Bringing Baby Home

I don’t know how else to phrase it so I’m just going to go ahead and say that the first few days at home with Ella were horrible. You, read that correctly – ho-rri-ble. It was by far the most emotionally and physically draining time of my life. Let’s put it another way shall we? I would rather go through child labor every day for a month rather than re-live those first days one more time. It was that bad.

Where do I start? Maybe right at the hospital when my doctor came to my bedside on the morning after I gave birth and gently said, “The first several days are going to be rough. But it gets better.” Or that same night, when Ella cried for 3 hours nonstop. No, I think the true starting point of hell week was the day we were discharged from the hospital – 2 days after I’d given birth. The minute we were given the go ahead to clear out of the room, Ella began to cry. And by cry I mean scream in the most gut-wrenching and horrifying manner on earth. It was loud and it was shrill. It was awful. It was almost as if she knew we had been allowed to take her home and she was trying to warn someone, ANYONE, that we were rookies at this parenting thing and had no business being allowed to take a newborn home. Or maybe she was trying to warn us in the only way she knew how that the next several days were going to be rough.

That cry tormented us over the next few days. She would be fine one moment and then the next, she would refuse to breastfeed and opt instead to scream her lungs off. Hubs and I almost went mad. Emotionally we were beyond the point of fragile – I wept uncontrollably. I wept whenever I spoke (no matter what I was saying), I wept whenever I looked at her, I wept whenever I thought about her…I just wept. All the time. It was so ridiculous that after going through a hundred tissues, I started carrying around a TOWEL to wipe the tears away. Physically we were at a point of sleep deprivation that had turned us into zombies. And let’s not forget that I had just pushed out a human being out of my you-know-what so I was still recovering from THAT.  I was an injured zombie (though zombies are by definition, injured, so I guess I was an ideal zombie). We were too tired to stay clothed – I was breastfeeding constantly so it made no sense at all to wear anything on my upper half and then for some reason, the elastic on my poor husband’s sweats gave way and they kept on falling. Our apartment became a nudist colony. A zombie nudist colony.     

It was not until we went for Ella’s first appointment with the pediatrician two days after we brought her home that we found out why she had been crying so much – she was HUNGRY! Let me take this moment to say that colostrum is a huge fat disappointment. Breastfeeding die-hards call it liquid gold. Yeah, right. I call it insufficient. She breastfed nonstop and was still hungry! And I had been so trained to think of formula as the devil’s juice that I was determined never to go that route. My poor little girl took one sip of formula at the doctor’s office and slept soundly for hours. For the next 10 days (until my mature milk came in), I supplemented her feedings with formula and we never had to hear that cry again. Things have continued to get better ever since. I think of this as my first lesson in motherhood – you do what works to survive! I have a feeling that I’m going to break all the rules I read about and adopted before I had a baby – no formula and no pacifier are already out the window. It’s all about survival and adapting to different situations on the fly. Like a ninja.

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26 Comments

  1. shikomsa said,

    November 29, 2010 at 1:09 am

    Pole Mami. She’s still a bundle of joy. One of these fine days she’ll smile at you and you’ll forget all the heartache.

    Me I’m just taking lessons from this end. Thanks!

  2. Buggz79 said,

    November 29, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Ah! Here the other thing they didn’t tell you about breatmilk..

    You have to eat…TONS! Remember when your mum/aunt/kindly older ‘mother’ figure would arrive with what looks like 2 tons of Njahi and a drum of Uji? Thats what up. And yeah…formula is not evil if the supply is not enough yet.

    Great post…very honest. Hope Hubby’s pants now defy gravity..

  3. mrsmwiti said,

    November 29, 2010 at 1:28 am

    Don’t you have any old aunts? lol Someone needs flask fulls of porridge and soup. Bone soup!

    Am laughing at you coz i agree with Shikomsa. Her first smile will warm your heart and erase all these haunting memories. Meanwhile, your paedi is your best friend.

