Adjusting Expectations

During the later half of pregnancy when it was apparent that this was really happening, I began dreaming about what life would be like with a new child. What kind of parents would we be? Would our baby be a good sleeper? Would she be a good eater? How long until tennis and running resumed? Olivia’s recent 2-month checkup and endless inquiries about how things are going have prompted some reflection on the first couple months of motherhood. The many thoughts floating through my head all share one commonality: the need for adjusted expectations.

Feeding:

Olivia only lost 5% of her weight upon discharge, so we thought breastfeeding must be going great aside from the normal soreness and latching battles of a newborn. Phew, one bullet dodged. However, two days later at her first visit to the pediatrician Olivia’s weight was down 12%. We were immediately pushed into formula supplementation. After a roller coaster of weight checks, visits with lactation consultants, herbal supplements and various feeding regimens, Olivia has now climbed to the 5th percentile for her weight. As such, the pediatrician advised us to continue with her current feeding regimen, which still includes a small amount of formula supplementation.

In today’s high tech world, why hasn’t someone invented a baby fuel gauge to alert parents as to their level of fullness? There are so many other gadgets and gizmos to monitor health and heart rate you’d think someone would have found a way to measure the amount of milk in a baby’s tummy. Envision a gas gauge on their forehead. This would certainly take the guesswork out of whether or not baby has received enough milk or if they need a supplemental bottle-feeding.

Dessert

Dessert

Adjusting my original expectation of being able to nurse 100% has been tough and would be even worse if it weren’t for the wonderful support and encouragement from friends. I will always wonder if our continued battles with low milk supply are a result of quickly being pushed into (and staying with) formula supplementation. We’ll just do what we can for as long as we can to keep our baby happy.

Hair Loss:

Oodles of friends warned me of post-natal hair loss. I thought I had escaped that lovely side effect since hair loss didn’t seem much worse than the normal girl-shedding phenomena. Think again. Almost exactly 8 weeks post-partum gobs of hair greeted my hand after a shower. Joy.

Co-Sleeping:

Pre-baby, the closest we thought we’d get to co-sleeping was having the baby at the foot of our bed in her beautiful bassinet. In reality she’s probably slept on us more than she’s slept in her bassinet :-/ Despite the warnings and admonishment from the pediatrician about baby getting used to her parents’ bed, when push comes to shove silencing a crying baby and getting her (and us) to sleep is all that matters. We’re doing our best to encourage her to sleep more in her bassinet both for naps and at night, but relinquishing a cuddly snuggle-bug to her lonely bassinet is tough.  That said, we certainly don’t want to end up with a toddler in our bed …

Favorite spot to sleep
Favorite spot to sleep

Schedules:

We always joked about those parents who let baby run the show and never knew what their schedule would be like. Shame on us! Someday (soon?) we’ll get back to being our prompt old selves but in the meantime it’s safe to assume we’ll be 15 minutes late and/or won’t know what time is good for a visit until that morning (even then it’s a bit of guesswork).

Returning to Tennis & Running:

By staying healthy and fit during pregnancy, I thought it would be a piece of cake to return to running and tennis in time for spring season. Ha! What was I thinking? Even if I were in shape, the logistics of running a race or playing a 2-hour tennis match some distance away from home is just too much to fathom while breastfeeding (plus there’s the fact that my tennis team is too competitive and politely refused my participation until I’ve spruced up a bit – fine by me!) For now Ben and I will enjoy tennis together (with no judgment at those errant shots) and my new personal trainer will keep me going in the jogging stroller and beyond (sit ups to baby giggles on your legs aren’t nearly so bad).

One more lap please, I finally fell asleep!

One more lap please, I finally fell asleep!

Returning to Work:

Pre-baby, I envisioned wanting to return to work as quickly as possible so as not to miss out on anything. I even went so far as to investigate part-time leave versus full-time maternity leave. How quickly things change. Amid a blurry haze of sleep deprivation, feeding cycles, and the holidays, somehow January 2 snuck upon us in the blink of an eye.  The European family-leave policy sounds quite appealing right now. Priorities certainly do change after a baby, even for us Type A workaholics. Who wouldn’t want to spend all their time with this little munchkin?

 

Accepting Help:

Perhaps the biggest adjustment of all is learning to accept help. We no longer believe that we can do it all on our own and are so very lucky to have the support of friends and family, especially on weeks that this working momma is home alone.

We’ll do our best to keep updated photos posted for your enjoyment.

2 thoughts on “Adjusting Expectations

  1. Kara – I am just loving your updates. Everything you are experiencing is so normal but you say it all so elegantly. I think it’s awesome that you have recorded everything. Trust me, these are memories that will become very fuzzy as time goes by so it’s great you’ll have it to look back on. With one boy and one girl, I was sure I would never get the memories confused (forget which kid did what). Guess what! It happens.

  2. What a great blog! I can’t wait to re-read this when I’m an expecting mother (hopefully not any time too soon though)!

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