12 Days of Parenthood
Despite never knowing what day it is, it has been 12 days since Jenson was born. Before he was born, people kept asking if we were ready. My response was usually that our house was ready, we had everything we needed, and that we were excited for him to be here. But I don’t think anyone can actually be “ready” or know what to expect as first time parents.
After being told I would likely need to be induced and was having a large baby, I was quite surprised when my water broke 9 days early and he was only 7.5 lbs. Had we known he would be arriving and sleep would forever be changed, we wouldn’t have stayed up late that night after the Buckeye game. I got 1 hour of sleep before my water broke around 2:30 a.m., and Lo got none because he was watching the F1 race that started at 1:30.
Now it’s normal for us to be awake in the middle of the night like that, but by necessity, not choice. Our first night home from the hospital was quite a shock. We went to bed around our normal time and put a sleeping Jenson in the bassinet by the bed like everything was going to work out just fine…and it didn’t. It wasn’t long before all hell broke loose and we were like – oh my god..what do we do?! He was crying, we didn’t know if he was too hot or too cold and we didn’t know how warm we needed to dress him. Very few of his clothes fit because we only had a few hand-me-down newborns sleepers because he was supposed to be so big, and 0-3 months were huge on him. We didn’t feel comfortable that we could swaddle him well enough so the blanket would stay out of his face – he can pop his arms out of almost anyone’s swaddle. Nothing was working to calm him. My milk hadn’t come in, so he wasn’t getting much to eat at a time and we just didn’t know what else to do. I ended up in tears, Lo took over, and eventually we ended up sleeping on the couch with Jenson in the bouncer nearby. We got a little sleep here and there, but man, it was a little harder than we expected.
Since then, the days are pretty great and the nights are hit or miss. Even the “misses” only last a couple of hours, and since we can split those hard times between the two of us, it’s not unbearable. Some nights we’ve slept on the couch all night (so we can watch tv when we are up with him or when I’m nursing), some nights we’ve alternated sleeping in the bed, and a few nights we’ve both slept in the bed at the same time. Sometimes he sleeps in the bassinet, sometimes in the rock-n-play, and sometimes in the bouncer. We just do whatever works at the time. The good news is that now that Jenson has surpassed his birth weight (he gained 10 oz. in a week!), I no longer have to wake him to nurse every 3 hours. He’s also a pretty quick nurser for now, so I don’t have to be awake for long periods of time with him usually. Last night even though he had a meltdown for a couple of hours, I got 5 straight hours of sleep! After he nursed again, I got a couple more hours! It was pretty fantastic. We try to nap here and there when he is napping, but we also want to be able to get things done and have visitors, so it’s a tough balance.
Just when we feel like we get the hang of things, something happens that assures us that we don’t, but we’re doing the best we can and we’ll make it through together. We’re incredibly grateful that Lo gets to be off for 6 weeks (though they are going fast), and we constantly remark that we don’t know how single mothers do it. In the end, it’s all worth it though.