The First Week as a New Mom
While my husband, Todd, drove us home from the hospital, I sat in the back and held our newborn daughter's head straight in her car seat the whole way. It felt weird to be out in the world and responsible for this tiny, floppy-necked being. When we got home, I carried Kate's seat up the stairs, put it on the floor, sat down, and stared at her.
The first six weeks with a newborn are a series of ups and downs for any parent -- major ups and major downs! It's intense, and then it's over, and you remember it as a blur. Luckily, I wrote a lot down, and reading through my notes has given me a clearer picture of what those bleary-eyed first days (and nights) were like. I hope my recollections will help prepare moms-to-be, and hopefully help new moms feel a little less lost.
Day One at Home: Kate's Fourth Day of Life
After prying my eyes away from my sleeping daughter, the first thing I do is take a shower. It's not easy, considering my c-section incision. The doctor said I could get it wet, but I'm leery. I also don't want water hitting my sore, engorged breasts, so washing my hair is awkward if not nearly impossible.
Then I resume my main job as Mom: feeding Kate. This, too, is not as easy as it sounds. You read that breastfeeding isn't supposed to hurt, but at the beginning, it does, even if you're doing it right. Kate is a natural, but I'm not -- I tense up when she opens her mouth and frantically shove the nipple in before she can clamp down in the wrong place. It's really nerve-racking.
Day Two: Sleep, Please!
You hear about new parents being exhausted, but in the first few days you can run well on adrenaline and mysterious Mommy Hormones. Then, slowly, the lack of sleep starts to not only catch up with you but overtake you and rule your life. On our second night at home we don't know all that yet, and we're content to steal sleep when we can. Kate mostly dozes on my chest or Todd's -- we pass her back and forth. When I was pregnant, I thought I'd never want the baby in our bed, but now that I see it allows everyone to stay horizontal, I'm all for it -- at least for these first nights.