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Life With Charlotte: One Month In

It blows my mind that Charlotte has been here for over a month.  It was the longest but fastest month of my life, and now that the one month mark has passed it feels like every month will come just as quickly.  Time, please slow down!  While I am ready to sleep more than 3 hours at a time, I’m not ready for my baby girl to grow up yet.  Just yesterday I had to pack up some of her newborn pajamas and my heart broke a little bit.  She is now in that awkward stage where she doesn’t fit into most newborn clothes, but the 0-3 months stuff is still too big.  I’d like to know who the hell sizes baby clothes.  0-3 months, 3-6 months and 6-9 months?  Do they know babies grow EVERY MONTH?  How does something that supposedly fits at 0 months still fit at 3 months?  BECAUSE IT DOESN’T FIT.  Now that the newborn stuff is too small she’s left swimming in 0-3 onesies and she looks ridiculous.  The poor kid has an emo mohawk as a hairstyle on a daily basis and now she can’t even have clothes that fit her.  I guess it doesn’t matter though since she throws up on everything anyway.  She’s actually throwing up right now as I type this.  I’m watching it slide down her neck rolls.  She is disgusting.  I’ll be back to writing this once I clean her up for the millionth time this morning.

Back to our regularly scheduled blog.

What I’ve noticed this past month is that some days seem to drag on forever, while other days go by in a blur.  When we’re stuck in the house, like yesterday, everything seems so impossible and overwhelming.  She would barely nap yesterday and I felt like I was going to go insane.  Like actually cuckoo for cocoa puffs insane.  Today started to go that route until my mom asked me if I wanted to sleep over tonight, so now that we have plans and somewhere to go, I can handle the day much better.  I actually just got back from taking her out for a walk just to get some fresh air and some exercise.  Charlotte doesn’t want me to have any exercise and to keep the kangaroo pouch that was formerly my stomach, so she screamed and screamed for the entire 10 minutes we were outside.  She scrunched up her face and wailed until she turned magenta.  I thought she was going to actually kill herself, so I raced home.  The SECOND I opened the door to my house, literally the second, not even an exaggeration, she fell asleep.  She’s been out cold now for 20 minutes.  I swear she did it on purpose.

I can’t believe I’ve been a mother for a month.  It feels like my life before never happened and this has been my purpose all along.  I don’t pretend to love every single day and every single minute of my life now, but there is always one part of every day that I am so thankful and feel so blessed.  Actually, there are many parts of every day that I feel this way.  I feel it when I nurse her at 3 o’clock in the morning and her little hands hold onto my nightgown, I feel it when she wakes up for the day and yawns and looks so damn cute that I honestly think there has never been a more beautiful child, I feel it when my husband holds her when she cries and she stares right into his face and calms down.  These are the moments I’m going to remember, not the ones where she manages to spit up down my back so that it somehow slides literally into my pants and down my butt crack.  Although I think that’s an impressive feat, so maybe I will remember that one and tell her when she gets older.  Here’s to another month of motherhood!

Charlotte Shea: the Vomit Queen

For some reason when I got pregnant it never occurred to me that my baby would spit up ALL THE DAMN TIME.  I knew babies were messy, but I just didn’t think about the constant flow of regurgitated milk would project out of Charlotte’s mouth every hour on the hour.  I was so excited when I found out I was having a girl because of all the beautiful clothes she would have, and now that she is here and she has all of those beautiful clothes they have to covered up by bibs and burp cloths.  It is a nightmare.  Eric and I literally just gave her a bath a half an hour ago, and as I was drying her off and getting her dressed she decided to spit up three times in 5 minutes into her freshly washed hair and the new onesie I put on her.  This kid is this close to being dressed in nothing but hefty garbage bags for easy cleanup and less laundry for me.

