Dairy queen. It sounded so good, especially being 39 weeks pregnant. It was Monday afternoon on January 4, 2016. I was in the backseat by myself in my beige Nissan Altima with my mom and my boyfriend. My mom was driving. We had just come from a doctor appointment and were just about to get off the car to get ice cream when I got “the call”. My doctor was on the phone and sounded so stressed. I felt like a little kid and my mom was telling me something but almost scolding me but scared at the same time. Dr. O was telling me that I needed to go in right away. She explained to me that I had protein in my urine. I didn’t really understand so I was like “okay?” “and?”. Apparently, that meant that I had pre-eclampsia. Which she didn’t explain over the phone. Once I got to the hospital they explained to me what was going on and what pre-eclampsia was. I got a bit nervous. Pre-eclampsia turned out to be me having high blood pressure, there was protein in my urine, and being swollen (which I thought was something normal that happened at the end of pregnancy). Not in my case. It was a serious situation because it could have been fatal for my daughter and I. We were lucky enough for it not to be.
My mom drove us to the hospital in complete silence. A whole 30 minutes and not a word. My mom was extremely stressed out, so I could only imagine all the worst-case scenarios she was having. When we got to the hospital we went to the third floor. I wasn’t feeling nervous until they took me into a room all alone. They were checking all the normal things the nurses do before they admit you to your own room. For some reason, once I got into the room they were checking me in, my body suddenly stopped feeling those little contractions and started feeling a considerable number of painful ones. My sister ended up showing up and I feel like she was the only calm one that was helping me get through this tremendous amount of pain that was bearable but still painful.
They finally admitted me into a room by maybe midnight on Monday morning I was finally dilated to 5 now. “I have to go sister, I have to make it back to LA for work by 7 a.m.” was probably the worst thing I could possibly be hearing right now. My sister was helping me so much but 4 a.m. she had to leave. It was just my mom and my boyfriend there with me now. On Tuesday morning around 8 a.m. I had only dilated two more cm so I was only at 7 cm and my doctor came in to talk to me. He mentioned that my blood pressure was going higher and higher and it was dangerous for me in my situation because of me having pre- eclampsia. He mentioned that he needed me to now get the epidural because I was going to need to have a cesarean. Which I didn’t want so I asked if we could just wait a couple more hours to see if maybe I would dilate more. Which I didn’t. I got the epidural and was right into surgery. Being wheeled into this room with at lest ten or more people in there. It was the brightest whitest room in hospital. I was so tired, I couldn’t tell if I was falling asleep because of the epidural or being up for more than 30 hours. I was literally forcing my eyes to stay open. The next thing I hear is the doctor saying, “she’s here!”
It all started with non-stop crying and dirty diapers. It just never ended. Sleep. It was just a five-letter word that didn’t really mean much because I wasn’t getting it! We stayed in the hospital for a couple days and then we were all ready to finally go home. When we got home it was the first time I had the chance to change her diaper because her dad was helping change her in the hospital. It had been so difficult for me to get up and change her in the hospital due to the cesarean.
It may sound simple to some people. The baby eats, sleeps, and poops. Couldn’t be that hard. Right?. . Wrong! For about a week straight my daughter pooped up her back at least once a day. I didn’t understand what was I doing wrong? I tried everything to changing the size of the diaper, putting bigger clothes on her. My mom insisted that was the issue. It was just something that I couldn’t prevent from happening. Until it stopped. I realized it wasn’t anything that I was doing wrong. It was just her and her body adjusting to her milk. Once her little body was used to milk she was drinking she stopped doing it. Once she stopped it was the biggest relief because I don’t know how much more poop clothes I could handle anymore. Not that it hasn’t happened since but not every day.
