Where has the time gone? I remember sitting on my ugly orange chair, the one I inherited from Mum’s best friend in high school, the one that I camped out in during all-nighter essay writing sessions when I was in University, holding you, staring at you and thinking “I can’t do this. What have I done? I’ll never survive the six weeks of recovery” simultaneously as I felt more love than I’ve ever felt before.
The first month was hard. So very hard. And wonderful. It was one of those times in life that were so balanced between absolutely awful and amazingly beautiful that I was able to get through. After my very difficult labour, I spent a few days in the hospital with Pat and Liam. Gradually, I got to the point that I could walk on my own and began eating again (though I still hadn’t slept), so I was discharged. I’d like to point out that sleep deprivation is a method of torture, and for good reason. The combination of my hormone drop, my hard recovery, terror over being a new parent, and the trauma of the birth left me in a really bad mind space.
I was absolutely and totally engulfed in extreme post-partum depression. I considered suicide. I considered running away. I thought about how I had ruined our lives with this baby, that the baby deserved so much better than me, that I could NOT be trusted to care for him. I couldn’t sleep because the moment I closed my eyes I would immediately have a flashback nightmare to the worst parts of the labour (to the point that I cried out and flailed, as though in the moment again). Later, once the flashbacks faded, I had managed to stress myself out so badly with the mantra of “Sleep when he sleeps” that I was having breakdowns over failing even at the most simple task – sleep. I would have full panic attacks when I would try to nap, because of the pressure I was putting on myself to sleep while the baby slept. I couldn’t eat but I was so hungry all the time, and so nauseated as a result (no one had told me this would be a side effect of the spinal block and the surgery. I thought it was my fault). I think I survived one minute a time. I ate a lot of fruit, oatmeal and Special K bars. I cried all the time.
I was told, no, I was promised that it would get better. I didn’t believe it, but it was true. Jan, Tracy, and, of course, Pat carried me through this time. They were my cheerleaders, my nurses, my family.. They held me at 3am when I sobbed over my nursing baby. They gave me things to look forward to. They fed me, they let me shower and get away. I had no idea that I would be emotionally, mentally and spiritually damaged by birth, and they helped me heal in every way, I discovered friends in places I had neglected or forgotten. A co-worker of mine from years ago texted me through the night and talked me through rough times. She made us meals and assured me that we would not only get through it, but thrive. One of Pat’s co-workers cooked for us, one of my friends from the old Knit Nights and now LSGP kept the LSGP community updated on my state.
Through this healing, I decided to step away from the internet for a while, as I was finding I was only focusing on the hard and awful. That decision made a huge difference for me. Jan told me, instead of stressing about napping, rest and find peace in doing things I enjoy. I’ll sleep when I sleep. Suddenly, I was able to see the good again. There was so much good, how had I missed it?
By the end of week 2, I started watching movies with Tracy, spending real time with her again. We loved dressing Liam up and playing with him. I started laughing again. Breastfeeding was going really well. My little man latched like a champ and my boobs no longer hurt like hell. Once Tracy had returned home, Pat and I started spending quality time with our boy. We marvelled at his beauty, his strength. He was ours and he was perfect. We started feeling more confident. We were sleeping in our own bed again (previously, we were on the couches, because I couldn’t handle the stairs and needed to be propped up. Liam slept with me, on my chest).
We had a bit of a scare, with some lumps we found on his neck. We took you to see a pediatrician at the hospital and she said he was healthy and perfect. It was a scary time, but we are so happy to know that he is fine!
Pat went back to work on the 7th, and I was terrified. Somehow, despite being so sure that I would fail just a couple of weeks before, I had a great week at home with Liam. We played, we sang. He started to smile and my heart burst with joy. His first month ended with my very first Mother’s Day, which was so perfect.
Stolen from the amazing elefantitas alegras, here are Liam’s stats for Month 1
One Month Old
My baby is now a month old. Such an important milestone. We did it. We got through the first month. I’m feeling much stronger at this point. I can do stairs, I can do minor housework. I started taking Liam out for walks in the stroller and for drives in the car (even if it was just to get a latte at Starbucks, it was a big deal for me).
Liam started to have gas issues, which resulted in much crying and fussing during feedings and at night. Ovol is a lifesaver for us.
It was a major adjustment, trying to handle all the night feeds and diaper changes on my own so that Pat could sleep. We are still adjusting to our new roles and schedules. I started recognizing Liam’s routines and started integrating play and song into our day. Mornings are my favourite time, as they have been since he was born. He’s just so happy and alert in the morning. Night time stresses me out, and it took until midway through this month for me to calm down and let Pat help at night, which has let us all relax a bit.
Late in the month I start seeing that Liam loves wiggle time, so I pull out the activity mat we got from Pat’s aunt and uncle and Liam LOVES it. Near the end of the month he’s grabbing and pushing the dangly toys. He’s even grasped and held a rattle!
He’s starting to enjoy baths a bit more, but they are still a chore. We did have our first run in with diaper rash, as well as Liam’s first cold and trip to our family doctor.
The weather turned quite hot here and we discovered that Liam HATES the heat. He gets really fussy and refuses to eat, which wasn’t great when we visited Nanny Jan’s when she didn’t have A/C.
Liam is still sleeping with us, which while not recommended, works best for our family. That said, he did sleep in his cradle for his first night time sleep chunk all on his own. Pat and I, of course, couldn’t sleep at all with him out of our bed, but it was still a huge victory for us. Also, he now naps in his bassinet during the day.
Liam now has a favourite song – You Are My Sunshine. Pat sings it to him all the time and now its one of the things that calm him down when he’s upset. Diaper changes are his favourite time. He smiles and plays and is a dream while he’s on his back. We play and I tickle him while cleaning him up.He’s gone up two diaper sizes! He’s growing so fast. We’ve had to pack away from of his newborn onesies because they don’t fit anymore, making me so proud and a little sad. He’s making so many more noises and sounds. We love it! His expressions continue to change and now he looks more like his Dad than me.