Charlotte has also proven her skills in the projectile vomit department quite nicely.  There is nothing more disconcerting than seeing your baby go full blown exorcist and spewing across the room.  NOT TO MENTION she is spewing up the milk that I am working so hard to make for her!  My breast milk is liquid gold and she won’t keep it down!  The vomiting and spitting up has now led me to give up all forms of dairy because I was told it could possibly help her, except it takes an entire month for cow’s milk proteins to leave my body so we won’t see any results for another week and a half.  With the amount of dairy I’ve consumed in my life it will probably take a year and a half for the proteins to leave my body.  I’ve given up cheese for my daughter.  CHEESE.  Everyone knows how much cheese means to me.  No fresh mozz, no american, no gouda, no NOTHING.  If that isn’t unconditional love, I don’t know what is.  I dream about stuffed shells during the few precious hours of sleep I get.  Yesterday at Palm Sunday dinner I had to eat my macaroni with a plate of fresh mozzarella in front of me and the pan of lasagna on the other table.  I think I would have rather been water-boarded.  If this little one doesn’t stop the psychotic puking by her third month on this planet I’m going to go on a cheese binge of epic proportions.  I’m going to lay on a bed of mozzarella and stuff it into my mouth by the fistfuls.  The things we do for our children…

The doctor said that because Charlotte is gaining weight at a beautiful rate and has nothing else wrong with her, she is what is known as a “happy spitter” which means her spitting up is more of a laundry problem than a health problem.  THANKS DOC.  I’m obviously glad she’s healthy, so in the mean time I’ll just keep dreaming of cheese and wiping the milk off her beautiful clothes.  The joys of motherhood!

I’m Blue, da ba dee da ba die…

I remember towards the end of my pregnancy talking with my mom who said to me, “I can’t wait until you’re two weeks postpartum.  That’s when things will get better.”  I thought she meant physically better and I agreed with her.  I had no idea the mental hell I would endure for the first two weeks of Charlotte’s life, and I think that’s because new mothers don’t talk about how horrible the “baby blues” can really be.  I think that this post may be one of the most important ones I wanted to write, if only for the fact that I can get all of the feelings I had out in the open.

The “baby blues” affects up to 80% of mothers to varying degrees.  It is caused by the physical and emotional changes after childbirth and usually starts 2-3 days after you pop that baby out.  I find it amusing that the typical hospital stay for giving birth is 2-3 days.  It’s like the hospital knows you’re going to become a fucking mess out of nowhere the second you step foot in your house and they don’t want to deal with what’s coming.  That is exactly what happened to me.  Eric and I came home from the hospital, we put sleeping Charlotte down and I went to take a nap.  I woke up two hours later feeling like someone had taken my body and replaced me with a stranger.  My heart was racing, I was sweating but I was freezing, I was actually afraid of my baby and I thought I was going to die.  That’s when the tears started, and they didn’t stop for 9 straight days.  My hormones dropped so suddenly that even if I wanted to sleep my body wouldn’t let me, so I would lay there exhausted, checking to see if Charlie was breathing and praying she would stay asleep so I wouldn’t have to feed her.  This was all just in the first 24 hours of being home from the hospital too.  It was a nightmare that I was not expecting.

The second day my mom came to stay with us for a week.  If I didn’t have my mother that first week I am fairly certain I would have ended up in the psych ward.  My husband was supportive and wonderful with our baby, but there was no way I could explain to him the things I was feeling and I don’t think men can really understand it either.  I could barely explain it or understand it myself.  My mom had the baby blues pretty bad when she had me, so no explanation was necessary.  She knew when I just started hysterical crying for no reason that the only thing to do was hug me and say it would get better.  When the panic attacks hit me out of nowhere 30 seconds after I was happy and normal, she would say it will get better.  She promised me every day that things would get better even though I was fairly certain my life was over.  That was one of the worst parts of this whole ordeal for me, because I always assumed having a baby would be the most loving and joyful experiences of my life, but those first two weeks all I could do was hold her and ask myself “what the fuck did you do, Samantha?!  Your life was FINE BEFORE THIS!”  Then I would cry and feel guilty.  Then she would wake up to eat and I would hold my cracked, bleeding nipples and cry over that.  I was hot mess central.  One day I actually cried so hard that a pimple on my face popped all by itself!  Having a baby really is miraculous.

