Let's start at the beginning. I guess it really started about 10 months prior to September. On a cool day in December. We were painting our living room. All of a sudden, I stopped painting.
"Babe, let's do it. I think we should, right now." He turned to me. "Really? Right now? Mid paint? Me: "Yep, I'm ovulating."
I was right. The last time I would be right about anything, or so it seemed, for a long while.
After the perfect pregnancy and the perfect delivery, she arrived.
We'll call her L.
I was 32. I was prepared....or so I thought. Apparently I knew I wasn't really prepared. At one point during my labor I observed that it wasn't the party I thought it would be....out loud. Excuse me? I should have known then that it might take a turn for the worse!
I, well we, stayed in the hospital for an entire 36 hours. If I had it my way, I might still be there.
We brought L home, put her car seat down and stared. I was afraid to vocalize my feelings. I was afraid to be mortally afraid. I didn't get it. I wasn't sure what to do. Where oh where were those maternal instincts? Here she was, that baby I wanted. That baby I predicted was ready to be conceived on that December day. Wrapped in pink, complete with hat, little fingers, little toes, sleeping like an angel and she was completely alien to me.
I spent the first week of her life in tears. Actually the first two weeks. I would call my sister (my childless sister) and tell her how hard it was. "Why is it hard? What is hard about it?" she would ask lovingly. "I don't know, it just is" I would say between sobs. "I will call you right back" she said. Moments later, my sister's best friend, who has a son, called me. My sister had to bring in reinforcements. Nothing she said helped me stop the tears. There was no consoling me. I was a 32 year old "I want a baby sooooooo bad" wreck.
Now, NINE months and some great medication later, I understand. Here was the issue. I brought this baby home with a stack of papers and a 500 page book on new babies. Here is what the papers and book said:
1. Your baby should eat every two hours
2. Your baby will poop several times a day, at least three
3. Your baby will .........
4. Your baby will........
5. Your baby will.........
Okay, great info for a new mother to have right? Not so much. L slept a lot and she didn't eat every two hours. More like three or four and guess what? She would latch on to my boob, eat for a minute or so and FALL BACK ASLEEP!!! She hadn't pooped since we left the hospital, over a week ago. I was panicked. I thought she would die FOR SURE! To top it all off, she was jaundiced. So much so that the doctor almost didn't let us out of the hospital with her. Every time I would take her to the breast feeding support group they would take one look at her and ask me if her doctor knew how yellow she was. YES! I go there every day to make sure she is less yellow than the day before!
All of these questions, all of this uncertainty led to a full on melt down on her one week birthday. It was Saturday. I had been crying all week. She hadn't pooped, was a yellow, sleepy, quiet and content baby and I thought she was moments from death. I kid you not, I prepared myself that she might not make it. I finally called the emergency hot line at L's pediatrician's office. The message I left was almost undecipherable. Moments later, the phone rang and it was the on-call doctor. I was so wound up that speaking was difficult.
"She doesn't eat every two hours. She hasn't pooped since we left the hospital, she falls asleep every time I try to feed her.....SHE'S DYING I KNOW IT!!!" The doctor talked me down from my self made ledge. L was fine, some babies don't eat every two hours. It was okay that she wasn't pooping, some babies only go once per week....for a breast fed baby, this is fine. The one in danger? It was me. My husband got on the phone to tell the doctor that he thought L was fine. I could hear the doctor on the line. "Yes, your daughter is fine. Your wife, however, is not. She is sleep deprived, has zero hormones and is in a completely new situation. And it is all okay. You have to understand how this affects her. You have to support her and realize that this is all very normal". Thank god someone told him this or this blog may be titled "Doing it wrong and alone since 2008"!
So started my sometimes turbulent, full of love and possibly medication, leap into motherhood. Enjoy the ride!