Wednesday, January 20, 2010

4 weeks

I just realized, as I sit here in the dark in the family room at 4 in the morning waiting for the Chicklette to fall back asleep after a feeding, that today is 4 weeks and Saturday will be a month. It has been a LONG month.

If you read this blog, you know that, obviously, I really really wanted to have a baby. I'm grateful every day that I was able to. And I love my little pork chop more than anything in the world. BUT.

This newborn thing is hard. Harder than anything I've ever done. And I don't even think I have a difficult baby! But the combination of constant and unpredictable demands, lack of sleep, physical recovery and hormonal fluctuations is pretty brutal.

And the breastfeeding.....oh, the breastfeeding. I've been hesitant to post about it, since I'm still working out how I feel about things and what the plan is going forward, but let's just say it hasn't been smooth sailing. I'm happy to report that she's getting all breastmilk (sometimes from the breast, sometimes from a bottle), and that my nipples are no longer sporting open, bloody/pus-y cracks, but it has been a long and painful process. And while I've had lots of "support," let's just say that "support" doesn't always come in the most helpful forms. And it's a horrible feeling to be so frustrated with your itty bitty baby that the supposedly transcendent experience of providing sustenance for your little one devolves into wincing and cursing.

But anyway. Enough bitching. Things are getting better, slowly but surely, and I'm focusing really hard on enjoying her and the process of her growing up. I realize that there will be good days, usually followed by bad days. I've learned that things ALWAYS look brighter after a good cry (and maybe a glass of red wine and a bath). And that my husband is a rock star, even though sometimes he's so cheerful that it makes me hate him a little bit.

And thus is my state of mind very early in the morning on just a couple hours of sleep. Aren't you glad you stopped by? ;)


22 comments:

SS said...

Hi there! I am late to congratulate you (and have basically not been blogging for months!). My son was born less than half an hour than your daughter, so I'm also an exhausted mommy of a 4-week old baby. Let me tell you I honestly hate breastfeeding! It just never worked out with my first son, for several reasons, though I did pump as much milk as I could for him until he was 6 weeks old, and then I went back on meds for rheum. arthritis and couldn't anymore. This time it's working out, and I have spent the last few weeks breastfeeding 9 times a day. I thought I would like it better but I still don't. With my first though I did pump he also got formula, and it was easier to schedule feedings and he slept 5-6 hours by 3 weeks, and then 8 hours by 7. And feeding him was just predictable, and faster, and pain free. With my new guy, I am getting so much less sleep and it takes so damn long! Starting at a month I'm bringing formula in. Started this week giving him one bottle of pumped milk every day to get him used to the bottle. I plan to be back on my meds by about 7 weeks. Honestly, I'd rather take my shot every day for the arthritis than breastfeed. I just don't think it's for everyone! Though for what it's worth, I hear that after 6 weeks things get markedly better? Good luck-

Sue said...

Don't put pressure on yourself to enjoy this time. From what I understand, it is super hard on everyone but some people pretend that they are "the greatest mom in the world" and were "destined to do this" just to make the rest of us feel like crap! I know you will look back on it fondly and alot of the bad parts will be nicely deleted out...so there is that. Now, you just have to get through it.

Have you tried calling the La Leche League? I've heard they have helped a lot of moms since you really shouldn't be having that much pain. One mom in particular gave me advice that said if your nipples are sore and cracked, there is a latching problem and you need an expert. It worked for her. And, I'm with the earlier poster that said it gets a lot easier. Not that I know first hand, but I've been obsessively eating up advice since I got pregnant from all the 'finally pregnant' or 'finally a mom' women.

"Jay" said...

Hang in there Barefoot. Sleep deprivation does all kinds of crazy things to you!

Town and Country said...

Having a baby is one of the hardest and also one of the most rewarding things that you do in life. Breastfeeding is very time consuming, and, yes, painful but I am so glad that I did it and you will be too.
Hang in there.
:-)

briand said...

