I'm fast finding out that our parenting paths don't always go as we foresee, starting with our birth stories...
I was NOT put on the induction list at 38 weeks. I was, in fact, given a choice to either try a natural delivery to a predicted very large baby and risk shoulder dystocia and all its complications (and be put on the induction list in order to get there), or schedule a Cesarian section. I opted for the section. It was brutal. Getting the spinal was sheer hell, the surgery itself was a terrifying experience, and recovery was a bi@#!. Yet, I know it could have been a whole lot worse. No question - giving birth is not for the faint of heart.
So, at 38.5 weeks I got to meet my darling baby boy...who was taken from me 2 hours later and brought to the NICU where he spent the first 8 days of his life. It was extremely hard to be separated from him and to go home from the hospital baby-less. However, again, I know it could have been a whole lot worse. 8 days is a helluva long time when you're going through it, but it's just a blink of an eye compared to the lengthy stays of some infants and, thankfully, the complications baby boy experienced were not life threatening (although some of them and the resulting wires and machines were unbearably hard to witness).
Fast forward to today and I am sitting on the couch next to the most beautiful little boy I've ever laid eyes on as he naps. My heart feels as though it will explode most of the time. My life is an endless whirlwind of feedings, diapers, baths, naps, and troubleshooting fussiness, but the most fleeting of smiles and coos makes it all worth it. This aching love is unlike anything else I have ever known. I have joined the ranks of mothers all over the world who instantly and instinctively know throughout the depths of their souls what I am talking about. The need to meet this child's needs, to protect and comfort him and see that he is happy and well are everything. My focus has shifted and priorities have realigned themselves. Preoccupation with my figure has gone out the window. Hell, I'm lucky if I can get myself fed, bathed, and dressed in the run of a day right now. Who has time to look in the mirror?? Besides, I'm damn proud of the feats my body has performed and this continued ability to nourish another little being using nothing but my own. It's pretty badasss, I gotta say, even if we did get off to a rocky start in the breastfeeding department.
In short, it has been an amazing couple of months. I have unearthed the new reserves of energy and patience that all new parents must, I have been covered in all sorts of bodily fluids that aren't my own, I have known the most incredible joys over the tiniest of things and been devastated beyond belief by things I never thought would matter (that part has been mostly hormonal, I do believe). I honestly don't even have the words to describe the feelings...oh, the feelings. And so, while I am petrified of what is to come once my maternity leave is done, with no job to go to and hubby just finishing up school, no idea what to do about child care or whether it will be somehow feasible to stay at home to take care of this gorgeous, bright little human, I am also doing my very best to cherish each and every moment I get to spend being a mom and seeing my baby learn and grow (even if I am constantly a hot mess and my house regularly looks like a clutter and dust bunny bomb went off and spilled a few crumbs, dishes, and toys along the way). It is the single most special and significant thing I have ever done. I am willing the time to go by slowly, even though I know this phase will be over all too quick. For now, I am simply thankful beyond belief that he is here and healthy and that I was afforded a few precious moments to myself today to write this blog entry I've been yearning to write for some time now. It didn't shape up the way I had envisioned, either, but it is written and that is something.