    You’ll be fine 🙂

  4. November 29, 2010 at 1:35 am

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  5. Linda said,

    November 29, 2010 at 1:50 am

    I had to comment, its been a beautiful and rough journey and thanks for keeping us posted all the way.
    For the time being, wish you both all the best in learning how to make little Ella smile, satisfied and happy… : )
    Loads of love

  6. IzJules said,

    November 29, 2010 at 2:19 am

    Awww…pole. Didn’t know it was that rough but I know y’all got this! By the way I am thinking of printing this blog as my pregnancy/new mum guide/tips for when my time comes! Or I guess I could just have you on speed dial!!! 🙂

    LOL @ zombie nudist colony! Well if it made life easier! Why not! Hehe.

    I’ve heard so many new mums say the same about breast feeding stress and how formula saved them from a near break down! I think books need to clarify that yes breast milk is best, but formula is OK too if theres none left when the baby is hungry! I mean, they need to take the PRESSURE off new mums!

    kisses. xx

  7. Roberta said,

    November 29, 2010 at 2:21 am

    First congratulations on Ella’s arrival. That said, this post is so heart wrenching. All the seemingly simple, no brainer lessons a new mother, even a very prepared one has to learn the hard way. My heart goes out to you as you forrest gump your way through motherhood. I hope it’s smooth sailing from here on.

  8. gracekay said,

    November 29, 2010 at 3:18 am

    i love your honesty on your experiences. great post
    xoxo

  9. November 29, 2010 at 3:44 am

    Congratulations Mama Ella!!

    And thank you for sharing your journey with us aspiring moms and telling it how it is, the real stuff!
    Hope she’s settled and you guys are now fully clothed!

    Keep the stories coming

  10. amarieadhis said,

    November 29, 2010 at 4:48 am

    Congratulations!!! I’m so taking notes for when my turn comes 🙂

  11. Kellie said,

    November 29, 2010 at 5:16 am

    Woiye dear! Pole sana.

    On the eating thing, refrigerate the bone soup the night before then skim out the fat, then drink jugs and jugs of that stuff. Plus lots of chocolate (drinking), add as little sugar as possible.

    Whatever you do, stay away from porridge. It’s more fattening than soup yet soup is more nutritious.

    A whole lot of vegetables will go a long way. The green leafy kind that’s rich in iron.

    It seems a bit vain to talk about fattening issues at this point, but that’s all I learnt from my sister. She got over 100 litres of porridge after her daughter’s birth, she’d give a gallon of the stuff to all her visitors to carry, yet she breastfed the daughter for 6 months (of course formula assistance) 🙂

  12. Mrs MM said,

    November 29, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Thanks for being honest and keeping it real. No need for glossing things over-just tell us as it is.
    Looking forward to more of your posts and all the best in your journey!!

  13. PKW said,

    November 29, 2010 at 10:56 am

    He, sometimes it sounds scary. But thanks for sharing, at least sasa najua what to do when the time comes.

  14. farmgal said,

    November 29, 2010 at 11:23 am

    honey, I don’t know whether to laugh or to feel sorry for you..sorry, it’s the way you tell your stories. It does get better

    When I took my baby home, she would cry for upto 4hrs and then only power nap then wake up to cry. I was feeding her a very light formula due to her being a prem. It was time to switch to hungry baby formula only it took me 2 weeks to realise that she was hungry. When we switched she slept for 7hrs straight and I stayed up wondering if she’d wake to scream any minute….keep us posted

  15. AkelLove said,

    November 29, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    WA. I must apologize for how much I laughed. It was moving,and slightly horrifying and then alternately HILARIOUS. It was like watching a really good train wreck…where everyone survives in the end. :o) really,really good post. :o) :o) 😀 GOOD LUCK,or better yet,good formula? Hehe.

  16. seven said,

    November 30, 2010 at 2:25 am

    awww mama ella! golly! thanks for sharing, I know I’d be a hot mess and do the ugly cry ALL the time… good to know what I’ve already gotten myself into..lol @ nudist colony!!! too funny…

    @ Kellie, thanks for the tip on the soup business… bone soup makes me wretch from the fat, I shall absolutely try that when the time comes!

  17. Nakeel said,

    November 30, 2010 at 2:27 am

    Mami so feel you and now do you know constant feeding? Flasks full of uji and tea soup ya bones? Yes hit that path and that cute girl will be full. Sometimes you might not have enough to fill her so thats why formula will come in handy.

