We were discharged Thursday night at 8pm and we were finally home around 9pm. The nurses made sure to schedule a follow up with his pediatrician the following day.
We got home and started adjusting to our new life with our son without the help of any nurses. At this point we’ve had the help of nurses every day since he was born, now it was up to us. Although it was nerve wracking it was nice to finally be home and feel a sense of normalcy.
That night was like any night with a newborn. He was up every two hours for a diaper change and his feeding but the stress of not knowing if he was getting enough milk was gone. The next morning my parents showed up and helped us out while we got ready to take him to his appointment.
His appointment went great. He was almost up to his birth weight and his levels of bilirubin stayed low. His pediatrician gave me tips on increasing my breast milk supply because I still wanted to breastfeed if possible.
Later that night my in-laws stopped by to visit and while they watched our son I was able to get some laundry and a quick trip to cvs done.
Saturday morning came and I was still feeling exhausted and emotional. We were having company over because our family wanted to see our son. As I got ready our family started arriving. We had about 13 people at our house from early in the afternoon till late that night. While our family was there I was not holding my son because he was being passed around. I kept looking at him and wishing he would cry so I could get him but he was sleeping and content.
I had to excuse myself a few times to pump, which also gave me the chance to go into a room by myself to cry. I didn’t want to be rude and take my son because I had anxiety. I was dealing with my own issues and I thought they shouldn’t interfere with my family’s time in meeting my son. Looking back I had every right to interfere because of the fact that I had just had my son in the NICU for 2 days and needed to bond with him any chance I got.
When he finally woke up to eat I remember hearing someone say that they would feed him. I remember looking at my husband almost in tears and he knew that I didn’t want him to be fed by anyone else. Hearing that someone else would be able to feed him made me feel so useless. I still couldn’t exclusively breast feed and knowing that someone else could feed him made me feel like my son didn’t need me. Up until recently I’ve been the only one to feed him. I’ve struggled so much with breastfeeding that I thought if everyone else started feeding him he’d know he could be fed by anyone and wouldn’t need me. I wouldn’t even let my husband feed him. With still wanting to breastfeed I didn’t want to cause him confusion that would lead to him not latching with me.
For weeks to come we had family at our house day and night. Mornings usually consisted of my parents showing up around 8-9am. Even though we were sleeping since our nights were really busy, I wouldn’t hear their texts but they would still show up. I knew they were trying to be helpful in bringing us food and watching him so we could get ready, but that sleep that was interrupted was desperately needed. After my parents left my mother-in-law would show up with more food and would spend some time with my son. Later that night my in-laws would show up together to see their grandson. Needless to say our family is very close and the grandparents were just head over heels for their new and only grandson.
With family being in and out of our house all day I felt like I never had the chance to process everything I had just gone through. Not only was I still healing physically but mentally I was only getting worse. I didn’t have the chance to wake up on my own and just process what I had gone through privately. With family at my house all the time, I tried my best to put on a happy face to avoid them asking me how I was doing. It was hard, I could feel that my facial expression was something between tired and irritated. I couldn’t do anything to snap out of it. I felt like my body was there but my mind was gone. Some people rely on family to get them through those tough times but I’ve always been the type to do it on my own and privately.
All day I would just feel shame. I loved my little guy but looking at him reminded me of what “I” put him through. Those thoughts of what I could have done differently were still in my head. Although he was healthy I couldn’t get these thoughts out of my head. I still to this day get upset when I think of what happened.
It wasn’t until my mother in law asked me how I was doing that I was finally honest with someone. I knew everyone could see that I was going through something but I wasn’t ready to talk about it until then. I told her how I had been feeling and how I felt that I had not had the chance to process what I’ve gone through with always having people at our house.
After that conversation my in-laws stopped coming by as much. I think that my mother in law saw what I needed and respected that. I appreciate that more than she will ever know.
Soon after I had my 6 week follow up with my midwife. I took a postpartum depression questionnaire. Based off of that they said I showed high levels of depressions and set me up with a psychiatrist right away. Although this was scary to hear it was also a relief that I was going to start getting help and hopefully become a fully present mom.