the first week. 

by chelseakyaw

we survived the first week. mostly arnold because taking care of a newborn and a broken wife deserves top holla. seriously though, i do not know what i would have done without that man in my life and am beyond thankful that he gets to spend Forest’s first six weeks with me and as a family.

what a week it has been. i honestly don’t know where to start. and yes, i’m tired, which i knew i would be – but I was also right – when you are learning and getting to know your new human, you basically survive off of borrowed energy & love & probably magic (aka adrenaline). That advice “nap when your baby naps” – i call bull. sorry. There is not much time to nap when you’re trying to take care of other things… like… your cats, your abode, yourself, etc. It’s also really scary worrying about EVERY THING with your new human – is he breathing okay? is he pooping & peeing enough? am I feeding him enough and correctly? This past week has probably been the craziest and most trying time of my life.

feeding // currently breastfeeding, pumping, and a few times I have had to supplement with formula (this was before my supply really came in, which I feel like was kind of late than “normal statistics”). There’s a love-hate relationship with my boob right now but once we get through this learning stage together, I think it will be much better. He will also not latch or take a bottle unless we bounce. His latch is also improving – I am working very hard on any technique to get him to correctly latch because before, it didn’t seem like the milk was transferring over to him as well, and on top of having a lower supply – this is where pumping and some supplementation comes in. I’m feeling really good about things though and continue to be optimistic!

personality // enjoys bouncing – mostly long bounces on the exercise ball, swaddles, being worn by dad in the baby wraps, car rides, and sitting in his poo (really hates sitting in his pee). Also, when I say he enjoys bouncing, I mean that if you’re not bouncing him 24/7 then basically you suck. He likes bouncing so much that we both have a six pack from that (JK, not me… don’t worry… I’m still flabby).

health & stuff // WHERE do I begin with this… Basically, he’s a healthy baby – minus the jaundice which caused a few issues. Issue one being “brick dust” – if you’ve never heard of that (which we haven’t because no one informs you on the important things), then you’ll basically think your baby is pissing blood. But it’s not blood, it’s basically clay or “urate crystals” and is literally one of the scariest things I’ve seen in him. Our ped says it’s normal and we just have to watch out for correct urine/fecal output, which is now on track. There’s still a fine amount of the dust in the urine, which freaks me out – but everything else is good. He lost a pound from when we got home from the hospital to his next pediatrician visit, but the doc put us on a feeding schedule with instructions and again, things are better.

parents // the first week with momma was the hardest – what with trying to heal from a second-degree episiotomy and whatnot and having a slow start to gaining my milk supply… there were a lot of tears. As for pe, I feel like he kept a pretty level head (THANK GOD) and helping me through that while coping with extreme fatigue. Dad has been the REAL MVP when it comes to changing diapers and swaddling Forest. That will even out though, once I’m not in boob-land where everything revolves around my boobs and feeding the baby! There have also been a lot of tears – probably every day I cry about something and it’s mostly the guilt I have about what happened in the beginning… which I’m about to dive into…

Based on prior blog entries, we all know how I feel about the hospital staff and nurses and a lot of people – but the BIGGEST issues resides in his feeding and my breastfeeding journey. I’ll start from the beginning, and I’d prefer no judgment because sharing this publicly is a little hard and YES I do feel a lot of guilt, but when I read about others who have similar journeys then I feel better – I just hope that my stories make someone else feel better *clears throat* – My relationship and Forest’s relationship with breastfeeding isn’t sunshine and rainbows. It has been a time of learning and practicing! At the hospital, it would take a while for me to get him latched on – lots of bouncing and trial & error with correct lip stuff. My lactation consultant was terrible. I will just leave it at that – very forceful with me and Forest – in fact she told me I shouldn’t be afraid to shove his face onto my nipple and that I “need to learn to be a mother and get my forceful voice out” so she can go fuck herself basically. I was under the impression that in the time of our hospital stay, Forest’s latch was great and I was doing amazing! I left the hospital excited and confident and lucky that it was going so smoothly. We went home on Friday night and were not able to get into the pediatrician until Monday morning – when we got there, we discovered that Forest lost a pound, or 14% of his body weight, a little more than we would like to see. We had no idea and had thought we were doing great and thought everything he was experiencing was normal. Thank GOD our pediatrician is on top of everything, so we did a weight-feed-weight deal and discovered that my milk wasn’t transferring over. We were told to supplement with pumping and formula if I couldn’t get an extra 30ml and to come back the next day after doing this – he gained a whole 5oz!!!  I broke down. I still cry thinking about this – what if I would have starved my baby to death and accidentally killed him?!  I blame myself, but after a lot of transition and help and resources, I also realize that I was not provided good advice.

Most of the people that “helped me” in the hospital really push breastfeeding in the sense that breast is not only best, but pumping and supplementation with formula is a no-no. I was told to not even touch my pump for a month and that doing so would mess with my supply, formula is basically shit, my latch was perfect (which I now know that I needed a lot of help with), my “equipment” is great (IDK about that, but OK), and that my body produces the perfect amount at the perfect time for my baby. Yeah, maybe for some people BUT NOT FOR ME. Sorry, but my baby didn’t latch perfectly right away and my milk didn’t really start coming in until DAY 6 and I fear what would have happened if I hadn’t gone to my pediatrician and taken her advice. It really makes me mad that there are some people so bull headed and stubborn about breast milk and breast feeding that they would NOT FEED THEIR BABY with all of the other options out there. If you are like that, don’t talk to me and go fuck yourself because that advice really fucked with me. And moms, if you’re struggling to latch or feed your baby and your milk isn’t coming in yet, for fuck’s sake – FEED YOUR BABY. Keeping your baby alive and nourished IS the most important thing. Society is terrible with this viewpoint and THAT is why I have had guilt. I wanted to whip my pump out because I noticed my baby wasn’t peeing as often as he should have, but I was told “just wait a little and it will happen” – well, it didn’t.

Things are a lot better now but I still struggle with this. Feeding him is both the most blissful and stressful experience combined. I am constantly judging his latch, worrying about whether or not it’s good enough for him to get milk, pumping and pumping so my store is enough incase he can’t get enough from milking me, and we have some formula on back-up just in case. I am constantly offering him the bottle incase he needs extra supplementation. Pumping, as well, has been really nice. There is one shift at night that arnold takes over with pumped milk and I get to sleep and when I wake up, I’ve got a nice engorged boob that he (seems) to be taking well and not needing anything afterwards. You win some, you lose some, but as long as he’s getting fed then I’m okay!

aside from those complaints, this has been the best week of our lives. we are just so smitten with him, and it’s amazing the personality he has. look forward to week 2 🖤