Looking back, after nervously lamenting in my past entries about being “delayed” for 6 days I should have guessed Evan would choose Tuesday the 24th as his arrival to this world. The 24th being the day most male members of my immediate family have for their birthday, and that Tuesday being the finals of the American Idol. Yes, as I was breasfeeding my baby for the first time we were watching this show inside the labor and delivery room, and the recovery room too (it was on for an unneccesary 2 hours remember?).
Although I had anticipated sleepless nights, frustrations and hard work comes with caring for a baby, little did I know that it was going to be this tough. Before being a new mom at 35 I have always carried this notion that the labor and delivery was going to be the hardest part in becoming a parent and everything will be manageable from there. How wrong I was. Evan has been with us for almost 3 weeks now and I can say that the most difficult part, unless you have relatives/nannies to help you out, is the delivery and 1 week after that. Pregnancy, for all my moaning about it, was actually a walk in the part. The first week coming home from the hospital was the hardest week I have spent in my entire life. Work deadlines, confrontation with a superior, office pressure, impromptu boutique openings all pale in comparison to it.
If I had my way and if I had to do it all over again, I would have insisted on hiring a capable nanny to help us out at home for 2-3 days. It would give this mom a time to recover from her 11 hour labor and deal with the pain. Rest after the baby is a very elusive thing especially if you have to breastfeed every 2-3 hours and the baby show no signs of satisfying his hunger.
It would have also been a dream if the hospital is able to keep you for 5 days to a week. It’d like staying in a hotel complete with daycare service. You don’t have to think about what food to eat – it will be delivered to you complete with choices. The only downside about hospitals is that people start coming in to your room at 7:30 in the morning, just when you have started to drift off to sleep from feeding you baby. There’s the food service, pediatrician, nursing aide (or what ever they call it) to check your vitals, housekeeping to change your sheets, then the OB, then the clerk reminding you of your baby’s birth certificate, then your nurse etc. I was just glad that I wasn’t in the Philippines then I would have to entertain visitors in my bloodstained hospital gown and bloodshot eyes.
I remember a Johnson’s and Johnson’s commercial showing a young mom with just her newborn inside the recovery room, the cameras pan a shot of the mom’s face as a tear fell while she lovingly inspects her quiet baby from head to toe. People, in real life nobody who just delivered a baby can look as good as that model. Even the model herself. The initial glow of seeing your baby for the first time disappears once you get down to the nitty gritty of it. Unless, as I’ve said before, you’ve had help.
I remember it was not until the third day home spent with Evan when I have learned to relax a little and started to enjoy my son, showering him with kisses. Prior to that I mostly viewed my son as a crying problem that has to solved, a constant hungry mouth to be fed, a dirty diaper that needs to be changed.
However what they say about having a baby is worth all these is true, the memory of the inconveniences and fatigue disappear in time (even days) at the sight of this new person in your life – when he sleeps, his intent stare looking at your very soul, his big yawn, when he stretches, his sneeze, his hiccups, even the furious scrunchy face when he cries – they all clutch at your heart and you can not help but marvel at the miracle you have been blessed with.
Before I couldn’t understand how moms can not be away from their babies for more than a couple of hours, now I so get it. The simple fact is you do miss them. As soon as you lay your eyes on your child, they bring you an all consuming joy. As Tom (now a bottlefeeding, burping and diaper changer expert) would oftentimes tell our son – “you’re our pride and joy”. It hits home everytime he says it. More than you can ever imagine.
First posted on June 12, 2006