**Disclaimer... this is honest and very raw for me to write. But I didn't want to hold back.**
The two days we spent in the hospital were a whirlwind. Visitors, no sleep, and learning how to breast feed was overwhelming, but nothing like when we finally brought her home.
I've always been really great with babies. Every time I've held a newborn, people have always been impressed with my handling of them. I was 13 when Jasmine was born, so I felt like I knew what to do with a baby from an early age. But having your own and being solely responsible for their life is way more than I imagined. We didn't have the lactation consultants at home with us to make sure she was eating. She wasn't hooked up to a monitor to make sure her heart rate was ok. Our swaddling was nothing compared to what the nurses can do. And the quiet sleep she was doing in the hospital went out the window as soon as we went home. Couple this with a total of 6 hours of sleep in 3 days and a mad case of baby blues, and I was an absolute wreck.
I don't think anyone tells you what it's really like when you bring your baby home. Or maybe it's way easier for everyone else. But I cried ALL THE TIME. I'm pretty I had some postpartum anxiety as well. (You can learn about the difference between PP Depression and PP Anxiety here). Those first few weeks were really, really hard. I was afraid for her life every single minute and would have these intrusive thoughts of all the ways I could lose her. I just wanted her to be safe, happy, and feel loved. I loved this little girl with so much intensity and it was terrifying to not be in total control. I even had a hard time letting other people hold her and would get anxious just watching my mom and Sean's mom when they held her. At night when she wouldn't sleep or was fussy, I would sit in her nursery and hold her skin to skin and cry. I'd sing Mandy Moore's "Only Hope" to her over and over again and kept her as close to my heart and face as I could. I wanted her to feel as much warmth and comfort as possible.
Besides the emotional stuff I was going through, Kennedy was also not what you would characterize as an "easy" newborn. My poor baby had terrible gas pains that would make her scream. We couldn't get her to burp well and she would grunt and thrash around when we laid her on her back. We tried gripe water, gas drops, and probiotics. But then she spit everything up. I tried to put her on her stomach, different burping positions, and would keep her upright after every feeding for at least 30 minutes. Every feeding became a 2 hour process, and when you're trying to feed every 2-3 hours, it leaves you zero time for anything else, (not to mention the terrible pain it was putting my nipples through). We even took her to the doctor because I was for sure something else was wrong. I barely slept at night and felt like a failure because I couldn't keep it together. Besides the tummy issues, we learned of Babywise and the importance of getting her on a schedule. We started reading the books and the sleep websites, but all of the things they tell you to do from the very beginning, you can't because your baby doesn't act the way they describe. Every time we tried to get her in a routine, something would happen that shook it all up. The only time I would get any sleep was around 3:00 or 4:00AM when I finally couldn't keep my eyes open anymore and laid her on my chest and told Sean to watch me so I could close my eyes for 30 minutes. I finally gave up on the books and websites and threw it all out the window when I stopped to remember that she was not even a month old and all we needed to worry about was keeping her alive and surviving ourselves.
But then... it slowly got better. Or maybe we got better at it. Kennedy was growing each day and perfect at each of her check-ups. Even though she cried hard, she didn't show signs of colic. Her insides just needed to mature and the gassy-ness would eventually work itself out. It also was a relief when our Pediatrician told us that everything we were saying and doing was normal, she was just a newborn and there was actually no normal. Now, I don't want Kennedy to grow too fast, but I'm glad that first month is behind us. I do really miss how tiny she was and that scrunchy look she had. But the anxiety I felt was something I never want to feel again. I'm still anxious, but I think it's a typical, healthy parent feeling. My hormones evened out and those baby blues finally went away.
Month 1 with Kennedy is definitely a blur. I barely slept, showered, ate, or got out of my pajamas, and I cried more than I think I ever have in my entire life. I hated the nighttime, but now can't really remember why. Yes, we had bad days. But we also had a lot of good ones too. She made the funniest faces and had the cutest scowl/side-eye look that made us laugh. And she loves to snuggle. Knowing that all she wants is to be near you is a magical feeling that makes your heart melt. Every moment with Kennedy in our life is an absolute dream and I wouldn't change it for anything in the world. Kennedy - I love you more than I can put into words. You are my life and my heart and I hope you feel that love every single day.
Sean - Thank you for being the best husband in the world and loving me the way you do. You took care of me so I could take care of Kennedy and were my rock when I felt like the worst mother in the world. I love you more than you can possibly imagine and am so glad I get to do this life with you.
Mommy - Thank you for being my mommy. You took care of me, Kennedy, Sean, my home, and my sanity. If Sean is my rock, you are the sand that surrounds us and keeps us safe and warm. Loving Kennedy makes me realize how you love me and I hope you know that I love you back just as much and so appreciate everything you did for us and continue to do.