Yah, so you might've noticed that I took one. Heh. My bad. I didn't think I'd be posting like two seconds after giving birth, but I definitely thought I'd be posting sooner than a month afterwards. Let's just say that some unexpected obstacles arose that prevented me from: blogging, sleeping, showering, cleaning the house, doing laundry, leaving the house, returning phone calls, etc., etc. Taking care of a newborn is freaking hard!!
I should add, taking care of a newborn that won't eat is HARD! After my last post, when I announced Emily's arrival, things took a slight turn for the worse and we had to take Emily back to the hospital to be readmitted for a dangerous case of jaundice. Obviously the hormones are still flowing pretty hard here, since I just teared up thinking about her being in the NICU with sensors on her head and monitors all over her. Whew.
To make that long story short, I'll just summarize by saying that Emily was spitting up a lot of amniotic fluid after birth. This made her not want to nurse since nursing just made her pukey. Unfortunately, not eating enough in the days after birth meant that her body couldn't flush out the bilirubin (which causes jaundice) and thus it just kept filling up her body, making her yellow and lethargic. Also unfortunately, having high jaundice levels makes babies tired and much less inclined to nurse, thereby perpetuating the cycle of not enough nutrition and not enough flushing of the bilirubin. Does any of that make sense?
The end result was a stay in the NICU, several days at home with a very bulky blue light blanket and a little eye mask to protect her eyes, and a VERY difficult time learning how to breastfeed. Since leaving the hospital we've tried feeding her through syringes, through a little tube that gets stuck to my chest while she nurses, with a nipple shield (since she tore the #$%& out of my nipples pretty much immediately when she was learning how to latch on), through a little tube attached to a finger that she sucks, and through a bottle. I won't go into more detail, but imagine getting up every 2-3 hours during the middle of the night, trying to get her awake enough to eat and trying to get her latched on properly while also trying to get a little tube full of breast milk into her mouth so she would get even more milk. The real takeaway is a lot of crying on my part and much milk spilt on everything in my bedroom. I knew a newborn would be a lot of work, but I didn't know that breastfeeding and just making sure the baby ate enough would be so challenging.
The good news is that things have improved since then, though we're still monitoring her weight very closely and we may still have to give her bottles of pumped breast milk if she stops gaining weight (likely because she's still not very efficient at drinking while breastfeeding).
For my part, I'm exhausted and mostly I just feel bad that I've wished away the entire first month of her life. Since I knew that breastfeeding often gets easier after 4-8 weeks I've really just been hanging on by a thread and hoping that that would be the case for us. I was also paranoid and overly worried about her weight gain and health and thus spent more time thinking about that than smiling at her, kissing her, and just generally soaking up all the baby love. Sigh. Oh well. My new parenting motto is <shrug>, "She'll be fine."
So, that's it for now, but I plan on posting more than once every three or four weeks. In my next post, assuming anyone wants to hear it, I'll do a birth story. Um, so, if you give a damn, write in the comments that you do and I'll write up a story of the birth. As a teaser I'll just say that even with a close-up picture of her arrival I still can't believe I've given birth.