I cannot believe my baby is six weeks old today! Time definitely flies when you’re busy with a newborn. For those of you who don’t know, our son, Levi Alden Lease was born on November 6 at 3:09 p.m, weighing six pounds and six ounces. I could’ve sworn we were having a girl but I’m so excited to be raising this delicious little man. He’s named for David’s maternal grandmother, Leatrice, and my paternal grandfather Leonid, while his middle name is in honor of David’s maternal grandfather, Albert.
Levi was born via an unplanned C-section because at the last moment the doctors saw he was breech. I pleaded with them to do a vaginal birth (I’ve heard some really bad C-section recovery stories) but they told me because I was 5cm dilated and had already received an epidural — there was no other option. FYI: once the contractions startedthey were so painful I begged for the epidural even though before I went into labour I thought maybe, just maybe I could do without it (I couldn’t).
The good thing about a C-section is that it’s fast; I arrived at the hospital at 12pm and Levi was born just three hours later! David was in the operating room with me the entire time and took some pretty gruesome photos to prove it (I’ve told him I’ll never look at them). As soon as Levi was born they placed him on my chest and I remember being completely freaked out that he would fall off because my arms and jaw were shaking so much. Meanwhile, I couldn’t feel my entire lower body. The surgery wasn’t painful (I couldn’t feel a thing actually) but it was a surreal experience.
Fortunately my recovery has been going really well. By about day three I felt better than I did during my last month of pregnancy when heartburn made every moment super uncomfortable. Everything is relative right? At about two weeks post-partum I could walk and move around with very minimal pain. Now, at six weeks I feel great and am looking forward to easing into working out again once my doctor gives me the go ahead.
I gave birth at Jackson Hospital where they practice rooming in. This means from the moment the baby is born, he and Mom are together 24/7 to encourage early bonding and promote breast feeding. I found this pretty overwhelming considering I couldn’t get out of the hospital bed for 24 hours. There were nurses and doctors at my service at all times, but it was still pretty intense. All I can say is thank God David and my mother-in-law were there to help me; I can’t imagine how a woman would feel if she had no loved ones there with her during this intense time.
In regards to nursing, Levi latched on right away, and with the help of the hospital lactation consultants I was able to get the hang of breast feeding. Such a relief because I was definitely nervous about how it would all go. My nipples killed the first week, and when my milk came in on day four I was in tears from the pain of engorgement. My friend recommended these nursing pillows by Bamboobies that you can freeze or microwave and put on your boobs to ease the pain and it helped a lot. Applying lanolin cream also provided relief. Thankfully after about 10 days or so I had virtually no breast feeding pain.
My advice to soon-to-be moms is to take a breast feeding class beforehand just to learn the basics like milk supply and demand, knowing how long to feed, when to switch breasts, etc. Figuring out when and how to pump breast milk was also a bit challenging even though they did show me briefly how to do it in the hospital. Now I pump once a day so someone else can give Levi one bottle a day. This allows me to get out of the house for more than 2-3 hour stretches at a time (even though I have yet to leave him for more than three hours) or get some extra sleep while David takes over part of the night shift (I’ve taken to calling him the Levi whisperer).
Speaking of sleep — we’re not getting much of it these days. Sometimes Levi wakes up to nurse at night as often as every hour, while other times he’ll sleep 2-4 hour stretches. I never thought I would feel so grateful to sleep four consecutive hours! Everyone says to nap when the baby naps which hasn’t been easy for me since I’m a little OCD and always have a long to-do list. However, I ‘ve been forcing myself to just let go of everything else and rest so I can be the best mama I can be for little Levi.
All I can say is thank god I have a husband who comes to my rescue at night by giving Levi a bottle and helping lull him to sleep so I can get more rest. He’s a natural with him and loves him so much that it really melts my heart.
My parents were in town for three weeks and provided me with much needed support as well as our first date night (it took me three weeks to leave Levi for the first time!). I’m not a cryer but I cried like a baby when they left. I’m also lucky that my mother and sister-in-law are nearby and are always more than happy to help.
My advice is to definitely enlist/hire as much help as you can afford/are comfortable with for at least the first couple months because it is hard and you will barely have time for housework and cooking.
I chose not to hire a night nurse because I’m just uncomfortable with the idea of having a virtual stranger sleeping in my house, and because I’m breastfeeding I didn’t see much benefit to it. The lactation consultants tell you to wait about three weeks before giving baby a bottle so that breast feeding is well established meaning the nurse wouldn’t have been able to feed Levi at night for the first little while anyways. I’m sure the nurse would’ve been helpful in many other ways but we were able to figure things out on our own with help from family, friends, books, and of course, Google. What I do have is a housekeeper three days a week who is able to help with Levi as needed. Subscribing to a meal delivery service is something I would recommend if it’s within your budget.
When people ask me how it’s going, my response has been “everyday is different”. Some days Levi is eating and sleeping well and being a little angel and I feel like I’ve got this whole Mom thing in the bag, while other times he’s being super fussy and I can’t get him to sleep and I’m seriously stressed. Those are the times I’m snapping at David (only to regret it later) or find myself crying over trivial things like not being able to give Levi a bath when I had originally planned to. I constantly have to remind myself to just let it be and to enjoy every moment — even the hard ones. He’s so cuddly at this stage and I can’t get enough of holding and smelling him. You can’t spoil a newborn and I’m trying to focus on savoring these moments when he can fall asleep on my chest and I don’t have to worry about it creating bad sleep habits in the future.
My whole world completely changed overnight, and while I certainly miss the freedoms that come with being childless (like eating meals at one’s leisure) I’m mostly just ridiculously happy. I adore our little trio and I feel truly lucky that we have a healthy baby boy who fills our hearts with so much love everyday.