Monday, March 17, 2008

A Hard Day's Night

Today I had my six week follow up appointment with my OBGYN. It was a strange feeling to walk out of that office with my clean bill of health with little more than a wave from the doctor who has just seen me through what has, hands down, been the most incredible physical experience of my life. Just like that.

"Bye Mia, take care of yourself. Come back and see us if you decide to have another baby."

It was like coming to the end of a really good book. You're satisfied to have finally finished it, surprised at how fast you got through it, yet sad to see it end. It really has finally dawned on me that my pregnancy is over. My battle scars have heeled, my baby is home, and as the office door closed behind me today I realized that a whole new book sits in front of me, spine barely even cracked. Now I'm really ready to settle in, pick it up and start to read.

As I put the pregnant me away and move onto the mothering me, I thought I'd share a few things that I've already learned about raising a newborn that all the books in the world can not prepare you for.

1. Someone needs to invent a new word for "tired."
"Tired" is for pussies. I used to be "tired" all the time. I said the words, "I'm tired" so many times that my husband would actually call me on it. "You don't have to say it," he'd tell me, "It's a given at this point." The lack of sleep that you endure with a newborn in the house is not adequately described by the word "tired." You are completely, emotionally and physically overwhelmed by it. With a newborn in the house, even when you "sleep," you do not sleep.

2. Someone needs to invent a new word for "sleep."
I have now gone almost SEVEN weeks without really "sleeping." Oh sure, I close my eyes for a few hours at a time each night. That is not sleeping. You know what kind of "sleep" that is? It's a dirty little teasing whore of a sleep. Just when you almost settle into something kind of close to real sleep, that little squeaking, grunting person you just made reminds you that "sleeping" is no longer part of your life. Get over it.

3. Babies are squeaking, grunting little people.
Babies make a lot of noise and it's not all cute cooing and gurgling and crying. I was definitely not prepared for the amount of noise that a newborn makes, particularly the noises they make when they have gas, when they sleep, when they are awake, when they are happy and when they are sad. Yes, that's right. It's basically noise all the time. And it is most definitely not always all that cute. Especially not in the middle of the night when you are "tired" and trying to "sleep."

4. Sometimes you will not like your baby very much.
I do not have postpartum depression. In fact, I'm not even sure that I ever even had the subtler version commonly called, "The Baby Blues," however, there have been moments when I look at my beautiful, perfect, miracle of a baby and think to myself, "I'm not sure that I like you all that much." Usually it happens when I am extremely "tired," trying very hard to get some "sleep," and the beautiful baby is doing nothing more that being her squeaking, grunting little self. Don't call in the shrinks just yet. I love my baby very much, more than I have ever loved anything in my life, but I think we all know that "love" and "like" are not always one and the same thing.

5. Babies are very cute but sometimes they will look like this:

And when they look like this? You still have to love them. Even when they look like this for a really long time for seemingly no reason what-so-ever. This is a little something that around my house we like to call, "The Purple Cry." If you think you can figure it out and come up with a solution to "The Purple Cry", write a book. You'll make millions. The Baby Whisperer my ass.

I guess what I am trying to say here is that even though you hear it and read it over and over again during your pregnancy, "having a baby is hard," you simply can't be prepared for what that really means. Yes, it's amazing. Yes, it's life changing. Yes, it's a love like no other. And yes, yes, yes, sometimes it is really, really hard. In fact, you know what? Someone needs to invent a new word for "hard."


scarbie doll said...

Ooh! We should pen a song together that blends Purple Rain and When Doves Cry and change the words to be all about screaming-till-purple babies. We'd be gajillionaires.

I should be in bed. Instead I'm typing and hungry. No wonder I can't lose this last 10 pounds. Ass.

Anonymous said...

there is a phamplet from public health called "the purple cry" with warnings about shaking as this is when it happens!!
i know that cry. i knew that cry 2 hours at at 6pm every day for about 9 weeks!! ha ha

sugar mama said...

Well said! I think the best thing you can do is keep being honest. Of COURSE we love our babies so much, despite the purple cry... and there truly is no winning the motherhood guilt game!

Nighttime noisiness will go away. Then you'll run in to make sure she's still breathing!

Over the months I've thought of a few things I'd like to do to my Baby Whisperer book... some involve Sara's diapers (no, not new ones...)

TransientTales said...

Oh WOW duder! This is classic Dax it! New word for hard: OUTSOURCE!

FlowerPot said...

so glad to see your sense of humour shining through even in the tough moments. it certainly helps!

Anonymous said...

I love your honesty!

Sincerity said...

What a beautiful baby! And congrats on having a successful pregnancy! I totally agree that having a baby is beyond " hard" or " difficult."

But the great thing is that babies, and kids, grow up fast. One day you'll be reviewing your posts and remember the old days when your big girl was just a baby...