Post delivery at the hospital
So let’s re-capture the first week with our bundle of joy! We will continue on after labour & delivery. We were at the hospital for 2 days and 1 night more after we delivered. The first night with baby was great – she was SO alert, but I was quite the opposite. It was hard to focus on what the nurse was saying for more than a few minutes as I could not fight the crazy urge to pass out – my husband said he’s never seen me that exhausted before – it was total and utter fatiguing exhaustion! Baby girl was a great nurser 🙂 She latched on with a wide open mouth and had no issues from the start – what a huge blessing! So to say the least, nursing her for first time was very hard to do as I couldn’t stay awake! Colette on the other hand was so alert – I think she stayed up for a few hours after delivery! I just remembered waking up here and there to peak over at her and her eyes were wide open and alert.
The next day at the hospital was a whirlwind – I think I ran on pure adrenaline as we had so many friends and family visiting, and there was minimal time to rest, but we enjoyed sharing our new wonder and joy with all our loved ones. That night with her (second night with baby) was a different story. Colette kept crying and crying throughout what seemed like the whole night and we did not know what to do. I would feed her with the schedule we had set (every 3 hours), put her down but it would not resolve anything. The nurse coming in would keep telling me to feed her, which I was not a big fan of. I think health care workers often forget common etiquette (i.e. not just grabbing someone’s breast without asking) as they just try to get the job done. Anyways, that was a hard night. The solution came quickly the next day as a new nurse told us that because I was on so many antibiotics post labour, this would cause Baby to have a lot of gas. So the whole of the next day was filled with Daddy’s specialty – helping our baby let out gas. This is not an exaggeration – the little one literally filled up the room with gas. A nurse had walked in in the afternoon and did not hesitate to tell us how stinky it was and that we should keep the door open to air it out :$ – that’s our girl! And for all the breastfeeding moms out there, you DO need to burp your baby. A nurse earlier had told us that breastfeeding babies do not need to burped – what a FALSE statement!
So after the initial gas hiccup, we were off to a good start and preparing to go home. Something I really appreciated about the hospital was all the education they gave us. Though it’s a bit overwhelming, at least there were paper forms that came with their speeches so I can actually take it all in when I get home.
OH – and how was I feeling? In hindsight, I probably started over-doing it form day 1 post delivery. I was up and about a lot, thinking the soreness and discomfort is normal and I just needed to suck it up. That is the trouble for all my busy-body-over-achieving friends 🙂 The moment I realized I wasn’t quite “normal” yet was when we walked from the delivery ward to our car (which was a good 200 meters at least) – I was surprised I couldn’t keep up with the rest of the entourage, and gave up trying as I realized I just needed to slow down to my new recovery pace.
So we went home with our new addition! First time going to our new home together as a family of 3 – the 3 Lees 🙂 The excitement was short lived as the night crept in. We experienced something similar to that first difficult night at the hospital. We were struggling within the tension of wanting to soothe her and help her stop crying, but also wanting to set her on a schedule and good habits (i.e. not being “rescued” overtime she cried). Yes, we are a bit extreme, but we didn’t know how to balance everything. It’s quite the difference when you’ve read in preparation of how you want to raise your child to the actual reality of having the baby with you especially combatting a constantly crying baby. My husband and I tried all sorts of strategies that night – and went back and forth between breaking habits and sticking to structure because we just wanted so desperately to help Colette stop crying.
The next few days we talked to different people ranging from other parents to our family doctor and got some perspective:
1) Babies CRY – that’s what they do and that’s how they communicate.
2) Though babies cry, at this newborn age, most of their cries are due to hunger (as per our family doctor).
A strategy I thought was a solution (which is not in hindsight) was nursing her to sleep. I thought if I changed the structure of changing her diaper between switching sides to the end of feeding, she would go to sleep easier. It definitely helped her sleep better and cry less, but it was a temporary solution (again, all in hindsight – I thought I was a genius at that moment!).
As she was REALLY sleepy during nursing time, I had to do a LOT to keep her awake (tickle, blow, take her clothes off etc).
We actually went out 2-3 times that week – doctor’s appointment, going to meet my in-laws for dinner and running errands. Many people always gave us the shocked look when we answered their questions of how old she was – I guess it’s not the norm for newborns to be out so early, but we wanted to set the tone for her. Again, she belongs to our family and we have a certain lifestyle that we want her to learn to adapt to. Of course we will slow down a bit depending on what her capacity is, but we want to teach her sooner rather than later and at least test out what it would be like. And she did fairly well! Me, on the other hand, I know in hindsight I over did things for sure. It didn’t help that I had a hard time remembering to take my pain medications consistently.