Monday, June 9, 2014

Life with Baby J: The First Night

I wasn't originally going to write about this experience, because I don't often like to tell people about times when I am not at my best and I don't know what I'm doing. BUT, since I found myself sitting on my couch at 3:00 AM googling people's horror stories about their first night home alone with their baby to make myself feel better. IT. WAS. TERRIBLE. Terrible. I got about 45 minutes of sleep that night. Max. And after months of sleeping like crap, and 3 day of barely any sleep in the hospital, I was at my breaking point. I remember thinking, around 5:00 AM, "Oh my God, what did we do? We can never go back now".

In the hospital, Baby J was a dream. A dream. He was so nice and sweet. He barely cried. He did a little whimper if he needed anything. He slept most of the time. He was an angel. I couldn't believe our luck.

Sweet as an angel. And if that isn't an "I gave birth two days ago and am an exhausted new mom" face, then I don't know what is.

Proud Papa.
Hah. Oh, what naive thinking.

Baby J spent a lot of time in and out of our room in the hospital. When we got him back from whatever they were doing to him (antibiotics, shots, tests, circumcision, etc.) he would eat and then pass out for awhile. Poor thing was probably exhausted.

However, when we got home, it was a whole different ball game. We had him 24/7. He was coming off the antibiotics. He was in a completely new setting. Oh... and we had absolutely so fucking clue what we were doing. None.

Everything started off fine. We somehow managed to make it home despite the 6,000 cars all going 200 mph (which is essentially what it felt like, I was petrified something would happen to him on the way home). Alex's parents stopped by to say hi and brought us dinner, lifesavers. And then we started to settle in for the night. Except one of us decided he wasn't having it.
Sweetness & Light all snuggled in on the way home.
Baby J refused to sleep unless I was holding him. Which was fine, except for the fact that it is impossible to fall asleep, while sitting up, without worrying that you are going to drop your two day old baby on the ground. He was exhausted, but refused to sleep. The two days of no sleep were finally catching up with me and I was exhausted. At 11:00 PM, after about two hours of hell (we tried to go to bed early thinking we would be having a long night... if only we knew...) I called my mom asking for advice. But, there's only so much advice you can give over the phone and I had tried almost everything. She asked if I wanted her to come over, but I was determined to do this on my own.
Pretty sure he is plotting how to make sure that we never sleep again.

He wouldn't sleep. He refused to eat. He screamed when I put him down. He cried when Alex held him. Eventually, I told Alex to just go to bed. At least one of us could get some sleep.

Around 3:00 AM, I was sure someone had switched our baby at the hospital. That was the only logical explanation. There had to be some twin baby at the hospital that they gave us by mistake. 

Around 4:00 AM, I started googling people's horror stories about their first night home with their babies. It was nice to know that pretty much everyone spent their first night home in the deep depths of hell with their tiny little devil children. You know, the one's who act all sweet, innocent, and practically perfect in the hospital and then switch it up when you get home. 

Around 5:00 AM, I starting wondering what we had gotten ourselves into. What had we done. This was our life, forever. I would never sleep again. Ever. I loved this little boy something fierce, but I suddenly became petrified that I couldn't handle this. 
At this point, he still hadn't eaten. I kept trying, but he wanted nothing to do with it. He screamed and cried. I was so upset that he hadn't eaten in so long that I tried to give him a bottle of formula. Enfamil had sent out some free samples and I remembered that I had stuck them in the closet in his room. I made him a bottle and he chugged the thing down. He still wouldn't let me put him down, but at least at this point he wasn't starving.
(Sidenote: I still go back and forth to this moment in my head. Wondering if I gave up breastfeeding too easy. I still tried for weeks after. I was pumping for about a week. I would give him what I could and then supplemented formula for when he was still hungry. But he wouldn't latch on and my supply barely came in on the left side. I might write about this more some day, but I had a hard time making this decision. I wasn't a fan of breastfeeding, but I knew it was best for him. I ended up doing it until he was 6-7 weeks old. I gave him what I could and he got formula other than that. But he was eating about as much formula as a strictly formula fed baby was and it seemed like a whole lot of trouble for nothing. So, eventually, I stopped and haven't looked back.)

Around 6:00 AM, the sun started to come up and I started to relax a little. I had made it through the first night. Soon enough the outside world would be awake and it would no longer be me, alone, with the baby. 
At 7:00 AM, I went in to wake Alex up and just cried. I told him I needed him to take Baby J and I needed some time to cool down. Which lasted all of 35 seconds because the second he cried I felt like I should be the one to calm him down.
But at that point, we were both up so it wasn't that bad. I wasn't alone. There were options in case I needed help. I took care of Baby J for the most part, but it was nice to have Alex there to get me something if I couldn't get up. Or take him for a minute so I could have a break.
That didn't last forever though. By 6:00 PM that night I have gone through my second, third, fourth, hell probably my twentieth wind, and I was exhausted. Baby J was in his swing sitting all nice and calm, and he made the tiniest of noises. It almost sounded like he was going to fuss, but he didn't. Just a tiny noise. And I lost it. Lost it. I just cried. And cried. Alex was out in the driveway talking to a friend of his that stopped by and I asked him to come in to help.
It had been a long few days and I had reached my breaking point. I knew he couldn't do much to help me, but it just helped knowing that he was there. Knowing that I had that option of help in case I needed it. Knowing that I could use the bathroom without worrying about whether he would scream the entire time.
Things eventually got easier, but that first night was a doozy. Definitely a doozy.
The second night was a little easier. We all slept downstairs on the couches. Baby J slept in his swing. We got a little more sleep.
The third night we graduated to the bedroom. It had been DAYS since I had slept in my own bed. We bought a second swing, and kept one upstairs and one downstairs. Baby J slept in his swing, the only thing he would sleep in for about the first week, upstairs and it was a lifesaver.
If you asked me within those first couple weeks whether or not I wanted more kids in the future, I probably would have told you no, or that I wasn't sure. I couldn't imagine going through this chaos again.
BUT... know that the fog DOES clear. It DOES get easier. Eventually you get into your rhythm. You learn a little more. The baby gets into a bit more of a routine. They sleep a little longer. You learn to let go of control a little bit and let your husband help out. But now? Now, I definitely do. I love this time, when they are so little and they are discovering everything for the first time.
So yes... it does get easier. I promise.


  1. Oh hunny, I am giving you a virtual hug right now! Our first two nights at home were hell as well! You shouldnt feel bad about thinking what you did! Being so exhausted like that isn't easy! xo

  2. Sorry to hear that your first night was so rough but glad that you all were able to get into a routine and get some sleep. I'm so glad that you are sharing your journey so that I know what I'm in for :)

  3. I hear the first night and then weeks 3-8 are the worst. If you can make it through those, then you're a rock star. I give you so many air high-five's, I can't imagine this was easy at all. I would have been right there crying with you.

  4. He looks a lot like you in that first picture :)
    As crazy as it sounds I'm anxiously waiting for the craziness that is about to happen with our lives. I'm sure I will be in tears at the drop of a hat thinking the same as you did "what have we got ourselves into??!" but for now I can't wait!!

  5. Sorry your first night home was so hard. I think it is great that Big A is so willing to help with everything! You guys make a great team!

  6. I love this "devil"child post lol! so honest ;)


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