20 January 2009

Batteries not excluded

Thanks to all of you who stuck it out for so long when things went silent here. I apologise in advance for the paucity in both words and depiction, as the experience of labour and ensuing baby-ness is more than I can adequately describe.

I had my first contraction at 8 p.m. on Friday 9th January (my due date!) and finally delivered our son on the 11th of January at 11:46 a.m.

My ‘natural childbirth’ scenario was deftly revised after 19 hours of difficult contractions, when my extensive list of birth plan thou shalt nots went swiftly out the window and I heard myself whining pitifully at the new midwife on staff, But Comfort said I could have both the Pethidine and the epidural! Thereafter I was sucking back as many different kinds of pills, gas, air and injections as the antenatal and labour wards had on offer.

Towards the end, it came down to whether or not my labour was progressing quickly enough for a truly natural childbirth, and even though staff and family maintained an optimistic outlook, doctors and midwives were meanwhile confabbing about the possibility of having to conduct the dreaded ‘c’ word, which is something no first-time mother should ever have to consider.

But my next internal determined that baby seemed to be quite happy where he was for the time being; meanwhile I was 9 cm along and so was instructed to push. It took only seven minutes of pushing before the doctor finally lifted a real, warm baby onto my chest and the room broke out into ecstatic mayhem, though the exhaustion and shock of what had just happened rendered me fairly numb.

We were in hospital for far too long recovering from our respective minor ailments, and during this time I struggled to fill the enormous shoes of motherhood, which require you to not only be there in body but in soul as well. It wasn’t until we escaped that chaotic environment for home, however, that the bonding process truly began to take place. Since then I have been perpetually buffeted by a feeling that I can only describe as love, though it’s much different from any kind of love I’ve ever felt before.

Bruce thought I’d be able to aptly describe the process of labour, and until last week, I was pretty sure that I could. But just as ‘period pains times a million’ barely touches upon the real experience of labour, so does ‘love for your favourite cat times a million’ poorly illustrate the overwhelming mixture of sadness and joy I experience every time I look down at his sweet little face and wonder how something so beautiful could possibly have anything at all to do with me.

I envision so many different scenarios wherein I fail him completely as a mother that paranoia infiltrates my dreams and turns me into a nervous wreck when he’s not completely at ease, asleep. Bruce has taken to fatherhood quite naturally and is very good at settling him when he cries at night and also at reassuring me that I’m doing a good job (though my only weapon against distress seems to be the boob).

He’s been in our lives for just over a week, which isn’t very long at all, though already he’s changed us profoundly - as a couple and as individuals. Things won’t ever be the same again, but I’m not sure that such comparisons hold any meaning for me anymore.

I will try to write here as often as I can, though babies really do take up as much of your time as everyone says they do. As scary and consuming as it is, though, I truly love this new role and can’t imagine wanting or needing to do anything else right now.


Lacking said...

Looks like I get to offer the first blogger CONGRATS!! He's beautiful, and lucky to have you for a mother. I'll patiently wait for stories :-). -Brian

pk said...

Big grin: small tear. I still get the same feeling when I look at Frannie as I do, oh hang on she's picking her nose.

Anonymous said...

Hey there. You describe it all beautifully. I was at a total loss for words after giving birth, and still am, really. I remember being so frustrated that no one would tell me what it would be like, but now I know why.

You sound great. I'm so glad you are falling in love with him so quickly - you're lucky to have that kind of experience. It took me months and I feel like I missed out. You're right though; nothing will ever be the same. I don't know what I ever did before the little guy came along.

Anyway, there is one thing you need to do: give me your mailing address again. I've somehow managed to lose it (losing and forgetting things kind of goes with the territory).

Love you,


Anonymous said...

He is gorgeous! (And congrats to you for making it to the finish line, so to speak) So happy for you two! Oh - and finally shipping a package tomorrow!!

FreshHell said...

Many congratulations! Came here via The Lass. Mom of two girls. Children change everything.

Anonymous said...

Lass sent me. And he IS gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! He's lovely. Glad to hear that everyone is happy and healthy, and that you're enjoying this journey so far. xoxo.

Anonymous said...

Also via Lass. He's gorgeous! Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Lass sent me too. He is absolutely gorgeous. It does change your life forever. And you will be so glad it did. Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Sorry if the extra traffic was a bother - if I had known how willing my online friends were to do my bidding, I would have told them to send money. :P

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy for you. I'm so wowed. Beautiful baby. I miss you.

Anonymous said...

You totally made me cry big girly tears. I'm so delighted and overwhelmed on your behalf and delighted and amazed and delighted a little more. Congratulations, my lovely Friday.