Did you know that having a baby was hard? Not just the having her part, but the bringing her home and being a parent part, too. It’s all difficult. First there’s the hormones so you cry constantly for no reason whatsoever. Wait, was that just me? According to most of my mom friends, no, it isn’t. The first two weeks are just plain shit. Here’s an incomplete list of things that made me cry during Stella’s first 15ish days: she didn’t want to eat, she wanted to eat, letting her sleep on me, putting her in the pack n’ play to sleep, waking up in the middle of the night to feed her, taking a nap in the middle of the day so that I could wake up to feed her, having my mom help, Wes coming home from work, Wes waking up in the middle of the night to help me, taking a shower, scheduling newborn photos. I know there were more things that would get my bottom lip quivering, but you get the idea: I cried a lot and the more I tried to figure out why I was crying, the more I cried.
Luckily, I did (do) have help. Wes has been incredible not just as a father but as a husband trying to make sure his new mother of a wife doesn’t have a nervous breakdown. He will wake up in the middle of when I’m feeding Stella just to rub my knee, or lean over to give me a quick kiss and say, “You’re a great mother” and it helps so much. It gives me enough energy to get through that 3am feeding and wake up at 630 or 7 and do it all over again. During waking hours he would make sure that my little corner of the couch was all set up and bring me whatever I wanted. Water? Food? What did I want to watch? Anything I asked for he made sure I got and it made my life so much easier. All I had to focus on was making sure that Stella got enough to eat, which , one day, meant 8 hours of nursing. Eight!
Now that we’re almost a month into this parenting thing I’m off the couch a lot more and trying to get into a schedule that allows me to function when my support systems leaves. But still Wes will stay up in the evenings with me to get Stella to sleep. Last night he was up with her until nearly midnight and each time I opened my eyes he would tell me to try to sleep while he tried to get her to sleep. He’s back at work and staying up late and getting up early and working ten hour days can’t be easy but he does it. I know I’m bordering on my-husband-is-babysitting-the-kids sort of attitude when I describe this but that’s not what I’m getting at. My husband is an amazing father and a fantastic husband and seeing his endless patience when mine is running low has made me appreciate him even more than I already did.
On top of Wes, my mom has been here since the 24th and my dad since the 4th. I had visions of being power mom right away and getting a schedule and being basically the exact opposite of who I actually was those first two weeks. One day I started sobbing because I didn’t schedule newborn photos during her first two weeks (spoiler alert: we ended up having them done in the third week and she was still newborn looking). I didn’t want to do laundry or cook or leave the house or my corner of the couch and having my mom here to handle all the basics of making sure we had a stocked fridge and I stayed fed and hydrated and slept when Stella slept was a lifesaver. The last thing I thought I would need was my mom to act like anything other than a doting grandmother, but I did.
After my dad arrived we had started making regular outings and I wasn’t feeling like crying all the time so now they’re helping me get on a schedule. I’m still taking advantage of them to get enough naps, but I’m also trying to do some of the basics on my own so that when they leave I won’t feel like I’m drowning.
Wes’ mom arrives tomorrow night, just as Wes leaves for Omaha. I thought that maybe I would be ready to be alone with Stella by the time my parents left, but after the newborn photos breakdown I realized that I would probably need help, especially with Wes being gone. Next week I’ll try to get on a schedule and use Wes’ mom as a back-up instead of making her do everything.
I’m pretty lucky to have all this support, and I know it. By the time I’m on my own and doing it all I know it will be because of their help. Thank you, Wes and mom and dad and (preemptively) Candee. I couldn’t have done this without you.