This Thing Called Love

28 Jul

Believe it or not, when my daughter was born,

I was, instantly, the calm,

low-key mom that I had dreamed of being.

I didn’t fret when the nurses took her for her routine check-ups.

I did not ask about her weight,

Or temperature,

Or level of cuteness.

Actually, that is a lie.

I did ask about her cuteness,

Meaning,

When anyone new came into the room,

I asked, “Isn’t she the absolute cutest baby you’ve ever seen?”

They all said yes, of course.

That’s because she is.

Anyway,

I was so relaxed that the nurses actually had to come in and remind me to nurse her.

I was so relaxed, that I let my baby sleep in the nursery overnight,

Heeding the recommendations of the hospital staff.

I was so relaxed, that I actually slept,

Until the nurses wheeled the baby back in to my room at 6am,

So that I could feed her.

Oh, and yes, my baby slept through the night in the hospital.

Actually, if I’m being completely honest,

I’m convinced that my baby slept through the night in my belly.

What have I been telling you all this time?

Genius, she is.

I was so relaxed, in fact, that when we got home from the hospital,

I felt perfectly fine about allowing our Doula to help me to take are of the baby,

While I focused on my C-Section recovery.

And then, inexplicably, something changed.

I got scared.

I don’t know when it happened, exactly.

I don’t know why,

But suddenly,

I felt fearful.

Was she breathing?

Was she happy?

Bored?

Lonely?

Hurt?

(oh, let me mention, these were all things that I was worried about when she was not crying.)

Could she be picking up germs?

Was she being exposed to enough germs to help boost her immune system?

Was she eating enough?

Was she gaining too fast?

And then, later,

Too little?

Is this poop normal?

And those were just the things that I didn’t have to worry about.

The first weekend we took the baby to the beach,

I struggled with my fear.

I was scared about,

Well,

Everything.

Should people be holding her?

Should I keep her away from the crowds?

Is it too hot outside?

Has she slept enough?

And then, despite all of my worries,

She got hoarse.

Now, her hoarseness was not something that was perceptible to everyone,

But I heard it.

And, so, I freaked.

She was 6 weeks old,

And I was a wreck.

I don’t think I will ever forget,

That Sunday night,

At the shore,

When my husband, my mom, and I crowded into the small bathroom at the beach house,

Baby in our arms,

As we let the hot water run in the shower until the room got nice and steamed up.

We stayed in that room, so that the baby could breathe in the warm, moist air,

Until the three of us were literally drenched in a mixture of sweat and condensation.

My husband and my mom wear glasses, and their lenses were so fogged up that neither of them could see anything,

But in that room, we stayed.

Of course,

I took the baby to the doctor the next morning, after racing home as early as we could get out the door.

He said that she was fine.

He was not worried.

Yet, for some reason, I still was.

It never stopped.

I would lie awake at night,

And watch her breathe,

As she slept in her nest, in the bed, next to me.

My husband stayed up late one night, and the next morning he informed me that I had gotten up approximately 8 times to check on her, in the span of just a few hours.

What was wrong with me?

Before my daughter was born, my husband and I worked hard creating some original artwork for her nursery. You may have read about the enchanted garden we grew.  In addition to the big dugout project, we also took our favorite quotes from songs, and children’s books, and plays, and stenciled them onto painted canvases.

We have everything from “I’ll eat you up, I love you so” from Where the Wild Things Are to “Crazy little thing called love” from the Queen song by that name. We created a space in which my daughter could be embraced by our love, as well as our favorite love-ly sayings.

However, to this date, my daughter has yet to sleep one night in her own room.

It’s not because she doesn’t love being in her nursery.

It’s because I’m scared.

Being a parents is all of the things that all of the people say,

And more.

It’s magical and breathtaking.

And, it’s also scary.

I feel so responsible for this tiny human,

And I can’t seem to shake my fear that I will do something wrong,

Or that something will happen.

Does it make me crazy?

Maybe.
It also makes me a new mom.

But, I am trying.

Right now, my daughter is resting in her nursery.

I am in the room next door,

And I can see and hear her on the monitor,

But I still worry.

I don’t worry about her missing me,

Or being scared,

Or being eaten up by Wild Things.

In fact, at the moment, I don’t know I’m worried about.

But, I do know that I’m trying to breathe,

And stay calm,

And to stop being so nervous.

I guess we were smart when we chose “Crazy little thing called love” to adorn her walls,

Because this kind of love can, in fact, make you a little crazy.

But, if while being a little crazy,

I also get to experience this kind of love,

Then lock me up,

Because this love is crazy amazing.

Insanely rich.

Wildly rewarding.

And true.

So, every day, I’ll continue to work on regaining the sense of calm I had in the early days,

In the hospital,

When everything was so new,

So pure,

And, in many ways, so much simpler.

Less crazy.

And, in the meantime,

I’ll try to

Be Cool

Relax,

Get hip,

and

keep enjoying this crazy little thing

called love.

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9 Responses to “This Thing Called Love”

  1. Maya July 29, 2010 at 8:11 am #

    Don’t worry, you’re not crazy. When you become a mom you worry about things you never in your wildest dreams you’d imagine worrying or even thinking about. As hard as it is to do, don’t worry, it does get easier down the road. She’ll become less fragile and you’ll realize she is a lot stronger than you think.

    I’ve def. been in the same boat watching them breathe, can’t even count the times I got up to make sure his chest was rising and falling. I guess its a new mother thing.

    *AND* there is nothing wrong with co-sleeping. It makes nursing that much easier at night and that much easier to get them back to sleep 😉 There were times when I wondered if I should have him in his crib. The best validation I get is when my son rolls over and reaches out for me. He *KNOWS* I am there for him, laying there right next to him. He didn’t open his eyes the first time he did this, or even now. He just KNOWS I am there with him. Knowing that he is sleeping peacefully and that 6th sense he has, in the middle of a deep sleep gives you a great sense of serenity. Its the best feeling in the world.

    Enjoy it all. It may be nerve wracking worrying about every little thing, but all you are doing is protecting your lil angel. Nothing is wrong with that 🙂

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