November 3rd 2013
Wilder is one week old.
I miss sleep so badly. If I could ever reach the REM stage of sleep, I would probably have sweet dreams of sleeping. “They” told me I would be tired, but I had no idea I could be this exhausted. I was slowly rocking myself in a state of delirium the other day, while Lee Kyle held our son. He asked if I was okay. I replied, “People warn you that you are going to be tired, but you have no idea how tired you will be. I am so tired right now my stomach is no longer working. I could vomit everywhere, any second. I think if people were able to feel how tired they would be, even for a second, no one would have babies anymore. No one.” It’s like Vietnam over here. Time has lost all meaning.
While I have felt a love for Wilder that I have never experienced before in my life, these first few days have not been without their challenges. I have always strived to have some sort of plan for the important things in my life and bringing our baby home was definitely one of those things. Instead of feeling self-assured, at least with our personal preparations, we instead arrived home very surprised and overwhelmed with how little we were actually ready. I had planned to make a schedule of people to come and help us, mainly with animal care and some basic housework, but I had yet to put the schedule together. We all were under the impression that we had at least four weeks left before Wilder joined the family. We hadn’t sterilized any bottles, or even thought to prepare frozen foods for ourselves. Our arrival home from the hospital triggered my incessant need to straighten and organize things and that continued for the next few days. It’s very difficult for me to relax if things are disorganized around me. I’m trying very hard to work on that every day.
Wilder’s first full day home was Halloween. I woke feeling somewhat refreshed that morning because Andy let me sleep nearly a full eight hours on our first night home. My body needed it, and although I have luckily recovered quickly I have to remind myself that I did just have surgery. I am also a mixed bag of emotions. I can cry almost on command. Andy, Lee Kyle and I were sitting in the nursery looking at the new curtains that Lee Kyle and his mother had made when Andy casually asked, “I wonder when he will outgrow all this baby stuff and want to change his room?” I started sobbing. Just the idea of Wilder growing up so fast caused the waterworks. Both Andy and Lee Kyle have quickly adjusted to my strange over-sensitivity and they have yet to make me feel like a crazy person. I know a lot of my emotional turmoil has been tied to Wilder’s early arrival, my feelings of our utter unpreparedness and also the complete demise of my ideal birth. I feel as if everything happened so quickly (which it did) that I am still trying to process it all.
Wilder had his first appointment with his pediatrician on Halloween afternoon. Andy and I loaded him into the car, along with all his things, and drove over to Dr. Capone’s office in Lakeview. I was a little nervous about meeting his doctor, since I had chosen him based on referrals only. I had planned to meet him and one other doctor before making the decision of which to choose, but time didn’t permit that. We were lucky to be fit in on such short notice, although it did increase our wait time. Dr. Capone is a popular doctor and I can see why. He has a very approachable personality and is thorough with both the patient and the parents. Wilder had dropped down to 5 pounds 13 ounces since his release from the hospital. We went over basic concerns and feeding guidelines and he also tried to test Wilder’s hearing again. Dr. Capone marveled at how calm he was and stated that he feels Wilder will continue to have a calm temperament. All in all, Wilder was said to be in good health and we were given a follow-up appointment scheduled for a few weeks later.
We picked up some food on the way home as our Halloween plans had become much mellower since Wilder’s arrival. Lee Kyle was planning on coming over to help us hand out candy. I was exhausted by the time the sun set. We didn’t have a single trick-or-treater and I found myself eating more candy than I should have. We were hoping Clint would be coming with Lee Kyle, as we had invited him, but I tried not to set my hopes on it. By the time Lee Kyle arrived I was feeling a little blue. I didn’t really want to do anything but hold our baby but the boys convinced me that we needed to take some photos to commemorate Wilder’s first Halloween. We headed up to my closet and each picked out some costumes to wear. I then set up the tripod in the spare room and we took some fun photos of us celebrating together. Clint had decided not to join us, as he’d made plans with another friend of his. While I could see that this did have an effect on Lee Kyle, I tried not to pass any judgment on Clint. We all have our reasons for the things we choose to do.
