As I sit down to write today, I am in a good place. Today is Samson’s first, unofficial day at daycare. I dropped him off at 9:30 this morning while I went to Concordia for lunch and errands. I have to remember that he’s in good hands!
Maternity leave did not go as expected. I guess I just assumed that it would be nice and relaxing. I put together a nice list of things to do and pictured myself reading and relaxing all summer and the baby just chillin’. Wherever I went, he would go. No big deal. Ha!
The first few weeks back at home, I was way too stressed out about my house being clean. There was always shit everywhere! I couldn’t seem to pick anything up before Sam was crying again. I wanted things in order because I felt like I could never find anything. My things are always in their spots and when we all got home from the hospital, I had new things to find spots for! I decided that when/if another baby comes along, my best bet is just to hire someone to clean the house and try to care less for a little while. Some days I was able to remember this, other days it was not so easy.
Breastfeeding did not go as I wanted it to and I really beat myself up over that for a while. When Samson was about 6 weeks old and when I started healing from thrush, I met with a lactation consultant for one last shot at breastfeeding. It was a little bit of a fight, but we got things going again while we were there. At home that afternoon, we tried again with success and my hopes were high. Then the 2 am feeding came along. I just couldn’t seem to get him and I both positioned well enough for things to work right! I was home by myself. He cried. I cried. And in that moment, I decided this just wasn’t work the agony that both of us were going through. I needed that moment and I needed it while I was home alone because only I could make that decision. Not Drew, not my mom. Just me. What was best for me and Sam. I finally just took it for what it is and am happy with the route that I chose. I’ve been pumping exclusively for weeks and bottle feeding Samson. He and I are so happy and he’s getting the awesome benefits of breastmilk.
After this profound moment, we headed out for our family vacation at the lake. Vacation was awesome!! I didn’t want to come home! It was so great NOT being at my house, and being somewhere that I felt I didn’t have to do anything or clean anything. My mom would take Sam in the morning so I could get some extra sleep and we just hung out for days!
The couple of weeks following vacation were the hardest! Samson seemed to be fussier and I think I was too. Who isn’t bummed about coming back from vacation? I couldn’t seem to get him fed and back to bed at night without him crying which led to more anxiety and less sleep for me. I didn’t want to wake Drew because he had to go work in the morning. During the day, Samson wouldn’t sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time. My confidence as a mom dwindled. Why couldn’t I figure out what my baby needed and why was he crying so much? Sometimes I cried when Samson cried because I couldn’t figure out what to do. I could see the toll this was also taking on my husband. We were all unhappy. I wrestled with these thoughts like, “I’m not a good mom.”, “I can’t figure this out.”, “I’m a horrible wife.”. These thoughts crept into my mind and I did my best to wrestle them away. I knew these weren’t true, but they were there. I told myself these were the devil’s thoughts. God would not have given me such a blessing if I wasn’t able to handle it.
At Samson’s two month check-up, I broke down. Why could I not get a grip on things? Several friends of mine had babies about the same time and seemed to be doing just fine. I was even on the lookout for postpartum depression. But I don’t have that, do I? I can get through this…I just need to get a little ‘me’ time in. You know…a little workout and a little meditation. But when the heck am I supposed to do that? I’ve always been hesitant to take any sort of anti-depressant or anxiety medication figuring I can fix things naturally. My doctor prescribed a low dose anti-depressant and gave me the name of a local counselor. The nurse even went ahead and scheduled an appointment for me with her and I just had to call and confirm. I am so happy with my decision to switch doctors. My doctor and nurse are so relatable and willing to share their personal stories and cell numbers with me. After that appointment, I stayed in the room at the clinic to pump. The nurse came in and sat on the floor with me, held the baby and told me about her experience. For that moment, I am so grateful. It made me feel so cared for and less like a lunatic.
That Friday evening, I threw some things in the car and headed to my mom’s house with Samson and stayed until Tuesday. Both Friday and Saturday night, she slept downstairs with Samson and fed him at night so I could get some much-needed sleep. I felt like a whole new person! Sam and I needed her calm, Yaya presence. Countless times I said to her “Thanks for being my mom!”.
Over the weekend, we researched why Samson may not be sleeping well, what to do about it and came up with a game plan. Turns out some babies have a hard time transitioning to their next sleep cycle. I also think he was getting over-tired. I was spending so much time trying to lay him down fully asleep. Once he realized he wasn’t being held anymore, he’d cry and I’d go right back to him. We decided to let him cry it out.
We put our plan into action Sunday night when Samson was exactly 2 months old. I put him down and left the house for 15 minutes. When I returned, he was still crying and cried for another 5 minutes. During that 5 minutes, I ate a lot of ice cream and cried too! The next day was magic. He didn’t fuss for more than 2 minutes all day and all of his naps were 1.5 to 2 hours long. I could NOT believe it!
Now – we haven’t had a perfect day like that since, but things have been going so much better!! Samson now has a tentative routine and is so much less fussy. My confidence as a mother has been reestablished and our household is happy. I am so grateful that I really got to enjoy the last four weeks of maternity leave. Tomorrow I go back to work and that will be another adjustment for all of us. Life is always changing.