I really should've heeded everyone's advice just before PK was born to actually get some rest, but that's not in my nature. I have to be up and about, doing this and that, otherwise I don't feel productive. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten a whole lot of sleep since Tuesday, August 5th. I spent half the night awake that day thinking I was in labor, only to realize that I wasn't. Thankfully we didn't go to the hospital that night, since we were sure to be turned away. The next night, into the wee hours of August 6th, I went into labor for real, and the rest is history.
PK's first night in the world was a bit rough. Though she was positively calm and angelic during her first few hours out of the womb, it was a totally different story at night. The fact that the hubby wasn't allowed to stay the night didn't help. Unfortunately, we'd gotten a semi-private room, so that meant that he couldn't sleep over. PK and I were all alone.
The night started out okay. After the hubby left, I finished writing up some e-mails that I'd started earlier that day, and then I went to sleep. PK was put to sleep on her side by the nighttime nurse, who said that this position was better for her fist night in case she spat up. And spit up she did. I woke up with her spitting up, so I grabbed some tissues to wipe down her face. I tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn't. She kept spitting up, so I decided to pick her up from her bassinet to hold her. I put her back in after a while, and she slept for a bit. And then she woke up. I fed her. And fed her. And fed her. My nipples were feeling pretty raw by the end of it. The feeding seemed to soothe her somewhat, but then she woke up and started crying.
I finally realized that after alternating between feeding and rocking her, the source of her cries were a poopy diaper. And what a poopy diaper it was. This stuff was EVERYWHERE! I felt a bit overwhelmed, so I ended up calling in one of the nurses to help me change her. I'm sure she wasn't all that pleased, but she helped me nonetheless. After that, PK seemed to be more calm and finally fell asleep.
I awoke somewhat refreshed at around 6am, and looked over at the bassinet. PK was GONE! I panicked. All I could think of was how I was a bad mother. That I didn't even make it through one night with her before she was taken away from me. I was devastated. I rushed outside to the nurses' station and said, "My baby is gone!" One of the nurses rushed back inside my room to see. We rushed back outside. Fortunately, someone realized that my nighttime nurse had taken PK while I was asleep to do her hearing test. Lo and behold we found the nighttime nurse in a room with the hearing test equipment. What a sigh of relief that was! I'm still a bit pissed that the nurse didn't ask me before taking her, but the important thing is that little PK was back in my arms in no time.
I was positively relieved later that morning when the hubby came by the hospital to see me. It had been a long night. I was exhausted, but by the time he came by, I didn't want to sleep.
We were discharged from the hospital in the early afternoon. We stayed a bit longer than 24 hours because the hospital staff needed to make sure that Hannah didn't get infected with GBS when she was born. Since my labor was so short, the nurses didn't really have any time to administer the necessary antibiotics to protect her from GBS before she was born. Fortunately her test results were all good.
We ended up leaving the hospital a few hours after PK was discharged, because she just kept on feeding. When we finally got a break, we put her in the car seat, and then called the nurse to check to make sure that she was in properly. After that, we were on our way. Our ride back home was interesting. We needed to stop by Shoppers to buy some Vaseline for the diaper changes, and some other stuff. After that, we were on our merry way. Even though we left at around rush hour, the hubby managed to circumvent the nasty traffic. I stayed in the back seat with PK to make sure she was okay. Unfortunately, the excitement of the past couple of days finally caught up to me, and I zonked out.
I was barely standing when we got home. The hubby got PK, my bags, and me inside, and I headed straight for the couch for a nap. I was out cold. Fortunately PK slept the entire time, so I was able to get some rest. In the meantime, he put together our playpen in the living room.
We somehow managed to have some dinner and drag our butts to bed. That first night at home was as interesting as that first night at the hospital. PK kept waking up for feedings and diaper changes. We were positively exhausted. We had a bassinet in the bedroom that we tried putting her into, but she hated it. Exhausted, we ended up falling asleep with PK in bed.
I have to admit that we never EVER planned on having PK sleep in our bed. I've always felt that bed-sharing was dangerous. This, however, was completely unintentional and was a result of our extreme fatigue and inexperience with a newborn infant. Fortunately, we did manage to correct the situation for the next night.
Determined not to have PK sleep in our bed again that second night, we tried to put her in her playpen as much as possible the following day. That got her used to sleeping somewhere other than our arms. We also realized that swaddling her when we put her down helped her sleep quite well. When we first tried putting her down in the bassinet, we'd put a blanket over her, tucked into the mattress, since that's what one of our baby books had recommended us doing. The swaddling worked much much better.
One week later, we have finally established a bedtime routine of sorts. She sleeps soundly in her bassinet for 2-4 hours at a time. This is in part thanks to my milk having come in 3 days after she was born, since she was filling up much much faster. We also discovered that changing her diaper before a feeding was quite effective, because, while she got all riled up over the diaper change, feeding her right after had quite the soothing effect and allowed her to sleep through the night. Basically, whenever we know that she needs to be fed, we change her diaper first and THEN we feed her.
So there you have it. I won't pretend that it has been an easy week, but we're managing just fine. Our next step is getting her to sleep in her crib at night. Hopefully we'll be brave enough to attempt that in the next couple of nights!
Most recent article for Washington Post
4 days ago