When I was told to write my birth plan, my hypnobirthing instructor told us not to call it a birth plan, but birth “preferences,” as it probably won’t go the way I want it to.
The most important parts of my birth plan came true: no epidural and no c-section. I preferred not to tear (which I did) and I preferred to go home 4 hours after the birth (which I didn’t). The other things that didn’t go to plan were my fault, because I somehow went against everything I previously decided and consented to them without much pressure, starting from my 40+2 appointment with the midwife.
I wanted everything to progress naturally, except I got a stretch and sweep the day before I went into labour, and I also agreed to have my water broken artificially after 19 hours of contractions. I never thought it would affect me, but I did end up having that get this baby out of me mentality. I just had enough, and was also too excited to wait any longer for Sweet Pea. So much for alllllll that.
Well, it turns out that things change after the birth as well. I had decided my parenting stance on so many things – what we would or would not do or use. Apparently I’m a huge liar. This is my list:
Did I have a choice? Should I have said no to the nurses and just let her breastfeed with what I had? I’m not sure. But she drank formula for a good week and a half until we took her home and I didn’t need to supplement anymore. Still, I signed up for all the formula samples and have a good stash saved up just in case. The hospital even hooked us up with three cases of ready-to-serve Enfamil. I know it’ll get tapped into sometime this year – I have three weddings to attend between now and October! Somehow I feel like my milk reserve won’t quite meet the mark.
I didn’t want to start her on a pacifier just because of the whole “nipple confusion” thing, and I didn’t want her to have a habit I’d struggle to break later on. But the first time I saw her in the NICU, she started crying and the nurse shoved a pacifier in her mouth. Umm… wtf? They didn’t ask me?? I thought to myself. But why would they ask? She was crying, she takes a soother, she stops crying. Simple as that.
The hospital was using the Avent “Soothies” but when we got home I switched her onto the orthodontic pacifiers that we had acquired. After a few days, it hurt to breastfeed. I noticed that she was squeezing my nipple into the shape of the orthodontic pacifier! No, Sweet Pea!! I quickly switched her back to the Soothie (the very ones I was against previously!) and all of those problems disappeared.
Nowadays I only limit the pacifier to car rides when nothing else is working, when she’s with visitors, or when we’re out and about. Basically, if I can’t put her on the breast she gets a soother, and now I always carry one in my purse.
I had my cloth diaper stash all ready for her homecoming, but then she had to stay in the NICU. I handed over to the nurses my newborn package of Pampers that was on the required “hospital go-bag” list, and by mid-week bought another package. When we took her home, I figured we should use up the rest of the disposable diapers, you know, since we have them anyways. I also had two vouchers for free diapers, so I redeemed those as well. Before I knew it, we had a 256 carton of size 1 Huggies sitting by the change table.
I was actually afraid to dive into all those cloth diapers! I put one of my Grovia hybrid covers on her just to try them out, but deemed them still too small to fit properly. Eventually, I started putting covers over her disposables when we left the house to contain any
possible inevitable blowouts, but every time I went to change her I automatically grabbed a ‘sposie and guiltily watched my abandoned cloth fluff go unused.
The day she turned 1 month old, I did it. I took the plunge and snapped it on her, mostly because I was going to take her official one-month milestone photo and didn’t want ugly white plastic peeking through her onesie. I grabbed one with a nice pattern on it and haven’t looked back since.
EXCEPT… for nighttime.
I’m still afraid of her staying in cloth while she sleeps for 5 or 6 hour long stretches so right before she goes to bed, I put her in a disposable diaper with a fleece liner on top for extra dryness. She’s done well so far, except for poopsplosions that seem to travel up her back (WTF??). This happens only if I miss her “poop cue” in the morning and don’t change her out of it in time. I guess that’s what I get for using ‘sposies.
I was all about co-sleeping. I definitely wanted Sweet Pea sleeping in our room – but in her own bassinet. I did tons of research and opted for an I’coo Panama – a playard/bassinet combo that could grow with her and it was sooo much bigger than the Graco playards stocked in all the stores. (PS: buying some euro designed off-spec product really sucks when you’re trying to find accessories to go with it: i.e. SHEETS. Normal playard sheets are too wide and too short, so we had to buy crib sheets and just tuck the slack under the insert. Ugh.) Not that the size of sheets even mattered because Sweet Pea refused to sleep in the thing. “How can a baby refuse to sleep in something? Aren’t you their boss,” you ask? Nay.
Nay, I am not.
She cried and cried and just would not fall asleep in her bassinet. This was really confusing the first night we brought her home, because we just assumed we’d put her down in her place and she’d magically fall asleep. Apparently, this is not the case. She ended up sleeping in between us in bed which terrified me because Dan is a flailer. (One night, he mysteriously woke up on my left side instead of my right. To this day, we have no idea how that happened.) The next day, we ran (yes, ran) to Babies R Us and bought the Summer Infant “By Your Side Sleeper” to give her a little bit of protection throughout the night. We put it in the middle of our king sized bed (I don’t know how you’d fit comfortably if the bed was any smaller) and hoped for an easy night. Wrong again!
Unfortunately, it like thirty-five percent worked for us. Maybe it was our “putting her down” technique, but she still wouldn’t sleep in it most of the time. Every now and then, she did, and we would have no idea why it worked that time and no other. We were like little Sherlock Holmes’ trying to deduce what we did differently. When it didn’t work, she ended up sleeping on my chest, wrapped in a blanket with the nursing pillow locking her into me. This went on for about 2 weeks, until I learned that breastfeeding in bed using the side-lying position was the greatest discovery EVER and then my fears about bed-sharing went completely out the window.
Now, she comes to bed with me (or is it that I go to bed with her… I guess I’m not voluntarily going to be at 9pm…), nurses, and then falls asleep shortly after (most nights). I can sense her stirring in the middle of the night and before she even cries from hunger, I just shove a boob in her mouth. Hey, it works, and both my husband and I can get sleep without either one of us being cast away to another room for some peace and quiet.
So from all this, I’ve learned that baby promises are not really promises at all. They’re more like guidelines, really (hah, Pirates reference…). What I want to do doesn’t necessarily coincide with what I have to do. Of course, I could persist with all my “wants,” but I could end up with a cranky, hungry, tired, dirty, or rashy baby. Like sometimes I waaaant to leave the house by 10am, but if she’s hungry or dirty, I haaaave to feed or change her – and that could take up to an hour. It really is up to her and in an effort to keep sane, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.