Well, River (and my husband and I for that matter) have survived the first two weeks of her coming into the world!
It's been an amazing two weeks. I'm so in love with her, and the more time that passes, the more comfortable I feel in my new role as a Mom. In fact, I don't think I have ever felt more comfortable in any role in my entire life as I do with this one. After the first week, something inside of me just snapped into place that made me realize I was going to be awesome at this. Hopefully ;)
But, there has definitely been some surprises and melt-downs (because I'm not a cyborg and every new parent out there is entitled to MULTIPLE melt-downs). First off, there was the whole breast-feeding fiasco. Pre-birth I was so "devoted" to breast-feeding. There was no way my sweet baby was going on formula. Period. Because everyone knows breast is best, right? Well, turns out it wasn't right for us. River had the worst time latching on for several different reasons. The second night in the hospital that she was screaming crying (and not sleeping), I caved and asked for a bottle. I was completely torn because I did not want to go to formula, but at the same time, my baby was hungry and I felt like she needed to eat. It was the first time I threw out the "rules" and went with my mommy instinct. And guess what? She slept peacefully for a good four + solid hours. When we came home, I was still trying to breast-feed, but after a few days (of constant crying and not sleeping) it just got to the point where I was an emotional mess. I was still trying to recover from giving birth and having some major baby blues, top all that off with being the only source of food for a newborn and I just crashed into major stress land. Finally, I decided that breast was not best for either of us. She could tell that I was a basket case and it was causing her tension. When I switched over to formula completely, things became so much simpler for us. She slept ten times better because she was actually getting enough food. Not only that, but my husband could now split feedings with me so that I could get some rest and be a better parent for her, and he got to bond with her over feedings (because there is nothing more sweet than your baby looking up into your eyes when your feeding them). Of course, I still felt some mommy guilt over it (how could I not when almost everyone out there talks about how amazing breast-feeding is for your baby), but in the end I realized that the only two people who knew what was best for River ultimately was my husband and me. After that, things got better.
Being sleep deprived was another challenge for us, but at least that one was expected. In all honesty though, I think we kind of lucked out on this one- at least for now. From day one of bringing her home we set River into a bedtime routine. Around 9:40 she gets a bath (or in the beginning a sponge bath), gets a bottle, and then we all snuggle up in bed to read a story. After that she gets swaddled up and placed in her bassinet (complete with ocean sounds blasting) beside the bed by 11:00 pm and is asleep until 2:00 or 3:00 am. Zack gets up for these middle of the night feedings where he changes her diaper, gives her a bottle, and then puts her straight back to bed. She's not up again until 6:30 am. I mean, don't get me wrong, I miss having a full nights sleep, but at this point I'm not jumping up at every little noise she makes anymore, and I feel like I'm getting enough rest to function during the day.
Despite going on formula, the sleep deprivation, and of course, the baby blues, things have been wonderful for us. It's amazing to see River growing every day and I have never felt more empowered in my life. I gave birth to this beautiful human being who is growing into a real person. It's mind blowing.
This coming up week though, I hope to be able to actually go out on a date with my husband and leave River with one of her grandparents for a few hours. I don't know if it's going to happen or not, because I'm still struggling with the idea of not being with her 24/7, but I know it needs to happen. And, it would be really nice for the hubs and I to have a date night and reward ourselves for bringing our awesome little human into the world.