During my pregnancy I was already wondering how everything will be later. And my imagination wasn’t too bad but I had several things I was afraid of. I think that it’s impossible to be afraid of unknown because, really, what are we afraid of then? There’s always something in our minds, some idea what everything will look like. I had no idea how my life would change, if I could handle it, maybe I’d die from exhaustion, I didn’t know if I’d be a good mom… I talked about it with Nathan several times and I cried too. I told him I was afraid I’d disappoint April and myself and that this whole taking care of a newborn will be too much for me. I never had such a small baby in my hands. So I was afraid what I’d do when she cries so much and I’d be alone with nobody to get help from, I wouldn’t know what to do, how to help. I was stressed by the idea of me not sleeping much, not having time for anything… including eating. The other thing is that I didn’t want me and Nathan to go far away from each other and this is what I saw in my imagination.
But I wasn’t afraid to be into labor and I felt prepared for that. I remember that I touched her head when it was outside and it was an amazing feeling! And a moment after that one of the nurses put April on my chest. And this was incredible. I really don’t know how to explain what was happening with me at that point. I could hug this little girl who was kicking me inside for so long! I suddenly forgot about pain that I felt, everything just went away. And I’m serious, I didn’t believe it was possible when other women were talking about it. But it is! I had no idea you can love someone so much from the very first moment you see them.
I remember that I was afraid of picking her up on the first day! I was holding and feeding her but if I wanted to pick her up and put her in a different position, I completely had no idea how to do it. I asked nurses or Nathan for help. Now I think it was a little embarrassing but I just had this impression that April was so tiny and fragile and I didn’t want to hurt her. I handled it the next day, fortunately.
Several first days were tough. At the beginning I’d feed April every 2 hours maximum so my days were totally mixed with nights. I’m saying maximum because I couldn’t go over those 2 hours but she often woke up earlier. I had no idea what was happening around, I slept wherever and whenever I could, I didn’t eat much because I didn’t have time and I didn’t even feel like it. For a while, not too long fortunately, April had this strong need to be held and to suck! So it happened that she was stuck on my breasts for 6 hours straight which on one hand was exhausting but on the other one I didn’t want to take it away from her. At the beginning I thought I’d want Nathan to stay at home for several first days but during the weekend after she was born I could do much more and I told him he could go to work with no problem and I’d call if I needed anything. And I didn’t!
I had moment when I was extremely frustrated. I thought I got stuck on my armchair forever because I feed April on demand so at the beginning I never knew when she’d want to eat again, how much and so on. I was afraid to go out for a walk with her by myself, not mentioning going anywhere further. I felt miserable in this sense that taking a shower was a luxury that happened once in 3 days, I could only dream about painting my nails because how to do it while holding a baby for most of the time? Not mentioning sleeping for more than 2 hours in a row.
But I was going out even though it scared me. If I didn’t I’d feel like in a prison where a security guy was a week old baby! Nope. I’m not talking about some long trips but walk or shopping at Target – yes. However, I remember that when we stopped for lunch on Sunday (April was born on Friday) on the way back from a check up in the hospital I stared at her being in the stroller and thought “please, don’t cry, not here”.
One more problem is that I don’t really have close friends here. I have three friends, one of them has a one year old son and a job, second one is about to five birth, third one is on a bed rest for the rest of her pregnancy. Jagoda lives 50 minutes away from here which makes it more difficult and she works as well. So for a while I felt very lonely. Nathan works every day, Alicia was going to school (now she’s in China) and I really wanted some more adult interaction, at least with someone older than a 7-year-old child… Texting with people here is one thing, talking with sister is another but I’m the type of a person who needs a face to face contact.
Anyways, then we went to Silver Falls and Hawai’i, April was 2 weeks old when we went on a plane. I learned a lot at that time and I felt much more confident.
The worst moments are the ones when April cries, cries, cries and it’s hard to calm her down. Do you remember when I asked you for advice about her pooping problem? It was a huge issue, really. I cried with her several times because not only that I saw she was suffering but also I couldn’t do anything. If not this, everything would be much easier. Now it’s much better. She cries almost the same way at least once every day when her tummy hurts but it’s not even half way as bad as before and you have no idea how happy I am.
