having a baby: what they don't tell you.

*warning: this is really long. that's all.*

i posted addi's birth story a couple weeks ago and mentioned that i wanted to cry every time i thought about it in the beginning. here's where i tell you why. to some, this blog post may seem a little uncomfortable. it's going to be honest and blunt, but if there is just one mama out there that feels the same way that i did and can know that they aren't alone, then my mission will be complete.

things were rocky from the start. i tried to get adelaide to breastfeed  right after she was born, but she wouldn't. the nurses told me she must not be hungry, so we snuggled her and cuddled her and soaked in every skin fold and tiny finger and toe that we could. we tried a couple times over the next twelve hours, but nothing worked. twelve hours my baby went without food. i'd like to believe that the nurses were right in saying that this was okay, but looking back now, i wish they had helped me try harder. i told one nurse that i thought babies came out just knowing how to breastfeed and she looked at me and said, matter-of-factly, "they know how to suck, they don't know how to latch." i was a little dumbfounded and wondered why the crap nobody told me that before i had this little rugrat in my arms that i was supposed to take care of!

anyway, that was just the prelude to what would be the worst week of my entire life. two days in the hospital, being checked on every couple hours, having every meal prepared nice and hot for us, and the next thing we know, we're loading up a 7 pound human into her car seat and taking her home. where it would be just us three. at that moment, i was excited, not terrified like i've heard a lot of moms say. that didn't last long.

i don't remember very well what even went down that day. all i know is it ended in tears. and so did the next day. and the next day. and pretty much every day that entire week.

i still had problems breastfeeding. so much so, that i finally broke down and got a pump. that right there, made me cry. hard. i was so envious of my mom friends that were breastfeeding without a problem and could have that "special bond" that everyone talked about. instead, i felt like a milking cow. every feed, i would pump while zach gave her the bottle. that was until she stopped taking a bottle. we were feeling hopeless and desperate. we knew she was starving, but she would suck a few times and then push it out and scream. this went on for about an hour. we were at our wits end, all three of us crying, and then as i grabbed the bottle, i realized after all the sucking she had done, none of it had been eaten. come to find out, the stupid nipple didn't have a hole in it! this didn't happen just one, but two times. note to self: check all nipples before using.

night time made me anxious. when about 5 o'clock rolled around, i would be a nervous wreck and just cry and cry. all i could think about was the sleep i would lose due to the baby that i didn't know how to console. day time was spent mourning the life i would never have again - zachary and i doing whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. being able to cuddle up and watch a movie. taking spontaneous trips to denver. sleeping in on the weekends. the idea of having to take care of a human all day, every day, with no appreciation for my sacrifice was daunting. to say the least.

i don't know what it's like for most new moms, but i do know that there was so. much. screaming. adelaide seemed livid all the time. if she didn't like something, she wasn't afraid to let us know. i was convinced that she just plain hated being a baby and that we were going to have to deal with this for the rest of our life.

when i really sat back and thought about it, i realized - i hated my baby. i know. that sounds awful. i cringed even typing it up just now. no mom was ever supposed to feel this way. i didn't want to be around her. i didn't feel any sort of connection to her. i'd fantasize about going to the hospital and convincing them to take her back. i'd tell them that i was crazy and wasn't fit to take care of a baby, so they'd lock me up in an insane asylum and that's where i would live out my days, but at least i wouldn't have to be responsible for someone that i was almost certain hated me back. pretty extreme, right? what happened to the feelings of euphoria that moms feel when they bring a baby home? what happened to being overcome with love for someone that i had just met? why didn't anyone tell me how truly hard being a parent is? all i ever heard was how rewarding it is and how there's nothing like it and blah blah blah. i wish someone had told it to me straight. things felt so unfair.

funny enough, i remember zachary asking his brother early on when he felt like things got worth it. {because at that point, they didn't feel worth it at all. we were cursing ourselves for making the biggest mistake of our lives.} his brother said that at about the six week mark is when things start paying off. was he ever right. in fact, i can honestly say that on addi's six week birthday is when i felt like i could actually do this whole mom thing. what a relief it was.

i think my biggest mistake in all of this, was thinking that the struggles we were having were going to be there forever. that's what brought the most feelings of hopelessness - thinking about the future and feeling like i would rather die than have to do what we had been doing those first few days for another month or longer.

umm, hello? do you have any idea how much a baby changes in a month? adelaide was nowhere near the same baby in a month as she was during that first week. were things still new? yes. would she scream and i still didn't know how to help her? yes. did i want to curl up in the fetal position in the corner of my bedroom and cry some days? yes. but i can't even tell you how different i felt. every day brought just a little bit more confidence in my abilities to be a mom.

