It has been one week since Bo and I became parents. In some ways it feels like just a few hours has passed while other moments it feels like an eternity. It has truly taken a village this week to help us through the process of adjusting to life with a newborn and navigating challenges, including keeping her healthy and growing.
While I have shared a great deal on Instagram and Instastories, I wanted to share a few highlights and reflections on our adventures during the first week of parenthood. I do not expect that I will maintain this as a series, sharing weekly reflections, but for now, as I sit here hooked up to a pump, I thought it would be a great way to share some honest, raw thoughts on what we’ve experienced as well as some laughs along the way.
Week One of Parenthood
I have so many thoughts regarding this first week of childhood. While it definitely doesn’t come with an instruction manual, I am thankful that Bo and I spent time in advance reading about soothing techniques, habits and what to expect during the first few weeks. However, no book could prepare us for the emotions that come with the week’s events. I have cried more this week than I ever imagined, due in part to the raging hormones as well as some of our challenges.
What are some of the challenges you all faced this week? While Katie’s delivery was smooth and quick, unfortunately she lost a significant amount of weight between the 24 and 72 hour mark, surpassing the 11% guidelines. Her weight decreased from birth by 13% while she also dealt with jaundice. This combination resulted in multiple pediatrician visits, a chance of being readmitted to the NICU and an overall feeling of failure and helplessness on my part.
Weight During the Week:
- Birth: 7 lbs 7 oz
- 6/21: 7 lbs
- 6/22: 6 lbs 10 oz
- 6/23: 6 lbs 7 oz
- 6/24: 6 lbs 9 oz
- 6/26: 6 lbs 15 oz
There are so many discussions that we’ve had this week that we never expected to have during week 1. Her weight loss was caused in part to the fact that my milk has not come in at a normal rate. As of now, I am only producing a very small amount, not nearly enough to satiate her hunger during any of the eight feedings. We had to discuss the pros and cons of formula, stock up on bottles, and discuss alternatives to breast milk. As soon as we began supplementing with formula, our daughter became a different person. She was more alert, slept better and begin filling out again as her color also improved. However, adding these steps means that I dedicate more time to feeding than I ever realized possible. A typical feeding session right now is as follows:
Have Katie feed/enjoy skin to skin for an average of 10 minutes per breast
Have Bo or one of my parents give Katie 2 ounces of formula via bottle
Warm compress and pump
The above process happens 3-4 times per day while the other 4-5 times per day I skip the pumping for my current sanity.
How is mom’s recovery thus far from labor & delivery? I am lucky that my labor and delivery was shorter than most, with only 12 hours of labor from induction to delivery. My final stage of labor was 10 minutes, including about 20 bursts of pushes which were very efficient and only resulted in a one degree tear. I attribute the quick labor in part to the prenatal pilates classes I took during pregnancy, which focused on proper breathing, as well as my lack of epidural, which meant I could feel every contraction as it came and push exactly as it arrived. While this form of delivery was not what I expected and will be explained further in her birth story, it turns out that it also allowed for faster reduction in fluid retention and faster recovery. As of now I am still taking things easy, limiting my walks to 1-2 miles a day in total but spread across a few separate walks. I have no plans to return to more intense exercise than walking until I see my doctor for my six week appointment.
Number of Diaper Changes: 55
Number of Pediatrician Visits: 4
Average number of hours Ashley has slept per day: 4.25
Number of days Bo was on paternity leave: One week
Number of diaper changing stations now set up throughout the house: We quickly realized that having multiple changing stations made our life FAR easier. Our dresser in our master bedroom is the evening and nighttime changing table while during the day we are using this great, portable changing pad that I received in last month’s BumpBox for changing diapers downstairs during the day.
What were a few of the memorable firsts?
Holding her in my arms after the delivery.
Calling our parents and siblings from the delivery room to let them know they’d officially become grandparents.
Waking up as a family of three for the first time, while enjoying the incredible sunrise over the East River from our hospital room.
Katie peeing all over Bo during her first day of life.
My mom giving Katie her first bath while still in the hospital.
My mom drawing Katie’s blood for the billirubin test when the office’s phlebotomist was having a tough time.
Watching my dad tickle her tiny feet.
The first night of cluster feeding, when I felt so helpless and clueless but was quickly supported by so many Instagram followers.
Seeing my ankles for the first time in months, thanks to decreased swelling.