Nia @ 1 Week: An Update from the Trenches

Foreign Service LifeWashington, DC
October 29, 2011

It’s hard to believe, but Nia turns one week old today!  As most parents would attest to, it’s been a complete and total blur.  Nothing could have prepared me for the delusional state that results from the lack of sleep and intense hormones!  We’re just taking it 1 hour at a time and celebrating the small wins each day.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights from the last week:

Nia Marisa Novak came into the world at 12:39 PM on Saturday, October 22nd.  She weighed 7 lbs 8 oz and was 20 inches long.  Her middle name was chosen in honor of my dear Filipino friend Marisa Oreta, who died of Cancer in May of this year.  She had a unique bond with Nia, as her light was fading while Nia grew in my womb.  Upon agreeing to be Nia’s guardian angel, it seemed fitting that we would honor her memory in this unique way.

I will write a more detailed birth story later this week, so I’ll save all those juicy details for later!  Bet you can probably guess that it didn’t go quite as planned…

We headed home with Nia on Monday after lunch.  The following 24 hours were a rude awakening.  I wasn’t making enough colostrum (the precursor to milk) and she wasn’t getting enough food that night (of course it happened during that horrible witching period of midnight to 4 AM).  She was restless for hours, suckling on my breast until it was cracked and bleeding (graphic but true – breastfeeding is insanely painful at first) and I broke down and called the Pediatrician at 4 in the morning.  I started sobbing on the phone and she consoled me til I had calmed down and agreed to try giving her a bottle.

I was so devastated that breastfeeding had already gone awry, especially after the deviations that happened during the birth (more on that later).  At that point I crumbled, handing her over to Nick and leaving the room (I couldn’t bear to watch her take a bottle).  I struggled the rest of the night, sobbing nonstop all the way through our Pediatrician appointment that morning.  After 2 hours at with the Doctor, I was finally feeling better and okay with what had happened.  She assured me that it didn’t mean I wouldn’t breastfeed, just that we needed a little supplement here and there.

Happily, my milk came in with a good supply and Nia and I have been working on her latch.  So while it’s still challenging, it’s definitely getting better.  I think it helped that we got her frenulum clipped to help untie her tongue and make latching easier.

We had lots of unique ‘firsts’ this week with Nia, including a bath, nail clipping and her cord falling off.

What I can say for certain is that we wouldn’t have made it through the week without all the love and support pouring in from friends and family.  The delivered meals kept us from starving, the Facebook messages cheered us in the bleak night hours and the prayers gave us the strength to keep going.  We are eternally grateful and apologize for all the unanswered emails and phone calls!  We are not ignoring you – Nia just has other plans for how we spend our day…

I close by saying that I have a new-found respect for all the parents out there.  I don’t know how you did it (nor do I know how we’ll make it through the next week and into the following when Nick goes back to work).  All I can say is that I am awed by the patience and endurance it takes to lovingly care for a wee one.  What a wild ride!

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  1. Chris C. says:

    So proud of you. NIA is spectacular. Just keep reminding yourself through all the tears and sleepless nights that there is no love and no bond stronger than that of a mother and child. It is the inspiration for poetry, music, and life itself. Hang in there. Xoxoxox

  2. bfiles says:

    oh, my heart totally goes out to you with those breastfeeding issues! It seems like the end of the world if baby takes a bottle. So glad you realized that it’s not and that she is now nursing better. I think many moms are surprised to find out bfing is not so easy/natural! You will get the hang of her very quickly, just a day at a time is the way to go.

  3. Becky says:

    Your pediatrician sounds wonderful! Great job Nick caring for mom and baby! Team Novak is really doing great and Nia is thriving! Your love for each other and Nia will see you through.
    Love the pics.Thanks for taking the time to post.

  4. Heather says:

    I love the picture of what seems like you seeing Nia for the first time! It’s beautiful that you caught that moment. I’m thinking about you during these first, crazy weeks. You’ll regain some semblance of normal at some point. You’ll be looking back before you know it at those first weeks and your baby will be scooting like crazy and think how has this all happened already. That’s what I’m marveling at right now.

  5. naomi says:

    Oh she is just beautiful, as you are, mama!!

    Document as MUCH of this as you can … you will not regret it!

  6. Nomads By Nature says:

    Wonderful pictures! Glad to know you are settling in and getting acquainted — motherhood (and fatherhood) is a constant learning curve full of wonderful challenges and surprises. It sounds like you are doing the right thing – leaning on each other, rolling with the hiccups, adjusting ‘the plan’ as needed. Getting to know your child will be a life time adventure. I’m glad your have found wonderful support among friends and family. Just remember to celebrate it all – as you have discovered, it really does fly by. I’m looking at my ‘babies’ who are now almost 10 and 16 and I’m wondering where all the time went. I’m just trying to always live in the moment and enjoy the stages they are currently in, and looking forward to the road ahead. Based on your first week together – I think you will be (and are!) fantastic parents to little Nia!

  7. Evelyn says:

    So glad that you’re doing better. Your stories are making me think of my hubby and I when our daughter was born. Though it seems just a short time, she’s now nearly 12 and is quite the young woman. It all goes much too quickly so enjoy every moment you can…….

  8. Erin says:

    Such a beautiful little lady, Sarah! I see she got your very blonde hair. Don’t worry – it will get better! When we took J to his first peds appt the day after we got home from the hospital (after he had been awake the ENTIRE night), he was crying in the exam room and the doctor literally took one look at him, said, “He’s hungry! Wait here.” He ran to get him a bottle. J drank the entire 2 ounces in a few minutes and was a totally different baby (much, much happier) until my milk came in that night. I felt terrible that I couldn’t meet his needs but at the same time so relieved that he was full and had calmed down. I’m sure things will get easier from here on out…until teething rolls around! Much love to you, Nick & Nia!

  9. Carly says:

    You guys are doing great and are clearly enjoying your daughter despite the days blurring into each other. Nia is one lucky little girl!

  10. Chelsea says:

    Your breastfeeding experience sounds…. exactly the same as mine the first time around. I gave birth with an epidural, so I can say, hands down, that nursing the baby was the most excruciatingly painful part of the whole experience. I thought it was supposed to be sweet and tender. Not so much.
    But things do get better, I promise! Otherwise, there would be no second children in the world. :)

  11. Lindsay says:

    Welcome to the world of parenting! I wish I could tell you that it will get better (and some parts of it do) but then new challenges arise and you have to start all over again! But Nia is so lucky that she has caring, respectful, understanding and patient parents like you to support her and nurture her during her life! Not all babies are as lucky as she is! Good luck on the bumpy road ahead, and while in the moment whatever problem will seem large and unending, but when you look back a month, three months, a year from now, you will wonder where the time went! Can’t wait to meet your cute little bundle!

  12. Christina says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience, It makes me totally freaked out for what is coming so soon, but everyone tells me its all worth it. So glad that it all ended with a healthy momma and baby! I love how you chose the middle name, in my hormonal state right now it made me tear up! Take care of yourself and looking forward to hearing about your birth story (or should I save it for later?).

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