Sunday, February 6, 2011

5 weeks: The Ups & Downs

Hi all. It has been a while since my last post, but there has been so much going on it was hard for me to get some time to blog. Go figure, right ;-)

First, I only had 2 weeks of full maternity leave, then on week 3 I started back to work from home part time. For the following 2 weeks after that I have been working from home full time. Today is my last day of being at home with Aven. I am so sad. Tuesday starts me working from home in the mornings and then heading into the office in the afternoons. Needless to say, I have been in constant worry about how to balance work and Aven for the last 5 weeks. It has been really difficult to enjoy time with Aven while having this schedule. FYI, I would not suggest attempting this type of maternity leave unless you absolutely have to.

Second, we have had some house guests over the past weeks. Which was GREAT! My mom was here for a week and then with a 1 day break Andy's dad came for a week as well. It was so nice having the company while Andy was at work and the extra help with Aven. I don't know how I would have juggled everything without their help. But I will admit, it's nice being just the 3 of us again.

The main purpose of this blog entry is I want to talk about how I felt after we got home from the hospital. You could say I had the "normal" level of baby blues. I am not really sure what that level is, regardless, I know I experienced some amount of hormonal imbalance. I wish someone would have told me the truth about how I was going to feel or might feel after we brought Aven home. Sure the advice about how difficult and initially painful breastfeeding helped. Also, the honesty about how little sleep we were going to experience was good as well. But I want to enlighten my readers with my emotional state and how shocking it was for me to go through.

I'll admit it, I am a sensitive person. I cry at Hallmark commercials. My heart melts when I see a cute puppy. I feel though I am able to be rational when the tough gets going. I try to work through it rather than let it work me over. Emotionally, the first week of Aven's life was ok. I was nursing her, my milk came in, Andy was here to help me. All good and positive things. We were UBER tired, but nothing out of the ordinary. We expected sleepless nights and were able to adapt. I will say if I had to do it over again we would have slept when she did. We felt compelled to get things "done." What in the world couldn't wait? I have no clue. I can't remember now, but at the time it was important to get it done. Word of advice...when they say sleep when they sleep, they mean it. The lack of sleep contributed to my emotional state-big time.

The second week was a little harder. I was so unsure she was getting enough milk b/c she was fussy at the breast and wouldn't stay latched on. She would burp, I would put her back on, and she would get fussy again. It seemed like she didn't like how my milk tasted. To this day, I have no clue what was going on, but it drove me to tears every time. =( My confidence was in the crapper and I felt like total a#$. Andy was back at work part time and I had A LOT of quiet time to think and think and think. When your hormones are skyrocketing off the charts and you are new to breastfeeding and are is a recipe for trouble. Plus, I was in the house for 13 days straight! Cabin fever to the tenth degree. Thank goodness I was able to keep the random thoughts at bay. For instance, I was thinking about trying to juggle life, training, work, baby, husband, etc. in 1 single moment. Slightly overwhelming even if your hormones are NOT off the charts.

Week 3 it got a worse. Aven went through a growth spurt and wanted to nurse ALL THE TIME!!! I thought again, "What am I doing wrong that she is not satisfied and going to sleep after nursing?" She wanted to be held 100% of the time and if we put her down even for a minute...ear-piercing crying. Like the lactation consultant suggested, I kept with it and with help from my mom we were able to get through that week.

Then week 4 was like a light switch had turned on. She was nursing less (so I was pumping more to keep my milk supply up) and she was settling down faster after eating. Andy's dad was there to hold her...and thank goodness because that is ALL she wanted. Walked and held. I think the other thing that made me feel better was the hormones were subsiding and we had her 1 month check up with her pediatrician. She weighed in at 8 lbs 11 oz!!! Aven gained 2 lbs and 10 ounces in 1 month!!! Whooo Hooo!

Week 5 has been even better. Grandpa Sweet bought Aven her Winnie the Poo swing and life is good. We also got advice from the pediatrician and moved her to her crib and started letting her cry herself to sleep. The crying is getting less and less and she is entertaining her self more and more.

Being a Mom is much more time consuming than I thought. I love every minute of it though. It is so wonderful feeding her, bathing her, taking care of her, kissing her, holding her. I want to pause time and enjoy every minute of these first few months. I know she is never going to be this little or need me this much. I feel everyday she becomes stronger and more independent. As independent as a 5 week old can get. haha.

Friday night was the real kicker. She slept in her crib in her room for the first time. She did great! There was a little crying at 9:30 pm and 1:30 am, but very little. She settled herself down pretty quick though. Andy and I both remarked how we felt much more rested in the morning. I felt a little guilty that I was rested and she slept so far away from us. Yes, I know her room is only 10 feet away from ours, but it seems really far away. ;-)

Going back to my emotional state. I guess the best thing I can compare it to was hitting puberty. We all sorta remember it, mostly that we were the worst examples of ourselves to our family in our lives. I have blocked out the specifics of that period of my life, but I do remember be absolutely consumed with emotion. Everything was SO important. It was as if I was hopped up on emotional steroids. The Arnold Schwarzenegger of emotional outbursts at 14, if you will. Postpartum is sorta like that. I was all over the place and didn't feel in control of my emotions or surroundings. I was so worried I was burdening Andy with my nuttiness that he was going to leave me. I was worried I would NEVER be able to function in the real world. I was worried Aven was starving. I was worried she was sleeping too much AND too little. I was worried I was not giving her enough attention. Whoa. Lots and lots of worrying.

All that worrying led to me feeling like I was doing a job and doing a VERY poor job at it. In those first 3 weeks I had a hard time really enjoying Aven. I wouldn't say I was detached, but I was working a lot more than mothering...I think.

I am not embarrassed with what I was thinking or ashamed. the time I was, but now I realize it is normal and unavoidable. I do wish someone would have shared with me their true feelings about their first couple weeks of motherhood. --So that is why I am sharing this with you.

If you know someone who is about to deliver or just has delivered, give them a hug and tell them "It is going to be OK, really it is." And when they start crying, let them cry, don't try to fix it. At least that is what helped me out.


Anonymous said...

Hey, clicked over from the Gaia page in a moment of distraction from work.
Thanks for sharing. I am going to pass this along to my wife. We have talked to several couples lately that have experienced similar things and they were also caught by surprise as it is not often talked about.

I often check TED talks and they have talks on almost any subject you can think of and this one ties in with your topic and may be of interest to new parents, at least I thought it was and I don't even have kids... yet.
Buenos Dias!

Anonymous said...

Your daughter is just as beautiful as you are Heather! I am so very proud of you; the amazing woman we all know you have always been and the equally amazing mother you have become ;) I can think of no one else that deserves more of the best blessings in life, like sweet little Aven. I look forward to
seeing more of that little cutie patootie! If you ever need a baby sitter or anything at all, don't hesitate :)