The factory is silent. Its assembly line stands motionless. Somewhere off in the darkness, a buzzer sounds. One by one, lights begin to flicker and illuminate on long-unmanned diagnostic panels, giving a sense of enormity and complexity and scale to the machinery. The low hum of power supplies warming up comes next, followed by the higher and louder whine of turbines and electric motors. A whistle sounds, and one by one, employees begin to file in and take their places at the controls. Purposed for a single task, whose time has now come, the factory slowly comes to life...
Thursday, September 24, 2009
As we round the corner to three months, I think I'm starting to get the hang of this "mommy" thing. Claire has fallen into a nice little schedule, I'm back to work, she's sleeping through the night, she eats like a horse, and keeps the meltdowns to about 1 a day. And even if she does melt down, I feel like I can handle it now. I have enough tactical defenses in the arsenal to be able to manage almost any situation with -- dare I say it? -- aplomb.
Still, I wonder sometimes if anyone had told me it was going to be this hard, would I have gone through with it? I'm definitely past the stage where I'm daily wishing for my old life back and feeling like I made a huge mistake. And we have an "easy" baby by comparison -- it's not like she has colic, or some medical condition, or I'm trying to raise her by myself. How do other people manage and not lose their minds, (or their marriages?)
Or is that why there are so many screwed up people in the world?
One of our friends came over for a visit last week. She's a sweetheart, and we always refer to her as one of those people who prove that Southerners are not as dumb as some people like to make them out to be. She's a pretty thing, and she's got the thick country accent, but if you talk to her for 5 minutes you realize that the pretty face also has a sharp tongue and a quick wit!
But I digress... Our friend came to visit and she asked us each what surprised us the most about having a baby. I had to think about it quite a bit, and I don't think I could narrow it down to just one thing. So here I present:
Top 5 Things That Surprised Me the Most About Being a New Parent!
5. Just how much a baby who is almost 12 lbs at birth will eat!
They made us crazy in the hospital. First, when you've just given birth, you're producing nothing but tiny drops of colostrum out of your breasts. The milk doesn't really come in for about 3 days. So in our case, they told us to supplement with 10 milliliters of the formula that they provided. After two days of SCREAMING baby we realized the poor dear was just HUNGRY so we fed her as much as she wanted! We asked the pediatrician if that was okay, and he said, "Yes. Of course. If she's hungry, feed her!" They had also told us in the hospital that we should WAKE her every two hours to eat. The doctor said, "No. If she gets hungry, she'll wake up! Of course if she is going 4 or 5 hours without waking, then I would worry. But as long as she's giving hunger cues, she's fine."
So a word of advice: maybe I shouldn't trust *everything* they tell me in the hospital if I have any circumstances that seem out of the ordinary. I suppose, in retrospect, that they were telling us what to do based on advice given to people who have 8 lb babies. I mean, when do they ever see and 11.5 lb baby?! They have no experience with that. The nurses also kept remarking how fabulous I looked for a woman who just had a c-section, and what a nice patient I was. After everything I had been told, I was worried about not being able to walk around, or eat, or that I would be too sleepy to appreciate my new baby. And except for some serious aching when I got up or down, I was pretty much fine the next day as long as I had some pain meds. But I'm a really good healer. Oh well. Live and learn.
4. How excited everyone else is about this baby too!
We put all the cards from the baby shower up on the mantle a few days after the shower. Since then we've been adding to them, and adding to them, up to and including this week! That's like 4 full months of excitement. Even if everyone didn't send a gift, they at least sent a card. That said, we got an amazing number of gifts -- we haven't had to buy more than the "big things" for the most part. Craig was opening cards from relatives of his he hasn't heard from in forever. There is just so much excitement around a baby. It's heartwarming and kind of stunning. Even my "heartless" sister is showing off pictures of the baby to waiters!
3. How much I would miss being pregnant.
As grueling as the third trimester was, I'm already waxing nostalgic about it. Feeling that little life roll around in there, taking naps and having an excuse to just lay about... It was kind of nice! Everyone was so excited around me all the time. When you're pregnant, strangers smile at you, and people are courteous and understanding, and everyone's curious about how you're feeling and how the baby is doing. But now? I'm back to basically not existing! Bah! But seriously, I miss that expectant feeling, of waiting for the big moment, of the excitement to come. I hear it's not the same when you have baby #2 either...
2. Post partum depression is no joke, and actually pretty horrible.
A friend of mine told me that the first three months with a new baby are "harrowing", and I think that's the most appropriate adjective I've heard to describe the situation thus far.
I understand that some people get the "baby blues" after giving birth. That's a cute little name for a temporary bit of insanity that makes you weepy after you have a baby and realize that it's a huge responsibility and who in their right minds gave YOU a baby?! That is not post partum depression. Try crying all day at everything every day for weeks, not sleeping, not eating...and I think I already mentioned the overwhelming feeling of having made a huge, irreparable mistake.
Because I have a history of depression, I knew it might be an issue for me. At one point in my life, I went through every kind of anti-depressant known, and then all the new ones as they came out, looking for the right fit. Eventually, I "trained" myself to not need them at all, and have been living SSRI-free for several years now. But because I knew I was prone to chemical imbalance, I advised them to prescribe me something while I was in the hospital. In retrospect, because those SSRIs take at least 2 weeks to really start working, I should have started two weeks sooner.
If I had started sooner, I probably wouldn't have worried my mother to death for a few weeks (enough so that my parents went back to NJ and then came back a couple of weeks later to give us extra help.) I probably would have appreciated those "tiny baby" moments in the first week or two more, and now I wish I had, because I know they're never coming back...
So my advice is, if you know you may need medication, take the medication. It actually helped reduce my crying jags and insanity to only once a day, and now they're practically non-existent.
But the number one thing that surprised me --
1. How much love I would have for this tiny little person!
Yeah, it's cliche, but it's cliche for a reason!
Don't get me wrong, I'm good at love. I love my family, and my close friends and my pets. I've deeply loved some of my boyfriends, and of course I totally love my husband. But this? This is a whole new level bordering on obsession.
If she makes the littlest sound while she's waking up, I'm all over it like white on rice to see what she's doing because I'm just so EXCITED to see her! The little faces she makes are cuter than kittens in a fluffy cloud universe. If she's upset, her shrieks are like tiny daggers into my heart, tearing out my soul, and I would do anything -- ANYTHING -- to fix it and make her happy again! And just one "Hi mommy!" smile from her and I'm a puddle of melted ice creamy love. I had no idea it would be like this. Just one of those things that, like they say, you just don't even have the capacity to understand until it happens to you.
Would I do it all again? Yeah, I think I would. At least the second time I will be more prepared...