a picture of me very pregnant
a picture of my cute Ellie
The pregnancy was amazing and I really have nothing to complain about. The first trimester, I did have a lot of nausea and I was sick daily, but now, I can't even really remember it. The second and third were great and I really loved being pregnant. In fact, I was really kind of sad to not be pregnant anymore, even though I love Ellie being here. I was never miserable like people say, I walked daily, and while I gained about 45 lbs, I didn't feel like I was too heavy.
I definitely am one of those people who's going to have to eat my words of things I said when I wasn't pregnant. I confess, I said, if it were my kid, I'd do this or I'd do that, but even in this short 6 weeks, I didn't realize how hard this is. And no one can ever tell you. It's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.
Challenges I've faced so far:
1) Ellie had an issue with latching. The first night, she screamed all night because she was hungry, and we eventually had to tube feed her because we couldn't get her to latch. I saw the lactation consultant like, 5 times in the hospital and one time after I was discharged. We're still learning - in week 6.
2) I have an oversupply and overactive letdown issue. I remember I was so worried about having enough supply before she was born, that I prayed and prayed I would have enough. Well, God answered but maybe I shouldn't have focused so much on supply! The only reason it's an issue is that it has contributed to her inability to latch (we're using this shield that helps but ideally, we'd get off of that asap), as well as it contributing to her reflux simply because it chokes her and it's a lot all at one time.
3) At about 4 weeks, she kept getting fussier and fussier, and was having some issues (poopy) so we found out she is allergic to Casein, a protein found in milk. I was happy to find it, but it was tough with her screaming all day long in pain. It's taking 2 weeks for it to completely get it out of my system, and I think we're getting out of the woods. We also found out that she has reflux on top of that.
4) In addition to her food allergies, I also developed mastitis which is an infection of your breast tissue and can bring on flu like symptoms. I was very sick and while I caught it early enough, I felt miserable for a couple of days. My body hurt, I had a terrible headache and towards the end of the day, my hands were tingling and going numb, my joints were hurting and I had shortness of breath. It was unreal.
So needless to say, it was rough the first 4 weeks. Over the past couple of weeks, she's been a completely different baby. She's been so happy, smiling and laughing, recognizing my voice, getting better sleep, although she's not much of a sleeper, etc.
The thing that makes it all hard is that your baby is crying and your body physically reacts to it. You love that baby so much, more than you ever thought you could love something, and you can't help her feel better.
That's the other challenge I've had with her. I'm one that typically keeps myself closed off from people. While I'll tell you anything about myself, I tend to keep a distance from all and rarely let people in completely. It's, I guess, a way of protecting myself. But with this baby, I'm completely vulnerable. I love her more than anything I could have ever imagined and it's a love that's almost too big, if that makes sense. I can't protect myself from her. If something happens to her, I'd be devastated so I have to rely on God. I pray more now than I've ever prayed because I feel helpless in protecting her. The worst thing I can do to her is allow my fear to hinder her life experience and so I have to just trust in God. It's also made me very sensitive to other mothers and their struggles. One girl I know just had a baby and is struggling with stomach cancer. Another girl I know had triplets at 27 weeks, so they're in the NICU. A lady I work with has an 18 yr old with leukemia. Someone I know who's had trouble getting pregnant, recently did but it's still very early. All of these things make me pray for them as well. I don't want anyone in the world to feel the loss of their child because I know what that fear feels like. It's all good, I think we're supposed to live with an open heart. I think that's what God wants, but WOW - that's hard to do.
So after what feels like a very long post, that's my thoughts after 6 weeks of motherhood. I love every second of it and even though it's way harder than I ever imagined, I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.