I’ve (Machelle) been throwing ideas around in my head. I want to write what the labor, birth, and what our first week of motherhood has been like.
The thing is…its been wonderful. Absolutely a fairy tale dream. But I feel guilty for saying it- because sometimes I’m surrounded by people who had a very different experience. And when they ask my “how I’m doing…” I don’t want to tell the truth. I don’t want to gloat. I don’t want to jinx myself. I keep waiting for the bad to happen. I’m not even sure I can verbally express how happy we are and how good we feel.
I didn’t even think I could get pregnant…but then I did.
When we found out we were pregnant, I doubted that it would “stick”. I didn’t want to get attached to the pregnancy, because I knew 20% end in miscarriage and my progesterone levels had dropped in the past…. but then the baby stayed…and I watched it grow.
I was afraid I’d get gestational diabetes…but I didn’t.
I was afraid I’d gain too much weight. So I worked out my entire pregnancy…and I didn’t.
I had an amazing pregnancy. I loved every minute of it (well, until the last two weeks). I didn’t have bad back pain, swelling, hemorrhoids, constipation, I felt energized, I loved my growing belly- secretly I even liked it when the toes got wedged in my ribs- it meant baby’s legs were long! Everyone told me how hard of a time they had during pregnancy- and I didn’t know how to relate.
I was afraid I’d need to get induced…but I didn’t.
I was afraid I couldn’t handle contractions and would need an epidural- but didn’t.
I was afraid there would be major complications with the delivery- but it was perfect. Everything I wanted. I labored at home for a long as possible, got to the hospital, was able to do it without any medications, my wife was amazingly supportive, we had this beautiful, healthy, big baby girl. Our birth experience was truly magical.
I was afraid we’d get home, and post partum would set in. That the fall from the “pregnancy high” would be hard. That I’d be tearful. That I would have breastfeeding struggles. That I’d be so sleep deprived. That I’d hate my body, my nipples would be falling off, Mary and I wouldn’t know how to adjust to this new life, that I’d never eat or shower…
For the first 3 days I was afraid to feel anything. Afraid to let myself just “feel” motherhood. What if “feeling” would feel like sadness, depression, or darkness? But Thursday night, while watching Mary give our baby girl kisses and talk about how much she just loved her, I decided that if I didn’t just let myself feel it, I would miss it. So I stopped caring about “what if I get depressed” and started letting myself feel happiness.
Everyone told me about this baby “Armageddon”. And I know that I’ve only been a parent for 8 days…but truthfully- its been just a wonderful as the pregnancy and the labor.
She’s beautiful. She’s got these cheeks that steal my heart. She latches beautifully, she eats until she gets “milk drunk” and the sleeps for 2-3 hours. We get up every 2-3 hours during the night, nurse, change her diaper, swaddle her, and repeat in 2-3 hours. She loves going for a drive. The dogs are being so well behaved. I am so lucky to have a spouse who can stay home with me for the first month.
Every morning, she usually takes a feeding around 6 or 7- and I give her to Mary. Mary cuddles with her while I take a shower, get dressed and blow dry my hair. Then, while Mary is getting ready I strap her to my chest with the boba wrap, go downs stairs, get breakfast and get ready for the day. She has even started rockin’ the cloth diapers a little!
But I can’t tell people- because they think I’m gloating. I feel bad for saying how good I feel when others are having a hard time. But then I think, “Is that why no one told me that it could be good?!?!” Because others were afraid to speak up that they actually enjoyed it? Not one person told me that loved the first few days. No one said they had the type of birth experience they really wanted. All I heard was the horror stories.
Look, I’m a realist. I get that there are situations beyond our control. People get low amniotic fluid levels, hypertension, gestational diabetes, low fetal heart tones, go past 42 weeks and need to be induced, etc- and that can cause labor to go in a less-desirable direction. Babies sometimes have latching problems, women have inverted nipples, colic, low milk supply, less than supportive spouses, and trust me when I say that I whole heartedly believe post partum is a true illness- there are all sorts of “what ifs…”
But so far I’ve avoided them. And I get that it might not always be this way. I get that motherhood could wear us down, and in 2-3 months Mary and I might be eating our words. But for now, I just want to soak this in, because its been perfect. And other people need to know that it could be perfect for them too.