Of all the excuses I've ever laid on you for sluggish blog updating, this one takes the cake. I had a baby! Yes, after 40 weeks, 17 bottles of Tums and, finally, about 3 and half hours of labor, Oscar Finn Mahoney showed up. He looked like this:
Since then he's depuffed a bit (babies are born quite puffy for whatever reason) and these days he's looking more like this:
Smiling is one of his latest and best features.
Labor was, in a word, nuts. Somehow, despite fully educating myself on it, I wasn't capable of discerning when I was actually in it. Do not misinterpret this as my saying I was not in pain. It's more that I couldn't tell a contraction was a contraction. My labor was so weirdly fast it went from nothing to everything in a matter of minutes, and so all the stuff Devin and I studied in 10 weeks of childbirth classes went right out the window. No timing contractions, no relaxation exercises on the yoga mat. It was more like an hour of confusion, then 2 hours of pain and panic, and then some pushing. Most of it is a blur.
The midwife almost didn't make it in time. She was convinced I was only in early labor, and so I convinced myself of that too. It's not really her fault that she was mistaken, since I was telling her all the wrong things because I was so in denial of the situation. Finally, when it occurred to me that I was about to start pushing --whether I wanted to or not -- I hopped back on the phone, insisted we'd both been wrong, and she hurried over to our apartment. Oscar was born something like 2o minutes later, at 4:26 am. I admit, there was a small window of time when I was telling myself "Okay, you're just going to have your baby on the toilet by yourself, but the midwife will be here soon and she'll be able to check and make sure he's fine."
And he was fine. He was better than fine. He was totally perfect and beautiful. By about 7:30, the midwife and her assistant had finished up everything they needed to do and, just like that, they were gone and we were left in charge of a small human being.
For a few minutes Devin and I just sat on the bed, early morning daylight coming in the window. He was tired. I felt high as a kite even though I hadn't had so much as an Advil. It dawned on us that nobody else knew this had happened. It all went down while the world was sleeping. Now we could call with the crazy news.
The first two weeks sucked. Just... sucked. I was tired and terrified. Breastfeeding seemed impossible. Everything made me cry. I was convinced Oscar didn't like me. I was paranoid that everyone thought I wasn't cut out for it all. The first day that Devin was back to work and I was alone, trying to make breakfast with one hand while holding Oscar with the other, I realized I'd never again do things on my own schedule. This was it. What had I gotten myself into?
Then, the fog lifted and I got my sea legs. Now, a whole seven weeks later, I still don't exactly feel like a mom. I'm getting there, though. I think part of what makes the difference is identifying all the things I've learned. Like, it's okay for me to do what I think is right even if it goes against someone's advice.
Almost every day Oscar will spit up, or slop milk all over the place while he's eating, or magically leak pee out of his diaper through unidentifiable routes. And usually this mess will get all over the both of us. But while I always drop what I'm doing to get him changed into something clean, I'll just stay in whatever I'm wearing til the substance dries up. Then I'll wear it to bed. And, sometimes, leave it on through the next morning. I think this about sums up motherhood so far. Stained, crusted clothes that don't much matter, so long as he's happy.
And here he is, laying in my lap as I write.