The very first night home with Piper was somewhat of a disaster. Conveniently, our bedroom is upstairs and the bathroom is downstairs. Not feeling up for the challenge of hauling my freshly-sliced abdomen up and down the stairs, I decided to spend the night on the couch in the living room.
Being sleep-deprived, emotional, foggy and somewhat loopy from all the pain medication, I was finding it really hard to communicate with Cameron which added to both of our stress levels. Here we were, first night home with our little bundle and I could barely walk let alone stand up-right....I felt useless. Cameron was such a tremendous help to me in the hospital helping me in and out of bed, to the bathroom, even getting on and off the toilet....but now that we were home, I wanted to be able to take care of myself and my baby. Not being able to do either of these things really made me depressed.
Cameron set up a blow-up mattress for him to sleep on and set up the co-sleeper for Piper. I arranged a thousand pillows on the couch to try and find some comfort. Once we were all set-up and ready for sleep, I think we both realized how much our lives had changed.
Cameron had swaddled Piper like a little baby burrito and placed her down in the co-sleeper. She kept rolling onto her side and I got all paranoid thinking she was going to suffocate so we moved her to her swing. It seemed as though it took five seconds for her to start freaking out. As she screamed in the dark of the living room, I remember feeling completely overwhelmed by the situation and feeling as if it just wasn't fair. I was incapable of jumping up and running to my screaming baby. I remember thinking that I'd take stitches from tearing over stitches from being sliced through the abdomen any day. I spent a long time that night feeling sorry for myself. I felt pathetic. It must have taken me about twenty minutes to set up my pillows and then lower myself onto the couch and then another twenty minutes to try and adjust my body to a comfortable position. I was so paranoid to use my abdominal muscles the slightest bit. I imagined my incision would burst and all my guts would explode out of me. (what a weenie)
Looking back on that night, I'm understanding better that it's just as hard for any new parents to adjust to a squirmy, screaming, screeching, pooping, boob-demanding creature. It's actually kind of funny for me to look back on that night now. Cameron and I were both clueless. We're still slightly clueless. I think it's going to be that way for a while now. Maybe it stays that way forever...
Now that Piper is almost a month old, and I'm feeling about 90% recovered, I think we're both beginning to understand each other better. I have a sense for why she's crying when she's crying and I'm starting to figure out how to fix the situation (somewhat) quickly. I think a big issue for both of us in the beginning was breastfeeding. For the first two weeks, I think I cried every day over breastfeeding. It wasn't coming as easy as I thought it would and it hurt. Now that I'm feeling more confident, I think Piper has relaxed a lot more too.
People have been asking us if we're tired or how she sleeps at night. I always feel like a jerk when I tell them that she's been awesome! If there is any sense of a "schedule" or "routine" this early on, it would be bedtime.
Piper usually has her last round of baby cute time around 9:30/10pm. We're typically already upstairs in bed just hanging out watching her be cute. She sits in her "doughnut" (an infant lounger by Boppy) and does her "little mouth" trick or makes sweet little kitten-like noises or just stares at the twinkle-Christmas lights we have wrapped around the bed frame. This lasts for about a half hour. I'll nurse her while we listen to some music (Abbey Road is a favorite so far) and she'll fall asleep. Around 11:30pm/12am is when we're ready to go to sleep and Piper will either wake up on her own or we'll wake her up to change her diaper and she'll nurse again and fall back to sleep until around 4am, repeat, and sleep until around 8am. MAGIC! Crossing our fingers it lasts.
Since our first-night-home-fiasco, Piper has been sleeping in bed with us. Some have advised us against this, but it's what works for us (for now) and having her right there next to me makes waking up at 4am to nurse her so much easier...not to mention having her right there in between us and hearing her grunt in her sleep or just listening to her breathe in the dark and then waking up next to her in the morning just melts my heart.
She's only a tiny little squirt but she takes up more room than Cameron and I both (we now have a thin sliver of mattress each) but that's okay! It's only the beginning of the sacrifices we'll make, I'm sure.