|Charlie at 1 Week Old|
Sure, there have been some very tough days and moments. I’m not going to pretend that it has been a piece of cake. For example, the day after we got home from the hospital, excited and blissful, Charlie cried bloody murder all day long. Meanwhile, Kevin and I frantically called his mom, my mom and the local lactation consultant (shout out to Linda Cager). I cried, thinking that I had ruined our lives by having this monster interrupt what was once a pretty easy lifestyle. Kevin assured me that we would figure things out. And, we did.
In fact, things were pretty euphoric for the first 3 weeks. I proudly introduced young Charles to family and friends, and we started showing him around the island/s. We took trips to St. John for dinner and shopping with family that were visiting. I strolled down Main St. with him tucked away in my Moby Wrap and grabbed lunch in town. My husband pushed me, begrudgingly, to go to the beach with Charlie 2 weeks after giving birth. After all, 3 weeks prior I was strutting my stuff in a bikini, looking like a damn torpedo. Little did I know, I was carrying around an 8 lb (and 1.2 oz) baby!
However, by the time Charlie was 4 weeks old I was tired. Very tired. We had had guests for 3 weeks straight, and I was still getting used to taking care of an infant. Up at nights, then pushing myself to do too much during the day. My labor was quick and relatively easy (11 hours total) so physically I felt good. All the activity was catching up to me, tough, and I was struggling with Charlie. At one point, I took him to Kevin and said verbatim, ”I need to not be around this child for a while.” I was at my whit’s end. Sometimes you just need a break. Even if it’s just 10 or 20 minutes.
After Week 4 I pulled myself together. I came to the point of acceptance over Charlie’s inconsolable crying in the evenings. After all, babies cry. That’s what they do. They also poop, pee, puke, sleep and cry and then they do this all over, and over, and over again. I wasn’t really prepared for this, so I got a rude awakening the first time Charlie peed on me and even more so when he projectile pooped on me, the Pack ‘n Play and our rug. That time I managed to clean up him and the Pack ‘n Play. Like any selfless mother would, I left the poop on my thigh until after Charlie had been fed.
The thing I was most unprepared for, though, was the amount of time that Charlie needed to be held. Nobody, except Charlie that is, told me how much a child needs to be held, but by the end of the day my back is burning from holding, swinging and rocking my child. I guess this is nature’s way of helping the two of us bond, which seems like a natural progression when I think about it, since I did carry him for 9 months.
I’m not going to bore you with any more complaints, though, because this is what I wanted. As my sister said when she had her son, ‘This is what I signed up for.’ I wouldn’t have it any other way. Frankly, the joy of having a child by far and away outweighs the bad. Pregnancy, labor and baby is the greatest trifecta of my life. There are no words to describe the happiness that Charlie has brought to the life of my friends, family and me. I guess that’s why it’s easier for people to talk about how hard it can be because it’s impossible to describe in words the absolute pleasure that having a child brings to your life.
I have a newfound happiness when I see my husband smiling down on my son while swishing him around in our pool. Or, during those late night feedings when it’s just me and Charlie in a quiet room together and I can peacefully gaze down at him, studying this little being that suddenly means so much.
I can’t believe how precious this moment in time truly is. There is nothing else that matters more to me now. This family is everything.
I’d like to dedicate this blog post to Dr. Ezzo and Dr. Bucknam who wrote On Becoming Babywise. It is because of that book that my 8 week old sleeps 7-8 hours at night (for now at least). Sleep is everything. I’d also like to dedicate this blog to one of my readers whom I have never met. Barbara Schutt, thank you for reaching out to me to encourage me to write this blog, rather than go thru the 2 weeks of mail that is sitting next to my computer. This is way more important.