As I sit here and write this blog post, I’m on the verge of tears. I just finished walking Logan and put her down for a nap. Honest, this may be my most vulnerable blog post yet — I’m putting myself out there in a real, raw and honest way. Why am I doing that? Because sometimes it’s nice to just write it down. For me sometimes it feels therapeutic. And because I know someone out there resonates with me and maybe this post makes them feel a little less alone. The first few months can feel isolating. Especially if you’re far from friends and family like I am.
First off, let me start off by saying I love Logan dearly. She has brought me so much joy and I’m proud to be her mom. She is learning so quickly and has so much spunk.
I know there are many couples out there who would gladly trade us places. I think it goes without saying, I’m eternally grateful for our baby girl. On the flipside, I can fill my day with loads of positive self-talk (I’m really good at that!) but the truth is, it doesn’t make our current situation any easier and I’d be downright lying if I said the last three months have been a breeze when it’s actually been the super challenging.
I know that no matter how much you prepare, having a newborn is never easy. Your life will change (for the better) and in general, it’s just an emotional time. People have told me this is just a phase, it will get better, it will pass, etc. I know this is true but when you’re in the trenches, you begin to wonder when the clouds will part. You see other new families being all cute and cuddly out there in the world experiencing life and making adorable memories and you can’t wait to do those things too. It all makes me feel a little anxious not knowing when the tides will change for us, and sometimes I question … will they ever!?
Where should I start … the beginning.
Long Labor: Logan and I had it rough from the get-go. My natural labor was super long. Let’s just say early labor started Friday and she arrived Sunday. I labored naturally for 24+ hrs at a birth center and ended up transferring to the hospital where I was able to rest and then pushed for 3hrs with a 105-degree temp. We then spent 4 days in the hospital until we were released. I wouldn’t say the experience was scary. I felt very safe the entire time BUT it was obviously extreme and tiring. I gave every ounce of energy in me.
Feeding issues: From the start, we had feeding issues. As a mom, this is so stressful because your number one duty and perhaps the most important one is to make sure baby is fed. We did everything right, delayed cord cutting, golden hour, lots of skin to skin but from the beginning, she refused to latch. Even now, 3m later, she’s still not the best eater. I even cut out milk protein, bananas and now eggs to see if she’d consume more ounces at a time.
Tongue and Lip Tie: Because of the feeding issues, we did a lot of lactation consulting. Our pediatrician found her tongue and lip ties and we quickly got them revised via laser at two weeks. I was desperate to breastfeed and do anything that would help her feed better just in general (bottle or breast). I wanted to make sure she was gaining weight.
When you do the revisions, you have to go in their mouth for the next month and do exercises on the wound to keep it from reattaching every 4 hours (even in the night). It was so brutal. I could tell she was in a lot of pain, especially the first 5 days. She had to re-learn how to use her mouth and tongue again. We followed up with $$ chiropractic care and craniosacral massage therapy. Both helped her release a lot of body tension she was holding onto from labor. This allowed her jaw to open wider, which helped her feed just a little bit better. Since her revisions, she’s latched on and off but now refuses the breast and will only take breastmilk from a bottle. Le sigh.
I’m exclusively pumping: Yup, I’m an EP mom, which before baby I had no idea what that all entailed. I thought, if that’s my only option so be it. It can’t be that bad? I can tell you, it’s not THAT bad but it is a full-time job. In the first 1-2 months, you have to pump 8-10 times a day (every 2 hours) and in the middle of night. This is all in addition to feeding your baby from a bottle on demand. I would often wake up to feed Logan at 2am and after I was done feeding her, I’d pump for 20 minutes, then clean all my parts, store the milk and hop back in bed for 30 minutes until it was time to repeat the process again. So yea, it’s pretty brutal. Now that I’ve established my supply (I have an entire deep freezer full) and I know her average intake, I’ve dropped to 4 pumps a day for a total 120 minutes. It’s more manageable now but still not easy.
Colicky: I had colic. Sorry Mom! Logan appears to be colicky. I say this because she cries A LOT but I’m not sure it’s more than two hours a day more than three days a week. However, once I got her on a nap/sleep schedule the crying improved tremendously. Most of her tears now are due to belly issues, getting bored easily and some things I’ll mention below. She’s never had issues going down at night. It’s mostly her happiness during her wake time during the day.
Dislikes the car and her stroller: So this is the biggest one for me on this entire list. The one that honestly gives me the most anxiety and causes about 75% of my tears. She hates her car seat and her stroller. Trust me, we’ve tried it all. Including different devices, distractions, me sitting in back with her, etc. None of it really works. She doesn’t like to sit still and she doesn’t like feeling confined/strapped down. The meltdowns she throws in the car are next level. You can’t do anything to calm her. She screams, turns beat red, sweats, cries real tears, foams at the mouth and I swear you can see the fear in her eyes. It makes going places next to impossible.
As someone who is always on the go, this is the hardest for me to handle. It breaks my heart and makes me feel super isolated. The cabin fever is real. I love going on my morning walks. This was something I couldn’t wait to share with her. Most days, those walks are cut super short because the tears start flowing. Chance and I love to run and hike too. I tried taking her to the play lounge at Barre3. Two other infants were there and sound asleep happy in their carriers. Logan was wide awake and screaming for me. I had to leave class early. The ride home was even worse. Unfortunately, I’ve heard this can take some serious time for them to grow out of. I’ve spoken to some moms who say even at 1 yr their kiddo still didn’t travel well.
She is not an intuitive napper: Some babies are really good sleepers on the go. They enjoy their car seats, strollers and swings. Logan WILL NOT fall asleep unless she is swaddled, in her pitch-black room, with her sounds on. This also makes going places really hard because infant wake windows are about 60-75 minutes. Her “I’m tired” fussy is not fun. She goes from zero to 60 quick.
As someone who shares her life on social media the last thing I want to ever do is paint a perfect picture when that simply isn’t reality. So yes, I’m totally inviting you to my pity party. I know things could be much worse. But then again, it’s totally natural to FEEL feelings — it’s what makes us human. There is no sense in trying to hide it. It’s been hard and I know many can relate. What helps me is being open about it. Talking it through with close friends, my parents and my partner. I take it nap by nap. Day by day. Week by week. I try to stay positive and remind myself that someday soon the haze will lift. But until then it’s okay to cry.