What a strange world I’ve been wandering these past seven weeks. Disclaimer: This post will not reflect my most skillful writing, lovely words and imagery woven together seamlessly to paint a picture for my readers. This post will be rushed, disjointed, and fully reflective of my current state of mind. Here’s hoping you can cut through the treacle to the good stuff.
First of all, thank you so much to those of you who’ve posted and commented, sending well wishes. Eleanor and I are doing well, she’s a wonderful little girl and she makes me smile endlessly.
Now, cutting the crap and all the fluffy, happy unicorn glitter stuff. Parenting is hard. Being a new mom is HARD. Parenting through a roller coaster of hormones is H A R D.
Parenting through a roller coaster of hormones that trigger memories of a miscarriage almost exactly a year before is really, really hard.
I cried when she cried. I cried when she didn’t cry. I cried when I saw a rainbow. I cried when a commercial came on with puppies in it. I cried when my husband went back to work, trusting little ‘ol me with this living breathing, crying, pooping, wiggling creature. Boy, did I cry.
I was terrified. For weeks, I scheduled company to fill up the long 12 hour days when he would be gone. I cried before they came. I cried when they left.
I cried when I got so frustrated and so angry at the endlessly screaming bundle of joy in one hand that I punched a wall with the other.
I cried because I felt ungrateful.
How many nights did I wish and pray and beg for a child, for the child I’d lost? I cried during pregnancy, terrified that I would lose her too. I cried, fearing the end of my pregnancy, fearing that the feeling of emptiness would leave me feeling only lost again. Finally, I cried as during labour, an unpleasant, animalistic, dramatic, right out of a sticom cry. And let’s not mention the screaming, yeesh. I cried when she arrived, when she was place on my chest, clammy and small, curled up like the place just below my heart. I cried for the first two days every time I looked at her; her perfect little eyes and button nose, her chubby cheeks and beautiful eye lashes.
And now, here I was, screaming when she screamed.
Had I forgotten all about the pain I had endured losing our first baby? How much had I wanted this? Here I was, taking it for granted. I cried.
I can’t be the only one who’s felt this way.
And then, just like before, in the midst of an entirely different, but eerily similar roller coaster, I kept on.
One foot in front of the other. One breath and then the next.
And I stumbled through the tunnel and into the light.
And things started to get easier. Not only the screaming, crying, feeding, pooping stuff, but also my attitude towards myself. My constant inner turmoil that I was not only a terrible person, but a terrible mother. I grew gentler with myself, and began to find more and more happy, easy moments in my days.
Eleanor began to smile. I began to smile more.
I think we’re going to be OK.
We struggled at first, as Elle didn’t feed well. She was jaundiced, wouldn’t latch and it seemed I wasn’t producing enough to feed her. We struggled with feeding every two hours, a combination of nursing, as long as I could take it, and then topping up with bottles, as she couldn’t get enough. We fought to wake her to eat, in her jaundiced state. Sometimes this meant putting a cold cloth on the poor girl to wake her up, only to hear her crying in discomfort. Causing that sound broke my heart every time.
She fought through the jaundice and we’ve gone leaps and bounds with nursing. I’ve been given a prescription to increase supply, and we do exercises to strengthen her suck. We still top up with bottles of breast milk or formula as supply allows, and it still takes about an hour to feed her, but I’ve begun to cherish those moments.
For those of you still following our story and waiting for your rainbow baby, hoping and aching, and thinking, I will not take my child for granted. You’re dreaming of that moment of counting his or her fingers and toes, changing his or her diapers, waking in the nights and smiling just to hear his or her cry. You’re right, you will, and you truly, deep down, will be happy for each terrifying moment that might come along with him or her. God knows, that deep down, I am too.
Know that I am hoping and praying for it too. I want this for each and every one of you. I am rooting for you, cheering you on, and hoping that you all get to ease some of the pain and heartache of your journeys and find yourselves, inexplicably, on the other side, on a much changed journey.
Thank you to all of you who are here with me still.
Here’s hoping I get another chance to connect soon.