Newborn Baby - The First Two Weeks

Disclaimer: Don't read this if you're a pregnant momma that doesn't want to hear about the ugly side of labor. I get it.

People kept telling us that the first two weeks with baby were the hardest. Now that we have hit two weeks, we are sure hoping so! Part of the purpose of this article is to let my friends know what's been going on with us the past couple of weeks, because we haven't had much time to update anyone. Another reason is to mentally process. But mainly, the purpose in writing this article is to help those that haven't gone through it understand what life could be looking like right after the birth of a child. It could be worse or better for some parents, but there's an element of reality that I wasn't aware of until facing the past couple of weeks. I used to think that once a baby was born is was all sweet cuddles and gazing into baby's eyes, relaxing on the couch together, although a little lost sleep from feeding baby for a few minutes each night. Maybe it is like that for some. It hasn't been that dream world for us. Naivete has left the building the past two weeks, and reality has stepped in, with a healthy dollop of exhaustion heaped on top.

To begin though, I have to put out a disclaimer. Regardless of any trial we encounter on her account, we know God has blessed us beyond measure with our sweet baby girl. The doula that I had hired to be with us during the labor actually had to be with another laboring momma that had complications, and I believe her baby boy died, so I am well-aware of how thankful we should be in these moments. But, to act as if a trial hasn't occurred when it has doesn't help anyone. I'm just going to say it: at least in our situation, having a baby has been one of the hardest things we've done! So, props to all the parents out there. Just being a parent earns you some hero points in my book, because it is hard work.

I'm not going to go into the details of what we went through. Some of it has been normal parent stuff, some not. I'll list the trials of the first two weeks, and then just give a few tips from a "live and learn" perspective. Here are some of the traumatic events we faced the first two weeks with baby:
  • contractions/throwing up before getting epidural (The word "contractions" should be heard as "torture sessions". Aaron thought I was going to tear the faucet off of the sink at one point. I was animalistic...)
  • posterior baby (wrong position), making labor longer and harder
  • tearing (To be honest, the epidural made me not even feel this happening. It was the recovery that was the pits! Even standing, laughing, or coughing the first week was torture.)
  • hemorrhaging
  • feeling nauseated and delirious from hemorrhaging and not being able to hold baby at first (or hold a conversation... or myself up on my feet for more than 30 seconds for the first week)
  • no sleep from baby waking up constantly to nurse or cry (got 5 hours total the first few nights)
  • constant medical visitors during the day, needing to know things (They were literally waiting at the door for the person in front of them to leave for two days straight._
  • flat nipple/latch issues
  • nauseated from medicine
  • baby dropping too quickly in weight
  • figuring out nipple shield
  • cracked nipples
  • triple feeding for two weeks, involving breast, pumping, and syringe (Believe me, this is exhausting, and takes more than just mom to accomplish. Poor Aaron.)
  • Not sleeping more than 2-3 hours at a time for 2 weeks straight
  • clogged milk ducts (ouch!)
  • Mastitis (infection from clogged ducts that gives me flu-like symptoms)
  • Urgent Care
  • milk supply basically stopping
  • And, let's just top off every day for my husband and I with extreme exhaustion!
Just having a fragile, jellyfish-like baby as you and your spouse's sole responsibility is daunting, and very stressful. We still wake up nightly in starts, asking each other if baby is breathing. My advice for future new parents is to enlist night and daytime help for at least the first week. Believe me, you need it. Also, breastfeeding comes very naturally for some babies and mommas, but it presents a whole host of problems for others. Don't be afraid to supplement if needed. Baby's health is more important than anything else. Lastly, since I need to wrap this up to go take a nap, be kind to your spouse. These hard moments at your wit's end will test how you react to each other. Be quick to apologize, and move on as a team. Also, the Rock n' Play and pacifier do miracles. The End.


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