Motherhood. I’m almost 5 weeks in to having humans on the outside of the womb. They don’t currently do much other than sleep, eat, poop, pee, and cry. I’m anxiously awaiting a “social smile” but know that it could be a little. Usually an average of 6 weeks for a full term baby, I could be waiting a little longer for mine. I’m acclimated now… I haven’t slept longer than a 90 minute stretch since their birth and I’m used to occasional cries at the exact same time and feeling helpless. I’m further away from birth so my hormones are starting to even out a bit, but it is still the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Since I had such a “journey” to become pregnant, I feel guilty for not enjoying every moment, but I think it’s important to recognize and appreciate reality for what it is. Raising these two little beans (plus their siblings, hopefully) will be the best thing that I do in this life, but it’s not all going to be sunshine and rainbows.
The first three weeks (one in hospital, two at home) were just indescribable. Yes, I needed help, but the help also started to wear on me and make me think I couldn’t do this myself. People’s well-intentioned questions were simply aggravating and I couldn’t keep it together for longer than an hour. They were SO small and it felt like they would never start to gain weight. I felt so defeated because I couldn’t provide enough breast milk for them. Working through that, I was supplementing as much as they needed and they wouldn’t eat the formula. I thought once I started to give them what they needed, they would take a bottle and it would be okay. The way people talk about formula vs. breastfeeding, it’s as though formula’s the easy way out. It’s not. It’s all still so hard. And not enjoyable in most cases. In those first few weeks, we sat, trying to get them to eat for hours and they still wouldn’t. Rationally, you might say, they were 36 weeks and just taking time to get it, but when you’re in the moment and you can’t get your son or daughter to gain weight, it feels like the worst thing in the world. Every doctor’s appointment and weight check ended with me sobbing and then reporting their numbers to caring friends and family.
When I finally got to be by myself, we got into a routine and I figured out how to feed them and be there for them when we were alone. It was a big win for me, but just one of the infinite hurdles to overcome throughout their lives. I had my follow up OB appointment this past week and it went well. I was lectured on contraception by a nurse, but that was the only eventful thing. Thankfully my blood pressure was back to normal because I’ve forgotten to take the medicine they gave me for over two weeks. I’m down 45 lbs since their birth, but seem to have stagnated. Hopefully giving up sweets for Lent will aid in the journey toward my pre-pregnancy weight.
Our next and hopefully last weight check is next Friday. I feel confident Isabelle will pass, but am nervous about Carter. Assuming they do well, their next appointments will be on the normal schedule (2 months for shots)! If they do well next week, we will also get the go ahead to adjust their schedule. Currently, they eat every 3 hours (12, 3, 6, 9, 12, 3, 6, 9). I’d like to do that during the day, but switch nights to 10, 2, and 6 in an effort to gain a bit more sleep for them and us.
Carter’s blood screen has to be redrawn as I found out he tested outside of the normal range for congenital hypothyroidism. It was slight, so hopefully it will be normal on the retest.
I still worry. All the time. Mamas, I know this will never go away, so I’m trying to get acclimated to it. I worry I don’t hold them enough and I’m not engaging them enough but I don’t always know what to do. I’m doing my best. I worry they don’t look enough at me and they’re going to be delayed in all of their milestones. I’m sure as they grow those fears will be assuaged and replaced with new ones.
Anyway, this is an unfocused post, but I’ve realized that it’s okay to not enjoy every moment. No one does. It doesn’t change my appreciation for this and it doesn’t make me love them any less.
We will get through it – one day at a time!