now that things have slowed down a bit, i realized that all of these feelings of absolute helplessness were probably due to an extreme lack of sleep. that and my total resistance to being a parent. is life different than it used to be? you betcha. but now, after three months of this little beauty in our lives, it's hard to imagine what it would be without her.

i would give anything to have known what i know now in those early stages of parenthood. oh, what a difference it would have made in my life! because of this, i'd like to share 9 of the most important things that i think every new mom should know. take it for what it's worth. if for nothing else, i'll be able to show this to adelaide one day when she becomes a first time mom. :)

1. breastfeeding is hard. really hard. you may not have the experience i have had, but i haven't talked to one mama that hasn't had some kind of pain with it. be ready. read up on it. know how to breastfeed. even if it means looking up pictures and videos of other random people feeding their kid. don't be afraid of seeing boob! the more you know, the smoother it will be.

2. have your baby checked for a lip/tongue tie. i hope i didn't give off the impression that once your baby is three months old, everything is rainbows and unicorns. it might be for some parents, but not for us. it still hurts every time adelaide latches. trust me though, this is not the norm. early on, i wrote in a breastfeeding support group that nursing was still super painful and a few people suggested that addi might have a lip or a tongue tie. i kind of cast it off because that seemed to be the first thing people turned to in this group and it was kind of annoying. so finally, last week we had her checked and it turns out she has both. her lip tie is pretty severe actually and we are hoping to get both of them clipped as soon as our insurance situation is figured out. everyone with a lip/tongue tied baby swears that it makes a heck of a difference getting it fixed, so i'm crossing my fingers that it will do the same for us! just do me a favor and make sure early on, so you don't have to go through what i've had to!

3. invest in the book, 'secrets of the baby whisperer'. i read 'baby wise', which i really liked, but then my sister-in-law, carli, suggested this one. i got it in the mail one day from what i thought was my little brother, but it turns out it was from my high school soccer coach. yeah. she's a gem. and i can't tell you how much this book has changed my life. i don't know what i'm doing as a mom, but this book has at least given me some kind of grip on things and made me feel like i might actually be able to do this whole being a parent thing. if i can suggest one book to read your entire pregnancy, this would be it. i bought a lot of birthing and pregnancy books, but let's be honest - that's all the easy part. the hard part is knowing what to do with the baby after it's here, which is what this book helps with. buy it. use it. love it.

4. do not, and i repeat, do not wake your sleeping baby at night. i don't care how many books you've read that say you need to wake them up to eat every four hours, don't believe them. your baby will be fine and honestly? they'll probably end up sleeping longer sooner. after all, why would you want to put your baby on a schedule to wake up at night when your end goal is to get them to sleep? it doesn't make sense. i know. just let them sleep. i promise, you will thank yourself later for this.

5. when your baby does start sleeping for 8 hours at night, don't go bragging about it. because the next thing you know, she'll only want to sleep four hours at a time again. trust me. i know from experience. i wasn't intentionally trying to brag. i was just excited. and then we had two weeks of interrupted sleep. every. single. night. it was awful knowing what a full night's sleep was and then having to go back to that. but on a good note, she slept for 11 hours last night! hooray! {is that bragging?}

6. give your baby a freaking binky! i don't believe in the whole nipple confusion crap. every nurse and lactation consultant will tell you that giving a baby a binky is bad juju, but if i could go back, i would have given adelaide the first moment i could. babies need to suck, that's all there is to it. they suck for comfort and if your baby is anything like mine, they won't want to use their hands to remedy that problem. instead, the nurses had zachary give addi his finger and that's all she will take now. i will literally have my finger in her mouth and quickly switch it for a binky and she will spit it out like it's poison. so weird. i know a lot of parents that complain about having to break their child from a binky, but if it can save your sanity just a little bit, then i say it's worth it.

7. don't compare. i can't tell you how many times in these short three months that i've worried there's something wrong with my baby because someone else's baby was doing things quicker. rolling over, holding up their head, babbling your ear off. all of it has caused some kind of insecurity inside of me. take it from someone who knows - don't compare. it'll make you miserable and after all, every baby learns and grows at their own pace. just because your baby is slower at something doesn't make them any less capable.

8. shower every single day. my friend, whitney, shared this little piece of advice and what a difference it has made! don't judge me, but i used to shower every other day. i didn't like washing my hair every day, so this was my solution. that was until i discovered shower caps. oh, and dry shampoo. best. invention. ever. since having adelaide, i still only wash my hair every other day, but i shower every day and what a difference it makes! you'll feel better, more motivated to get things done, and the obvious? cleaner. much cleaner.

