When I was still pregnant, I was getting so tired of all the comments from people... "Enjoy your sleep now", "your life is about to change", "enjoy time with your husband, it'll never be the same", etc. It was frustrating and no one really had anything good to say. I often rolled my eyes (after they weren't looking) at the comments. Now that I'm on the other side, I get what they were saying. The sleep is different, our lives have changed, and my time with Derrick is definitely limited. No one can fully prepare you for what you are about to embark on. I thought the sleep I was already lacking while pregnant wouldn't be any different, but I was wrong. There are nights I would gladly go back to that constantly-interrupted, have-to-pee sleep. I would love to have more alone time with Derrick. In those first 2 weeks, honestly, I wondered what the heck we had done. Before I go further, I want to acknowledge that I am only speaking about the first 2 week of sweet Vera's little life. Well, really a week and a half. Everything at the hospital was totally fine! Things have gotten SO much better and so many of the things I was feeling no longer hold true.
As mentioned 74 times before, Vera came at a really bad time in terms of work schedules, specifically Derrick's. RA training is his only real time to get to to know the new RAs and that's of great value. We had decided early on that I would go and stay with my parents while he did RA training. I could have stayed at home, but his hours are very long during these 2 weeks and he's exhausted. I didn't want Vera to be keeping him up at night and I didn't want to do it alone all day. Luckily, my parents were thrilled at the idea of us being there :) As anyone who follows me on social media knows, I couldn't wait for Vera to come. After she did (late, I might add), I saw why she didn't come early. I would not have made it 2 full weeks without Derrick.
That first week at my mom's house was terrible. I had all the support I could imagine. My mom was willing to be up all hours of the night to help me, she cooked for me, and listened to my constant complaints and concerns. However, it was still awful. Like I said, no one can fully prepare you for what it about to happen. I was tired, excited, and overwhelmed. More importantly, I missed Derrick fiercely. That was new for me. Sure, I love him to pieces, but I have never been the needy type and I was miserable being away from him. The baby blues kicked in right when we left the hospital and I would cry at the drop of a hat. I pretty much cried through 90% of her feedings (more on that later!), anytime I would think about her eating, and anytime I thought of Derrick. As a new mom, you're thinking about feedings a lot. And when I wasn't, I was thinking of Derrick. And when I wasn't doing either of those, I was likely sleeping. So pretty much, I cried and slept for 2 weeks. I can't really put into words what it was that was so terrible. Mostly, I think I was experiencing some serious hormonal changes, the Lortab was making me slightly crazy, I had a brand new baby that I didn't know what to do with, and I was away from my husband. I so desperately wanted her on a schedule. I think a lot of it stemmed from that, too. I had read Babywise (I know it's controversial, you can hold the comments!) and was ready to go. I thought I would be able to train her in her first week of life. Any parent reading this is likely smiling right now. It probably took me those 2 weeks to realize (with the support of family and friends) that those schedules are goals, and not something I can force immediately. I was still hanging onto it though and anytime she would veer from it, I would cry, thinking how am I ever going to do anything again? I was seriously convinced I'd never be able to work again (since I work from home) and that she would never be on a schedule. In my mind, my life was over. I need a schedule and I definitely needed my child on one! Derrick would call me and I would just starts bawling. It was pitiful!
When I was home with Derrick, things got better, but I was weaning from the pain meds and I was getting a little more used to things. However, it was still tough. Feeding was a huge stressor for me (again, more on that soon!), and we were still just trying to figure her out. All of our conversations revolved around her and her eating and sleeping and it was overwhelming. I thought we would never be able to have normal conversations again and we would never be able to just lie on the couch together and watch TV again. Sure, those things are limited now, but they do happen! And I cherish them so much more! We have to make a conscious effort for our conversations not to be all about her. It's taking time but it's getting there.
People tell you all babies do is eat, sleep, and poop. This is true. But what those people don't tell you is that while your baby is eating, you're stressing out about it. While your baby is sleeping, you're wondering how long it might be before they wake up or why they won't sleep more than 30 minutes or why they want to be held all the time. While your baby is pooping or not pooping, you're worrying about why it's so much or why they haven't pooped in 4 days, examining it for color, consistency, and amount. Which by the way, who knows if it's a small, medium, or large amount as a new parent. Who defines that anyways?! It's poop and it's disgusting whether it's small, medium, or large. ugh! (by the way, I definitely know if it's small, medium, or large now:) ).
I write this as a reminder to myself that the beginning is awful. I've already forgotten everything it entailed, but I don't want to forget that it was the hardest 2 weeks of my life. IF we decide on more children in the (very distant) future, I need to remember that it gets better.... so much better... but I also need to remember that it was so difficult. I admit that a lot of it was my expectations. I wasn't fully prepared to deal with all the emotions, as I thought all that babies did was eat, sleep, and poop, so how hard could it be?
Derrick and I have real conversations about life now, we lie on the couch together, we go out alone, I get out alone, I'm not trapped, I get sleep, I don't do laundry all day, and while we are still working to figure out Vera's schedule, it's definitely much more defined than it was. I am sane again and I don't just sit around and cry anymore. Whew! I thought that would never end! Sure there have been a couple days where I was brought to tears by her neediness, but that's so much different than thinking my life was over.
To all the new moms out there and soon-to-be moms, don't be fooled by all the negative comments. Sure, things are about to change, and I'll be the first to tell you how terribly difficult and draining those first 2 weeks are, but I'll also be the first to tell you that it gets better and for me, all the changes have been good. I value my marriage so much more, I treasure the moments alone with Derrick, I have a compassion for people I didn't have before, I live in the moment more than ever before, I'm realizing life isn't all about schedules (although I will get her on one!), and most importantly, I survived the first 2 weeks and I couldn't be more in love with our baby girl.