The next morning, after a night of trying to breastfeed and pumping every two and a half hours, I felt pretty out of it. Andy had slept on the floor of the nursery while I slept in the recliner. He had to leave not long after we woke for the day in order to go get necessities at Walmart and check on things at the bar. I should have slept part of the day when the baby napped, but I didn’t. I did some housework instead and by the afternoon even though I really needed to rest, I was still going strong. I had convinced myself that I didn’t really need the sleep. The feeling was similar to the same disinterest in food that I have developed before when on a cleanse. Its false empowerment that makes you think your body all of a sudden can exist without something it completely needs. Of course a few hours later I crashed and burned. I got short with Andy on the phone for being gone for so long. When he arrived home I had a meltdown.
I finally went to my room to lie down (and cry). Andy called Daphne and she rushed over to help him hold Wilder and get things put away and organized. I slept through most of her visit, but it made a huge difference in my attitude upon waking. Thank God for Daphne and her readiness to help us. I felt more like myself after the nap which was good because Lee Kyle’s mother and sister had driven in from Texas that day and were planning on coming by to meet Wilder. It was evening by the time they arrived and they were overjoyed upon seeing the baby. We had a really nice visit despite my sheer exhaustion. Wilder truly is a wonderful little baby who rarely fusses. He sleeps most of the time and it is hard not to become captivated by his tiny, adorable gestures. I’m so glad that Lee Kyle’s family was able to see him at this stage of his life.
Saturday arrived with my overwhelming concern that my milk had still not come in. The round the clock pumping schedule was intense to say the least and I was still only producing about an ounce and a half a day. Yes, you read that correctly. I started on every home remedy possible that day, including a special tea from May Pop herb shop, dark chocolate, oatmeal, and even a half a beer. I massaged my breasts and cried and prayed. I called the lactation consultants at Touro and they said that I was doing everything correctly and to try not to stress. Easy for them to say. It’s been over a week since he arrived and most women get their milk supply in within 3 to 5 days. Another unforeseen bump in the road.
We had a lot of visitors this week which allowed me to get some things done. I already broke doctors’ orders on my first full day home by vacuuming the entire house. I fully recognize that I have a problem and believe it or not, I’ve been trying to learn how to relax even when the house is in disarray. I’ve been doing better, but honestly our biggest stress has been dealing with all the dogs. We’ve learned very quickly just how time-consuming a newborn can be and sadly Kara, Andy’s youngest dog, has not been getting the attention she deserves. All of the other dogs are older. Mine have actually been acclimating quite well to Wilder’s presence. But Kara still requires ample play and exercise in order to be a happy dog. Andy and I were talking about her and we both started crying. We think it is only fair for her that we try to find her a better home. I feel like we are crappy dog-parents because we haven’t been able to magically make it all come together with the new addition. It breaks my heart to know that Kara is unhappy and not getting the attention she needs. We are planning to reach out to some of our dog rescuer network to see if they can help us in the quest to find her a more suitable home. Many times the right thing to do is not at all the easiest.
Wilder’s first week of life outside the womb has left us exhausted and enlightened. I discovered a new love that I wasn’t even aware I was capable of having. Both Andy and Lee Kyle have been amazing partners and I feel so lucky that we are able to share this journey together. I have been delighted by Andy’s attitude and outstanding support. He has changed so much from his initial feelings about the idea of us having a baby. Lee Kyle and I were able to spend a good amount of time together on Sunday night and we had the chance to discuss our insecurities and fears. It was very cathartic for me (and hopefully for him as well) to voice out loud my hopes and doubts. Wilder rested easily in his lap as we talked, reminding us of his preciousness. We are a family now. At times we have no idea what the fuck we are doing, but I have no doubt that together we can figure it all out.