Thursday, January 26, 2012

Transition to Motherhood

So I think I left off describing the labor and delivery. The next couple days in the hospital were so surreal. I was EXHAUSTED, battered and bruised as I boarded the emotional roller coaster named hormones. All I wanted to do was admire my new baby girl, consumed by every fold of plump skin, each strand of her fine hair and the sound of every cry. I was AMAZED. That obsession, however only fed my fatigue. I didn't want to sleep.

Everything I read, every trusted advisor all instructed emphatically, "SLEEP while you are in the hospital". Take advantage of the nurses and focus on healing. But I didn't WANT TO. I was living on 10 months of anticipation becoming a reality. Don't get me wrong, there were times that I DID get some sleep, but I was consumed with guilt each time the nurses wheeled her away to the nursery.

We had one nurse that was so awesome we wanted to take her home with us. She introduced herself as "the breast whisper" and she really was. With all I was feeling, I had to take on the next challenge of learning to breastfeed. With everything I observed from watching my sister and the aid of the skilled hand of the 'breast whisper, we didn't have any major challenges to overcome.

Poor Hubs could not sleep very well on the stiff hospital cot so the last night I told Hubs to go home and sleep. It took a lot of insisting, but he finally agreed. It was also New Years Eve, so before he left to get some shut-eye, he brought in some sparkling wine and we rang in 2012 as a trio.

Sunday, New Years Day, we were both discharged and ready to go home. As we put Caroline in the car seat, I burst into tears. I could do this in the safety of the hospital. Our world consisted of a small hospital room and I'd mastered that. Now we were getting into the car and going home. It felt like we were opening the door to all the "what if's" that had haunted me. It took some hugs from Hubs, who was eager to get home, stocking up on supplies and reassurance from the Breast Whisperer before I was brave enough to take the next big step in this journey.

We made it home and it was only a couple more hours before Bubby showed up. (Momma T is Bubby if I haven't mentioned that already).

I'm still a little embarrassed at how the fatigue and hormones coupled with the amazement and endorphins of meeting my new baby girl stripped me down to a scared, tearful shell of myself. Hubs stepped up to reassure me and give hugs at every turn, but it was Bubby's deft hand and confidence that kept me from literally falling apart. The first 24 hours were painful. Caroline cried for what felt like 24 hours straight while we tried every soothing method we could Google. She even became hoarse from all the screaming. My heart was breaking. She was hungry and my milk hadn't come in yet. Once it did, she calmed down. Too bad I was still on the hormone, fatigue ride of my life.

For those of you that haven't been through this yet, this is evidently what they call the baby blues. According to Doctors and the books it's normal-HA! About once a day I'd have a crying spell. Sure didn't feel normal when I was so happy to also be so full of tears. I was so conflicted by why I felt this way, especially when the easy cure was to pick up and snuggle my baby girl! But like all hormonal waves, it just took some time for them to balance (or burst through my tearducts like a broken damn).

I heard/read somewhere that the first month is more about the Mom than the newborn . Once I satisfy her desire to eat and sleep (on a two hour rotation) she doesn't need much. SO TRUE. It's me that has the most to learn as we transition into our roles.

Lesson one: I needed need to learn to get some sleep. Take care of myself so I can take care of her.

A million more lessons to go....
The Rineharts

1 comment:

Hubs said...

You are doing an awesome job!
I love you!