Tears and Turmoil
Having your life completely dictated by an 8-pound bundle of squeezable cheeks and surprisingly powerful lungs can be a bittersweet pill to swallow. Bitter because it’s difficult, and sweet because a baby is the most wonderful thing that can happen to two people as in love as Husband and I are.
No matter what anyone tells you before that baby is born, you will NEVER understand the changes that will take place in your life until you’re holding her in your arms at home. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s true. Logically, I knew my life would never be the same. I knew I’d have sleepless nights, I knew I’d have to learn how to change diapers, breastfeed, set up the stroller, and anchor the car seat. But even knowing all of that doesn’t prepare a person for having their first child.
The first two weeks were especially hard. Not one night went by that I didn’t cry. I was exhausted, frustrated, nervous, and, funnily enough, missing the hospital.
At the hospital, there are answers, relief, and reassurance at the touch of a button. I could request pain medication, food, help with feeding, opinions on anything out of “the ordinary” on my baby, and even a few hours of sleep while the nurses took care of Little Miss in the nursery, simply by reaching to the side of my bed and pressing the orange button with my finger.
Though by Friday morning (the second day at the hospital) I was more than ready to go home, once we got there, Husband and I looked at each other and asked, “Now what?!?” My mom was there, so that helped, but she left on Sunday. What would happen on Monday?
Then nighttime came. The world was quiet, the house was dark, and I was tired. Night after night I sat up with Little Miss, trying to get her to sleep. She always eventually did, but it was always much later than I wanted to be in bed. And two hours later she was awake and crying for a meal.
And there were also the phantom babies. Just as I’d start drifting off to sleep, I’d hear “Little Miss” crying. My eyes would pop open and I’d listen for it again. It didn’t come. I’d imagined it. Again and again I heard her crying and for hours I lay awake in bed, wondering if THIS time it actually was her. The fan, a truck driving by, the neighbours out on their porch…anything sounded like a baby to me. Finally, one day I mentioned to Husband that the phantom babies had seemed to significantly decrease in frequency. He looked at me, and instead of questioning what I was talking about, he said simply, “You heard them, too?!?”
When Husband went back to work the exhaustion was worse. Since I didn’t have to get up to go into the office the next morning, Husband started going to bed at his regular time and I had to stay up until Little Miss went to bed. I didn’t mind, really, because I knew he needed sleep, and I had opportunities to nap throughout the day, whereas he did not. But that didn’t make staying up until midnight with a crying baby any easier.
Some nights I cried with her. Other nights I cried in bed after she finally went to sleep. And still other nights I cried in the shower while Husband took care of Little Miss.
It wasn’t regret. It was exhaustion coupled with the anxiety of being 100% responsible for this tiny human that was a perfect combination of my husband and me, and not having the faintest idea if what I was doing was right or not. Throw into the mix the fact that my life with Husband had done a 180, and it was a certain recipe for tears.
Before Little Miss, Husband and I were together all the time. We’d get up together, eat breakfast together, ride to work together, send messages and notes to each other during the day, eat lunch together, ride home together, make dinner together, eat it together, relax together – games, movies, TV, time with friends, talking, reading, etc. – and then go to bed together.
After Little Miss , nothing was the same. When I wasn’t holding her, he was. When I was feeding her, he was eating. When I was eating, he was walking and bouncing her. When he went to bed, I was rocking Little Miss. When I went to bed, he’d been snoring for an hour or more already. When he got up for work, I hardly noticed beyond the alarm. When he got out of the shower, I was feeding Little Miss. When he got home from work, I was feeding her again. When I took my nightly shower, he was taking care of Little Miss. And it started all over again after that.
For two weeks this made me absolutely miserable. I don’t know if perhaps I had some of what they call the Baby Blues, or if it was just sleep deprivation toying with me, but whatever it was, it sure wasn’t the glamour one wishes for their first days home with their baby. No matter how beautiful she is.