our first week together

DenaMay 16, 2013

Life with a newborn is hard. There is no other way to put it. You go into it expecting the lack of sleep, long nights, hard days, crying, dirty diapers, and the lot — but you can’t prepare yourself for what it will really mean; for how your life will really change.

The hardest part for me has been the loneliness. For the past month, Matthew has been working 14-hour days. He leaves the house at 5 am and doesn’t get home until 7:30 pm. It is so lonely here without him. He took off of work for the week after the baby was born, but he’s gone back now and his absence hurts so much. I miss him all day. It was so nice to have him here, to help with little things, even just to hold the baby for a few minutes so that I could go to the bathroom. But now, I am alone, and I’ve had to learn how to do everything on my own. Practically, it is a challenge — but the emotional aspect of it is what bothers me more.

We’ve had lots of offers for visitors but we are keeping a relative quarantine around here until Roman’s two-week checkup. Immediate family have all been around to meet him, but beyond that we’re waiting to plan visits. There has been a nasty stomach virus going around and even a fever in an infant requires a minimum two-day hospital stay. Although we had an amazing hospital experience — we’re not in a rush to go back anytime soon!

Once two weeks passes and we’re out in the world, I am sure that the loneliness will lessen. Right now we’re just going through a little bit of cabin fever around here.

The two other “hardest parts” are (not) sleeping and breastfeeding which are kind of tied together. The great news is that he took to breastfeeding immediately and — knock on wood — we haven’t had any issues there. He loves to eat. In fact, he would eat all day if I let him. I’ve jokingly told Matthew that I have the cure to all of our problems: Just duck tape the baby across my chest and let him stay there, boob at his disposal all day. He would love it! Joking aside though, breastfeeding is the most physically and emotionally demanding thing that I have ever done. The baby needs to eat every two hours, give or take. That is around the clock, twenty-four seven. My life is a series of feedings, one after another. It’s almost as though that’s all there is. Everything else has fallen away. I am nothing except a pair of breasts and a fountain of milk for my newborn boy. And believe it or not, in some ways, it’s wonderful. I am so grateful to be so close to him, to have formed this bond, to be nourishing him with my body. It so beautiful and rewarding. But on the other hand, it is utterly exhausting. Every muscle in my body hurts from the weird feeding position that we find ourselves in at three o’clock in the morning and let’s not even talk about how my nipples feel right now! (And I thought labor was painful…) 😉

He hasn’t been sleeping on his own. He screams and screams when we put him down, so I end up holding him through the night. I’ve read about ten thousand pieces of advice on the issue of sleep and I don’t need anymore. We just have to work through it. That’s all. We make tiny, baby steps every day and I know that none of this is forever. Everything will change with time and as difficult as these first weeks may be — I still cherish every moment.

For now, he is the center of my universe and I am the center of his. We are everything to one another — and as hard as that can be — it is also the most beautiful & wonderful gift. It will not always be this way. There will come a day where I will wish so desperately to have this closeness back. So I do not take a moment of it for granted. The pain, the exhaustion, the loneliness — all of that will pass. For now it’s all about eating, sleeping, crying, dirty diapers, and the most precious little baby boy faces I could ever imagine.

I love being a mommy.

Comments (9)

  • Lou Mello

    May 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    You have such a great attitude about all of this and you and Roman will be just fine. Cyber Hugs to the both of you.

    1. denabotbyl

      May 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm

      thanks so much!! how are your daughter and her new baby doing?

      1. Lou Mello

        May 16, 2013 at 3:38 pm

        Both are doing fine and we are going to drive up next weekend to see them, excited as I can always hand her back when “necessary”. 🙂

        1. denabotbyl

          May 16, 2013 at 3:52 pm

          how wonderful! enjoy your visit. 🙂

  • amy

    May 16, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    breastfeeding IS hard – it is hard work. you are doing awesome. those feeds will stretch out, it will get easier. i promise. <3

    i think the best thing i ever got told, was to think of the first 3 months as the fourth trimester. they NEED you. they WANT you. if they sleep with you, fine. if they feed a lot, fine. it's a huge transition for them to be outside the womb, some babies slide into that phase better than others. some need more time. you are his everything, and eventually things like going to the bathroom and taking a shower will be easier. do what feels right for you. don't listen to other people's "what not to do" – they have never had your baby and you instincitvely know what your baby needs.

    you are doing great, dena <3

    & soon, everything will just come to be a lot easier.

    1. denabotbyl

      May 24, 2013 at 12:01 pm

      thank you so much, amy. you always know just what to say to put my worried mind at ease. i am so grateful to have friends like you who have “been there, done that” and have such kindness and wisdom to share with a worried new mama like me! love you. xoxo

  • Angelique

    May 23, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Being a mommy is the absolute best, I can’t agree with you more! You’re doing a great job mama and yes, it definitely gets easier, I promise. Isn’t it funny through all the sleepless nights, exhaustion, lonliness and pain…I still wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world. Ahhh…can’t wait to here more about your adventures!

    1. denabotbyl

      May 24, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      Hi Angelique! Thank you so much, darling. You are absolutely right — despite all of the trials — we wouldn’t trade it for the world. I keep reminding myself how precious these moments really are and how one day I will look back and wish to have it all over again. I’m trying not to take a single moment for granted. <3

  • Chantel

    October 29, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    I couldn’t have said it better myself! Great post.

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