Looking back now those first four weeks were a blur. Here is what I remember:
* Feeling emotionally overwhelmed. Normally when you fall in love with someone it's something gradual. You meet them and there is probably an initial attraction. You then become friends and you start to notice qualities you like about the person. With a new baby you go from 0 to 1000 in .0005 seconds. Woah!!
* Once I got used to having a new love in my life I then became very anxious for about 7-10 days. It was probably the normal baby blues that one gets. But I just remember being consumed with fear for her life those first few days to the point where I didn't sleep at all for like 3 days just watching her nonstop. The other feeling that was present was utter incompetence. I felt really stupid a lot of the time!
* Breastfeeding does NOT just happen easily and naturally. Just like I didn't bother with birthing classes I also didn't understand why people needed breastfeeding instruction. Boy was I in for a shocker. I ended up needing several sessions with more than one lactation consultant and even then it took quite a while for things to fall into place. Even now I still worry about whether she's getting enough, whether I'm making enough, can't we make her latch better, etc.
* Going into the pregnancy I had low expectations for breastfeeding for a variety of reasons. But once she was here I became obsessed with getting it to work. Unfortunately my family was surprisingly NOT supportive. It seems that my breastfeeding was not in vogue for my Mom's generation. Three days after Alanis was born my parent came up to the house and the baby was crying because she was hungry. We were having trouble with the feeding still at that point and my parents started freaking out that she was hungry and I wasn't feeing her appropriately. So I gave in to them and gave her a bottle two feedings in a row. After they left when we tried to get her to latch on for the next feeding, she refused. I thought it was all over. We tried for 1.5 hours while both she and I cried. Eventually we got things to work, sort of and thankfully my milk finally came in the next evening and the baby was much happier. And my parents stopped harassing me about bottles!
* Growth. This one goes in conjunction with breastfeeding. Since I was set on BFing exclusively they had to monitor her weight closely those first few days. When we went in that Thursday after she was born (4/17) she was down to 5lbs 10oz since they lose some the first few days. At 8 days (4/21) she was back up to 6lbs. This was a nice gain of over an ounce a day. She continued that trend weighing 6lbs 9.5ounces at her 2 week check up on 4/28 and 7lbs 11ounces at her 1 month check up on 5/12. Wh
* Sleep. Oh wonderful uninterrupted sleep, how I miss you. I guess I didn't really think this one out through before I had the baby. This is probably a good thing because if I had known just how bad it is I may have waited some more. I guess I figured you'd have some bad nights but also some good nights. I didn't realize you would never sleep a full night again for a while!! Naive little me. I thought I'd have stretches of time where I'd be sleeping. Oh no no no. The baby needs to eat every 3 hours and since I was BFing that meant I had to be the one doing this. And at that point it took an hour a feeding so even if I did manage to sleep afterwards it was only for 2 hours at a time.
* Day/night confusion. Eventually she started having slightly longer awake periods. Unfortunately, these were in the dead of night at first. "Look Mommy and Daddy! I want to interact with you now!" Yeah, but it's 3am!! We were torn because we were happy that she was finally recognizing our presence but we really had no energy for her at that time.
* Within a few days we were doing decently well getting the baby's needs met. But we realized we were ignoring our own! Some days it would be mid-afternoon and we hadn't eaten anything. That's when I called Mom and begged her to come over and stay with us so she could feed us and clean the house.
Damn, this sounds like negative stuff but it really wasn't. It's just that that is what stands out the most in my mind at this point. The baby was still pretty "fetal" that first month, especially since she was born quite skinny. She didn't do much yet but she did smile as she drifted off to sleep. And all her bodily functions were in place and provided entertainment for us. We were still just in awe of having made a little person and were content to just stare at her for hours on end.
4 weeks old: