The first week home with our new baby in the pink “isolation chamber” passes in a blur of preemie diapers, burps (or anxiously waiting for them), constant breathing checks, sterilization of bottles, pumping, struggling to breastfed and complete and total lack of sleep (for me, baby is doing just fine in that department). My mom is cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and takes care of things in general with the biggest task being our toddler (who I guess is technically a preschooler now or at least will be very soon). My little boy has a difficult time adjusting the first few days “what is mommy doing in the room downstairs with the door closed?” “why is mommy not playing with/dressing me/driving me/reading to me/making me food etc.” and “what is that little crying/eating/burping/pooping thing and how come its still here?” My husband has to be flexible with his work schedule in order to grocery shop, be home before six pm to take our son off of grandma’s plate and to take him to his Tuesday speech appointment. Somehow we all survive.
We decided to try the night nurse out in order for me to at least get some shut eye…but it almost has the opposite effect. I worry the whole entire time AND feel guilty for not taking care, or being able to handle my own child, instead leaving her with a stranger. This stranger does come highly recommended and is very well qualified and educated with tons of experience, however, when she can’t even get my baby to drink her first night bottle after multiple tries, I cringe and go to my room, suffering and little sleeping going on. She comes from ten at night-as I rush to get enough milk pumped, bottles in the fridge, sterilized and ready with formula and breast milk for the night feedings, everyone in bed and sleeping, including our dog (who has her own bedtime ritual), and stays until 5 in the morning (she leaves right before my husband leaves for work; crazy early I know).
We try her for two nights that first week and as I don’t want her to disturb my son or anyone else in the house, she comes after everyone’s bedtime and leaves before anybody (but baby and I) are up in the am. As she takes the baby-the tiny infant I’m responsible for and sworn to protect, I don’t like seeing my daughter in this new person’s arms at all but I trust that she knows her job and surrender to the fact that I desperately need some sleep. I almost have to give her up for a few hours in order to be a better mom (trust me, I’m that tired-moms with newborns, you understand, now add the worry that your newborn might stop breathing in the middle of the night…yeah you get it). I sneak into our pink room and pump for an hour until about 11:15 (an hour, yes you heard me- need to increase that milk production AND have enough for baby girl’s increased appetite) then I get teeth brushed etc. and ready for bed. About 11:30 I lay on my pillow, worrying about my tiny infant with the strange (probably very sweet and not at all weird) night nurse who can’t take care of her (despite knowledge of the contrary), imagining all sorts of things. Between 11:30 and 1:00 I have checked in on them and/or “visited” four times BOTH nights (to the nurse’s joy I’m sure). Around 1:30 I fall in to a dreamless, knocked out coma of pure exhaustion and don’t wake up until my alarm goes off at 4:45 am. Well, I have to admit I need the sleep.
We will consider having her come back next week, baby is alive and seem content after all!
Week two of baby being home, I’m starting to get into more of a routine with our new little addition to the family. I feel stronger in my abilities as a new mom and more confident. My dad is flying in on Tuesday, right before Easter and mom and I are looking forward to someone helping with our little boy and someone else driving (since my mom doesn’t and baby and I are only allowed to leave the house for doctor’s appointments) but what happens at the end of this week is so unexpected and traumatic (for us all), shaking me to my very core…