say was ' Okay, okay, I understand' . When really in my head I was saying' NO WAY! What does this mean? Is he going to be okay? Why do we have to bring him back? Is he going to continue to get yellow? What is bilirubin?' As soon as I got of the phone I yelled " HECTOR WE HAVE TO TAKE HIM BACK! " and immediately started to weep like I have never cried before. I literally couldn't stop crying. I could barely tell Hector what she told me. I kept asking Hector " can we stay with him? " I couldn't leave him there by himself... He was already home. Everything was suppose to be okay! I packed my bag not knowing if we could stay but I was determined to stay regardless.
Once we get to the hospital we are told to go immediately to the pediatrics ER. As soon as we got there they quickly check Desmond' weight and temperature. Then we are escorted to the waiting area. Once there he started to cry and I decide to feed him since its had been an hour and half since he last ate. Of course 5 minutes into the feeding they call us back and I have to walk while breastfeeding to the next room. Oh the joys of being a mom! I thankfully had a cover and was able to be covered as I walked. This is when we began the waiting game... We were in our own room waiting for a doctor to come see Desmond. Hector, Leyda, myself, and Desmond were waiting patiently. I was extremely tired and I hated waiting for the doctor. It felt like a lifetime. All I kept doing was crying on and off.
After what seemed like ages a nurse came in to prick Desmond foot to take some blood to run some test. I want you to keep in mind that his poor little feet had multiple scabs and scars from the multiple pricks. I couldn't stand to watch but I put my brave face on and held him down with Hector. He screamed and cried as the nurse took the blood. The problem she was was having was that she had to continue to prick him because it would quickly close up. Oh did I mention just about when she had two vials completely full she somehow knocked them over! I almost killed this lady! I couldn't believe she was going to have to do it again. I was so angry. She was very apologetic and felt really bad that she had to do it again. She then proceeded to tell us that it would take about 90 minutes before they got results back. So now we had to wait another hour and a half in this room after being their for about two hours.
90 minutes later the doctor came in to inform us that his bilirubin was getting really high and that they would finally be admitting us for at least 24 hours to put him in an incubator with lights to help it level itself out. We were then escorted into the room we would be staying in for the next two nights. The first 24 hours I was literally a 'hot mess'. I could not stop crying. I knew deep inside that he was going to be okay but I was sad that I wasn't able to take him home. I was mad that our blood types didn't match and therefor my red blood cells were destroying his. I was an emotional wreak. I could not stand seeing him in the incubator naked. (Don't worry the lights kept him warm) He would cry and I couldn't do anything but touch him to try to comfort him. He would fight the goggles he wore and he even flipped over once. I hated it. The only time I could hold him was when I breastfed him and I cherished those small moments. Those were the longest two days ever. Hector and I slept on a tiny little cot together. After two days of being in an incubator he was finally able to come home for good!
We were officially home and able to to hold him whenever we wanted. I loved having him home and wearing clothes! This is when the real work began. For the first 6 weeks or so Desmond had crying spells for two to three hours at time starting around midnight. This meant that he cried and cried and no matter what we did he didn't stop. Hector and I would take turns but it was hard. We were both so tired. Those first few weeks are a blur. Thankfully I have an amazing husband who helped me out a lot a night. He would change his diaper before I would feed and would hold him afterwards if he was still awake. Desmond peed so many times onto his crib and our bed. Sometimes he would even pee on himself or our bed while we were changing his diaper. We became experts in changing his diaper quickly! There were nights that I would cry along with Desmond because I didn't know what to do. I am not going to lie there was one night that I yelled and said 'Hector I can't do this! Take him!" Hector was super supported and did everything possible to make both me and Desmond happy. When Hector first went back to work I told him that I would do everything at night because I didn't want him to have to drive to work tired and sleepy. That lasted about 2 days because I just couldn't do it on my own. Especially when Desmond had his cry spell. Desmond also hated sleeping in his own bed and would just scream if we swaddled him and put him down. So sometimes I would let him sleep on my chest so that we all could sleep. This meant I definitely slept lightly for fear of dropping him.
During the night time feedings I would feed him sitting down because at the time I had lots of difficulty feeding laying down. ( I am now an expert) This meant that I had to keep myself up so I would play candy crush or other games on my phone or iPad. I needed to stay awake so that I wouldn't fall asleep. I did fall asleep sometimes only to be reminded by Desmond that I needed to switch breast. These first few weeks were really really hard. Our parents helped the best they could. I literally stayed in bed all day watching TV shows and movies. I didn't want to get out of the bed to do anything. I still believe that I had the baby blues because I was constantly crying.
Again I am not trying to scare you as you read this. I just want to show you that you will survive the first few weeks ( months). You will become an expert on your child ( not an expert on all babies). It gets better as time goes on and you will eventually sleep more. I will be sharing all the good, the bad, and the smelly things we encountered as first time parents. He is the best thing we ever made. :)
The only that worked was having him sleep sitting down!
I love him with all my heart and soul <3 b="" nbsp="">