Welcome home from the hospital! It’s not exactly smooth sailing from here. The hospital was a special bubble in which we had a ton of super qualified support, and we were enjoying the delusion that we’d be riding this new parent high forever. I can look back now on our first five days home with baby as living in absolute panic mode, white-knuckling it without realizing at the time that’s what I was doing. The baby blues are defined as the first week or two of absolute hormone drop hell, and reader, the medical dictionary people not wrong!
I can’t thank enough the Internet and my real life parent friends for preparing me for the rough return home with a whole extra person than we’d left it. I believe we threw some dirty clothes in the washing machine, baby was asleep in his car seat from the ride home, and my body promptly said, “Bed. Now.” I took a nap, and then the strangest, weirdest, craziest hormone-y thing happened for the first of many times– I woke up and my brain said WHERE IS MY BABY. It was the most primal, insane thing that I was completely unprepared for. You know when you wake up at someone else’s house and forget where you are? It’s that, but all your brain cares about is the location of your child. This has happened many times after, even if baby was just in his bassinet mere feet from me. I haven’t found there’s much you can do to make it better, just know that you’re not going absolutely batshit when this happens to you.
The second the baby left my body, my normally voracious appetite also exited. And it didn’t return for a really long time (like, months??) Not just, “oh, I’m not 40 weeks pregnant anymore, guess I don’t need to eat every hour,” it was “I don’t feel hunger for food at all.” This probably didn’t help ye olde breastmilk supply issue. I definitely chalk this up to hormones, and if it happens to you, my advice is: eat sometimes anyway. You need energy; your baby needs you to eat food! The actual taste of the food didn’t seem to matter thanks to my hormone haze. Sometimes when I would eat, I’d feel ill (which is so. weird. because I love. eating.) My doctor recommended blending green smoothies to try to get nutrients in even when I didn’t feel like eating, so if this happens to you, do that! And no, there wasn’t a magical side effect of the baby weight flying off due to all this non-eating *sad trombone noise.*
I’m super thankful that my son has never felt foreign to me, and I’ve always felt weirdly confident as his mother. (I do not say this to brag! It’s so completely 1000% ok if you don’t bond with your baby right away and extremely normal to feel like you have no idea what the hell you’re doing!) I never had the middle of the night sobbing over “what do we do now?!” that I’ve heard can happen, but I DID absolutely lose it when my husband was playing The Beatles for our four-day-old baby. “Penny Lane” came on, and a weird amount of tears started falling from my face onto the couch. Why?? Who knows. It was, like, sad? But I couldn’t really explain why? Hormones!!
Oh, and you’re gonna be hot. The body temperature changes are just wild. Postpartum night sweats are for sure a thing, and I eventually pinpointed mine to really specific times with my baby. If any of you are scientists, I would love an explanation about which body chemical it is that made me (and still makes me, four months later) SO HOT when I hear baby crying in the night. My husband and I attempted split shifts for a few weeks where the “off duty” parent would sleep in the guest room to get some uninterrupted sleep, then we’d switch at a certain time. Every time I was reunited in our room with my son after the switch, I would get SO HOT. And it always took at least an hour or two to fall asleep because my brain was like like BabyBabyBabyReunitedWithBaby. Not like I was staring at him or laying there thinking about how lucky we are, it was just a mental lever flipped to MOM, so I was alert. (If you haven’t picked up on it by now, the first few weeks/ months are just exhausting as all get out. <–Is that an extremely old lady midwestern phrase?)
Advice in all this blathering? Oh, man. That will have to be a follow up post. That I shall start typing right now because we recently Ferber Method-ed this kid and he actually naps longer than 40 minutes at a time!!! *prayer hands emoji*