Thursday, January 12, 2012

The First Few Days

Its hard to describe what the first few days with a new baby is like. I feel like you either have already been there, or you have no idea and are not going to "get it" no matter what I write. But, I figure I should try.

First, in terms of hospital/insurance, the birth time of 1:55am was a great advantage for us. The day the baby is born is "day zero" no matter what time of day the event occurs. If he had been born before midnight, Wednesday would have been day zero, Thursday day one, and we would have been discharged Friday morning. Instead,  Thursday was day zero, Friday day one, and we got released Saturday. It basically gave us a full extra day to recover and get used to baby while in the hospital. This made being released much less nerve wracking then it may have been otherwise.

DH and I are pretty laid back. I thought this was true, but this experience (the beginnings of parenthood) has confirmed it. In the delivery room, the midwife kept saying "she is as controlled as an epidural patient." I believe this means I was able to listen to her directions and follow them even though I was in pain. Then, on our second day in the hospital, a nurse came in to go over all of the "release" directions with me and she got 5 minutes in before asking "which child is this for you"? And she was shocked when I said the first, she said I was not acting like a first time mom. She is not the only nurse that commented that we were "doing great" and "very calm".

But I am getting off track. What I wanted to say is that the early days, this first week, has gone so fast and so slow. As a new parent, time just slips by. As new to breast feeding, I immediately started thinking in terms of 2 hour chunks, which fly by. In the hospital and when we first got home I could never tell where they went. At night especially. You feed the baby, change a diaper, maybe use the restroom yourself, go to lay the baby down, and realize that theoretically you should be up again in an hour or less to do it again. This of course will get better quickly as baby sleeps longer, as we no longer need to wake the baby up to build supply, but it was quite surprising early on. And while this time is slipping by so quickly, you also can't believe how long it seems you have had the baby. The nurse commented late Thursday that baby's behavior would change as he reached the one day mark, and it was astounding to both of us he was not yet a day old.

Similarly strange to the passage of time is the passage of worries. As a new parent, there is worry after worry, and when you are amongst them, they seem so permanent, and then they resolve and you realize you really were only stressing about something for hours but it seemed so crucial or impossible for that short time. For example, I spent most of Saturday late morning/afternoon worrying that he was having trouble latching with my milk in. By Saturday night he was latching like a champ, and looking back on how the day went I realized I had spent a lot of energy on a problem that occurred and resolved in a matter of hours without almost any active action from me. It had seemed so much more significant than it was. And that is how the first week of parenthood is - you spend a lot of energy and time worrying about problems that will hardly last because you and baby will learn. So, best to relax and enjoy it!

1 comment:

Allison said...

Good for you for being so laid-back (not that there was really any doubt in my mind that you would be). It'll make things a lot happier for you. I hope your recovery and bonding time continue to go as smoothly as this time has. Enjoy all those "forced" baby snuggles :)