I don’t want to be the one who sets daily schedule and I prefer to wait for April to regulate it all. I can’t imagine having feeding times set and forcing her to wait is she’s hungry before or force her to go to sleep when she’s not sleepy enough. This is how it’s been so far and we already have an idea more or less. We put her to sleep around 9pm, she wakes up twice at night, around 12-1 and then she falls back asleep, then around 3:30-4:30 and she falls back asleep again, then she eat around 8 and she usually stay awake for a while, her first nap is around 10-11am. At night Nathan feeds her for the first time and later he brings her to me and I feed her laying on the bed so I can sleep and she falls asleep with me. I never know how things will go during the day though. She usually has two more naps but not always. For example today she woke up at 10am because she had some rough times at night and her one and only nap was at 4pm! Six hours with no sleep. It was hard.
I still have times when I think, man, it’s difficult! I don’t have time to cook a normal dinner. Or I have a terrible headache and April still cries. Or I’d like to go for a walk but she gets mad when I put her into her stroller. Or when she falls asleep on my chest but she starts crying when I put her down… I sometimes get so frustrated that it happened a few times that I had to put her down and go away for a moment, breath deeply and then come back. And if any of you have the same sometimes and feel guilty about it, I don’t think you have reasons to feel like it. We’re human beings and we have our own feelings, emotions, our boundaries.
Now I usually find time to cook something, to take a nap if I need it. I take April grocery shopping and everything’s fine. I’m sometimes able to write a whole post at once, exercise a little or read a book. I go to my class, sometimes meet with Jagoda. We went to the wedding, baby shower, now we’re going to a birthday party and later a pool party so we’re not boring either. And I sometimes just sit and do nothing and that’s fine too. I have time to shower, to paint my nails or dry my hair.
I hope that nobody will see it as an attack because it’s not what I’m doing but I need to say I don’t understand women who treat taking her of their children as a job, some of them don’t really like this job. Yes, it’s tough sometimes but a job? Being a mother is a profession? A lot of them want to stay home with their kid/kids but then they complain that it’s a hard work and they don’t get anything out of it (seriously, nothing?!), that when they fill forms at their doctor office or something they should be able to write “a stay at home mom” when they ask about an occupation. They complain they don’t get vacation or weekends off. Of course, I sometimes want to rest too but I have my husband to help and watch April when I can’t / don’t want to, he’s her dad! I understand getting annoyed when someone says “you’re at home the whole day and do nothing and then you complain you’re tired!” because it’s not really the way it is and if I sometimes have a chance to do literally nothing, I want the time to stop and just wait for a while. However, I still don’t get being angry at people and telling them that being a mom is a harder job than whatever else that they do.
But it all goes to one little piece and it’s my daughter! And I love being a mom. Despite of all difficult moments I’ve been through and all of the others that are waiting for me, I love her with all my heart and I can’t imagine not having her. This time changed me a little bit. I’m stronger, I think. Not physically but mentally. I surely wouldn’t be able to leave April with a nanny/au pair/at a daycare and go to work so I’m very happy I don’t have to do it. But I don’t really have much of a problem to leave her with a babysitter or with her own father when I want to go somewhere or do something else. I don’t want it to happen too often but it’s not because I feel bad about it, it’s because I don’t feel a need for it. Because, for real, I love spending time with her. Now even more than before because for a while now she’s been able to maintain an eye contact, she smiles pretty much the whole time she’s away (sometimes even when she’s asleep), she’s happy to see me. And she learns new things every day, every single minute. She looks around, she’s very vocal, she tries to grab toys and she’s able to hold them, she’s had a very good head control for a long time now, not that long ago she started to sit up holding my fingers but with no help from me! And today she tried to stand on her own feet. It’s amazing. Everything that I can see every day is amazing. I can’t imagine not being able to see all these things. And it all rewards me all the moments when I feel worse, like today when I started being irritated at some point. I can’t take my eyes off her and I still sometimes can’t believe that she’s my daughter! This was definitely the best decision in my life. And I think I’m a good mom :).
I thought I’d show you some photos that my photographer took during labor and afterwards. All of them are beautiful but relax, I won’t show you the ones with details ;).
Talk to you next time!
PS. Yes, there’s Alicia too but in this post I focused on April the most.