Things are going by crazy fast. When people ask Joe and I how things are going we both agree -- this is easier than being pregnant! Every time I feel like I can’t survive the exhaustion, I remember how miserable I was during the pregnancy. Plus, even when things are hard, there is a sweet, precious baby to love on! Here are some of the main things affecting us after baby….
Health: I did have some annoying health issues after baby. After one week home, I went back to the doctor for antibiotics for a urinary tract infection, which then led to a vaginal yeast infection. At some point between those infections, I randomly got a viral rash ALL over my body! Then, just when baby Fitz and I had breastfeeding down, we both got a yeast infection: his as thrush and mine was in my breasts. This made breastfeeding soooo painful -- I would cry during feedings. Also, Fitz takes a bottle so well that I could pump milk (still painful, but less so than breastfeeding) and have daddy feed him. Luckily, I had the worst of the infection so the baby didn’t seem too affected by it. It would have been even worse seeing him in pain!
Fitz was born wonderfully healthy. However, the day after he was born a pediatrician (Not ours, but one from the same practice) examined him and told us she could not find one of his testicles. This information was given to us rather brusquely and I cried for like two hours about it. I have learned, from our pediatrician, our urologist, and friends, that it is rather normal for a baby to have an undescended testicle. We’ve had to take him to get an ultrasound and a physical examination from the urologist, and we will do the same at four months. If it doesn’t come down on its own at six months, he will have a surgery. We have a wonderful urologist who makes me feel rather calm about the whole thing, and Joe and I are praying that this will work out on its own.
Breastfeeding: The first challenge we had was getting Fitz to latch on properly. He needed a lot of help at first to get his mouth opened properly so I had -- and still have to sometimes -- pull down on his chin to get his lower lip latched on correctly. I also struggled with being so engorged that the little guy couldn’t get on. I learned a lot about hand expressing, breast massage, and other things to get my breasts easy for him to latch on to. Breastfeeding was a little stressful for about two weeks because Fitz would be frustrated and just wanting to eat while I was trying to figure out how to help him get started. Often I need someone -- my husband, a sister, a friend -- to help me. After the first couple of weeks, breastfeeding became more natural to us and my milk supply has balanced out too. Then we had the issue of the yeast infection, but at this point it’s a breeze! I enjoy being able to easily feed the baby wherever we are, and I love having the time to just sit and be with him.
I received a lot of help from lactation specialists, and I strongly recommend that new mommies reach out to them! I requested the hospital specialist every day while we were there, and I also worked with the lactation specialist at the pediatrician’s office during baby’s first visits. When we got home I reached out to others for various issues. I looked up my local La Leche League leader and called her with questions, and then I found a breastfeeding support group that meets weekly at the hospital where we had Fitz. I enjoy going there with him and sharing with lots of other new mommies and babies! All of this support has made breastfeeding so much more enjoyable, and I don’t know where we’d be without them.
Sleep: Oh my gosh, nothing could prepare me for the lack of sleep! For the first couple of days, I definitely had a burst of energy and I wanted to see and talk to anyone who wanted to visit. Then it was like a wall hit me and I was desperate for sleep! When we got home, we found that Fitz preferred to sleep in his Rock n’ Play, which we kept by our bed. Those first few weeks, after I fed Fitz in the night, I would pass the baby to Daddy for a diaper change and to put the baby back down….and I would go back to sleep. This was lifesaving!
From the beginning, Fitz would sleep for long stretches of time and the doctors kept telling me to wake him up and not let him sleep longer than three hours during the day and four hours at night. To be honest, sometimes we did and sometimes we didn’t. We followed our instincts and what we thought he needed. Every time we’ve taken him to be checked, he’s had perfect weight gain, and adequate amount of dirty and wet diapers, and he’s healthy and happy.
We transitioned Fitz to the crib in his bedroom at about five weeks, and it’s going great! This helps Daddy to get more sleep at night when Fitz wakes up for feedings. I also think we are all getting better sleep because I don’t jump up and get him every time he makes a sound. I’ve learned that babies can be very loud sleepers! Many times he makes a whimper, squeal, or even a little cry and then continues sleeping.
Hormones: Again, something that I wasn’t totally prepared for… I called many a friend and sister about what I read is called “The Baby Blues,” and they are a real thing! I found myself feeling really sad starting in the evening, and I would just sit and cry. I was so confused about it – how could I feel so sad when I have the sweet baby that I wanted for so long? Simply talking to other mamas really helped me to understand that these feelings are due to all the hormonal changes and they are totally normal. Talking to Joe about it also helped, and I am so blessed to have such a supportive and loving husband.
Joe and I are over the moon in love with our Fitzgerald Fox. We still stare at him together every day and ooh and ahh about how cute he is and talk about all the things we can’t wait to do with him. And we love him so much! Being a mommy is even better then I thought it would be, and well worth all the inconveniences along the way. I may be able to do it all over again someday after all……