Perspective. Am I right, second time parents?
I just keep thinking, "If I knew then what I know now, I think this would have been much easier the first time around." But as I have had this thought, I also have this thought; "There is NO WAY I could have this perspective if I didn't experience this parenthood thing the first time" - and I think its good that way so when you come home with the second one, it's a bit easier!
So, what would I let my first time parent self know, you may wonder? or not. you may not wonder at all. If you do, read on...If you don't care...stop reading now.
For most people, when you have your first baby, the husband sleeps at the hospital each night on the worlds most uncomfortable "sofa" where they are woken up at least every 3 hours when the woman has to feed the baby. A lot of people choose to keep the baby in their room with them, which means that there is even less sleep happening. So by the time that you head home from the hospital, you are both already totally wiped...and then you get to take the baby home. Why they let a new parent take a baby home will be beyond you!
When you come home from the hospital with a baby, the amount of responsibility you feel for this new life is absolutely overwhelming. I had this thought that there was no one that could care for this little life like I could (when, really, what did I know about being a mom). I remember Andrews mom MAKING me and Andrew take a nap after we brought Foster home from the hospital before she would leave to go back to KC. She had to make us because I kept refusing. I felt like I was totally neglecting my baby if I were to (Gasp) take a nap while he was sleeping!!!
You will search the diaper for any amt. of pee or poop, praying that they are getting enough food. In the night, each noise that they make could be a sign of them choking, or stopping their breath patterns. Their sneezing could mean they are sick, their little breath intakes that are so sweet could mean they aren't breathing well...Worry. Worry. Worry...and why wouldn't you, you have NEVER done this before!!!!
With Foster, the first time you left the house without him was almost a month later when Andrew took you out for a sushi anniversary dinner, and trust me, we ran out and ran back as soon as we could.
I am not saying that any of this is bad or wrong at all, it is the way it is...Im just saying that now I have a totally different perspective...and that changes everything.
So, what would I suggest to my previous self. I would first say, "do what you gotta do" or "do what you think is best", but here are a few things I may offer in a gentle tone to two year ago Sarah.
1. The hospital is stocked with health care professionals who are paid to care for you and for your baby the few days after it is born. It is okay to send your sweet willing husband home for at least one of the nights in order to get some sleep so that the both of you are not well on your way to zombie land when it comes time to go home. This time, I sent Andrew home to be with Fos, and I sent Keating to the nursery, and for those 3 hour intervals, I SLEPT SO HARD! I recuperated and used those nurses for what they are paid for...delivering pain meds, checking my vitals, and bringing me Keating so that I could nurse him...and then taking him back and cuddling him...and whatever else you precious nurses do.
2. Your mom and mom-in-law, may actually know how to keep a baby alive while you sleep. And, it's actually a good thing to put the baby down and let it fall asleep so that it knows that it can...even though all you want to do is cuddle the heck out if baby and pass it around for all to hold...RIGHT AFTER THEY WASH AND SANITIZE their hands.
3. After this first baby, your world is upside down - 100% different...but it is actually still pretty restful when you get a new born baby in your house during the day. They eat, you try and keep them awake, they sleep, and they poop and pee - sometimes on you and sometimes on your furniture...and that is what they are supposed to do. Sleep when they sleep (which you know you have heard a million people tell you that and you think, "how can I? What if they stop breathing?"). But 2 year ago me, listen, its all good. Sleep when they sleep - watch your favorite shows (or start something new) when they are sleeping, I was gonna say awake...but lets face it, they are only awake a few hours a day.
These are probably the 3 things that I would tell myself, but I may also say to her,
"With your next one (which is gonna be way sooner than you think), you will venture out of the house on your own, without either child on day 5 and on day 6 of its life. You will be surprised how natural it feels to have a baby around. You will love this baby as much as the first one, so don't worry about that. AND believe it or not, grandma has got this-let her help you!"