The hardest part of taking care of a newborn is definitely the first month, and within that, the first week… and no matter how many times you’ve done it already, it never seems to get easier.
I am fortunate though, to have such an amazing husband who has really helped along the way; he’s an amazing father to our children.
I had a failed VBAC, so I ended up with an emergency C-section, even though I was already kind of prepared for one (just in case). I hadn’t eaten or drank anything since midnight.
I figured I could hold off calling my husband who was out in the field until at least 6AM. I couldn’t get rid of my daughter until 8AM, the earliest she could arrive at school, thank God the school is right by the hospital. My in-laws made the drive down from Cincinnati late morning the day I went into labor. I ended up calling my hubby about 4AM, and he came home from the field a little before 5:30.
The three of us went to the hospital. He dropped our daughter off at school later in the morning, and we stayed together until the afternoon when he had to go pick her up. By the time my doctor decided we needed to do a C-section, thank God my in-laws had arrived, and my husband was able to come back to the hospital.
My nurse during labor and delivery was amazing. All nurses should be as caring of their patients as she is. My anesthesiologist was also incredible and so personable. I’m so thankful for such a great medical team, even though the staff was whoever was on call that day. ♡
My husband stayed with me during my entire recovery, sleeping on those awful fold-out “dad beds” that also serves as chairs. We couldn’t wait to go home after being stuck in the hospital for 3 days. He was so wonderful in helping with changing and feeding the baby. ♡
For me, I think the hardest part of the first week (aside from the pain of the incision once your drugs wear off) is breastfeeding. I was determined to at least try because I was disappointed I wasn’t able to do it with my daughter since my first C-section was infected with MRSA. With my first son, I was equally disappointed that I couldn’t master it before I gave up a few weeks later.
Thank God for President Obama and the Affordable Care Act, because with my other two children I definitely could not buy a quality breast pump when considering more essential purchases that my babies needed — and before, it was not something that even the best insurance plan covered, but since 2013 even Medicaid will cover a breast pump because of the ACA. ♡
Although my milk did not come in while I was at the hospital (the baby was just getting colostrum), and even though I wasn’t sure if he was even latching on right, I exclusively breastfed him during my hospital stay. I was disappointed because I wanted a fat baby, and I could tell he was losing his birth weight.
When we got home, I would occassionally squeeze my breasts to see if anything came out, and if I did manually expressed my breasts, the colostrum did come out of my nipples. The first night that we were home, I asked my father-in-law to get baby formula and a gallon of distilled water (he’s actually a pediatrician, how great is that!?).
Around 2AM, after the baby seemed so miserable and hungry, I went downstairs and I made him a bottle. I was still determined to breastfeed though. The next day, I tried out my breast pump… I got out about 1 oz. with like 25 minutes of pumping. I was still determined that the baby would get some breastmilk even if I also had to supplement with formula.
However, surprisingly the next day when I pumped, I got up to 2 oz. I was so ecstatic! 2 oz. is a lot for a newborn, it’s the same amount as the ready-to-feed bottles that they give you at hospitals. Also by the second day of pumping, my breasts were engorged by the morning time, and when I pumped I could actually see the milk squirting out from my nipples.
My baby still supplements with formula, but I’m so happy that although I’ve more or less gave up on nursing, my baby is still able to get some breastmilk, which is the golden standard for baby feeding. Pediatricians recommend to exclusively breastfeed for the first year as the baby’s only milk source, but I’ll be happy if I can make the 3-month or 6-month mark.
For those who are interested, I got the Spectra pump. I LOVE it. A lot of women go with the Medela brand, and I can’t compare the two, but I’m very satisfied with the Spectra — considering it’s the only way I seem to be able to get my milk to come out!