Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Sweet Homecoming

I'm rested, for at least another 30 minutes. I have officially survived the first night of motherhood. Wow. I'm emotional about it. Had no idea I would be flooded with tears of joy one minute and then tears of helplessness another minute. Will I be able to do this on those nights when Steve is working and Kaitlyn and I will be flying solo? Will I be able to soothe her teary eyes and heartaches or tummy aches or whatever she is suffering from that I may never be able to fully know? Rest assured, I have a husband who wins the gold medal. He has been so encouraging and affirmative along with being helpful. So, let me give you the play by play:

8:20am-Friday, June 6th
I call the NICU to find out about coming in to breastfeed Kaitlyn and find out if we truly will be able to take her home at some point in the day. Due to an early feeding (aka, HUNGRY BABY) I missed the timing so I decided to stay home a little longer and pump then Steve and I would venture to the NICU for the final Doctor assessment.

8:30am-Friday, June 6th
NICU calls us! 'Hey, come pick up your baby, she's ready to come home'!

The rest of the day as you can imagine was a whirlwind of emotion. We were met at the hospital with a great NICU nurse who had a goodie bag of delights for her, some paperwork for discharge and the hospital photographer. Steve and I got her dressed in her departure outfit, finished our hospital business and then were escorted to our car with Kaitlyn in tote, fully tucked into her Orbit Baby car seat!

We arrived at home just around noon and were greeted with an excited dog! Cosimo was elated she was finally here as he knew something was up. He's been such a patient dog and at the same time such an obnoxious dog. His instinct was right on, he knew our home was changing and as we expected, he came over to her and sniffed her out, gave her the 'A-OK'. Best buds, right from the start.

My afternoon was filled with figuring out breastfeeding, figuring out how to comfortably hold her with confidence, now that she was IV free, and figuring out how to handle myself. Our first adventure with feeding turned into a milk bath! And burping, oh my. Burping is really a chore, but very rewarding when you can sit it out to hear the big, and I mean BIG burp!

11:30pm-Friday, June 6th
Kaitlyn is crying, I'm crying. She's a natural crier like her mom, but this cry is a cry of real discomfort. A solid two hours later (I think, it seemed like an eternity), she was finally rested. I was exhausted and felt like I was entering into a crucial period of learning. Being a mother is really an exceptional career. How these mother's do all this juggling of baby care with family care is such an adjustment. Now, I will not leave out fathers. That is an exceptional career in itself. My husband has a touch with swaddling, with diaper changing and soothing a crying baby. Oh, and even changing baby clothing. Really, would I have expected this from Steve? I knew he had experience, but I didn't know he had a whole package of experience--more than changing diapers and burping ER babies. I'm really blessed as he has the right balance of experience to still allow me to be free as a learning mother and a mother with instinct. He has been very affirming.

3:30am-Saturday, June 7th
Kaitlyn starts her cries again. I'm up with the first rustle of the blankets! Steve puts his arm on me and says to wait until she really lets out the cry to ensure she is up. I wait and to my surprise gain another 15 minutes of sleep. Then the cries stir again and they are real. Up we are and feeding starts. We enjoy a lovely hour of cuddle time in our nursery. I cherish the time, the looking down at her when she is nestled in my chest, he sound of her breathing, the content sigh she releases. She is tucked back into bed, rested and well fed. I feel successful. I feel like I can do this. I feel empowered.

6:00am-Saturday, June 7th
Kaitlyn is clockwork-she's up again. It's light outside so I feel awake this time around. We do another session in our rocker in the nursery. This time she's not so tired, she decides to stay up and hang out with Nana (Steve's mother--another SAINT). Eventually I have her in my arms again and we both fall asleep in the rocker. A real Kodak moment.

That's a snap of the first 24 hours as a mom. Now that I'm in the 36 plus hour of motherhood (full time motherhood, I became a mom a while ago...but full time as she is home now), I'm blown away at all the moments of learning that I have enjoyed since 8:20am yesterday. Bring it on I say! I need the guidance. I need the encouragement. I need the tips. I need the other mom's as support. I'm in the mommy club now. It's powerful, it's emotional, it's challenging and the most important, it's ever so rewarding!

A sweet Homecoming for sure.

FYI...her hair was shaved from a portion of her forehead (both sides) as she had IV's stuck up there!