Everyone warns you that you don’t know exhaustion until you become a new mother, but you don’t believe them because you know it will be different for you. You know that you’ll be able to keep up with the crazy sleep schedule, the visitors, and the need to feel like you’re doing everything without skipping a beat. Then you realize you have a six week old that has stolen your heart and what you considered to be a “normal” amount of sleep within such a short time. Amongst the chaos, you find moments that make it easier to keep chugging along.
When we were bringing Layla home from the hospital I felt like I was on cloud nine. All of the emotions, seeing her sweet face, the help from all of the great nurses, and the joy of our friends and family had me feeling like I was on top of the world. (Besides the fact that I had been cut open after being in labor for 17 hours just a few days before.) I couldn’t wait to get home and get her adjusted to the house, the smells, and the noises. As I suspected, she did just fine. Balancing the breast feeding and the supplementing with formula (she didn’t latch very well) every 2–3 hours was not too hard on my 24 year old body…yet.
After a few days, we realized she was dealing with bad acid reflux because she was crying after feedings and throwing up everything we gave her. It’s safe to say this mama was a nervous wreck. The only thing I could think was “What am I doing wrong for my baby?”. The answer was that I wasn’t doing anything wrong. We just had to make a few adjustments to both of our diets and put her on a little baby Zantac and she was eating like a normal newborn again. Something that other mommies and newborns go through often. Breathe in… breathe out.
Sleeping for Layla is a lot like sleeping for me. We don’t need much to make us comfortable for it and we like doing it a lot. And I know, she’s a newborn so sleep is essential, but I want to feel like she at least gets something from me. (If it wasn’t for the months of morning sickness and the swollen ankles the size of gallon jugs, I’d swear her daddy carried her for 9 months.) Anyways, that doesn’t mean she isn’t awake exactly 3 or 4 hours later to eat, cause you know us girls gotta eat. And I’m sure you’re thinking “I can function off of 3 or 4 hours of sleep easily.” And you’re right, for a little while. Eventually, you start to appreciate those 6–8 hours of sleep you were getting while pregnant, even if you were getting up to pee what felt like every 5 minutes. Joey was already back at work, so I tried to get up for as many of the feedings as possible. But I cannot forget to give credit where credit is due because Joey is the best Dad. He has gladly changed poopy diapers, woken up for late feedings, and reminded me to eat when I was too worried about feeding Layla instead. But I’ll save all the bragging on him for a later spill…
All that being said, days seem longer now than they did before we welcomed our daughter. I used to think about how good my cup of coffee was gonna be after my shower as soon as I woke up in the mornings. Now I think about when the last time she ate was and if I could go another day without washing my hair. Visits from friends and family are not as often and I’m starting to get anxious about returning to work. I’m finding myself crying throughout the day because I’m so happy to be her mom and because I’m more tired than I knew I could be. The emotional roller coaster is unending. God knew what he was doing when he made me her mom and I have to trust that on the days that I’m not sure if I’m doing it right (which is often). Her soft skin, her warm cuddles, and her sweet little sounds make the sleepless hours so, so worth it.
At this point, I can’t remember if I decided to write this to explain that I’m so tired after 6 weeks or so happy with how motherhood is going so far, but I can definitely say that I’m EXACTLY where I’m supposed to be.
The mama that’s taking it one day at a time.