We went to the pet ER and human ER three times...
...after only 3 days of being home with Wesley. I'm not sure how many folks I have shared this tidbit with since his birth but here we are. Probably have told to more in person than here, I'm not really sure why. Maybe it took me this long to process the days and months following W's birth. Maybe I also sort of didn't want to look like I'm fishing for pity/attention either. But I forget that there are so many other new parents out there that might've or are currently in the same boat we were in and well, this is my story and it's worth sharing. After this year, watching some of my friends become new parents for the first time brings all the memories back in full force and so, I want to share more of our story. Because I did not love our newborn months and a part of me still wishes I did "enjoy it more" like everyone told me to. And that sucks sometimes feeling that. (So I rarely tell others this phrase lol)
One of the cats (Dusty) went to the ER first, three nights after we came home. Dusty developed stress constipation from us being gone suddenly for a few days and Michael took him to the ER late Saturday night, like 10:30 pm, for blood in his stool...leaving me to almost do a night by myself which I was not prepared for that daunting task so soon at all (a thousand thank you's to W's 1st babysitter for coming to our rescue). And then Wesley went in the next day on Sunday after my family came to meet him. The whole day was overwhelming in general but then taking W to the hospital for low temps in 96-97 degrees felt like....a dream, not quite a nightmare but definitely out of body. Also I’m less than a week after giving birth still, guys. He was diagnosed with dehydration, thanks to my milk not having come in until that next day so we’d started supplementing (it took almost 7 days for my milk to come in...I didn't have much help from the hospital LC and W was a terrible latcher/learner) and then he went in again on Tuesday for something that ended up being completely normal and not necessary Maybe we didn't have to take him in that second time but shew, being new parents for the first time with doubts and no idea what the eff we're doing makes you do things, JUST IN CASE.
Also I should note that the cats had been separated pretty quickly after we brought W home. Dusty developed his usual displaced aggression towards Dori that got triggered after we brought a crying baby home to disrupt their lives. Imagine having a tiny townhouse, isolating a cat in your master bedroom because that's the best and only place to keep our cats separated, co-rooming with a newborn in that same room, but then also needing to nurse in the nursery across the hall for feeds because there's no room in ours for a comfortable nursing setup. Why? Because my vagina hurt (donut pillow ftw) and once the pain meds wore off, the pain in both my wrists came back too, due to the swelling from pregnancy. It's quite terrifying to feel like your wrists can't be depended on to do what they need to (I wore wrists braces and went to OT 1.5 months after W was born). I definitely felt like I was spiraling. I cried a lot (yes hormones) those first two months but I was also feeling just so overwhelmed with figuring out nursing with mommy’s thumb wrists, being sleep-deprived, and being anxious about Michael going back to work (pre-pandemic). That part scared me so much, Michael leaving me to take care of W on my own for whole days. I was such an independent person pre-baby and I think I lost that woman along the way with giving birth. Through countless talks and cries with Michael (I love this man) and some good mama friends, I eventually sought out a postpartum therapist a month after Wes was born. I have always been someone who does things readily and having Wesley paralyzed me both physically and mentally. I felt stuck. But I think, the act of finding someone, scheduling it, and getting myself (and Wes) out the door by myself, even with my wrists, helped me find my strength and resilience again. And being encouraged and pushed by the therapist to truly get some sleep. It took about 4 weeks postpartum before I understood how important it was to prioritize myself enough to get 4-6 hours of consecutive sleep. I’m not sure how other mamas managed it but it was so incredibly difficult as an exclusive breastfeeding mama (W never took to bottles to our chagrin) to plan out how to get myself that much sleep. I’m so thankful to Michael for helping me make that happen. That was the turning point for me. Sleep was so damn integral. Having a therapist just listen to you and feeling capable of making it to therapy and lactation appointments at our pediatrician’s office. It all helped me regain my footing and control. I think I’d only started feeling more capable to go out with W on my own in late February (with wrist braces still) and then the pandemic hit. And that I think is all the energy I have to give to this writing.
Writing this and reliving it in my mind now makes me so thankful to have had the support system in place to get through those first 6 months of Wesley’s life. If you are currently in this newborn phase, know that it gets better and that you are not alone in it. I am always here thinking of everyone and always happy to lend an ear or cheer you on ❤️