Once the ravaged war zone that was my nether regions began to slowly heal and my boobs stopped being engorged rocks and started to become normal milk machines, I started to feel better mentally.  I had 9 straight days of the blues, and then one day I woke up and the panic attacks and crying fits were gone.  That’s not to say I don’t still get overwhelmed with my new life.  I mean my sole purpose in life now is to keep another human being alive.  I am her only source of food at the moment, so that’s enough of a responsibility to set me into overwhelmed overdrive.  Just last night, when she refused to let me put her down or even sit down while holding her, I had that “dear Lord what did I do?” feeling again.  But now I can work through it without crumbling into a mess.  But I think it is important for women out there to know that it is TOTALLY OKAY to let the blues take over and turn you into a mess.  It’s not our fault, there is nothing we can do about it, and we are all going to be okay.  I had my mom, grandmas, and tons of other new moms to reach out to when I felt like I was going to lose my shit, and that support system meant so much to me.  Since becoming a mom it’s only reinforced the fact that women are fucking warriors.  When we come together and support one another there is really nothing we can’t do.  Now if you;ll excuse me, I have to go clean vomit off my child.

Who Let Me Have a Baby?

Hello world!  Chances are if you’re reading this right now you clicked on the link on my Facebook page and you already know me, so you’re already well aware that I had a baby 24 days ago and have seen tons of photographs of little miss Charlotte.  However, I used to blog a bit a few years ago back until I ran out of interesting things to say, and now that I have offspring of my own I feel like I have a lot I’d like to say again, and what better way to do that than by blogging once more?  I’d like to use this space as a place to share my experiences as a brand new first time mom – the good, the bad, and everything in between.

So, I had a baby.  I still cannot fathom the fact that I created an actual human being and got her out of my body without dying, let alone the fact that she is almost a month old and I haven’t completely fucked her up.  Yet.  It amazes me that I, the girl who screamed bloody murder when she got stung by a bee, pushed a 6 pound 13 ounce baby out of my VAGINA.  I was never very good with pain and was always afraid of giving birth, but I rocked the shit out of that labor and delivery.  My kid didn’t even have a fucked up head when she arrived into the world and I pushed so hard that I’m pretty sure my ass went inside out at one point.  I apologize now for that image, but if I had to live it you can read about it.  After going through the hell that is labor and delivery I don’t think there is much that is off limits for me anymore.

It’s only been 24 days and I may have very limited experience and knowledge (I can see all of the experienced moms out there reading this and laughing at me right this minute) but it is so true that having a baby is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life so far.  I remember when I was pregnant I would watch TV and a Pampers commercial would come on with a mother holding her baby, rocking peacefully in a chair, both mother and child with a calm look of love on their faces and think to myself “I can’t wait to do that with my baby!”  Fast forward to Charlotte’s arrival, and there has been plenty of rocking going on in the chair, except neither one of us looks peaceful or calm.  There have been many, many crying fits, and most of them have been done by yours truly.  The first week home I’m pretty sure I cried more than Charlotte ever did, and I think perhaps the Pampers commercials should show that side of motherhood in their commercials and keep their peaceful, well rested looking mothers to themselves.  JUST A THOUGHT.  I had the baby blues pretty bad, and that’s a post in and of itself, but now that I’ve come out the other side of the blues I’m finally starting to feel like maybe I can do this mom thing.  I can’t say that we have a routine, but Charlie girl is really a great baby so far and sticks to her own little schedule, and although I’m usually covered in spit up and breast milk, I do find the time every day to take a shower and not launch myself out the window or run into traffic.  So that’s a plus, right?

Right now, as I watch my baby relax in her mamaroo (best baby invention of all time) and find a quiet moment to reflect on the past 24 days, I can’t help but think to myself that maybe we are becoming that mom and baby in the Pampers commercial.  All it takes is a little time and a lot of tears, but eventually you do get there.  I wouldn’t trade this new life I’ve got now for anything in the world.  Not even for a full 8 hours of sleep.