Judah’s first birthday was over the weekend. We now have a ONE YEAR OLD! What??? So nuts. We were so blessed to have family and close friends there to celebrate the big day with us, it was really wonderful. I plan to share more birthday photos with you next week, but here’s one from my Instagram account of his first bites of cake. Love that baby in his bow tie, he’s delicious.
The night before Judah’s birthday, Kyle and I looked through some photos from his birth (read Judah’s birth story here) until present and I balled my living eyes out. It’s such a bittersweet milestone. I’m so happy he’s growing up, goodness knows he’s a blast, and what a personality! But it’s sad to know that he’ll never be that little anymore.
But anyway, I decided in leu of the sappy first birthday post, I’d return to my original thoughts on the blog and revisit one of the “no one tells you this stuff before the baby comes” topics. As we were reminiscing our first days together with this new little bundle of joy, I couldn’t help but go back to our first night home from the hospital. It was a doozy.
The first few days with a new baby are bliss. You’re at the hospital with nurses there at the push of a button to answer all your questions. You have aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, and close friends all ready to “ooh” and “ahh” over this baby that seems to just want to sleep all the time. You kick back, relax, and enjoy this snuggly life in front of you. And the best part is, no one expects you to get up and out of bed- you did just deliver a baby after all. Those first days in the hospital are awesome. Then, it’s time to go home. No more nurses, limited family and friends, and you’re expected to get your own tookas out of bed. You’re excited, but you’re also nervous. This is about to get real.
When it was time to go home, we loaded Judah up in his brand new car seat, I eased my way into the backseat of the car to keep a close watch on our precious cargo, and Kyle pulled away from the hospital. It was right about the time we got on the ramp to the highway that I lost it. I missed my nurse. My post-partum hormones were kicking in hard core and I was a mess. What were we going to do now? What if we had questions? This baby is completely 100% ours to take care of. What did we do??
Finally, we arrived home and I was comforted by the smells of our house and the grandparents that were there to greet us. I thought to myself, “We got this, everything will be okay, just a momentary panic.” He sleeps all the time anyway, right? How bad can this be? Right.
Kyle and I really wanted the first night home with Judah to just be the three of us. My mom graciously offered to stay that first week to help around the house and to give up her sleep for baby duty so Kyle and I could continue adjusting to parenthood life and I could recover from delivering an 8 lb human. Yes, that’s a big baby. But, we really wanted to see if we were cut out for it and were totally up for the challenge. Or so we thought.
That night, Judah did not sleep. He was starving. My milk had not yet come in–lucky for us all, it took five days to make its glorious appearance. Five loooong, loud, sleepless days and nights.
Judah fell asleep after everyone left the house to welcome us home. Kyle and I put him down in his bassinet and we laid down to get some much needed z’s. About 20 minutes in, the boy cries. I was actually excited about it. I loved the new mom challenge and was ready to remedy this by offering my special mommy touch. We went through the routine of clean diaper, out to the living room, and started to nurse. Well, much to my dismay, Judah didn’t fall asleep. In fact, he refused to try nursing at all. I don’t blame him, there wasn’t much there for him except pure frustration. Kyle and I were at a loss. This wasn’t supposed to be happening. I mean, we knew that this whole baby thing was going to be a challenge and would come with some tougher nights, but we thought we’d at least get a few hours of sleep in each night.
I remember looking at Kyle and saying, “What are we doing? Why did we do this?” I kept thinking to myself, “Can I just put him back?” This was so difficult. I was basically an invalid, still recovering from labor, Kyle was just as sleep deprived as I was, and there seemed to be nothing we could do to comfort our son. He had gone from sleeping all day long for the previous three days to wide awake and screaming.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Judah waved the white flag at 5:00 a.m., totally wiped out. I was laying on the bed, holding his pacifier in his mouth, propped up on some pillows. Kyle was down on the floor laying on the comforter. We woke up a couple hours later and looked at the scene and just busted out laughing. It was our first night home and our infant son had already managed to kick Kyle out and take over our bed. But, we had made it through, and in the end, we found the humor, and we were ready to start the next day as parents. So, there’s that.
This was one of those things I do wish someone would have talked to me about. Not every parent experiences this on their first night home, in fact, many have a seamless transition from hospital to house. But some don’t, and it would have been nice to know about this possibility beforehand, just to mentally prepare.
That being said, humor has honestly been one of the best remedies for stress in our life as parents. Humor and lots of car rides. To look at a stressful situation like our first night home and have the ability to laugh at how ridiculous the outcome is has been our saving grace. So that is my encouragement to you. Find the joy, be able to laugh at yourself, and enjoy the ride. Before you know it, yet another year will be coming to a close, and you’ll be a little sad that dreadful first night home is so far gone.