9. snuggle the crap outta that baby. soak up every smell, giggle, and wrinkle. just about every baby book you read will frown against rocking your baby to sleep, but i usually take one naptime out of the day to rock adelaide to sleep. there is nothing more tender than a sleeping baby and it gives me time to appreciate her sweetness. take in as much of their littleness as possible. they grow up so fast.

maybe you see all of this as a bunch a poppycock and that's okay. it's been therapeutic for me to write it. just do the best that you can as a mama and whatever that is, is great. keep calm and mother on, friends.

-the mrs.


and baby makes three.

well folks. it happened. zachary and i became parents. we have an 11 week old human being living in our house. {the important word here is 'living'.} i've been wanting to write this blog post almost every day for that 11 weeks, but haven't been able to. lately, it's been mostly cause i'm busy, but for the first 6 weeks it was because every time i thought about it, i wanted to break down and cry. i'll give you more on that later, but for now, there's a cute little miss in our life that you all need to meet.

so, where to start? i guess from the beginning. {don't worry, i won't go back to the very beginning. just for your sake. ;)}

•22 july 2013•

i woke up that morning at 5:27 am. i made my usual rounds on the social media sites on my phone as i tried to get myself to wake up. the top news story was that kate middleton had just been admitted to the hospital for early labor signs. yes. the duchess and i were going to have twinner babies. this was exactly what i had been hoping for all week! i kissed zachary on the cheek and told him the great news, then proceeded to get in the shower.

the entire time as i got ready that morning, all i could think about was how much our life was going to change.

"this is the last time i'll take a shower as a not mom."
"this is the last time i'll blow dry my hair as a not mom."
"this is the last time i'll get dressed as a not mom."

i was having a hard time wrapping my head around it, but i couldn't stop smiling. i then went downstairs for breakfast - zachary and i have a tradition on birthdays to have german pancakes for breakfast and we thought that this birthday should be no different.

we were told to be at the hospital by 7:00 am to be able to get everything prepped and ready to go by 7:30. well, that'd be totally acceptable for most people, but for some reason, i can't be on time to anything worth a darn. so, there we are, zachary, arika {zachary's sister/my bestie/our photographer} and i rolling up to the hospital at 7:25 am.

oh well. luckily i had already pre-registered for everything, so things went pretty quick.

we made our way to the fifth floor - the labor and delivery floor. i'd be lying if i said i didn't have butterflies up the wazoo. the nurse showed me to my room and had me change into my hospital gown. this was it. there was no going back. we would be leaving this place with a baby whether we liked it or not.

i laid on the bed as i got hooked up to an iv and waited for the doctor to come in about a half an hour later. she applied the induction gel and before i could even ask how long until contractions would start, they began to come. they were mild, but still there.

they had to monitor me for an hour and that was probably one of the longest hours of my life. not only were contractions getting harder, but let's just say that all those people who told me that your bowels wanting to be emptied was a sign of early labor - were totally right.

the moment they let me up, we took to walking the halls. it felt like i was in a movie. i didn't need to walk to induce labor because, well, the doc already had that covered for me. i walked to ease the discomfort.

after sitting on a medicine ball for as long as possible {because that thing is amazing}, back to the bed i went for more monitoring. i stayed there for about a half an hour and then the doc came in to check me. she said i was dilated to a six. yes, a six. i came in there two hours earlier at a five, how could i only be at a bloody six?! she broke my water though to speed things up and speed things up it did. not five seconds later, i started having intense contractions. like the kind that made me want to pull my uterus out. since my water was broken though, i couldn't get up and walk or sit on my exercise ball or anything. i just had to lay there. in a pool of warm amniotic fluid. uh. gross.

my goal in all of this baby having thing was to do it all without an epidural. not because i wanted to, but because i was terrified of the "big ginormous huge needle" that everyone so kindly told me about. no way josé was i going to willingly subject myself to that. that was until the contractions started bringing tears. no thank you. let's just say that the next time i have a baby {if there is a next time}, i'm asking for that epidural the moment i walk through those hospital doors. it was magical!

to spare you all the details, i started pushing like 45 minutes later and between my head wanting to explode and a couple bouts of falling asleep, out popped a baby! a beautiful, sweet, gorgeous baby. with the lungs of...err...something that has really strong lungs. man, that girl could scream! we didn't care too much. we had just experienced one of the most incredible moments in our lives and nothing was going to take away that special feeling of overwhelming love and gratitude in being able to create something so beautiful as a human life. 

adelaide candice averett
2:24 pm
7 lbs. 9.6 oz. 
18 1/2 inches long.

thankfully, things have gotten a lot better recently, because let me tell you - that first little bit was rooooough. but now we couldn't love this little girl more. ;) anyway, here's a video to sum up the big day. it's a little up close and personal, but arika captured everything so perfectly that i had to share. enjoy! {p.s. i don't know why, but this video kind of pixelated the pictures. for your viewing pleasure, i suggest you do it in full screen to make things crisper and cleaner. :) that's all.}

-the mrs.
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