Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Extranjera's guide to first steps of motherhood, or how not to kill your baby while still riding the insanity wave

I'm sure the biggest issue on every new parent's mind on the day their child is born is: "Now, how do I keep this little life from being extinguished?" This thought is bound to rise to the surface as they yank the baby out and amidst a lot of crying emanating from several different people in the room hand the little bundle to you, or, as happened in my case, yank the baby out, rush her away, briefly rush her back in swaddled, stick her right up to my face while I'm still 'attached' to the operating table and unable to move (I kid you not, I think they thought I was one of those patients who would bolt up in the middle of it all to check out exactly how much of the wildly growing bush also known as my pubic hair they'd had to shave off, or, you know, just to see what exactly was going on with all that blood and stuff), let me briefly to try to focus on a palish blur with what could have been eyes right by my left nostril that's not saying a thing (the baby, not the nostril), and then whisk her straight into the NICU.

Still. There was that thought: "She's out. Now what?"

Well. I was lucky. In my case the NICU kept my little one alive for the first four days of her life, which I thought was only fitting since my womb (really the zombie-placenta) hadn't really been up to par until then. They let me see her, but, to be completely honest, I didn't change a single diaper until they sent her home. I was gloriously responsible for such important things as having warm hands to cuddle her with twice a day and getting enough sleep to better take care of her once she came home.

And then, to our utter bewilderment, she came home. After four days in intensive and intermediate therapy in the NICU.

They just let us take her. In a carseat much too big and with me having to hold her tiny flopping head on the ride home. She came home with us.

None of the complex and scary doctors' predictions of her being unable to control her body temperature or lacking or only having a weak sucking reflex because of the Down Syndrome, of her not being able to breathe on her own because of being so tiny and premature, or of her having some or other health issue, came true.

She was heavier and longer anyone had expected. And also possibly louder.

She was and is mostly fine. Maybe a little floppy once in a formula-induced coma. A little constipated (hopefully because of the formula and not because of something wrong with her bowels, but we'll see). Fairly disinterested in mom's boobies and really enamored by the bottle with the quick-flow nipple (the polar opposite of both of mom's nipples, which seem to be supporters of the slow food movement). Checking out the world with dark, dark blue eyes, much like her mother's. With reddish, and thus utterly Viking-reminiscent hairs on her tiny head. Generally smelling good and sweet. With long fingers and feet two sizes too big for her scrawny frame, but with 5 of the appropriate appendages on each hand and foot. All covered in beautiful, clear skin.

And she's ours.

Which probably explains why we panic and let our own special kind of insanity rule. All the time. About everything.

:: So far I've told the on call pediatrician at 1am on a Sunday in very questionable Spanish that my daughter "won't eat, but that I myself have been pooping all day long" and that I'm afraid "she will run out of water." He was very gracious about my supposed bowel movements and only coughed the tiniest bit.

:: I have practically tackled a security guard at my building because she dared to cross that boundary, also known as 'Don't you frikken even breathe in my precious babe's direction', I had mentally created to keep her safe from general harm, dragons, and traffic. In my defense (Or not, what does this have to do with anything? Who the fuck knows? Mommybrain. Ya.) she had gold teeth.

:: I have scared the poor, innocent (And new. Yes, again.) maid so that she now considers two car lengths away a safe distance to gaze at the baby. And then she hesitantly waves from over there.

:: I have become the queen of antibacterial soap to such an extent that every time I put my hands in my pockets my knuckles bleed.

:: I have tweeted and Facebooked shamelessly about my difficulties in breast-feeding, particularly the area of my sad, sad production. It seems my boobies are no longer just mine, but more like an appliance. A broken one at that. And I think the blogosphere deserves to know too. So there. Boobies - broken.

:: I have slept around four hours in total since returning from the hospital. She won't stop breathing if I keep staring at her, right?

:: I have taken more than a thousand photos and videos already, and I'm completely and utterly unable to delete any of them. Not even the shortish video I accidentally made of my own knee while waiting to get access to the NICU.

:: I have fallen irrevocably in love. With my daughter and with my family. And now know for sure that this is truly what I will ever do with my life. I'll be an off-kilter, broken-boobied, Viking-outnumbered mom to the sweetest thimble-sized human being on earth (Yes. Because she's mine.), and wife to the bestest dad ever (Regardless of his sub-par diaper-changing abilities, which, time and again, lead to pee puddles all over the place). 

Wouldn't you have?

The babe and the boob.


rmm4361 said...

She is absolutely beautiful and looks so content to be with Mom. Congratulations to you and your family!

'Drea said...

Congrats. Glad that none of the doctor's predictions came true.

Great photo.

Shona said...

So great to hear! Congratulations!

Lindsay Schultz said...

So happy for you! Sleeping is overrated, just keep staring!

Stephanie said...

Wonderful! She is beautiful.

The falling in love really happens - I suspect to ensure the survival of the human race.

Just breathe, you'll be fine.

Lynne said...

you made me cry, but its all good

Tonia said...

Am sat in work quietly weeping into my keyboard: so very very happy for you. And yes, I would have fallen in love with her too.

Kim: said...

Yep, I'm crying too. She's beautiful. So are you.

Stubblejumpin' Gal said...

Looking forward to more pictures of that gorgeous babe.
"You kids done good."

eggdipdip said...

Sleep is for the weak. Staring at sleeping beautiful babies and even almost putting your back out so you can feel their breathe on your cheek (just to make doubly sure) is utterly normal and in fact sane behaviour for every new mum. Huge congratulations. She looks and sounds awesome :-)

Molly said...

dude. I have no words.
ok just one ... wow.

ok two more ... go you!

Judearoo said...

She's a little doll.

Huge Congratulations to you all!!! x

Robin said...

What a gorgeous little girl she is. Just beautiful. Her little picture actually resembles my little one as well. I think her pure sweetness just made my boobs leak. Was that too much information? Well just consider the whole shaven pubic hair scenario fair turn about. Oh who am I kidding after my c-section turkey gravy post. I am also pleased to see that I am not the only one psychotically staring at my baby to make sure she doesn't stop breathing. Seriously...I'm freakish about the whole thing. Well, enough about me. I must be needing attention or something. Glad to see you posting in the abyss of pure unconditional love known as mommy blogging. It's amazing isn't it.

Lisa-Marie said...

She is beautiful! Well done (for, you know, having sex to make her and keeping her safe inside you)!

Now, this might be unwanted advice, but my rather neurotic sister in law has a baby monitor that also has a movement sensor pad that goes in the baby's cot/basket that beeps if they stop breathing. One of those might be a good investment. I think they are a double adged sword really as it could malfunction, but hers hasn't. If you want me to find out what kind it is, give me a shout.

Good luck with your wee bundle of lovely :)

Personne said...

Beautiful, beautiful. And I must say, I laughed HARD when you wrote about why they probably strapped you to the operating table. Just the mental picture was too much! I love it!

Angels said...

It's a,azing, I'm impressed. She is so nice. I'm gladtosee such beautiful baby, oh..she is angel

~C said...

I think this is the best post in the entirety of the blogosphere. SO happy for you & your family. Hope all continues to go better than expected. She is beautiful!