Week 2: Survival Mode
While, week 1 was all about trying to catch up with the new program, this week was all about survival mode. For the most part I didn’t want to leave the house much due to the fear of Livvie crying, needing a diaper change or hungry being out in public. I saw a lactation specialist this week so the whole nursing idea was still new. I wasn’t ready to just feed her on the spot when it’s needed in public. I don’t know when I will be able to do it but nursing at home in a private area without a large gathering works right now. Hopefully, things will get easier with feedings in the near future.
This week my nursing journey has improved slowly but surely. It has been difficult with the pain and adjusting to this new task. Grant has been extremely supportive and always there to assist with the process. I was worried about Livvie’s weight loss at the hospital but the scale kept showing progress. Livvie has the habit of wanting to sleep some longer stretches than what the hospital and doctor wanted. Sometimes this little girl would sleep 4+ hours. Grant and I would both try and wake up her to feed her on the time scheduled suggested but most of the time she kept on snoozing. This was difficult for me because I was determined with my goal to be a nursing mother for an entire year. When I would worry about her weight, I decided to pump and bottle feed her what I could extract in 10 minutes so I could see exactly how much she was taking in. So far we have not had to supplement with any formula and I am hoping we can continue this process for the long haul. Eventually, we plan to give her at least one bottle a day so she can get used to it for the times I need to get away from her for a short amount of time and for Grant to be able to bond with her as well with her feedings.
I also found myself caving in and using a nipple shield to help with nursing Livvie because this girl is a chomper. I was at the point where I dreaded and feared every nursing session with her. It truly did help and we only used it when I need a little bit of a break from my baby sucker fish. The other struggles of this nursing journey have been the constant feeling of being dehydrated and hungry. Oh my goodness! I am pretty much snacking or eating 24/7 along with sipping on some lactation tea. I have a constant fear I am not producing enough food for Livvie since my mother had a difficult time with supply. My go to snack have been chocolate chip cookies at night. I have no idea why since I have never been a huge cookie fan but it really helps me power through the night time feedings.
The dogs have begun to accept that Livvie is here for the long run. Gigabyte and Megabyte overall do not show much interest in our newest family member but sometimes they’ll show some interest for a moment here and there. I jokingly tell the dogs that we made them a little human baby and it’s their human baby. Gigabyte will sniff her head and sometimes lick her then run off and play with her favorite toy. Megabyte, on the other hand, doesn’t have much interest in our newest family member. She actually appears to be afraid of her. This is a rare situation since Megabyte never seems to fear anything or anyone since she thinks she’s the big dog in town. We hope the dogs will learn and establish their own ways to connect with Livvie in time.
This week the doctor also wanted us to do tummy time with Livvie and it was a difficult mission since she hates it. Sometimes she can endure a few minutes of it but every tummy time ends with a pink face and a room full of screams. She has gotten better and stronger at the task but she still hates every moment of it. I again, have the mother’s guilt since I hate seeing my little girl displeased but I have to remember she needs to do it so she can build up that muscle and become stronger.
I feel extremely proud to see all the progress she has made in just a short amount of time. Sometimes I feel she is growing up too soon already. We try and take each day in and reflect on the wonderful moments we got to share with her for that day. Grant and I like to reflect during her naps and talk about the things we love about our new role as parents. This journey has connected us deeper than I could ever imagine and I love how this is a team effort. We both love Livvie with our hearts and only want the best for our little nugget.
The biggest challenge this week is finding time to get enough rest to keep up with Livvie and her needs. Grant has never been one who can function on 5-6 hours of sleep. Sometimes it’s impossible to wake him up. This guy could sleep through anything and I mean anything. It has been a struggle for Grant to get up at night to help with the diaper changes and getting Livvie to settle back down but he is always trying his best to keep up with our little girl. He is the one who usually will do the diaper change while I am prepping to feed Livvie. It’s almost like a relay race to get her changed and fed so we can all go back to sleep again as soon as possible. Sometimes it works out great and other nights we are bouncing our little girl in our arms wandering around the house trying to get her back in bed. We keep telling ourselves this is the survival mode time and we will get through this one day at a time. Sometimes we feel well rested and other days we may need an extra snooze or cup of coffee to get through the day. We may have bags under our eyes but once you hold her in your arms it all seems worth it in the end.