Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Baby Story: The Aftermath of Asher

After we got back to our room from the C-section recovery, Dusty and I were able to enjoy our new little bundle for a few hours by ourselves. All we wanted to do was hold him and snuggle him. He was so warm and cuddly, and so, so tiny! Dusty and I were both chubby as babies (I was over 9lbs when I was born!) so I assumed our baby would come out round and plump. Nope - he came out long and skinny! Okay, maybe not skinny - he was still 7lb 13 oz., but he was smaller than I imagined.

A few hours later my parents arrived to meet their 3rd grandchild and of course gushed over him (well, my mom did . . . I don't think my dad gushes). They stayed for a while and then left so we could get some rest. Dusty got to give Asher his first bath (with the aid of a nurse) and I felt a little left out. I wasn't supposed to be up and walking quite yet with the C-section, so I could only watch from the bed. It was pretty special to see Dusty taking so much care to do everything right and be as gentle as possible. I got to dress him afterward . . . Nobody really warns you about how hard that is! You literally get no help from the baby (obviously) and you're paranoid the entire time that you'll accidentally be too rough . . . So 10 minutes later you finally have a onesie on 'em!
Ready to head home!

We turned down the lights after bath time and Dusty laid down on the couch (he couldn't share the bed since I had a C-section . . . darn those things) and I did my best to nurse Asher. No one really talks about how hard that is either. It did not feel natural. My arm felt like it was at an awkward angle, and I was never positive that he had a good latch. I talked with nurses and lactation consultants on a pretty regular basis; they were wonderful. Utilize your nurses and lactation consultants! Seriously.

So, Dusty fell asleep pretty much right away that night, and I was lying awake staring at my new baby boy. I knew I should've been tired, but I wasn't. I never got a chance to push during labor, and I think I had so much built-up adrenaline that I didn't end up using. Sometimes when you lie awake in bed for a long time it gets frustrating as you try to force yourself to sleep, but I didn't mind at all. I was too enthralled with the cuddling - newborn snuggling is addicting and amazing.
Daddy's trick of Asher sucking on his pinky finger worked every time!

The rest of our stay in the hospital was stressful. We had a lot of family visit, which was the best, but other things weren't so great. The circumcision was pretty traumatic for us. I was a wreck imagining the worst and thinking of him in pain. But he came back sleeping and peaceful. He was slightly jaundiced, too, and had a fever they were watching. He also ended up needing an x-ray . . . Is it horrible that I don't remember why? I just remember going down with Dusty to talk to the pediatrician afterward for the results, and I was still in a hospitable gown . . . crying. She and the nurse just studied me and she said, "Do you need a chair? Would you like to sit down?" She was very nice, and funnily enough, she ended up being who we chose as Asher's pediatrician before we left the hospital, but I didn't put two and two together until a few months ago! She was probably thinking, "Oh great, that way over-emotional mom . . . yippee." :)

Our first day home was exhausting. Asher wanted to eat literally all day (we had to take him in the next day to check his jaundice and he had gained a pound! In one day!). And he cried. A lot. My sister had told me to call anytime if I needed anything, and I did call her that night at about 11 p.m. because I had no idea what to do. Finally, after a couple hours, he hit the trifecta: huge burp, poop, then ate. Then, he fell asleep. But I was unbelievably tired and sore from nursing. And crying. I cried a lot. Sometimes Often about nothing.

We had to get a bilirubin bed for him for his jaundice, and I bawled about that. I felt horrible laying him on there all the time. He looked so small and pitiful; he wasn't bothered by it, but I was. I felt guilty that I couldn't do anything.
Tummy time. On the biliruben bed. Boo.

Things picked up, though. I was a bridesmaid in my cousin's wedding 10 days after Asher was born, and we all made it to the wedding and enjoyed ourselves. It was definitely stressful, but I was so glad we could do it. And nursing got slightly easier. It was never easy. It was painful. So much so that tears sprung to my eyes every time he latched on. And he had a habit of turning his head quickly to look at something while he was still latched, which hurt like h***!!! But, we kept at it and both improved. I know a lot of the problem was my inexperience, but really what can you do about that but keep at it?

Looking back, I'm fairly certain I had postpartum depression. I never even considered it until after we had Aiden and I had something to compare to. I should have gone in, but I thought it was normal. I had zero appetite. I was just too busy during the day to think about eating because Asher was such a frequent eater. Dusty did his best to entice me to eat by ordering food or making food that I like. It's a good thing my parents gave me some Godiva chocolate and a huge bag of peanut M&Ms because they were almost my only sustenance for a while. I'd eat a couple pieces of chocolate every now and then, but overall I was just not hungry. Another reason I should have sought help.
Always and forever.

Luckily for Asher and I, we had Dusty around during the first days. I can't imagine how I would have managed without him there. He didn't know what he was doing either, but he would always commiserate, and when I had to get up 6 times a night to feed Asher, he got up, too, just to keep me company. It brings tears to my eyes knowing how thoughtful he is and how much he loves us.

Gotta love a wrinkly newborn in a diaper! :)
First babies are rife with ever-changing emotions: delight, disgust, pain, sadness, love, doubt, happiness, utter joy, and extreme faith in a God who can create such little miracles. We were truly blessed, and happy with our little Asher.

Thanks for reading, and keep checking back for Aiden's baby story!


  1. it amazes me how common PPD is. i had it, too. never went on medication (not the best choice for everyone), but luckily it faded after a couple months. those first two months were all sorts of terrible, and breastfeeding didn't work out for us. anyway! thanks for sharing :) i love birth stories!

  2. I had a lot of crying and loss of appetite after my first daughter; I lost a lot of blood though and the doctors said that can affect how hard PPD is for people. Baby #2 was a breeze in comparison!