Her sleeping pattern was extremely sporadic. I mean, it wasn’t like I was getting a lot of sleep. my eyes were closed, and it felt like I was sleeping but every little move she made I was awake. At first, we couldn’t figure her schedule out, so we would take turns. Which was helpful, but I still felt like I would be up even if it wasn’t my turn because I just had to make sure everything was perfect. Her feeding, her diaper. Also, to make sure she got burped correctly. I got so attached she started to wake up if I put her down. It felt like once I got up to leave the room she would wake up and wouldn’t go back to sleep until I came back to rock her back to sleep. She wouldn’t go to sleep with her dad no matter how hard he tried. Although I don’t exactly know how hard that was. He always said she didn’t like sleeping on him because he was “uncomfortable”. He said he didn’t have enough “cushion” for her. It did seem like she slept more comfortable on me though. She woke up every couple of hours and stayed awake for maybe thirty minutes or an hour. She would eat and go back to sleep. we finally figured out she would pretty much wake up every three hours during the day and sleep through most of the night except when she needed to eat or have a diaper change. She slept well and if we kept her on her schedule we slept well too.
Learning to feed her was horrible! For me at least. Everyone always praises the whole nursing concept. So, I tried it for about a month and my goodness I didn’t know it could possibly be as difficult as it was. It was such a struggle. My boyfriend couldn’t really help me in this situation, so he just tried reminding me of how it’s good for the baby (blah blah blah). That’s all I pretty much heard when I was struggling to feed her. I was taught a couple times but when they weren’t there to help it just didn’t work. She wouldn’t cooperate with me. It was so difficult! She was crying because she wasn’t getting enough milk and I was crying because I was struggling to get through the pain. It was torture. I nursed, and bottle fed until I was just bottle feeding because I just couldn’t handle nursing any longer. Bottle feeding worked better for the both of us. she had a couple favorite bottles and a couple she just wasn’t fond of at all. Feeding her became so natural to us. We knew exactly which bottles worked for her and what times and how much milk she was going to need. It helped me out as well because her dad was now able to help more with feeding her.
When we first stated to leave the house I felt like I was moving out with the biggest diaper bag of “just in case” things to take along. I would put like three outfits of just in case she got them dirty or got the extra change of clothes dirty. We would pack like the whole thing of formula just in case she needed extra bottles for that little outing. What I mean by little outing is like 3 hours at the most. We would have like four bottles. Some toys to keep her entertained. A couple of blankets just in case she got one dirty, and not to mention the 50 diapers I would take with us. For about eight or nine months I would literally pack all this stuff just to go out to the store or to go eat. I would have everything I could ever need in the biggest over stuffed diaper bag we could have possible had. I was always too prepared. Until I was tired of hauling a luggage around everywhere we went. I started to only take like maybe five diapers. Not because she would go less or more than before but because that was around the amount she would always end up using out of the fifty ones that I would pack before. She never finished the whole can of formula, so I stopped “just in case” bringing it. I started taking our portable formula packets which were much smaller and way more convenient. I stopped taking everything that was just no use the first 10 times we went out. I would take a small backpack of one change of clothes, one bottle to rinse out if needed to be used again, a couple diapers and that was it. No more. I was done taking the couple toys with us because she wouldn’t even be entertained by the things that we were taking with us. she would be more interested in the surroundings and people we were with.
Her crying was something we had to learn. At first, we would check all possibilities. Is her diaper changed? When was the last time she ate? Has she been burped? We wouldn’t know what the cry was for at first. After about a week of listening to her cries we knew pretty much what she was crying for. We knew sometimes even before she started crying what she needed. She was pretty much on a schedule, sometimes all it would take was the time and we knew exactly what she was crying for and what she needed. I think her crying was the easiest learning experience we had.
At first, I was struggling to get this whole easy parenting thing down. It sounded so simple at the beginning. It sounded like yeah, I could do this! Until it was a struggle. It was a struggle until it wasn’t. I learned how to do things right or the way they worked for us. Everything I had to do for her was an instinct. It had always been my instinct to take care of her the moment I had her, but it was more natural, and I understood her more. I understood the simplicity of parenting now.