Our first week at home with a newborn

*I’m a little delayed in posting this, the mister has just hit 2 weeks old. But better late than never!*

Oh how my life has changed. Gone is the luxury of typing a blog post on the laptop, or the ability to type anything with two hands. Instead I find myself mostly attached at the boob to the little man, typing with one finger onto my phone. Right now he’s asleep in the swing, so I have a few moments to myself to get some words written down.

What a roller coaster ride of a first week!

First night home – slap in the face

We decided that we felt comfortable enough to check out of the hospital and come home, even though our OB had said we could stay until Sunday or Monday if we wanted to. I realised that he was offering that for my benefit – as in my own personal pain and comfort levels after my c section. I was feeling fine though, and I’d been breast feeding well. We decided it was time to rip the bandaid off.

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We got home, everything seemed fine. He was loving his swing, and we even had some friends stop past to meet him. If I knew then what I knew now, I would have been napping and refusing all visits.

For there is only one word for that first night.

Hell.

We were up every 15 minutes to half an hour. for feeds that night. I don’t think we actually got more than 2 hours of sleep within a 24 hour period. We instantly were transformed into walking zombies. Where in the hospital we had midwives available for suggestions or just a chat, here there was only us. And we were tired. 

There was never a bigger slap in the face from reality. Together we got through it, with only a few minutes of frustration at each other. That was mostly on my part, when I was taking too long to set up for feeding and bub was crying.

I was so tired that I started questioning my latching and breast feeding, whether he was getting the supply he needed etc. He had wind, but thankfully the midwives at the hospital had shown us a technique of putting him on his tummy over our knees and patting his bottom. That helped to finally get him to sleep in the morning for an hour.

Like I said, it was hell.

Second night home – headache hell

After a full on first night, we managed to catch some naps here and there. Mario’s parents visited and got to meet their grandson, although they left early on so we could rest. Both of us had some mini naps.

Then night fell.

If you take night one and double it, then add a migraine you will have the next two words for this night.

Sheer hell.

He was still feeding a lot, so I was constantly attached to the boob and unable to rest. To top it off I got smashed with a migraine that left me with vision sensitive to light (unless it was dark it hurt like hell). I was barely able to keep my eyes open. The night was spent with Mario looking after bub for most of the night, rousing me when the next feed was required. At one point just after a feed I fell asleep with him on my chest.

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I’m part of an amazing facebook group that was set up for women with babies all due around the same time. I’ve been part of this secret group since I fell pregnant, and there’s about 300+ women on it. It’s such a great group, and I’ve turned to them on quite a few occasions. On this night I had been asking people for advice with the number of feeds and showing Mario the responses. At some point he jumped on there on my account and messaged the women as well (I read the posts later, it was quite funny: “Dad here, she’s finally fell asleep with the baby on the chest so getting some rest finally”). The women were so good to him 🙂

Mario rang the hospital and checked what painkillers I could have; he was told nurofen was fine. It was only after two nurofen tablets were administered that I was able to get some sort of function back and was able to help more for the rest of the night.

To his credit, during the day Luca was an absolute dream. The theory was that he had the night and day mixed up, which made sense given that his activity when in my belly usually seemed to start mid-morning, with the most activity about 8pm at night. We prayed that that would change around soon though.

Third night – tides are changing

We spent the first part of the day visiting the GP’s office to check in on my headache. We just wanted to rule out that it wasn’t anything sinister and possibly just a reaction to the surgery or my neck being out. In the afternoon I saw my chiro and got my neck addressed for some stiffness running down the right side.

Together we had discussed tactics for dealing with the overnight shift. We made plans, and consulted friends and family. We managed to get him down for an afternoon snooze, and capitalised on it by taking naps ourselves. I stock piled the nursery with snacks and water, ready for night feeds. Most importantly, when he went down for a sleep at night we used the bassinet instead of trying to ride it out on the couch (where he refused to be put down the first two nights we started to introduce it here).

For the first time in two nights we actually spent some time in our bed. It felt good. He ended up sleeping for a few stretches of 1 – 2 hours with feeds in between. Although my nipples were sore (gel disks and nipple shields to the rescue) we were able to do a few feeds and get him back down for another sleep frequently. It was so good to snatch a bit of sleep here and there!

Four to seven days summary:

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  • I developed a dull ache in my shoulder that I went and got a massage for. The masseuse also showed me some brilliant exercises for it that I’ve been doing daily. It’s all down to posture and how I’ve been holding my shoulder up when nursing Luca (I need to relax my shoulders)
  • Luca started to stretch out sleeps at night into 2 – 3 hour blocks, meaning we started to get some half decent sleep. Trying really hard not to jinx anything but damn it feels good!
  • We went for our first walk with the pram – Missy walked right next to it, such a great dog! The second walk we stopped to adjust the mister, she planted herself next to it and wouldn’t come to me when called. She’s the protector of the pram!
  • I’m slowly improving on my nappy change technique, but only after several episodes of wet clothing. Note to self – tuck the ding-a-ling down!
  • More visits from friends and family, so exciting!
  • It’s so hard not to question if my milk supply is enough for him. When I express with the breast pump I’n not pumping much, but he seems to be putting on weight. I did read that women who delivered by c section can take a little longer for the milk to come in, so it may just be that. We’re also changing a healthy number of nappies, so it all seems to be going in the right direction. The aim is to keep going with expressing and try to build my supply while also feeding on demand.
  • I’m sick of feeling in pain – the recovery from c section is pretty shithouse. I’ll write more about that later in its own post, but I can’t wait until I feel relatively normal again!
  • We’re looking forward to him getting his vaccinations at 6 weeks so everyone can have cuddles, I feel bad denying people right now but we’re so reluctant for him to get sick.

So after a horror start, we managed to finish the week on a bit of a high with some well-rested parents and a happy bubba! Let’s hope it stays that way (wishful thinking).

  • Ahh you’ve bought back my memories.. It does get better as you get him in a routine, just all takes Time. And for the record, mum’s body’s get used to a few hours broken sleep and you can get through the days.. After all it last for years as there is always a stage your child is going through that unsettles them. Keep enjoying bubs, before you know it he’ll be teething and thats your next stage of shitty night sleeping x

    • I’m not ready for that yet!! I’m still loving the cuddly koala phase! Going to soak it in and enjoy every second as much as I can.

  • Never feel bad about not letting anyone not vaccinated visit. You are doing what is best for Luca.

  • We were the same with no visits without vaccinations, it is just common sense. I also stayed away from crowded public places / anywhere, because I didn’t want her exposed that way.

    Also, it does get better. You will all relax into it. If you are getting nipple pain and are pumping as well as feeding, double check you have the right size breast shield for the pump. My nipples got bigger with pumping, and had to go up a size. If the shield is the wrong size too big or too small it can hurt your nipple.

    • I feel like an arse saying it gets better, when you’re there it is so hard, and I am sure you are doing a great job.

      Here is some stuff that worked for us:
      – Showers instead of baths. She hated the bath, and it got so stressful for us. She loved the shower though, and it was great for her and her Dad to get skin to skin. We bathe every night just before bed, it set her up for a longer sleep.
      – I went to bed at the same time as her at night. We ate dinner (in shifts), then shower, and bed. I would feed her for 90 minutes some nights and then just sleep. It was the longest stretch she took each day. It did mean I went to bed sometimes quite early, but I slept.

    • Thankfully it’s definitely gotten better! Last night he did 2 x 4hr sleeps so nearly 8 hours of sleep for us – I was almost groggy from oversleep!