Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Aftermath

That first night at home went about the same as at the hospital. Julia wouldn't go sleep unless I was nursing her and she wouldn't stay asleep unless I was holding her. This meant I hardly slept. I've never gotten the sleeping part out of co-sleeping. It just doesn't work for me. Occasionally, I would awake and think, "Oh, I was dreaming! I must have actually fallen asleep." I could get up after she had been asleep for an hour or so if I left her propped up in my bed. Thankfully, she didn't party like a rock star until 4 am like the night before. It was more like three hours between feedings.

When the big girls started waking up, Julia was in one of those deeper sleep times, so I was able to get up with them to fix them breakfast and eat with them. They all asked about the new baby as soon as they saw me. After I got them set up with breakfast and had some of my own, I had Mike bring out the new baby for them to meet. I took some video but haven't been able to upload it to Blogger. Ana and Amanda were very excited but Tali was unsure and didn't want Mike to get the baby too close to her.

When I sat down to nurse Julia, Amanda and Ana decided they were done with breakfast and wanted to come see the baby. It was a bit challenging trying to get Julia latched with them rocking the chair and touching her head and talking in her face. They were all over her but Tali still kept her distance. After feeding her and changing her, I tried to get her to fall asleep but it became apparent rather quickly that I would need to go lay down with her to get her to sleep. There was some whining and protest from the girls but not nearly as much as I expected. Mike was able to keep them from bothering us so Julia could go to sleep.

I got up again at lunchtime with the girls and then laid down with Julia again when they laid down from their naps. I woke up after naps feeling feverish and achy all over. My throat had still been scratchy but now I felt really bad. I took my temperature and called the OB nurse. She said that they would be concerned if the fever was above 100.4 and mine was 99.5. I had also missed a dose of ibuprofen and she said that if alternating ibuprofen and acetaminophen kept the fever down, it was probably just a virus. There was some concern because of how long my water may have been broken and she said if I start to feel a lot worse quickly, I should call back.

The medicine helped and I felt a little better but really surrendered to only taking care of myself and the Julia. I felt bad for Mike because all three little girls are a handful and the day I was in the hospital was the first long day he's taken care of all three of them alone. Plus, Tali was sick and extra crabby. And the weather was really cold so he couldn't taken them outside. This is one of those times when it's really nice that we have TV and videos to entertain them. We know it's not best all the time but sometimes it's REALLY helpful.

Mike has been great with the girls and they have accepted him as their leader. I'm amazed by how quickly he developed his own routines and strategies. At some point, I lost my voice and it's probably a good thing because it forced me to not interfere.

I did my best to rest and finally on Friday, Julia started sleeping by herself. I would still nurse her or hold her until she fell asleep, but she would stay asleep once I laid her down in the bassinet by our bed. A few times, she may have woken as fussed a little bit but then fallen asleep. The girls would all tell me when she was crying. "Mom, the baby's crying. Please, would you nurse her?" Who needs a baby monitor? I've got three.

I was still having trouble sleeping because of my sore throat though.

On Saturday, my mom, sister-in-law, niece and nephew came to visit and to celebrate my birthday. It was nice to see them but challenging to talk and exhausting. I'm glad the girls had a chance to go outside and play. It was the first day above zero since we brought Julia home. While the little girls were outside. We attempted some photos with Julia. We got a couple of super cute ones. I decided it was a much better way to spend my time than folding laundry. My laundry will look the same next week. Little Julia will not.

On Sunday, as I was looking over Julia's feeding chart where I had also been recording when I was taking medicine, I realized how many days I had been taking the meds around the clock and they were barely helping my sore throat. I began to worry that I had strep throat. Tali had been sick and crabby too and I could only imagine what another round of strep throat through the house would look like. I debated about waiting until Monday vs. running into the emergency room but I guess in the end, I thought that if it was strep and I could start feeling better sooner, that would be good. I was also worried about whether or not Julia could get sick.

Thankfully, the test came back negative. They offered me steroids or something to fix the sore throat and stronger medicine but I declined. If it wasn't strep, I would suffer on. The potential side effects weren't worth it.

Ironically, that night, for the first time, I woke up in less pain than when I went to bed for the first time in five days. If only I would have waited.

Thankfully, through all this Julia has been a very easy baby. She nurses well and then falls back to sleep quickly. She sleeps for a good two hours at a time. I usually wake up and get myself ready either before she wakes or before I go and wake her up to feed her. She spits up very little and doesn't seem to have any tummy troubles. She's had a little bit of a stuffy nose but it hasn't interfered with nursing too much. She fusses a little during diaper changes and then immediately quiets down and looks around after she's swaddled. So far, she's the easiest baby we've ever had. One of the name choices we had for her meant "easy going or agreeable." Funny!

For a while there, I didn't really see much of the older girls. Mike took care of them and kept them out of the way and occupied. Often downstairs or outside once it warmed up. He also got them down for naps and bedtime. I put Ana in her bed one night and realized that it had been a really long time since I had hugged her or snuggled with her.

Today should be different. Mike will be back to work for the first time since Julia was born so now we will get a little taste of real life. Only for a day though, because my mom is coming to tomorrow. Yeah!!!


Tammy said...

I will be praying for you today.

The Earnshaw's said...

I love reading about your wonderful family! I have no idea how you do it. You are such an amazing mother!