Friday, March 11, 2011

First-time Parenting

In continuation of my last post, I'd like to elaborate on that time in my life. While it is cathartic for me, my true hope is that it might help someone else out there somehow.

A baby is a blessing. And our daughter was and is still a big blessing in our lives. I simply could not imagine my life without her. But I can not tell you that when she was born that everything was easy and perfect. I think sometimes that as first time mothers we all have these expectations and ideas of how parenting should and will be. You hear and read about all of these wonderful stories from other moms, and no one really tells you about the difficulties and struggles you as a new mom will face. And it's kind of taboo to talk about. Some family and friends will understand, while others will have no clue how to handle what you're going through or how to support you.

I will admit that on the other side of that joyous time of my daughter's birth and the closing of our first home came many challenges and struggles. In addition to combining the birth of our first child with the closing of our first home (as if that weren't enough), there were many other factors that came up that increased our stress levels. 

During the wee hours following my daughter's birth, it was discovered that she had a low body temperature. She spent time in the nursery, and after many tests it was also discovered that her white blood count was high, suggesting that she may be fighting an infection. The hospital where she was delivered was unable to get an I.V. successfully into her, so she needed to be transferred to a bigger hospital with a NICU an hour away. I was transferred to the same hospital the next day to continue my recovery. Katie needed to stay in the hospital for a week, for monitoring and medication. I was able to stay for half that time. One of the hardest things is having to leave your newborn in the hospital.

My husband was making trips back and forth from our old apartment to the new house to move our belongings. He was also cleaning and painting various rooms in our new home. In between, he would come to visit us in the hospital. It was a difficult time.

Even more difficult was when we were all finally out of the hospital and at home together, when the visits and calls had quieted down, and it was just the three of us.

While we tried our best to avoid them occurring together, moving into a new home at the time of our first daughter's birth was probably the most stressful time in our lives. Imagine bringing home a new baby while all of your belongings are in boxes and a state of disarray. As a new mom, I think most can relate that we want things to be "just so." Hence why most of us usually going through a stage of nesting during pregnancy.

Added to that was my own recovery from surgery, operating on much less sleep, trying to get the nursing thing down, my body seeming foreign to me, and my hormones trying to balance themselves back out, it was a truly difficult time for all of us. We somehow got through those first few weeks and months. In the moment, it didn't seem possible, but we did.

I'm approaching the home stretch of my second pregnancy, and while I know this time will be easier and less stressful than it was with my first, I still acknowledge that it will be a huge transition, for each of us, in uniquely different ways. Thankfully, this time around I know where things are located in my home and I won't be digging through boxes and trying to unpack while taking care of a newborn.  We will be a little more prepared this time. I'm sure there will still be some ups and downs along the journey, but I know we'll make it through to the other side once again.

Please come back for my next post, where I will talk about ways to prepare for the addition of a new child, as well as tips for getting through those first few weeks. (I think it goes without saying that it is not best or wise to take on two major life events at once!)

No comments: