Coffee is life, especially with no night and day, no solid eight hours of zzz’s, and after waiting nine long months to fuel up with some serious synthetic energy.
Tiny new hands on my hands, on my chest, on my face and arms, and grasping my finger. Impossibly small (but damn – sharp) baby nails.
Running in to Target for nursing pads, diapers, ice cream, and Xmas cards for my four-year-old’s preschool teachers, when it just happens to drizzle. Hearing no less than five comments, with thinly veiled scorn: “Oh! A new baby out in rain!” She’s not a gremlin, folks. We’ll be fine.
The glory of four hours of sleep (they don’t even have to be consecutive hours).
The rock hard pain of six hours of sleep.
The stunned realization that some people are unaware that “baby weight” does not magically disappear on day one. The hospital tech who doesn’t believe, until a nurse backs me up, that I am not pregnant – that the baby directly in front of me is the one who just came from my body. The checker at CVS who says “oh, you’re just like me – takes awhile for the weight to come off”, when I’m ten days postpartum.
Walking middle of the night laps around the house with a baby who won’t be put down, and finding it perfectly justifiable to have a snack each time I pass through the kitchen.
Her sweet little “hold me” cry.
Her ear piercing, shrieking for hours, inconsolable cry. The one that makes me angry, then guilty about being angry, then makes me cry too. (Also the one my husband manages to sleep through.)
Being chained to a nursing schedule, yet having no real schedule at all.
Managing milk … Leaks. Sore, chewed up skin. Tricks for getting the best latch. Over-supply. Under-supply. Pumping. Remembering which side baby ended with last time. Big kids being too interested, too close, too needy during nursing. Knowing it will get easier with time, yet doubting my ability to keep it up for another day.
Baby eyes while nursing, staring straight into mine, or closed in contentment. Baby guzzling, gulping, and sweet little sighs. Nursing blisters on the lips of a milk drunk baby face.
Patting her back for hours trying to find a burp. Or the spit up that happens as soon as I give up.
All the questions, from all the people, about her birth. Having no possible answers that please anyone.
Never knowing if she’s dressed for the right temperature. I know the rule: “What you’re wearing, plus a layer”. But, between a barrage of hormones and body heat from chasing the big kids, I have serious temperature control issues. Consider me an unreliable source.
Babywearing through the witching hour.
Having absolutely not a single clue what she needs. Running endlessly through the list of possibilities and coming up short at every turn. Crying right along with her. Surviving it.
Intuitively knowing, with certainty, what she needs. Because she came from me, and also made me, and caring for this particular tiny human is what I have always and never known how to do.