Sunday, 7 August 2016

A month of Anthony

August 7, 2016

I'm going to catch up on this one month at a time. Luckily, I take a million pictures, so I'll be able to remember month one with my handsome little man.

Here is the first post about Mommyhood. The last post was about Anthony's birth. Birth Story

I kind of left the hospital wondering why on earth they'd send us home with this baby! We knew nothing. The one bit of advice I remember from in the hospital was when we put the diaper on, make sure his penis is pointed down so he doesn't pee out the diaper. That's the most important advice I can remember. I wasn't sure if that would help with all the rest of the baby raising, but it was a start.

Month one was a tough one. It was really tough. Everything was new, we were all learning together, and we had a few issues. Now that I'm past month two, everything is so much better. It's actually hard to remember how I felt then. (Which is why I should have written this sooner.)

His first day home included meeting a very big toddler. His older brother, Drogo. 

 Mostly, Drogo just wanted to lick Anthony. We let him lick Anthony's feet. (Although he tries to lick anything he can reach.)

Coming home was scary. We really had no idea what things would be like. Other than the snippet in the hospital when the nurses were there to help out.

The first night went okay, the second night did not. We were up most of the night with him. We weren't really able to make him happy, and weren't sure how. I felt defeated.

Breastfeeding got off to a rocky start. Anthony had a tongue tie and had trouble latching, and my milk wasn't ready as quickly as I had hoped.

Which basically means, his crying through the night made me feel pretty horrible. I felt helpless, and upset that I couldn't help him. I knew it wasn't my fault, but that doesn't stop a new mom from feeling bad about not providing in the way society wants her to. (And in the way she wants to).

The first week was basically exhausting for both of us. Clint and I both got up at the same times because we had to finger feed until the breastfeeding was sorted out. In a way, I was grateful that Clint could be involved. That being said, I'm sure he was quite relieved when I was able to feed Anthony.

I don't want to talk so much about the breastfeeding because it's not something I planned to discuss, but it just becomes SO important, and seems like the biggest priority. There is a lot of pressure. It probably mostly came from myself. Also, lets face it, breastfeeding is what I spend most of my time doing. 

We got Anthony's tongue tie fixed. He was so brave, and didn't cry at all. I, on the other hand, had to leave the room, and let Clint handle it.

We had a few more bumps in the road of his first month. We faced a lot of fears that new parents face. 

Once I was able to breast feed without finger feeding, we started to feel a bit better about life with our newborn.

Finger Feeding before we figured out the breastfeeding.

Clint had to go back to work about two weeks after we were home. He had put off jobs, and we both knew the time had come. He was leaving on a job that unfortunately wasn't at home, and they didn't know how long it would be.

I was alone with Anthony and my toddler of a rottie. On one hand, it was a good way to jump in, on the other hand, it was really hard. Really hard. I spent a lot of time taking care of Anthony, and had A LOT of momma guilt for not being able to give the attention I wanted to Drogo.

For anybody having babies: here is what will save you: Freezer meals! My freezer still has them, and they were and still are life saving.

About a week and a half before Anthony was a month, things got even more tough. 

Anthony was throwing up after every meal. It may have been right after, it may have been two hours after, it may have been while he was eating, but he puked. Unfortunately, when you tell somebody your baby is puking, the automatic assumption is that he's a baby. Baby's puke. 

This was different. I knew it was different. He puked everything. Projectile. It got to the point where I had towels before I fed him to soak it up. I knew he wasn't getting anything. 

This picture was taken so I could send it to Clint. It basically shows exactly what I felt like though.

I went to the breastfeeding clinic thinking it was somehow my fault. I was worried about his latch. The nurse gave suggestions, and she did say she was concerned about his weight. My guess would be although he was gaining previously, he was starting to lose weight.

The morning I went to the breastfeeding clinic, I had noticed his diaper wasn't wet. Since he'd started puking, I was stuck to Google, watching all the other symptoms. No wet diapers is a sign of dehydration. Dehydration means a trip to the Emergency Room. I waited until the next morning, hoping for a wet diaper. 

He didn't have one. My sister and I headed to the hospital the next morning at 8. I was lucky she had the day off. I texted her in the morning, and she drove over. 

I was grateful because they do take dehydration seriously. I was a little worried about not being taken seriously. They did.

At one point, the ER doctor made sure to check in about me having a support system. I cried while talking to her. The jump to post partum depression is big if you cry. In my case, it was because I had a week of my baby puking. I was stressed and I was worried. 

I had anxiety in that first month, but not depression.

They checked him out, and they took his blood (I cried with him), and they put an IV in. They tried a few different times, and it was the worst thing ever. He went up for an ultrasound. They knew what they were looking for.

 These were pictures in the ER waiting to find out what was going on. 

Anthony had Pyloric Stenosis. It's basically an enlarged muscle that kind of blocks food from getting down. It causes the puking, and because of that causes dehydration. He needed surgery. We were sent up to the children's ward to wait for the surgeon to talk to me. All this time, I was texting and calling Clint to let him know what was going on.

I was just barely holding it together, but somehow managed to not have the breakdown I wanted to have.

The surgeon finally came to talk to us, and said the surgery would be sometime the next day. They didn't have a time. Basically it was going to be when they had time. He assured me he had done the surgery many times, and he also told me that Clint didn't need to come home. It was a relief to hear that. Confidence helped.

Between the Emergency Room, the nurses upstairs, and the student surgeons, I was asked the same questions over and over again.  It's good that they were specific.

Also, I LOVE nurses. In every situation I've had to deal with them, they've been a huge support.

This is what he looked like before surgery. Heartbreaking.

Finally, around 6 pm he was taken into surgery. I was lucky that I had my mom, my sister, and two friends there to talk to me during the hour surgery. I was watching the time closely, but also had my support system there to distract me. It was a big help.

The surgery went well, and I went to see him in the recovery room after the hour. I fed him, and he didn't throw up, but they did tell me he would at some point. 

Anthony and I weren't allowed to go home until he could feed without throwing up. We ended up staying there two more nights. 

 Anthony celebrated his one month birthday in the hospital. 

War wounds.

Once we got home, I took his 1 month photos one more time.

It was a ridiculously stressful month. After I got back home, my one focus was to get him even more healthy and even more happy. I was also hoping he'd gain some weight.

I may have said this next bit before, but it's going to be repeated because I can't remember. You know how people say they were born to be a mom? Or they just KNOW without a doubt that they want to have children? I never felt like that. I never felt like I was born to be a mom. It didn't mean I was not going to try when the time was right (about this time last year), I just had a lot of insecurities about my decision.

Now I know. I wasn't born to be a mom. Nobody is. However, I AM Anthony's mom, and it's a job I would never give up. He's mine, and I'm his. We will do a great job learning from one another.

Anthony's first month was terrible. I can admit that. I spent most of it consumed with worry. The other half of it I felt guilt for not being able to do more for my baby and dog. 

I was so sad for him while he was sick, and wanted nothing more than him to be happy and healthy.

I'll be writing about the next couple of months soon. Spoiler alert: it gets better. 

"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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