Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Adjusting to motherhood

I'm not sure why some people strongly disapproved of my decision to take my daughter to church Sunday.  One woman told me my child would die and it would be my fault.  I know it's winter and flu season, so I didn't bring her to Primary and I kept her covered.  Today was her first doctors appointment, and I'm pretty sure the pediatric waiting room is more dangerous than church.  I kept her covered there too.

She now weighs exactly seven pounds.  All infants loose weight when they are born but typically gain back to their birth weight by two weeks.  Andrea still a little shy of her birth weight so the doctor will check her next week just to insure she's still gaining.  She's in the 13th percentile for weight and the 76th percentile for height.  Tall and skinny, just like her dad.

Adjusting to being a mom was more difficult than I thought it would be.  Although I'd been told it'd be exhausting and demanding, the reality of motherhood seemed clouded over by my overactive imagination.  I pictured lots of cuddling, cooing, rainbows, and ponies.  There is some of that.  But between cuddles and rainbows, there is lots of worry, paranoia, nursing, and poop. Our first three nights home Andrea and I spend the entire nights awake and wrestling to understand each other.  I picked her up for every squeak and grunt, interrupting her sleep and causing her to be overstimulated.

The fourth night was a breakthrough thanks to some needed advice from my mom.  We finally got some sleep and my mothering confidence, which was in the toilet before, started to rise.  A routine formed shortly after and I discovered I have a pretty good little sleeper.  Thank heavens!

Breastfeeding has been hard which I was anticipating, but not quite in the way I thought.  I had heard so many stories of painful latches, bleeding, blisters, bruises, and babies starving from lack of milk.  Well, Andrea is a natural and aside from a little soreness the first day or two, I've had no pain.  Her latch is perfect and she's not a biter.  As far as milk production is concerned, I'm a cow.  Go figure.

The difficult part about nursing is my overinflated sense of modesty.  The first few days home I'd be sitting in my rocking chair feeding my child when spontaneous visitors would knock on the door.  Paul would scramble to find a blanket to cover me with whilst I panicked.  I had a friend give me a nursing cover that has saved my life over the holidays.  However, because it has a little U-shaped boning at the top which allows to me to peek adoringly at the bundle of preciousness in my arms, anyone else standing above me can also see down my business too.  I typically nurse sitting down so I feel very self conscious as people walk around and behind me.  I try to avoid nursing in public even with the cover because of how uncomfortable I feel.

My whole world currently revolves around Andrea's eating schedule.  That has been quite the adjustment.  If I feed her and leave her with Paul while I grocery shop or whatnot, I find myself watching the clock the entire time I'm away from her wondering if she is at home wailing for her cow mother.  Going places with her is insane fun.  I try to feed her right before we leave, giving a good two hours before she'll want to eat again, but by the time I pack the diaper bag, search for my phone, strap her in her car seat, re-find the diaper bag, calm her car seat protests with binky, head to the front door, I have to use the bathroom and I've wasted a good half hour or 45 minutes of the between feeding time.  We haven't even left the house.  So, I'm learning to do the baby prep work beforehand.  I have to do some deep breathing just thinking about this.

I've spent a few moments crying, feeling so inadequate, wondering if my imperfections will ruin this little dependent person.  We brought her home and I spent hours staring at her, believing if I blinked my little elven child would disappear.  When she cried I picked her up awkwardly and slowly, afraid she would shatter in my arms.  I've lifted up her little bum during a diaper change only to have her pee all over herself.  I've sat on my bed across from Paul taking his turn soothing Andrea at four in the morning asking myself why I ever thought I'd have something to offer as a mom, and I thank heaven that she won't remember how clumsy and inexperienced I was when she came.  I've wondered if there was a mistake made and if my little blessing was intended for a better mom who wasn't quite as Kayla-ish as I am.

But then. . . she looks up at me with her shiny eyes and crinkled forehead and I fall madly in love all over again, and my heart fills with gratitude for this chance I've been given.  I need her now, just as much as she needs me and I wouldn't change that for the world!

Whoa, enough of all that sap.  Enjoy some Christmas pictures!

 It was Andrea's first Christmas and I helped her open her presents.
Some good looking dads, Andrea, and her cousin Jax.  He's four months older than her.  It's crazy to think she'll be that big in a few months.
 Andrea wearing the Christmas bow they gave her in the hospital.

Napping with Grandma Rowberry after an exhausting day.


  1. What? No rainbows and ponies? Thanks for shattering my dreams Kayla. I'll only be a mother if rainbows and ponies are included. (watch, I'll probably get a My Little Pony at my first baby shower).

    And It sounds like you're doing great, better than a lot of new moms. You'll get the routine down pretty quickly, and you're a great mom!
    I guess for the modesty thing you could make sure you nurse in a chair where people can't stand over you and look down the cover. Also, if you're using a cover people will know that you want your privacy and they most likely wont hover above you to take a peek, they'll respect you and give you your space. Also, theres this nifty little clippy thing to turn any blanket into a nursing cover, and you can decide how much it comes out. It doesn't have to be a big opening where everyone sees your business. I think it would be easy to make as well. http://www.thebuttonbarn.com/

  2. Kayla, your baby is so beautiful! Do you think she looks like her mommy or daddy?
    You're lucky she's a good sleeper! That's something my little girl needs to work on! And your lucky your such a good nurser/producer :) The other night sydnie sucked me dry, then sucked the 3 ounce bottle dry that a fed her right after that!
    ps-don't listen to other people trying to tell you how to be a parent, your her mother, you know best! :) glad to hear you're both doing well!

  3. hey cutie this is ashlyn, hey just a thought ....i used to breast feed and when i was gonna be on a particualrly long errand id pump a little milk into a bottle and bring it with me just so he would have somthing until i had a chance to nurse again!lol sorry! i know how it can feel to be bombarded with parenting advice lol!!!! you will be suprised how quickly you learn and figure stuff out ! ps. whoever said youd kill your baby by bringing her to church should be slapped. that is a horrible thing to say! love ash

  4. ya take advantage of the pump. you can buy a little extra time - though your boobs might protest.
    I think you are doing great. There are no rules in parenting no matter what anyone says or what books have been written. It's really different for everyone. So don't hold yourself to an imaginary standard. You're only job is to do your best and do what's right for you in particular. I was surprised to feel all the judgment and pressure from "the motherhood" gang of opinionated women. ahhaha. Just ignore them. There is no such thing as perfection in this case. There is only survival. haha. I mean that though. Your only job is to survive it and to help Andrea survive it past the first few months when it gets easier. And from what I saw you were doing an incredible job.
    As far as the woman at church who said that horrible thing - I find it hilarious when suddenly women think they are 'experts' who have gone through it with their own kids. No. They survived in their own special way with their own particular kids. It's chaos.
    Just write your own rules.