My sweet baby boy was born 6 weeks ago and between the whirlwind of life with a newborn, paired with the craziness of the holiday season, this is quite literally the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write. This post will surely be record setting in length and will probably be completed over the span of several nap times, haha! Alrighty, where to start… Let’s go all the way back to November and start from the beginning!
After 2 months of bed rest and thinking I would deliver preterm, I was so surprised when I reached full term and was still pregnant. At my 37 week check up, I was SHOCKED (and so was my dr) to hear that I was already 5cm dilated, baby was dropped into position, and I was 100% effaced… Basically I was in labor without strong enough contractions! The dr said to expect baby any time – any MINUTE really – and couldn’t believe that I was already so far progressed with my first baby. I thought for sure that I would deliver right away, but fast forward 2 more weeks (2 VERY uncomfortable, miserable, puffy weeks) and I was right back in her office for my 39 week check, and still very pregnant.
Having spent the few days prior trying every “natural” way to get my labor going, I confessed my agony to the dr and asked if there was any way to get things to progress. (Because the baby was so very low for so long, I was in excruciating pelvic and back pain and, no exaggeration, had a hard time even walking from the pain.) After checking, I was told that I was now over 6cm dilated and the baby was at a +1 station – whoa! Even though I wasn’t having painful contractions, the dr said that I could go check into L&D whenever I was ready. She also let me know that once active labor started it was going to be FAST & FURIOUS so to get to the hospital asap! Well, it was the day before Thanksgiving and every freeway was in a gridlock so instead of risking going home and not making it back to the hospital in time, I decided it was probably best to go check in to the hospital. Here’s the last picture I took while pregnant (39 weeks)…
After checking in and finding out that they were going to keep us there, we got really excited about the reality that we would soon be meeting our baby boy! My contractions were coming steady at 2-3 minutes apart but they still were not very painful and after a few hours, and several laps around the hospital floor, we realized that nothing was progressing. After some deliberation, I agreed for them to go ahead and break my water. Within a minute of my water breaking I suddenly felt pain like I never even knew existed; my water must have been seriously cushioning my contraction pain. Wow, when they say “you’ll know” when you’re having a real contraction they aren’t lying! After a few contractions I started to have the most intense back labor (it felt like the baby was pushing off my spine) so I got up and tried doing some of the techniques on the birth ball, but nothing offered any relief. (I was planning a natural birth and wasn’t on any pain meds so I was allowed to move around, use the ball, use the tub, etc however I wanted to try to manage the pain.) The contractions were coming every minute or less at that point and were so intense I couldn’t do anything more than scream and cry. The entire birthing floor could hear my wailing. I didn’t even know pain like that existed, nor did I know I could possibly scream that loud.
I do want to pause the story for a second just to talk about my sweet husband. He was such an incredible coach through my contractions, doing whatever he possibly could to help me, and reminding me that it would be over so soon. Jake, the guy who has a horrible fear of needles and passes out at the sight of blood, stood by me through everything and never wavered. He kept telling me to “think of the little socks”, referring to the tiny socks that Cohen would wear coming home, and that helped me keep perspective on why I was going through the pain. Okay now back to the story…
At that point I decided I could no longer handle a natural birth and started begging for an epidural. They had me climb back on the bed to check my progression and found that I was fully dilated and it was time to push (aka no chance of an epidural). After finding out that I couldn’t have the drugs I became super irate, demanding they had to give me SOMETHING (lol!). To distract me, one of the nurses started putting a fake IV in my hand telling me drugs were on the way. By the time I figured out she wasn’t actually going to give me meds, it was time to focus on pushing the baby out. She was so smart in tricking me through the horrible transition! Next I pushed for 24 minutes and out came my baby boy! The pushing was exhausting and excruciating, and I don’t think I even opened my eyes once that whole time. It was just a mixture of focus and unbearable pain and I just listened to the voices of everyone coaching me, while screaming like a crazy person of course. What was so incredible was how as soon as he came out, I no longer felt pain… Just so much joy holding him in my arms! Such instant relief! I held him skin to skin for a long time, studying the little face I had dreamed about for so long. He was perfect! 8lbs 6oz of beautiful, healthy baby boy. It was so incredible that only an hour and a half after my first “real” contraction, he was in my arms! And even better, seeing him in the big arms of my husband made my heart melt. Jake was so happy to meet his little mini-me.
After a good night’s sleep (and a long hot shower), I celebrated Thanksgiving in the hospital room with my brand new family of 3. It was so surreal – I have no words to describe how I felt those first 24 hours with Cohen. Indescribable LOVE and JOY!
We spent just one night in the hospital and then headed home with our little guy on Thanksgiving night. It felt crazy to be driving him home. Jake and I had no idea what we were doing and couldn’t believe he was solely in our care now – eek! I’ve never seen Jake drive more careful or be more nervous as he was on our drive home from the hospital :)
Weeks 1 & 2
The first two weeks having Cohen home were INCREDIBLE. Honestly, I’ve never felt such a high like that in my life. It didn’t matter that I was barely sleeping or that I was recovering with a ridiculous amount of stitches, I was so immensely filled with a joy that I have never felt. We had lots of family in town that first week and they helped with all the housework, meals, etc so I got to spend lots of quality time getting to know my son. It was perfect.