My baby will be a month on Thursday and I can tell you that I am feeling the same things that you described. I thought I would love breastfeeding and it would just be so natural and wonderful. Well, I don't feel that way and feel super guilty about it. I stopped breastfeeding and just pump now. I def. want to have my baby on breastmilk so that is why I pump. Breastfeeding for me equaled many many sleepless nights. Since I have been pumping things are much better. Baby wakes once during the night and hubby can take her on nights he does not have to work the next day. Not saying this is the way to go just that you are not alone in your feelings. This is a very hard time and like you am an IVFer and so excited to be a mommy but am also feeling the pains of being a new mommy.

Love your blog and have been reading it since I got pregnant. Your blog makes me smile and realize that someone out there is going through the exact same things I am. Appreciate you sharing your experience.

ana said...

Hi there,
Long-time blog-less reader that has suddenly begun commenting a lot more...
My little monkey is a few days younger than yours--he'll be 4 weeks on Saturday.
I'm glad you posted a little on BFing woes...don't feel guilty or bad about your feelings (easier said than done). We never got the hang of it. Little guy was just too exhuberent (but not quite effective), and my nipples were paying for it. After a few weeks of constant crying (on both our parts), I am now just pumping and feeding him bottles. I am making enough milk to have him exclusively on BM for now, but we've got cans of powdered formula for emergencies.
I also had tons of "support", from the lactation consultant at our peds, both grandmothers, friends, etc... who are all still trying to get me to change my mind and put him back on the boob. For me (and my wonderful husband, who insisted on this plan because he realized the pain & frustration was keeping me from enjoying or even engaging in any other part of being a mom), it works, and that's all that matters for now!
And yes, as much as I prayed & waited for this, having a newborn is REALLY REALLY hard! Oh so exhausted, but a long hot shower & a glass of wine really do help.

babyinterrupted said...

Another blogger I read, whose son is about the same age as your daughter, wrote the other day that she had read the object of your first three months of parenting is to do just one thing: survive.

So I'm glad you're doing that, but I hope it starts getting a little easier soon. :)

K said...

Thanks for sharing...at least I know what I have to look forward to. *Snort* But seriously, don't be too hard on yourself. It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job and this too shall pass. Enjoy the hell outta that wine and bath!!!

SS said...

One more comment- the "it doesn't hurt if you're doing it right" is bullshit. Many friends told me how much it hurt, people have told me one child was easy and the next hurt like hell. But I have heard it will not hurt forever, the longest I heard it was really painful for was 6 weeks. What drives me crazy, as the actual breastfeeding feels okay most of the time now, is the constant tingling feeling- 10 minutes after a feeding for me, and any time i'm out in the cold. I have trouble falling back asleep because of the sensitivity. LIke I need any less sleep than I'm getting!

leahjane8 said...

I could have written this post - I am SO with you on all of it. Nice to know we aren't alone. I knew it wouldn't be easy - watching my girlfriends over the years made me expect a rough time. But knowing it will be tough and then KNOWING it IS tough because you are going through it are two different things eh?

We will make it through this......(I tell myself that many times a day).

Fiddle1 said...

First, congratulations!!! Second, yes it SUCKS ASS (breastfeeding and taking care of a "blob," b/c that's all she is right now)!!! You are not alone, and don't feel at all guilty for any bad feelings you have. It is hard, hard, hard. It does get better. If you feel that it is not getting better after a few more weeks, see your doctor. Breastfeeding is hard, and none of the boob nazis out there tell you that. even when they latch on properly, it hurts. if you have cracks and bleeding, they say the latch is improper (it's not) or that you have yeast (worth checking into...get some very expensive all purpose nipple cream..prescription only from your ob and gentian violet for your nipples) . but honestly, a lot of boob nazis (lactation consultants)just don't tell the truth. for some women, it doesn't hurt. for other's it does. Period. But for ALL women, eventually, it does start to feel better, I promise (for me it was about 6 weeks). If you decide not to stick with it till it feels better, no problem! If you decide to stick with it until then, kudos! I think society, the media, pop culture..it's all obsessed with this image that motherhood is so euphoric, so peaceful, and you are drunk on this amazing little creature. I think, for some women, they do feel that way. And others do not. The most important thing right now is that you take care of yourself. If you don't do that, then everything becomes much, much harder (as if it could be harder!). And, again, if you are feeling things you are afraid to tell other people (like I did), it may be worth talking to the OB about it at your 6 week checkup. I should have been on zoloft from the get-go, but I didn't start it until chipmunk was 11 months old. Yes, that is how long it took for me to get myself help. And life is soooo much better now. You are doing a great, great job, mama. Hang in there!

