I started writing this post when Penny was a month old, then six weeks and now it’s seven. I guess that’s motherhood for ya! It’s crazy to me that it’s been seven weeks since Penelope was born. Time is already flying by and while I’m so lucky to get quite a chunk of time off work — I have five weeks left at home — I can already feel the days slipping away. I’m trying to hold on tight to each moment!
Our new adventure began on Aug. 30 and we spent five days in the hospital. We were there longer than usual because Penny’s weight dipped 10 percent from her birth weight and the doctors wanted to monitor her longer before sending us home. It was clear from that early on that my milk was slow coming in and we’d have to supplement with formula. That certainly threw us for a loop!
Actually, to be honest, it was hard news to take. I’m much better about it now, but the first few weeks when I talked about my milk not coming in well, I’d burst into tears. Before Penny was born I was determined to not allow myself to feel guilty about anything. I kept saying that when it came to labor and delivery, whatever had to happen would be fine. I wouldn’t be upset if I needed a c-section. And I’m not — that wasn’t an issue for me.
But after I had her and emotions were (are) heightened, the idea that I may not be able to breastfeed was devastating. While I’m still disappointed about it, I wholeheartedly feel that fed is best. I tried triple-feeding for a while (breastfeed her, then give her a bottle, then pump to stimulate milk production), but I was hardly producing any milk at all and, now that I’m on my own with her most days, it’s hard to fit in time for pumping not to mention adding the pumping parts to the washing. So now we are giving her formula. The upside to this is Jermaine can feed her, too, which is great especially at night so we can take shifts and each get longer blocks of time to sleep.
Once we got home from the hospital it was a whirlwind of figuring everything out — and we still are! At first we needed formula and more bottles, and oh hey, she screams like crazy when having her diaper changed, so maybe a wipe warmer would help? She didn’t sleep well in our room, so we tried her crib in her room — prompting us to scramble to set up her Snuza, test out the video monitor, and I still watched her like a hawk on the screen throughout the night until I became more comfortable. It was definitely a learning period, and we’re still learning every day!
One of the best parts of this first seven weeks is the love and support we’ve had from family and friends. My mom flew down and spent a week with us once Jermaine went back to work and helped so much, I wish I could just forbid her from ever leaving! My dad joined us at the end of my mom’s visit, and my brother-in-law and sister-in-law came to meet Penny, too. My sister and her daughter and boyfriend flew in from Massachusetts, and last weekend my college friends flew down and we enjoyed a lunch and pedicure outing. Not to mention local friends and coworkers who have dropped by over several weeks with meals and gifts — we feel so loved and grateful!
That love helped immensely when we found out on Monday, Oct. 2, that Penny may have an inguinal hernia. That morning I noticed a lump below her tummy on the right side. After an appointment with her pediatrician and then a consultation with a pediatric surgeon at Children’s Hospital, we scheduled surgery for Friday to repair it. While it’s a common procedure and very routine for the pediatric surgeon, it was of course very scary for us. I spent a lot of time crying that week, but I knew we were in good hands at Children’s. And thankfully it all went smoothly! We arrived by 5:30 a.m. that Friday morning and were back home by noon. Her recovery has gone well, too, and we’re just so grateful that Penny seems to have not even noticed anything happened!
So for the next few weeks, in between professional photos, her two-month check-up and another visit with my parents, we plan to get Penny out and about more often. It’s not always easy to take her out to eat or to run errands, but the more we do it, I know it’ll get easier.