Thursday, September 17, 2009

Preparing for a Newborn

This is a very sensitive subject for me but I was inspired to write a little about this from another blog I read. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only mommy who felt this way (actually about 80% of this bloggers polled felt the same way I do) about newborns.

Let me start this off by saying how much I love my daughter. I would not have wanted to miss one precious moment of her sweet life. I love being a mommy to her (at any age).

Ok, having said that, let me just begin by saying that I found the newborn stage to be the most confusing, stressful, painful (emotionally), tiring, and all-consuming phase (although very sweet at times).

  • Perhaps it was because I had horrible first-time-mom syndrome and didn't know what to do with that screaming infant.

  • Perhaps it was because I had a difficult labor and was already exhausted when we got home.

  • Perhaps it is because I try to be sensitive to my husband's sleep issues and take the night-time duty by myself so he doesn't have another reason to wake up.

I needed someone to say to me "yes, this too shall pass". I did get that when my friend Bridget came to visit me. Abigail was napping and Bridget and I sat for a while and chatted. I don't think she had any clue that she was saving my life (metaphorically, of course) but she was. Her son is two months older than Abigail so she had just been through it. Remembering that conversation makes me feel teary even today!

So . . . by the way . . . it does get better! And quickly!

Thankfully I read this blogger's post today and she said that while preparing to have her second child, she braced for the rough newborn stage and said . . . it wasn't bad at all.

Oh my goodness, I cling to that hope and I pray it will be true for me as well.

I'm sure it will be different because well . . . I have been there before. I have had a newborn. I know what they're like. I'm a seasoned breastfeeding mama (17 months of it!). I also know that I have a toddler to take care of as well.

Here are some things I plan to do differently this time to help in the first few weeks.

  • #1 - Not sleep in the easy chair!!! I slept with Abigail up on my chest in our easy chair for far too many nights the first two weeks. Very uncomfortable way to sleep, especially after giving birth. Ouch!

  • #2 - Get her to sleep by herself, preferrably in a crib (with a swing and bouncy seat for backup) from the first day. This will only help in the long run. I felt absolute panic when Abigail was 5 weeks old when my husband said she needed to start learning to sleep (he was right of course). Really, it was very smooth (for her, NOT for me) and so I need to start as I mean to go on.

  • #3 - I will not co-sleep with her. I didn't do this often but occasionally a night would get so long that I would plop down in the single bed in her room and just snooze away while breastfeeding. I was never comfortable, she was never comfortable, and it just got to me (mentally). *See below.

*I would wake Andrew (accidentally - of course!) many times during Abigail's first few months because I would be dreaming that she was in bed with us and I'd think we were smashing her. I would be frantically feeling around the bed for her and end up patting his head. Poor guy!

  • #4 - I will ask for what I need. This is tough for me. I usually just like to do for myself, especially at night. I can count a handful of times that I actually woke Andrew up to help me. One was the first night Abigail was home. She was cranky, her tummy was rumbly, and I was clueless! Another time was when she had the 104 fever and had vomited everywhere. I knew that I needed other parental support to decide if an emergency room run was necessary and I wanted him to clean up the throw up!

Having said ALL of that. . . (bless you if you're still reading) . . . I'm still thinking about hiring a postpartum doula. Will I actually do it? Probably not because way down deep inside, I'm cheap when it comes to things like this!

Wouldn't that be nice though? A person there a few hours a day who is there to only oodle over me?! Sounds glorious!

Picture this: painting nails, getting back-rubs, getting spa treatments (hello facials), cooking me whatever I want to eat, watching movies together . . . and I realize I'm being delusional!! By the way, in my day-dream I can smell lavender! :)

Those are my thoughts. If I'm a bit discombobulated in the six weeks between November 14 (or whenever she's born) and Christmas, please just look the other way, I will have a newborn (and a toddler). Yikes!


Jennifer said...

#2 can be hard, but you're's so worth it in the long run (and it's better for everybody!).
#3--when Anna was a newborn, I couldn't nurse comfortably laying down, so I never fell asleep in bed with her nursing (in the chair YES!). I was so exhausted with Jacob that I fell asleep in bed nursing many, many times (and would wake up with soaking wet sheets/bed!) and I, too had those frantic dreams that we were smooshing him! Not fun.
#4--I'm the same way. It's really hard to ask (and accept) help b/c I would just rather do it myself. The 2nd time around, I felt like I was expected to be able to do it all by myself. Probably b/c my mom was only able to stay one week and help (i had a c-section). But it was better for all of the family if I accepted any help offered!
It is different the 2nd time--in good and bad ways:) You'll make it through. Things will get better and you'll all settle into a new normal. I've learned (and am still learning!) to remember to savor the little moments of the day b/c with 2 little ones, things can get hectic and crazy and exhausting. I ask myself: What do I want my kids to remember about this time? A stressed, unhappy mommy; or fun times with a relaxed mommy that gets down and plays and teaches and loves. It's far easier to be the stressed, unhappy mommy (esp. when you stay at home all day!).
Sorry this is so long! Just remember in a few months: it will get better:)

Jaime said...

I wouldn't say I was comfortable laying down and nursing, it just happened. I got terrible cramps! Those dreams of smooshing the baby were the worst. I'd have a racing heart for so long after that!

Anyway, thanks for the advice and encouragement. I'm already telling myself that even though it won't be easy, it will be so worth it. I've just got to concentrate on what needs to be done next and spending that quality time with the kids and husband.

Hopefully I will enjoy it too. I enjoy being home with Abigail on Fridays so much but I know it's different when it is full-time!