Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Being There

First I'd like to do a little follow up about introducing B to Theo. I hid out in my room until my babysitter had to leave. The baby had gotten hysterical and wouldn't be consoled, so I grabbed a random carrier from my closet and thought I'd do a little experiment and see if it made him happy. I wrapped the little guy up on my chest and bam! Happy, sleeping baby.

This allowed time to hang with B and try to get him fed. He seemed pretty oppositional and weird so I just wasn't up for trying a "say hello to your baby bother!" kind of moment. I had thought of snapping a picture or video of B seeing his brother for the first time, but decided to be in the moment and keep it private instead. So I sat on the bed and waited for him to come to me. And he did. He threw his arm over my leg, and we just sat there quietly. Then he climbed on my lap, reached over the top of the carrier and patted Theo's head. "Soft," I said. He said, "yeah." Then he touched his ear and said "ear," and reached over the side and touched his foot and said "foot". Then he took my hand and patted Theo's head with it. It was a very tender moment. I'm not sure how much he grasps about who this person is - but so far so good! 

I had a very pleasant evening with B in bed and me and Theo camped out in the living room. Newborns are so much easier than toddlers, oh my God! You put them somewhere and they actually stay there! They sleep! It's awesome!

I'd like to talk a little about the post partum experience, now that I've experienced it twice and have recognized certain similarities. 

It's a very odd, twilight-like time. Even now with us all at home and the world of hospital gowns and scrubbing up to see the baby and wristbands and nurses behind me, it's hard to wrap my mind around the fact that all of that is in fact over, and bizarrely, this makes me profoundly sad. 

I want to be back in the hospital where there are rules and procedures and we're the center of attention and taken care of. I want to feel like I'm in the middle of a special time - I don't want to go back to "real life" with the bills and emails and petty annoyances. 

I feel that come down after an event - like my own dance event - where there's so much stress and exhilaration and excitement for a few days, and then...it's over. I find myself running the events of the last couple of weeks over and over in my mind, telling myself the story again and again - I was so sick, my sister came, I lay in bed, I felt better, I wanted to avoid induction, I worried about her leaving before the baby came, I worried about going late, I had contractions, I worried about being in false labor for days, I went to the hospital late one night all alone, l was in so much pain, I called the doula, I was in labor, I wanted to die, I pushed the baby out, they stitched me, everyone told me I did a great job, the baby and I went to my room, I slept, the baby went to NICU, I went home, my sister left, I visited the baby, my milk came in, the baby came home. This runs on an endless loop in my mind. I want to talk about how much it hurt. I don't want to forget how much it hurt even though I know it doesn't matter because I'll never do it again. But I don't want to let go of the experience. I threw away all of my old doctor visit paperwork and doula paperwork and felt intense sadness. I cut off my NICU wristband and felt naked. It's not that I have dread about what comes next - now that B has met T I feel a lot more optimistic - but I just can't let go of the whole labor experience. It was so intense that I feel like I'm riding waves of aftershocks from it.

Mostly I just want to sit and have a good, deep cry. Relief that everything went so well when so much could have gone wrong. Relief that the pregnancy is over and it's all downhill from here, physically. Relief that T is healthy and ok and home. But also this odd hormonal sentimentality that is not at all like me but is definitely part and parcel of what these early days post baby are all about. I'd like to remember this because it is pretty profound and something that's hard to explain unless you've been there.


  1. Thanks for sharing this with us. I hope that things continue to go with B and T. I love watching the interaction between my two...

  2. I wonder if this is why, when a bunch of moms get together, more often than not, we talk about our pregnancies & birth experiences, even when our children are grown...we want to remember this profound thing we did.

    I love your telling of B's 1st moments with T. Sounds so beautiful & glad you were in the moment rather than filming it. IMO, that was good for B as well as you.

  3. Aww, the introduction sounds so lovely! So sweet. Thank you for sharing that.

    I felt exactly the same way after my birth. (Also after complications with IVF landed me in the hospital, which obviously didn't have a dramatic outcome like having a baby does.) I ended up hiring a postpartum doula to come in and talk to me. We talked for several hours and I think I did cry but afterwards I felt all wrung out but strangely relieved. I got to work it all through and it really helped. It took a year or so to be fully done with it, but it stopped the reel from continuing to run on autoplay all day and night.

    These are some intense experiences you've had! Seems to me you've handled it all remarkably calmly. But that doesn't mean it doesn't still need to get worked out in your head.

    Let me know what works for you!

  4. I remember that time of (almost?) feeling sad that it was all over... when really it had just begun! I think there's just so much build up, so much intensity around the final weeks and days and moments of pregnancy, and labor is definitely so intense, and then the baby comes, and you go home and... it's just life, with a new baby, but the intensity of those moments is gone.

    And then, when it's your final time, you know you'll never experience that again, that intensity of waiting to meet this new little person, this son or daughter of yours, and that all the excitement is over and it's back to day-to-day blandness. Not that I'm finished yet (hopefully!), but I imagine that's how it'll be for me. So maybe that's what's going on with you? And the hormones can NOT be helping!

    I'm glad B meeting Theo was a positive experience. It sounds just lovely. I have a feeling when Jordyn meets her little brother or sister someday, it'll be with a whole audience of my parents and siblings. Not that I want it to be that way, but I think it probably will.

    Try to enjoy this time, and keep making those memories with both your boys. You're doing such an amazing job, I'm really impressed!!!