IF Optimist, then... said...

You are doing your very best and soon you will be able to sleep and enjoy things with a much clearer head. You said so yourself that the breastfeeding is getting better, like anything that it completely worth it, sometimes it is a lot of work and perseverance. Hang in there mama.

Carrie Cummings said...

Good job for hanging in there - with all three of my babies, at the 6 week mark, I finally felt like breastfeeding would work....but the first four weeks had me questioning every day. There are plenty of lactation consultants that can empathize and understand frustrations and agony, so don't think that they're all "Nazis" as someone else so graciously put it.
Way to go, and congrats on making it to the 4 week mark of motherhood - you're able to write in complete sentences and punctuate, so you're doing better than the average new mom! I had a friend who had a baby last week, and she is undoubtedly the most perfectionistic, orderly, organized, "with it" person I know (and I lived with her for two years so I know her well!), and she typed into her Facebook update that her baby boy was 7 lbs, 15 oz, and 2.5 inches long. That's a a typo only a new mom can make!

'Murgdan' said...

Yes, I AM glad I stopped by...thank you for sharing so honestly and happy FOUR weeks!

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Michele said...

It is hard, but oh so worth every hard second. I have a sleeping baby on me right now and a second sleeping baby next to me. I cant imagine a better day than just watching them.

tomi said...

I am glad I stopped by because this is preparing me for what's to come ;)
(in about 1 week or maybe less)

I hope it gets easier soon. Take care!

tomi

itsazooaroundhere said...

Oh yes, I can SO relate to this post! My girl is 5 weeks old, and I could never have imagined how hard it would be to have a newborn. We are having a really difficult time with b/f as well, and so I dread when she gets hungry and we have to start "the torture" again. I do hope it sorts out and gets better for you guys. Just know, that when you are up at 4am and feel like a zombie, there are others of us also awake and trying to figure out what our little babies need! Hopefully at least you get to stay inside warm and dry with this crazy weather we've been having!

Hang in there sister, everyone says it gets easier around 6 weeks - 2 months.

Serendipity said...

Breastfeeding... I will never understand how something so 'natural' can be so difficult, heartbreaking and just plain painful.. and that's just dealing with the baby, not to mention the opinions and advice everyone seems to have. *sigh* I, too have been told of the magic 6 week mark when everything becomes easier. Fingers crossed, they're right for at least some of it.

meinsideout said...

I love your honesty!

You also made me lol with the comment about your cheerful husband - mine is a saint too - and I wonder - why does that make me angry at times!! Ah, hormones...

Fiddle1 said...

let me follow up and clarify that all lactation consultants are not boob nazis. i had some very helpful ones! but the pressure to breastfeed is enormous, and it can lead to great, great anxiety that, in my opinion, makes post partum stress tip towards post partum depression. everyone here says motherhood will get better, and soon you will get sleep, and that is true (unless there is a medical problem like GERD, which my daughter had, she didn't sleep longer than 4 hours until she was 11 months old). I'm just trying to say that there is a "normal" amount of stress and anxiety as a new mom, and then there's PPD.

BTW, I'm still breastfeeding mine at 13 months old. But a lot of my anxiety stemmed from it, that's for certain. I know that is b/c of everything I learned in my breastfeeding class from a certifiable boob nazi who told us it was the easiest thing in the world, we could eat what we wanted (I could not..baby was sensitive to dairy and soy), and when done correctly was pain-free.

Gabby said...

one of my frends had trouble breastfeeding, and she told me sometimes she wanted to throw her baby against the wall. i so appreciate her honesty, and i remember the conversation so vividly even though it was like 8 years ago.

Of course, she would never throw her baby against the wall. She went on to have 3 more children and could win Mother of the Year.

But I appreciate that she was being honest about how hard it is. Doesn't mean you love them any less or that you are any less strong. It just means you are normal, and honest about the difficulty of this stage. Thank you for that.