As of last Friday, giving birth was the hardest thing I’d ever done. The week that followed then proceeded to put that experience into perspective.
The hospital is probably the last place where a new mother will get any rest at all, and keeping visitors to a minimum helped me a lot. Ever since coming home though, the combination of physical fatigue and emotional-hormonal rollercoaster have been – to put it mildly – rough.
Katy’s run-in with jaundice was fairly routine for new babies but felt pretty harrowing experienced first-hand. Thanks to my slightly fragile emotional state at the time, even watching her heel get pricked for the blood test threatened to start me off bawling along with her. And then there was the phototherapy lamp and bed. Think newborns are tiny and helpless? Try keeping your grip on one who’s naked except for a diaper, sweaty, angry about being blindfolded, and getting really, really hungry. It’s a mistake to underestimate that kind of superhuman baby strength.
The reward of course is getting to know my little daughter. The way she crinkles her face in an-almost smile when she sleeps. The funny expressions that remind me of her daddy. The way her hands and legs twitch involuntarily in her sleep, like a puppy dreaming of chasing rabbits.
And every day that I’m her mother, I’m learning how to do it better. Even if my brain feels foggy a lot of the time. On that note, there is a reason that the father is traditionally the person who registers the birth. When they gave me the draft copy of Katy’s birth certificate to confirm, I stared at the letters on the page for ages, willing them to come into mental focus. My state of mind was so off-kilter, even my own name looked weird to me.
Be kind to us, Week 2.