The first few weeks with a newborn are the hardest weeks you will ever encounter. Neither of you know what to do. You’ll stare at wonderment at this thing you just created. And he or she will stare at you confused and unsure why they were expelled from their “happy place.” And you’ll tear up with joy, sadness, pride, anger – basically every emotion ever created because those hormones are ridiculous. And this newborn will tear up for hunger – always hunger.
Each day in the hospital is really a blur. I remember sleeping, eating, and a child on my boob. People visited, but I couldn’t tell you when, what we talked about (though apparently I was part of many conversations), or how long they were there. I also remember the recovery – and pain medication, so much pain medication. But not much outside of that. I do, however, remember that first week of Abby home.
Here are a few things that, if you are anything like me, will encounter during that first week:
You will worry about EVERYTHING.
Is the diaper too tight, too loose? Is she peeing too much, too little? Should she be sleeping this much? Is she sleeping enough? I can’t give you any advice on how not to worry, but I can let you know, you will make that diaper too loose one time and will end up with poop all over, if she’s going through a good amount of diapers then she’s doing well, and she will sleep unless she needs something. Newborns are slightly boring – adorable, but boring, sorry.
You will get pooped or peed on, even if you have a girl.
Abby has now peed on me three times, one of which was into my hand as I put a diaper under her. She has also rocket pooped, resulting in a massive cleanup, and she has soiled many sheets. And you will clean it up. You will wait to wash your own hands until she is completely clean, diapered, and back to sleep. Yep, poop is gross, but newborn poop (aside from the very first poop) is nothing compared to toddler poop. I’ve changed my 2-year-old niece’s diaper moments before changing my daughter’s. Think about this, you eat real food. So do toddlers. So toddlers poop like you do – yea, let that sink in.
You will put your hand in front of her nose to make sure she is still breathing.
This is especially true at 3 am when you are in a zombie like state and can’t remember if she last ate 30 minutes ago or 3 hours ago. I did this for a few weeks. And each time she made a slight noise, I jumped to my feet to make sure she hadn’t leaped out of her bassinet, casually strolled to the cat litter and start eating it. Fun fact – newborns cannot leap, and you know that logically this cannot happen, but that doesn’t matter because you will check and you will assume the worst. And also, we keep the cat litter in an area that is even difficult for us to reach but of course, I assumed she could also jump high at 2 days old. If you are super worried, I’ve heard only amazing things about the Owlet Monitor. I didn’t use this, but I have heard parents love them.
You will question everything you do.
She’s crying, which means you are failing at a parent. You are NOT a failure. Babies cry. And in the beginning, it’s usually because they are hungry or need a new diaper. Later on it’s a little more difficult to figure out, so enjoy the “ease” of this time. Ha, I just said “ease” in association with a baby – nope!
You will be late to her first doctor’s appointment.
We planned like crazy for this day. She came home on Saturday, her appointment was Monday at 9am. Perfect – we’ll take the two days to adjust to her schedule and make it work. Ha, yea right! We even set an alarm for 5 am to give ourselves 4 hours to prepare, and then five minutes before we had to leave, she had a massive poop. Then she needed to eat. Then, pooped again. In the end, we showed up 45 minutes late to the appointment. Apparently that was actually earlier than the receptionist expected, so there’s a parent win!
You will not sleep. In the last trimester of pregnancy, you will barely sleep.
You will get tired of people telling you to sleep now because once that baby comes, sleep with be completely foreign. How is one supposed to sleep when their back hurts, you can’t lie comfortably, and you have to pee every 40 minutes? I was looking forward to the newborn phase because newborns sleep ALL THE TIME. Guess what, they do sleep all the time, but in 2-3 hour increments. Then, inevitably, they wake up with demands. Enter zombie state. It’s ok, eventually they sleep through the night – and eventually they move out.
You will experience a love you never knew existed.
I honestly cannot imagine a life without Abby. Even on her most cranky days (which there are many), I can’t remember what my days were before she was in it. I know I had a life, there are photos around the house to prove it. But, nothing compares to her. She’s this weird little baby that I want to snuggle and kiss all the time – even when she poops in her car seat (multiple times), or screams at 3 am because she just needs to be held, or has no idea why she is unhappy, even in her worst times, my heart melts for her.