It has been wonderful, and it has been incredibly difficult. For the first ten days of Ellie's life, the main problem was getting her to sleep by herself. She loves being held and snuggled and doesn't like to be put down very much. Since we didn't want to spend more money on buying a bassinet, which by the way is not too cheap, we decided to have her sleep in the Pack-n-Play in our room. Although there were occasional nights of her sleeping a few hours at a time in there, for the most part she just would not fall asleep longer than thirty minutes in it. Sometimes I resorted to sleeping with her on the couch just so Israel and I could get some sleep. If she was snuggled, she would sleep for four or five hours straight.
Finally, a friend on facebook told me about the Rock-n-Play which she had used as a bassinet for her son. It sounded like a good idea, since it's at a bit of an incline and it just very cozy and snuggly. I'm not sure if Ellie has a bit of acid reflux but she definitely hates being flat on her back for long periods of time. I told Israel about it after another sleepless night, and we purchased it at Target a few nights ago. Best $54 we've ever spent. The first night we put her in it, she didn't have any fits and slept for a solid four hours straight. Total lifesaver!
She loves it!
That (so far) has been the solution to the first problem. The most recent issue we've been having is endless amounts of crying in the evening. This started when Ellie was about ten days old, and almost consistently, she will cry every night between 5 until about 10 or 11. Non-stop crying between feedings. We've tried literally everything to try and calm her down, but she just wails and wails. It sounds like a rage cry where she's red in the face and makes sounds that should probably break glass. This is both sad and frustrating as parents, because I feel so helpless in trying to figure out what's bothering her. After the worst night on Monday, I finally called our pediatrician the next day and spoke to a nurse who thought it sounded like she has colic.
I figured this was a good possibility, but was so discouraged when I heard this. Especially since colic is such a mysterious condition that no doctor really seems to know what causes it or how to cure it. You pretty much just have to ride it out, and most people say it usually lasts until they're about three or four months old. I just came home and cried. The last few weeks have been so emotional, especially with my crazy postpartum hormones, sometimes I just join Ellie in her crying. I felt like a bad mom and sad because I just want to enjoy my new baby, but I feel like I'm going insane when Ellie's in the middle of a crying spell. It helps so much to have such a supportive husband. I don't know how I would keep my sanity without Israel's help. We take turns trying to soothe her or just letting the other one sleep while holding a hysterical Ellie.
I have cut dairy out of my diet for the last two days, and Ellie has been way less fussy and in a better mood. It's too soon to tell if this might be the cause of her distress, so I think I'll continue keeping away from dairy (although I so miss cheese and milk... and ice cream!) for a little while. I'm also planning on visiting the lactation consultant at the hospital and seeing if they have any suggestions.
I really can't believe it was just three weeks ago I was in labor and about to meet our little daughter for the first time. I don't miss the huge pregnant belly or really being pregnant. I'm still getting used to rolling over in bed to my other side without propping myself up first. I've forgotten how to roll! Although it's the most difficult thing I've ever done, giving birth to Ellie is the most important thing I've ever done in my life. It's such a sacred honor to bring a new life into the world. So precious. It's hard being a new mom, but I love my little girl so much. I love her little sighs and grunts and sleepy baby smiles. I love seeing her change every day and watching her grow. Although it's the hardest job in the world, I really, really love being a mom.