My Hardest Afternoon as a New Parent

Justin’s alarm clock upstairs has been going off for about an hour, but it feels a lot longer. 

I spent a good 20 minutes (okay, maybe only 5) this morning searching for Bandit around the house… Turns out he was locked outside. 
Cooper has terrible gas and only wants to sleep in my arms.
It’s 5:15 am. I have been awake on and off since 1:42 am. Tears filled my eyes…I just don’t know how I can keep going…
I rocked Cooper and let a few more tears fall down my face until I felt ready to put him back into his bassinet. 
After a power nap and a glimpse at my son’s sleeping face, the hectic early morning hours seem to fade away. 
It’s 9:15 am now. The house feels calmer …maybe that’s because I forced Justin to go turn off his alarm clock (he never came back down… So I am guessing that he is passed out face down on the bed). I can’t blame him…he spent the midnight shift with our restless boy. 
Bandit is sleeping next to me on the couch. He seems just as exhausted as me… When he wasn’t locked outside, he was by my side for every feeding and diaper change. 

And for my sweet baby boy, well- he is resting in my arms like an angel: 

There is no denying that these past few weeks have been hard. Amazing, but hard. 
The hardest day of all was last Tuesday. Cooper was only 5 days old. I think I cried the entire day. I had a blazing headache and Cooper was refusing to eat. He would literally fight me every single time I tried to nurse him. He hadn’t peed in more than 12 hours and didn’t have a poopy diaper in about 48 hours.
We called our pediatrician and thankfully they squeezed us in right away. Cooper was so sleepy and looked jaundice still. I knew he wasn’t eating enough and my supply seemed low, but we didn’t start him on formula yet.
I spent most of the day texting my close girlfriends with kids and asking them about breastfeeding tips and explaining our situation. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without their kind text messages, advice, and encouragement. 
Once we got to the doctor’s office, we learned that Coop had dropped 11% of his birth weight (13 ozs). He still wasn’t very fussy – just extremely sleepy. At times it seemed great to have a baby who slept so much, but once I realized his sleepiness was due to sickness and a lack of food…I cried and cried and cried. I couldn’t even look at him without crying and thinking I failed him. 
While waiting on the doctor to come in, Cooper peed all over Justin. I watched the pee come pouring out of his diaper. I cried happy tears that time – a positive sign! 
Once the doctor came in, she had a bottle with formula in her hand. We needed to start supplementing that moment. Our sweet baby boy needed food. To be honest, I was sad my body couldn’t give him what he needed – but I was so thankful he was eating and getting what he needed to survive. 
I quickly realized that supplementing with formula does not make me a bad mom. In fact, I don’t think moms who choose to only formula feed are “bad moms” … You have to do what’s best for you and your child. I was determined to not let anyone make me feel like a failure (including myself). And I made a promise to keep trying to nurse Coop as much as my body would support. 
I watched Cooper get his foot poked for lab work and he didn’t cry once. Again, this broke my heart because I knew it probably hurt him… But he didn’t have the energy to cry. 
When we got home, Justin went to the store to pick up some food that was supposed to help increase my supply (oatmeal, brown rice, rice cakes, whole grains, leafy greens, etc). We were desperate to do anything and everything to increase my supply and feed our boy! 
While he was gone, I tried to wake Cooper up to eat. But he wouldn’t wake up. 
Tears were streaming down my face…
“Baby boy! Wake up…mommy needs you to eat. My sweet Cooper…please wake up!” 
I was flicking his feet. Rubbing his chin and belly.  He was stripped down to his diaper. And the ceiling fan was on to cool the room down. 
I picked up the phone and dialed Justin’s number. I put the phone on speaker mode and once Justin answered I told him Coop was taking forever to wake up. 
I watched as tears splashed on my phone, “I am trying everything to get him awake… It’s just not working and I don’t know why. Hurry home please!” 
We eventually got Coop up to eat, but that was definitely the scariest afternoon in my new parenting life.  
I could cry just thinking about the emotions and memories from the day. 
Nursing Coop has improved tremendously. My supply is still low, so we are still supplementing, but it’s working! We spent a few more days getting lab work and weight checks. This past Friday, we had a weight check and Coop was up to 8 lbs and 1 oz!  
“Keep up the great work!” The doctor said as we left the doctor’s office. I felt proud and satisfied with our plan and hardwork. 
After talking with a few friends, I realized that my situation is normal. A lot of new moms experience exactly what I went through with nursing Cooper. Breastfeeding is hard…and you would think breastfeeding would be easier since its such a natural process and woman have been doing it forever, right!? But honestly, breastfeeding is way harder than labor. Yes, I said it. Pushing a child out your vagina is easier than the physical and emotional pain I have experienced with breastfeeding…but just like labor, once you have breastfeeding down and you have a great session with your little one- it’s simply an amazing experience than no one can strip away from you. The pain is worth it. Always. 
Everyone I talked to about my issues with breastfeeding told me the same thing… Do your best. Keep trying! Don’t give him! It will all be better soon!!! 
And they were right! 
It does seem to get a little easier.  Cooper nurses better than ever before! He has learned more about me just as I have learned more about him. And people are right when they say breastfeeding is an amazing bonding experience. You should honestly see Coop’s little face after he gets done nursing… I think he is the happiest baby on the planet! And even though babies don’t technically smile yet, I swear he is smiling!! 
We have gotten past our “hardest afternoon” so far. But I know more challenges lay ahead. The first fever. The first ear ache. The first flu. The first broken arm. The first time falling down the stairs. The first head smashing into a wall or corner. 
All of those scary moments are in my immediate future. But I’ve learned early on that I must stay clam, trust my instincts, and never be too shy or afraid to ask for help. And I know I have a lot more learning ahead of me. 
Being a new parent is an exciting, scary, amazing, and exhausting journey. We’ve had great nights and we’ve had long nights. Justin and I have both been tested and pushed to new limits. We have said things we don’t mean and laughed really hard about other things we’ve said in our sleepy state of minds. 
But at the end of the night, when I get the chance to look at our resting baby boy, who is calm and happy in his own little world… My heart feels complete.

 

And I could live in that moment of peace and perfection forever. 
Much love, 
Ashley 
PS – please excuse any typos! I am sleep deprived and wrote this blog on my phone. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s