This post is part of the Mo’ Babies Shower Extravaganza. Catherine put a call out for posts reminiscing about the first days that people had with their babies as a gift for a few mamas who have new little ones getting ready to make their debut.
The first night that the baby and I were home from the hospital was probably one of the toughest nights of my life. I’d had a c-section and I was still in a lot of pain and somewhat immobile. The baby had slept for a long time in the days leading up to that and I vaguely hoped that we would have a smooth night as we adjusted to feedings and whatnot.
Nothing seemed to go right. He wouldn’t stay asleep no matter what we did. He was fussy and didn’t want to nurse. I thought my breasts might explode.
I can remember hobbling into our bedroom with him and plopping onto the bed. I finally sobbed and confessed to the husband (then the boyfriend) the thought that had been whispering in the back of my brain for nine months but that I was too ashamed to utter: “I don’t think I can do this.” I was sure that the night would never end, that I would never get any of the rest that I so desperately needed, and that I had made a grave mistake.
The husband looked at me and bluntly said, “You have to. You have to do this.” It wasn’t gentle and it didn’t necessarily make me feel any better. But I did it. I nursed him and soothed him and finally, as the sun was just starting to peek over the horizon, we fell asleep.
The husband woke me up hours later. My eyelids creaked open and I squinted at him through the pale sunlight. It was almost noon and he had to go to class. He asked me if I wanted him to put the baby in his crib. My brain was still scrambled from exhaustion and pain and I worked to interpret his question. “Baby? Crib. I was asleep.”
My eyes finally drifted from the husband’s face to the tiny boy curled up next to my chest. I think I forgot that he was real, that he was actually here with me and would be my son every morning when I woke up and every night when I fell asleep, forever. He was so small. He’d rejected his sleeper during the night and was dressed only in a diaper and an undershirt. His arms were only an inch or two around and his hospital bracelet worked to cling to him still until we relieved it of its duty. His hands were curled into fists the size of marbles and his chest rose and fell with his satisfied breaths.
“No, he’s okay,” I finally replied. The husband and I smiled at the baby. He finally headed to class. I pulled my child closer and went back to sleep.
*As a special bonus gift, I present to you the Pittsburghese pronunciation of “showers.”