I don’t think there’s anything more humbling than being a new parent.
No matter how much you read, prepare, or practice, it is inevitable that you will make some mistakes.
Some are funny.
Some won’t be funny for many, many years.
We’ve had our fair share of rookie
mistakes “learning opportunities” in these past three, short weeks.
This post contains a fair amount of talk about breasts and bodily functions, so if that makes you uncomfortable, the only thing you need to know is that we’ve survived the last 23 days and you can rejoin us at the next post.
If you’re down with the nitty, gritty of our rookie parenting moves here we go:
1. Rookie Parent Move: Thinking that the sleepy, content 2 day old we had in the hospital was the same infant that would come home with us.
Perhaps her lungs weren’t developed or she was sleeping her way through the transition from the womb to the real world, but that sleepy baby has been building up her lung capacity since day three.
The developing blood curdling cries sent me into a slightly panicked state.
What could possibly make a baby cry that loudly and that intensely?
Thank goodness my Mom and sister were here to remind me that crying is normal and it could just be some residual gas.
If they weren’t here, I would have thought for sure there were invisible gremlins taunting my child at every opportunity.
2. Rookie parenting move: Leaving the house without the diaper bag.
I was so anxious about an upcoming appointment with the pediatrician that the only thing I could think about was getting the kid in the car and safely arriving at our destination.
Thankfully P-Daddy remembered the diaper bag at the first stop light and we made a quick u-turn home to retrieve it.
And thank goodness we did, because the nugget stunk up the doctor’s office with an EPIC poo.
3. Rookie parenting move: Sending my sister a selfie that accidentally contained a nip-slip.
(picture NOT included)
I never take selfies.
Why I thought it would be a good idea to take one immediately following a feed in which my entire upper half was uncovered and exposed would be a good idea is beyond me.
“Oh, I’ll just move slightly to the left and back so my boob is out of the shot,” said the postpartum idiot that then sent a selfie with a giant nipple in the corner of the frame.
We’re pretending that didn’t happen and moving on.
4. Rookie parenting move: Underestimating the challenges of breastfeeding.
Nip slips aside, breastfeeding is a serious job.
I mean, it is work.
I have never been so intimately aquatinted with my boobs.
I mean, they’ve been around since puberty but I never paid them much mind other than making sure they were adequately covered (pre-pregnancy and nip slip malfunction).
But then you give birth, and every nurse in the county wants to get hands on with your mammary glands while you are learning how to breastfeed.
Seriously, they were manhandling me before the kid was even cleaned off.
It all felt very foreign and awkward.
Also, they expected me to whip those puppies out and feed in front of everyone.
Well, by day four, I had lost all humility and was shoving the boob into the kid’s face at the slightest sign of hunger.
Three weeks ago, I couldn’t have even uttered the phrase “shoving the boob” let alone do it.
There is no shame now.
I have one job and it is to feed the Squish by any means necessary.
It required me to get up close and personal with my own body and let go of any embarrassment about breastfeeding that I was secretly harboring.
That does not mean that things got easier.
If anything, they got more challenging.
There were latch issues, engorgement, and other incidentals that I had no idea even existed until a few weeks ago.
There is still pain despite multiple conversations with lactation consultants.
And I had no idea just how demanding breastfeeding on demand would be.
It seemed like every time I turned around, the kid was rooting and eating her hands in an effort to communicate hunger.
Even though she just finished eating 15 minutes ago.
I was unprepared for the amount of effort required for the whole process.
I have no idea how people do this publicly either.
By the time we’re half-way through, we’re both half undressed and I’m furiously trying to manage the rogue milk that seems to be dripping everywhere.
Are you still reading?
This is shit they don’t tell you but needs to be normalized.
It’s not all work and no play, however.
It’s an awesome feeling to know that my babe can get all the nutrition she needs to grow and thrive from my own body.
Plus, we get uninterrupted bonding time every 1-4 hours throughout the day.
Even at 2:00 in the morning.
Until we both fall into an exhausted sleep coma.
5. Rookie parenting move: Getting ridiculously excited about poop.
Seriously, I dance a little jig inside each and every time the Peanut poops.
It’s a reassuring reminder that things are working properly.
And I kind of can’t help thinking,
“I made that digestive system. I made it work. Boo-yah!”
6. Rookie parenting move: Not knowing the enormousness of the amount of fear and worry that comes with being a parent.
Our first week home, we got a call from the pediatrician.
He told us that there was some concern about the results from the newborn screen that could indicate the Squish had a metabolic disorder.
I immediately began choking back tears.
What did this mean?
Is the Squish’s health in jeopardy?
I was so, so scared.
The doctor told me that she had a low serum of carnitine which is a fatty acid enzyme.
If it was too low, she may have carnitine uptake deficiency which could mean lifelong supplement treatment and special dietary requirements.
We were asked to repeat the screen immediately.
A week later, we were given no reassurance.
The results were still borderline and there was debate about sending us to a specialist or repeating the screen for a third time.
We ended up repeating the screen, which is a simple blood draw, for the third time.
At last we were told the results were normal and there was no cause for concern.
Even though it was not life threatening, the whole ordeal was so scary.
I had no idea how frightening the health and well-being of our infant would be.
It was another reminder just how blessed and how grateful we are to be able to hug and kiss the Squish every day.
7. Rookie parenting move: Wanting to spend every second of every day holding and staring at the Squish.
I fight sleep because I want to stare into her oceanic blue eyes.
I pick her up constantly because I want her to feel the warmth of arms wrapped around her all day long.
I sleep next to her because the thought of her being alone in a big, giant room is too overwhelming.
I study her face because I don’t know if she looks like me or P-Daddy but I do know it’s miraculous.
I wear her in an infant carrier because I want her heartbeat next to mine.
I know everyone says this, but I can’t believe how quickly the time goes.
Three weeks have felt like three minutes and the hours of each day seem to fly by.
So much has happened in 23 days that I can’t possibly contain all of the greatness (or all of the challenges) in one post.
Sometimes it’s best to just let pictures do the talking.
By the Grace of God, we can do this!