She Didn’t Come With Instructions

First Daughter – Leila

Surviving the first month as a new mom…

After 12 hours of labor, our little Leila was born at 20:11 on the 20th of December 2016.

I remember feeling completely overwhelmed and overcome with love and excitement when I held her in my arms for the first time. It had been an extremely long, challenging 9 months of pregnancy, but she was finally here and she was perfect. She was so tiny and she was so beautiful with a mop of dark hair on her head. I hugged her and whispered softly into her ear “mommy loves you”.

As we drove home from the hospital, I just sat there, in the back of the car, staring at this beautiful little thing that we had created. We were finally taking her home after spending 2 days in the hospital. We were finally going to have her in our home and we were finally going to be starting our life as a family of 3.

This was just over a month ago…

The first few days at home were an absolute blur, Leila cried non-stop and I found myself shedding a few tears too. I also found myself searching for some kind of instruction book that I’m sure the hospital forgot to give me; don’t babies come with instructions? How do they expect you just to know what to do? Here I was with this tiny little floppy-necked human and I was responsible for her. I had never changed a diaper in my life and I had never bathed a baby, I didn’t know how to get rid of her winds and I certainly had no idea what to do when she pulled her little legs up to her stomach and screamed so loud that her whole face turned red. Here I was just holding this little human that I had grown inside my belly, wishing more than anything I could put her back inside where she would be safe. I felt useless and didn’t know how I was going to cope.

For the first week, she slept on my chest all day and all night. I was so scared to put her down in case she stopped breathing. Eventually, when I did put her down I would check on her every 2 minutes (This is absolutely normal). I spent the nights on the couch in the sitting room with her cuddled on my chest, trying to keep her warm and safe. When she cried, I felt like I was failing and many of the nights I cried with her wondering if I was ready to be a mom; these nights I was so grateful for my husband as he kept me sane and kept reassuring me that I was doing a good job and that the crying was totally normal.

By the second week, things had calmed down a bit, I attempted to put her in co-sleeper at night, where she would sleep for 15min then wake up screaming, so eventually, I put her in the bed next to me where she slept peacefully for a few hours. This was better; however, I was still not getting enough sleep for the fear of rolling over on top her and squishing her while I slept or smothering her with the blankets. I would wake up with panic attacks searching the bed for her frantically when she was lying right next to me.

I had always said that when I have a baby, I would make noise around them when they sleep so that they could get used to sleeping with noise, however, when its 2am and you have been trying to get baby to sleep for 6 hours, if anyone dared to even whisper too loudly around her I would give them the death stare.

You hear about new parents being extremely tired, but it’s strange how mothers have this mysterious way coping on only 2-3 hours of sleep a night. However, by week 3, the lack of sleep was totally catching up with me. My whole body hurt, I was extremely grumpy and angry with the world and I knew that my husband was going back to work soon and that I would be alone with the baby all day long. I had to find a way to get her out of my arms and comfortable sleeping in her bassinet. It took many attempts of putting her down and picking her up, hours and hours, but I never gave up and eventually, she learned that that’s where she should sleep and I was a very happy mommy.   

We were finally establishing a routine by the fourth week. I had a daily planned schedule for her where she would feed, bath and nap at the same time every day. We continued this for a week until she was settled. This well-planned routine had a very nice reward for me… By week five she was sleeping a full 6 hours at night (YAY!!!).

Now that we are settling into everyday life, things are becoming a lot easier. In the past month, I have been pooped on, wee’d on and vomited on more time than I can even count. I know that there will still be many challenges and obstacles to overcome, but I love being a mom and my daughter completes my life. She brings me so much joy on a daily basis and I love seeing her little personality develop as she grows and reaches her milestones.

Final Words: Motherhood is not for sissies!!!

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