    Nothing disturbs a parent especially when the baby is crying all time and you dont know whats cutting…

    The journey just began and you shall make through…

  18. Bee said,

    November 30, 2010 at 7:26 am

    Woishe mama Ella. Pole.

    I guess we really aren’t taught on how to raise them in books. Its a- do- it- urself- in- training course

    Lots of Uji, drinking choc and yes the dreaded bone soup works wonders to that super power.

  19. Felicia said,

    December 1, 2010 at 3:06 am

    Hi dear. Sorry about teh crying but i can relate to that. Bout Uji, i dont think its fattening coz i drank gallons of Uji, more gallons of bone soup and cwarm cocoa and didnt gain anything. Infact i have lost more than i was before i gor pregnant (baby girl has a healthy appetite).

    Dont worry things will get easier as she grows older, less crying and more sleep

  20. Bahati said,

    December 1, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Shiko! We’re so glad Ella, you and Yaw got to the bottom of the issue! Thanks so much for sharing. It was fabulous to see all of you the other day. This is the class that isn’t offered at the hosi – Baby 101! I’ve been taking lots of notes 🙂
    You guys are amazing parents!!

  21. Virginia said,

    December 1, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Shiko…woiye!! pole sana:P…the best lesson you have learned thus far is to get rid of those “what to expect books” because they never pertain to your child…lol..just follow your ella’s cues and your instincts and trust me you will be much better off. By the way, since your supply is “in”…it might be hard for Ella to adjust to the sturdy flow(it usually gushes out because your milk has not tuned itself to Ella’s needs) and she might refuse to B-feed. so, if you have a pump or not….express your milk and then feed her..that way she wont be overwhelmed with milk and start semi-choking and crying tena. Otherwise, it sounds like you three are doing great! awww u’re making relive those moments that i’m starting to forget…so this is great read!!! Good JOB:)

  22. Lakwan said,

    December 2, 2010 at 3:13 am

    Babies are all totally different. When we left hospital, my girl would sleep most of the day for the first 2 weeks mpaka I’d check on her to see if she was still breathing. She would feed so little little so I had to get a pump and express. I’d do that like 3 times in a day. I was drinking lots of uji and eating lots of food. There was no thought of weight gain, I just wanted to have enough milk. I now understood how my bro would eat so much and an hour later still eat more. I’d get hungry an hour after eating a proper meal.

    I didn’t understand the term “liquid gold” until she got older and started feeding more. By the time I was going to work, expressing one bottle was so difficult. I was now wishing for the days I would express 3 bottles so easily. But somehow I’ve managed to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months.

    Drink lots of liquid. Soup, water, drinking chocolate and don’t skip meals.

    Kweli it’s all about survival. I still don’t understand how people manage to get the baby into a routine. For me each day was different. One day she’d sleep most of the day, the next. she was awake most of the day.

  23. Enelesi said,

    December 2, 2010 at 4:33 am

    Y’all were baptised by fire as they say. This is great coz when its Ella’s turn to go through this , you will be loaded with all sorts of advice. Good luck and good looking out. Coz incase I go through what you went through I will try the formula remedy.
    Blessings love

  24. wambui said,

    December 2, 2010 at 5:37 am

    This post is so sad, Im so glad that you were finally able to resolve the issue I cannot imagine how horrifying it must have been for the 3 of you. But thanks for being so honest because some soon to be first time mother will most definitely benefit from this info. When you have a quiet moment lets skype. Love you.

  25. Clare "AfricanQueen" K said,

    December 2, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    kulisha mtoto Shiko! hahaha..the devil juice. uji ni lazima! i hope with the new found solution to her cries gave you a solution to your crying too. Be blessed pamoja with your family. and keep the posts coming!

  26. georgieallblacks said,

    December 4, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Shiko,
    LMAO!!! Again, you have managed to crack me up like never before. Decided to use a towel and nudist zombie colony??? *DEAD* Congrats on the new addition, can’t wait for you guys to come visit. Say wassup to Ella and daddy.


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