Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Smoosh Life - The tough stuff

One of life's cruel jokes is that right after a night with only three hours of sleep followed by twenty hours of labor, you're suddenly in charge of a tiny human. A tiny human who eats every couple of hours.

I thought I'd immediately fall in love with my baby. I mean, who doesn't? It's just not as heartwarming to imagine yourself uncertain about the creature that just came out of you. When I first saw Evan, I was overwhelmed by seeing the little person who had spent months inside of me kicking, wiggling, and otherwise making his presence known. He didn't need much convincing before he started crying, and I remember feeling compassion for the little being that was just squeezed out of his warm comfortable home into a world that's not always so comforting.

As I lay in bed with him a bit after his birth, I realized that I felt a mixture of conflicting emotions. The one that surprised me most was anger. While completely unfair and irrational, I was angry at him for hurting me during the pushing phase of labor. The rest of labor was so smooth and like exercise that the pain of pushing was something of a shock that I didn't forget for a few days afterward.

Taking care of a baby after labor was difficult. The days after his birth blur in my memory now, but I remember the challenge of pulling myself up in bed to feed him over and over again. Not only was I exhausted, but my abdominal muscles weren't quite what or where they used to be, and I wasn't supposed to scoot or sit cross-legged because I had a few stitches where they could get disturbed.

Other normal physical ailments stuck around for a few days making life feel odd. My body suddenly felt so light, but I still felt sluggish. It was disturbing to watch blood and clots keep coming as my body healed. It was frustrating to not be allowed to walk around much or do much of anything. (Doing nothing is definitely not one of my life talents.)

We have a "sucky baby". Evan loves to nurse. And as Evan frantically ate all the time, my nipples very quickly turned sore, then a little bleedy, then scabby. With some help from a nurse from the midwife's practice, I learned some ideas to get him to latch on better. However, it took some time for me to get better at them, and it's really hard to have wounds heal when they are being nibbled on every two hours.

Getting used to Evan crying took some time, too. I hated when he was unhappy, especially for more than the moment it took me to get ready to nurse. We aren't a "cry it out" household, but we couldn't do much about the fact that he hated diaper changes. He also hated being put into his sling or wrap for the first couple weeks, although he loved being in them once he got settled.

While I was bolstered by his cuteness and my compassion for the tiny human, I was often overwhelmed by weepiness, especially as the day went on and I grew more and more tired. I missed everything. I missed being pregnant. I missed him kicking inside of me. I missed spending time alone with Matthew along with the regular hugs and cuddles that seemed to be impossible to have when a baby starts crying the moment you think you have time to just be. I missed sleep. I missed being able to get things done. I missed feeling adequate and competent.

So I'd wander around the house and randomly start crying over and over and over again. And it was hard.

After a couple of weeks, things started getting better. I started only crying randomly once or not at all each day. My abdominal muscles made a comeback. I learned how to continue life while also caring for my tiny human. I learned that if he suddenly decides to scream from hunger when I'm three blocks away from home, I can feed him while walking the remaining distance. (One of my finest parenting moments so far.) He likes to look at my face now which makes me feel like he might eventually appreciate me as more than a milk machine.

Nights still are lame sometimes. Like when he won't stay latched on and screams at me over and over again because he's indignant that he's not eating anymore. (Well, whose fault is that, child?!) Or when he decides to have a three and a half hour alert time in the middle of the night when I had obtained less than two hours of sleep that night so far. (Fact: Saying "Go to sleep! Go to sleep!" to your alert baby because you are starving for sleep yourself will not actually make the baby go to sleep. The best way to deal with the situation is to make the husband hold the baby while you go eat chocolate chips and almonds because you're STARVING.)

While I have felt the urge to nurture him and the power of compassion that has helped me see how he sees things as best I can, it's difficult for me to feel love when exhausted. Even my normal emotions toward Matthew don't feel the same, and that really says something to me. However, I'm finding moments of love now. Even at night after he wakes me up because he's hungry. And that is truly saying something.

All the sweet moments with baby help.


Post a Comment


Blog Template by BloggerCandy.com