We’ve been a family of three humans for a few weeks now. Its been crazy, exhausting and terribly rewarding!
The First 48 Hours
E came to us bright-eyed and calm as a cucumber. From the minute she could open her eyes she was a keen observer of what was going on around her. She was like that for the whole first day.
My brother came to meet her while we were still in Labor and Delivery and she was still alert. He accompanied us to our room in the Family Birth Center and stayed with us for an hour or two there. While we were visiting, she dozed off.
Shortly after waking that afternoon, she got her first bath from Nurse Maggie. Her long brown hair was washed and she smelled even more like heaven on earth! I knew she’d come out with hair but didn’t know she’d have quite so much!
Our first night in the hospital was relatively uneventful. I struggled to soothe her at one point through the night and one of our wonderful nurses helped with re-swaddling and tucking her in. She was also able to pace the room with her to calm E down a bit.
Around 5 am that first morning, C went home to check in with the dog and get a few hours of sleep in our bed. Almost the minute he left, E started restlessly cluster feeding and became really irritable. I was nursing her almost constantly but she was unsatisfied. We were both becoming discouraged.
While he was gone, E had her first visit with the pediatrician (clean bill of health!), the nurses changed over and the hearing test lady came to give E her hearing test. C returned as the hearing test was about to begin. Because I had a vacuum pump on my surgical incision site, I was unable to hold her for her test. C took her but she was still so upset from the interruption in her nursing marathon and as a result, she didn’t pass her initial screening. We were rescheduled for the next day.
Finally, the three of us were left alone. E continued to be restless and irritable. As the afternoon went on, she started to refuse to nurse and fussed almost constantly. We’d requested a visit from the Lactation Consultant however there was a miscommunication and we didn’t end up meeting with one that day. Eventually, when the evening nurses came on duty (they were the same ones who’d seen our smily, happy girl the day before) we made the decision to supplement her nursing with formula. She simply wasn’t getting enough nourishment from me. She was described as a great breast feeder when she could access fluid.
Once E received 10 mls of formula, our happy girl was able to calm down and she rested. It was heartbreaking to need to supplement her nursing with formula but it was also heartbreaking to hear her scream bloody murder for hours at a time and see how hungry and tired she was. Once she was satisfied, we both calmed down.
She was calm and oh so cute as she met our friends the Os that evening. They were so excited to meet her and they’d been taking such good care of our boy Oscar. C left again to check on the dog and E and I spent some time nursing and snuggling. Our nurses worked with us on a new position and as a result, E fell asleep looking as cute as an angel.
As we entered night 2 of parenthood, we were all super tired. Everyone was calm for a bit and we watched the newborn channel. This actually existed on the hospital TV and we found it super informative. No matter how much time you seem to spend around babies, a newborn all in your care is a terrifying thing. As we tried to make the transition to “bedtime” E was restless again and we spent a good deal of the night trying to soothe her and help her nurse. She received formula another time from a different nurse and again calmed down. We were all able to sleep for a bit.
The morning we were due to be discharged was incredibly busy! We had our final visit with the pediatrician (this one was the one we’d selected to see outside of the hospital) and this time were prepared with questions. We were recommended for a 2 day follow-up due to her feeding difficulties and routine check-up. The hearing test was re-administered and E passed with flying colors.
We were finally able to meet with the lactation consultant and were provided with a supplemental nursing system and feeding plan for discharge. We were hoping to need to use this sparingly at home but were relieved that we had a manner in which to soothe our girl. Our hearts couldn’t take hearing her scream more than necessary. remainders of her discomfort were still evident in her hoarse little voice
As we waited for my doctor to come give us the final ok, we were visited by the newborn photographer. I was expecting this to take 5-10 minutes but 45 later we were declining a super expensive photography package. All the photos are super cute but it was just outside our price range at the time. We do get to select one for free though!
We were on our way home! I think all three of us were happy the trip was less than 10 minutes from the time we got into the car. I was uncomfortable due to my incision, C had a horribly responsible job of driving our precious cargo home and E was irritated at being in her new car seat.
Once home we were able to introduce her to Oscar and the two were instant friends. He is so protective of her! I tried to get comfortable on the couch and E fell asleep. It wasn’t to long after getting home that i realized that our house was SO uncomfortable for an individual recovering from a C-Section. Our bed was too high, our couch too squishy and our puppy too rambunctious.
We rested that first day and ordered pizza for dinner. E was such a good girl! The night was a bit more rough due to my limited mobility and our sleep debt. Both C and I agreed almost immediately that we needed to get somewhere else for her to sleep at night. She had a crib (in her own room) and the bassinet that came with the Pack and Play. It was our initial intention that she sleep in the pack and play bassinet (pictured above) but C was too uncomfortable with the sides and that it tends to tip her to one side or another. Our first outing was scheduled!
On Our Own
At 3 days old, our little family ventured to Babies R Us. We were on a mission to get a new bed for E, 3 month clothes (our girl didn’t fit in newborns!), all versions of pacifiers and a sleep sack/swaddle like we’d used in the hospital. The outing was amazingly successful! We got everything on our list and we all escaped with few tears.
At 4 days old, we had our first follow-up with the Pediatrician. It was tough getting somewhere on time but we made it with a few minutes to spare! It probably helped that it was a Saturday. This appointment was not with our regular pediatrician but we were able to get all of our questions answered. She was perfectly healthy despite having lost more weight since our discharge from the hospital. My milk had come in overnight so we were going to make up what we’d lost.
The next day we ended up going to the grocery store for some supplies for the week and we needed more diapers. Although we’ve made the decision to use cloth diapers, we were waiting for her umbilical cord to heal and fall off to initiate that process. E did great at the store and we were able to run into Target for some nursing gear for me.
These first few days at home were a struggle for us as new parents. C had difficulty relaxing, I had difficulty resting and taking care of myself and E had difficulty sleeping. We were all a hot mess. We were lounging in bed for hours, eating all our meals late and getting little sleep. The stress level was high but so was the unimaginable level of love we had for this tiny human who was adjusting just as much as we were.
Our first Sunday, E had two Facetime dates. Her first was with Aunt Erin and Uncle Joey and her second was with her Gigi and great aunt and uncle. She wasn’t overly cooperative for either of them unfortunately. She was either hungry, tired or had a soiled diaper throughout the whole endeavor.
We had a low key week that was punctuated mainly by my follow-up appointment with my doctor and a lactation consult for E and I. At that appointment we were given a great report card and E had gained weight finally! She had gained 10 oz in the 5 days since her pediatrician appointment. That meant she was above her birth weight ahead of schedule. Our feeding troubles looked like they were on their way out!
That was a long outing since we wandered the hospital in between my appointment and the lactation consult. E slept the whole time! She was calm and awake during her appointment but then fell asleep once we got back into the car so we decided to go out to lunch. It was risky business but we opted to go to Metropolitan Market since we could pick up a few groceries and quick lunch. My goal was that we could leave as soon as possible if needed so obviously a “sit down” location was out of the question.
We felt on top of the world that the day was so successful. We’d gained weight, had bandages removed and successfully eaten lunch in public. Later that evening we were able to Skype with E’s paternal grandmother (Mimi).
Weekend two was highlighted by E’s first Art on the Ave (including brunch with friends beforehand!) and meeting Ann and Travis. She was such a good girl for all events and gave everyone some good snuggles!
Other highlights from the week included E’s first walk with us as a family, the ridiculous amount of money spent on additional baby gear (who knew?!) and a delicious dinner brought to us from our friends the O’s. It was such a treat on the night before C went back to work. No stress, no dishes and so tasty!