At 4 days old, we had his newborn checkup and it went really well. He had lost weight down to 7lbs 11oz (which we were told was within normal range) and the pediatrician commented that he had really great neck and leg strength. Is it weird that those comments made me feel proud? Motherhood is the strangest love… I mean, I even feel proud when he does a good burp, haha!
At 10 days old, we had Caroline from Kipper Photography come to our house for Cohen’s newborn photoshoot. We wanted a casual, lifestyle shoot with nothing too posey or fake, and we think they turned out totally perfect! Here’s a look at a few of our favorites…
At 2 weeks old, Cohen had another checkup and had gained back all of his birth weight and got a full, healthy report! So very thankful for the blessing of a healthy baby.
The third week is when reality of newborn life started to kick in. Cohen went from sleeping 4 hour night stretches to sleeping no more than an hour (mayyyybe two) at a time. He was going through a growth spurt and just needed to eat constantly, which meant major sleep deprivation for me, and anytime I set Cohen down he would immediately start screaming. Jake also left on an 8-day trip during this week that left me home alone fending for myself with a baby for the first time. It was this week that made me long for the “old days” of sleeping in, cruising the aisles of Target alone, sitting and reading in a coffee shop, ah… This new mommy life is a 180 degree transition from the “selfish life” with no babies. I definitely went into survival mode during this first week on my own. Cohen and I got to know each other very well, and I don’t think I ever changed out of my pjs :)
Week four brought us Christmas, and with that, TONS of family members at our house. It was a wonderful break for this mommy! I would feed Cohen and then simply pass him off to one of the many grandparents, aunts, etc that were dying to hold him. The grandparents even took over diaper duty too – yeah! My mom took some of the night shifts with Cohen and I finally started to get caught up on sleep. We had an awesome Christmas filled with games, movies, presents, shopping, and sooo much food :)
And in the blink of an eye, Cohen was already 1 month old, and weighing in at 10lbs! Right around the 1 month mark Cohen really started becoming more active and enjoying staring at his mobile and other toys. He also discovered his hands and started to grab at everything!
At the beginning of the fifth week, we took advantage of having the grandparents still here and Jake and I went on our first official date night. We went to a super cute, fancy Italian restaurant and enjoyed a baby-free night out (although we probably talked about Cohen 75% of the time, haha!)
As sad as it was for the parents and visitors to all head home, I went into week 5 determined to “figure out” life with a newborn. While I realize he is too young for any REAL sleep training, I started getting him into an eat, play, sleep routine on roughly a 3.5hr rotation. He fell into this loose schedule wonderfully and it quickly started to pay off with us getting a little more sleep and having our life be slightly more predictable. We even took a full day trip into the city and it went so well! Week 5 was awesome :)
And that brings us to this past week – week six – or what I will probably always remember as (excuse my french, but…) the “growth spurt from hell”. Oh yes, JUST when I thought we had this awesome little routine going, everything flipped. Apparently the 6 week growth spurt is very common and expected, but yikes, it was a rough one. Cohen needed to eat every hour or two, day AND night! And not just snack feedings but full on meals. It sounds crazy but I could actually see him getting bigger and outgrowing his clothes on a daily basis, and within a week he went from fitting perfectly in newborn onesies to BARELY fitting in 3 month clothes. No exaggeration.
And of course, during this 2nd major growth spurt of his, Jake got put on another trip, leaving me to fend for myself during those rough sleepless days and nights. I didn’t know it was physically possible for a person to be so completely sleep deprived and still function. This last week I was an absolute zombie. My phrase that I constantly said to Cohen as he screamed and then ate, screamed and then ate (repeat) was “Good thing you’re cute, little guy!”
I also had my 6 week post postpartum check last week, and while it went very well (all healed up and got the green light for exercise – yeah!), I also learned that both Cohen and I had an infection of thrush. It actually eased my mind to find this out because I had been thinking that it was normal for breastfeeding to be that painful, when actually it’s not supposed to be and I just needed antibiotics. The infection was also probably partly responsible for Cohen’s extreme 6 week fussiness. Anyways, we both got our meds, are on the way to recovery now, and praying that it doesn’t come back (as I’ve heard thrush can be a viscous cycle).
I’m surprised that I even have ANY pictures to show for week 6. I suppose it’s fitting that the only pics I have he is either completely milk drunk, screaming, or I look totally exhausted…
But thankfully growth spurts and infections don’t last forever, and just as quickly as it all came on, it was suddenly gone as of last night and we are now getting back to our normal routine. Well, for now at least. One of the biggest things I’ve learned so far about being a mom is that just when you think you’re figuring things out, everything changes! And faster than I ever imagined I’ve watched my little tiny newborn turn into a 12+ lb, almost 7 week old infant. Say what?! People aren’t kidding when they say it flies by.
More than anything I’ve realized that I’ve never given moms enough credit for how hard they work. I had NO idea! It’s incredible how such a small little human can turn your world completely upside down. It really is a labor of love though and every time my sweet little guy looks up at me and smiles I melt into a million pieces. Having him may be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but he is hands-down the greatest thing I’ve ever done!
Welcome to the world Baby Cohen. It’s been amazing to get to know you and I can’t wait to continue to watch you grow. You are your mama and daddy’s biggest blessing and joy!