While we were in the NICU I would often think, this situation is not ideal for anyone. However, I wonder if God knew we needed this time. What I mean by that is maybe we needed the time with the NICU nurses. All first time parents have that feeling of not knowing what they are doing. Brian and I definitely had that feeling and still do! In the NICU you have time to learn and practice certain things under supervision. That is one of the blessings. Changing the babies diapers, giving them a bath, taking their temperature. These are all things you do with a NICU nurse. Hearing all of Siena’s sounds and seeing all of her behaviors for the first time came with being able to ask questions on the spot. I honestly believe it made Brian a better first time dad. Before Siena, Brian barely looked at a baby. The first child he showed real interest in was our God daughter and niece Alena. She helped us make the decision that having a baby was something we could do. There were times in the NICU Brian would push me out of the way to change her diaper. He still does it sometimes! He loves giving her a bath and gets sad when he misses bath time. There was a day when I was recovering from the c-section that I could not leave the house to go to the NICU that day. I felt horrible but I was in such bad shape I couldn’t leave the house. Brian went there that day by himself and spent the day with her. I never feel worried leaving her with Brian. From our experience I think came an even deeper trust. We had to go through a tough time together, while dealing with parts of it on our own. Knowing and trusting our partner was standing strong and making decisions we would both make while being alone.
I always tried to keep a level head and not let myself get too excited when she showed signs of shedding her feeding tube. Once she did that we knew it was a matter of days before she went home. Some days she would bottle feed all day but then have to rely on the tube at night. One day she did a full day and night of feeds, just like a nurse said, one day it would just happen. By then end of the week she would be going home. That would mark about one month in the NICU. We were bombarded with a bunch of emotions. So happy that we could start putting this phase behind us and move on to building a “normal” routine with her. But scared and nervous for all the reasons first time parents are. But even more so because I couldn’t help but feel like she needed more attention and care than a “regular” baby.
It has been four months since she made her debut and three months she has been home with us. Being home with a new baby can be extremely emotional in itself. You know it is going to be exhausting and life changing. You read all about it and people tell you. For some reason I knew all of this with my rational mind but yet no one can prepare you. No matter how much “you know” it will be exhausting and different, you really don’t. When you read blogs about how tiring it is, it is almost satirical. As if it is fun to be part of a group commiserating about not being able to think straight or shower. For some reason, this almost made me mad. I was thinking to myself this isn’t funny, this isn’t some club I wanted to be a part of. This was because I felt tired and sick all of the time and a shell of myself. I still do some days. But, I shouldn’t say that because it’s negative. Not what people really want to hear. I sound “terrible” why am I not at least tired but still glowing like those pamper commercials?
I love her so much! I spend most of my day talking to her, smiling at her, and giving her kisses. I really do! But underneath all of that I am filled with anxiety because I really do not know what I am doing. And not in the way that people laugh and say that no new parents know what they are doing. No I really question everything and I always think something is “wrong.” Because I am so tired I am finding it hard to be social, to make conversation, and even leave the house. I see people on social media taking their baby everywhere. They are still working at the same pace, and somehow their baby sleeps through the night already. They talk about how wonderful their life is with their new baby. So I wonder what am I doing wrong? And work, well forget about work. I signed up for way to much instead of accounting for the fact that I should have taken a “maternity leave.” Because I work from home, I should be able to do that! Well without nannies, office assistants, photographers or any type of team. That is hard to do. I didn’t realize how the people I was comparing myself too had a totally different set-up. I didn’t account for that or allow myself any grace. However, I am grateful at the same time. I am blessed to her smile everyday, laugh and grow. Also, to be there when she cries, even though that can be upsetting when it is all day!
Somewhere in the process of all this I lost sight of how God asked me to trust him. I should be putting her in his hands instead of worrying. That is all easier said then done but I should take the step back I didn’t allow for in the beginning. I need to put things more into perspective. Not other people’s perspectives, or what I thought it should look like. But rather accept what is happening day to day. Put myself and everything else on hold, and live this day to day life with this new one. That is what I SHOULD have done in the first place. So maybe DishItGirl will be slower for awhile. Maybe I will have to start over again. Who knows? Well, God does. I have to pass the biggest test of all which is to continue to trust him and this journey he has me on. To take time to focus on this gift he has given me and let the rest fall into place. Maybe not with my time table but with a new one that he is shaping for me.
Sometimes I have thoughts of where I could have been or used to be. I think that is okay, I think that is normal. But I can’t wait to see who she is going to be, and where she will bring us. So new parents if you are out there and you are feeling less than magical…I think it is okay. Because you are truly wanting to and trying to make it all work. What I have written can’t even prepare you or maybe even comfort you. Chances are your experience is totally different and nothing like mine. I am just hoping sharing some of the things “I shouldn’t” have felt (or feel) would help someone else feel better. This is whole thing is very confusing but I can’t wait to write an update and tell you that you “shouldn’t” worry because it all works out!