This is the week you became parents, that you became a family. After welcoming your little one, you and your baby had two days of round the clock care from your loving nurses. The food may have been sub par, but the sleep… oh the sleep was wonderful.
Then comes the day… the day you are discharged. The joy surges through you. You’re going home with your newborn! In the car ride home you ask each other “Did they really just let us leave?” The drive is surreal as you look back at your baby, asleep in the car seat.
“I got this!”, you say to yourself. You know you will be incredible parents. You bought the best gear, signed up for the baby care basics class and mastered the diaper change. Yes, you got this.
That night was simultaneously the best and most challenging night you can recall. The love for your baby was overflowing, yet you felt like you were up all - night - long. Between nursing, countless diapers, burping, rocking and holding this tiny new creature; you wake up utterly exhausted.
You sit up in bed to nurse for what feels like the 100th time. Your postpartum haze subsides for a moment as you remember: the Postpartum Doula is coming today!!! You relax as you realize that support and reassurance is on the way.
Knock, Knock. Your doula walks in and immediately gives you a big hug and congratulates you on your new addition. Noticing you’re nursing, she offers to bring you a cup of hot tea. Moments later you wonder aloud if it’s normal for babies to want to be held all the time and mention that you can’t seem to put him down for a second. Your doula affirms that it's completely normal newborn behavior and you are doing an incredible job as a new mom navigating a brand new relationship. She chats with you about the 4th trimester being a slow transition from womb to world for your baby. It’s encouraging to hear that you are your baby’s habitat and he desires to be close to you to feel safe. You never knew that a baby’s temperature regulates when skin-to-skin on their mother; you were just following your instincts.
You’re so happy to hear her say that your doing everything right and to take it day by day.
As you migrate to the living room you notice your husband making some scrambled eggs and toast before he heads to the office for a few hours. Being the VP of his company, he needs to check back in after taking 3 days off for the birth.
While eating breakfast, your husband points out that your baby is showing signs of being tired. Your doula gives him props for remembering the cues from class and asks if he wants to give swaddling a go before he heads out. “Yes!” he exclaims, eager to master this dad skill and provide some relief to his wife. "...Down, up, down up. Okay, now tuck the last bit in the fold here and you’ve got yourself a content little baby burrito.”
He takes his son and rocks him side to side; thrilled on being able to bring comfort to his baby and connect with him before work. Your heart swells watching your husband in his new role.
Baby’s asleep! Your doula offers to the hold the baby while you go take a hot shower. “Oh thank goodness; that sounds amazing. Yes, please!” You take what feels like the most exquisite, luxurious shower and linger there for longer than you anticipated. You relish in this time to yourself and are grateful for the space to breathe, relax and refresh. You take comfort knowing that your baby is being nurtured and care for just outside the door. You didn't realize how constant mothering would be once your baby arrived.
You take your time getting ready for the day and put on your oh so comfy leggings and robe. Perfect mom attire. You head to the nursery where your son is just waking up for another feed (surprise, surprise!). Your doula helps you get settled in the rocking chair with the Ergo nursing pillow and hands you a glass of iced cucumber water. .
You and your doula chat more. She, while folding freshly washed baby clothes and you, while expertly nursing your son. You chat about your birth experience and how it was the hardest yet most rewarding experience of your life. You talk about changes in your birth plan and that in the end you felt safe and supported with your OB's care. Your postpartum doula agrees that support from doctors and nurses is essential. Realizing your doula isn’t going to judge you like others in your life have, you feel safe to open up and process this monumental experience.
You unload every. single. thing. The labor, the birth, the shock of being home, the extreme happiness, the self doubt, the desire for a break already, and how you are just SO exhausted. Wow, that felt good. It was hard keeping it all in and you weren’t yet ready to talk with your own mother about your identity shift in becoming a mom yourself.
As your sweet baby boy nurses himself to sleep you mention that you’d also like to get some shut-eye. Knowing this is the best thing for you, your doula encourages a nap and asks what household or baby-related tasks you have in mind for her to help with. Not able to come up with anything specific, she tells you she’ll throw another load of laundry in, tidy up the kitchen, and review where everything is in the nursery for future reference. You snuggle up with your baby and slip into a blissful sleep thankful that you don’t have to worry about anything in this moment.
What a morning, off to such a great start. You’ve got 45 minutes left on your 5 hour Postpartum Doula shift and you scramble to think of what you need before she leaves. You start to feel hungry and imagine yourself trying to make a lunch with a newborn in tow. Before you can even ask your doula to make you lunch she walks out of the kitchen inquiring what sounds good to eat.
“Would you like a smoothie and hummus wrap?"
"That's perfect, thank you!"; you reply.
Your doula starts prepping lunch and mentions that when she's done, she'll show you how to use the stretchy Solly Baby wrap; so that you can eat with both hands free. You feel ready to tackle the rest of the day with your newborn.