All right, y’all, I had a baby!
Sebastian is 3 weeks and 3 days and I am finally writing a few words of reflection as he sleeps in my lap (because if I put him down, he’ll wake up sooner). After three weeks of very little sleep and lots of visitors, I’m grateful to finally have a bit of time to attempt to capture what has been going on in my head during this time of transition. My hubby and a good friend from Denver have gone to Telluride to ski today – after making sure all my needs were met ( more than he’s been able to do while rushing off to work) – and Sebastian has hardly been fussing at all the past couple of days, so I can finally think.
Honestly, a lot of the time, I haven’t really had much going on in my head. I had a lot going through my head the first several days, but then the endless sleeplessness numbed it out of me. One rare peaceful moment this past week when hubby, baby, and I were cuddling on the couch after he returned from work and made us dinner again – or did we eat take-out again that night? – I marveled to him that I don’t feel a whole lot different as I would have expected to. I still feel like me (not like a mom). I sometimes felt this way when I was pregnant too, just like a completely normal me. But when pregnant, especially towards the end, there were definitely days, or times of day, when I felt different. Days when I felt special, important, because I was carrying another life within me. Days when I didn’t mind the waddling and aching and having reflux, because it was all for the purpose of bringing my baby into the world.
And then suddenly one day, the pregnancy is over, he is on the outside of me, and I’m fumbling to get my nipple into his mouth in a way that will satiate his newly hungry belly without killing me – trying desperately to get that “good latch.” Now I finally know what it feels like to nurse, and to have leaking milk ooze down my side and puddle on my clothes, before I can find something to mop it up with, while he impatiently bobs his head back in forth in front of my breast. I’m experiencing things that I had heard would happen to me, but I never understood what it would actually be like until they did.
That’s what new motherhood is all about. You hear about the sleepless nights, you hear about the stitches and the breastfeeding (though no one tells you about the leaking, spraying boobs until it’s happening to you), you hear about the not being able to eat or drink anything while it’s still hot, the inability to shower for days, and the milk and spit-up all over your clothes, but you are unable to have any comprehension of these things until it actually happens to you. And despite all these strange changes, it doesn’t feel all that different. I’m not feeling that overwhelming sense of responsibility I expected to have, or so much love that I fear my heart will break.
Not that I haven’t felt anything. For a while, I felt a lot of frustration and fear that this time of difficult adjustment would never end. But luckily, his fussiness has ebbed, we’ve slept a bit more, and I’m feeling the calming effects of the breastfeeding hormones that I’ve been reading about.
And thank goodness for that! Last night we went out to a restaurant for the first time to meet a friend of a friend – another coincidental contact in this small town. I was able to eat the bad bar food, drink half a beer, and balance Sebastian on my lap to nurse under a cover, while keeping up with the conversation, and the whole time I felt mellow.
And I’m thankful for that mellowness, because I had been stressed about having yet another visitor this weekend instead of just getting to hang out with Tim and the baby as a new family (his parents came for a weekend the day after we got back from the hospital, then my mom came for 10 days, then he was on-call all the next weekend, then our good friend from Denver came….). But this visit has been great! I’ve gotten to feel like my pre-baby self, hanging out with a friend I made before I got pregnant, and she hasn’t shown a lick of weirdness about my leaking boobs.
It worked out great too, because she came a day early and is leaving Sunday morning so I will get to have the rest of the day with just Tim and the baby (and the dog – Casey, we haven’t forgotten about you). I’ll get to cuddle and reflect more tomorrow and get ready to post the big birth story post.