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I’m going to write a group of blog entries that are based on the same idea.  I am a planner.  As such, I like to know what is going to happen in my life.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m flexible and can go with the flow as well as anyone…as long as it doesn’t interfere with my schedule.  Planners are annoying people in many regards.  On a day to day basis, as my wife will tell you, the first thing out of my mouth in the mornings (or when I’m ahead of myself, the night before) is “So.  What is your plan for the day?”.  This allows me to appear interested in my wife’s life and it allows me to start filling in my day.  I can start slotting in the things I want to do…..she wants to do a few hours of work in the afternoon?  That’s when I’ll slip in a quick run or do something around the house (laundry, or dishes, or watching “In Plain Sight”).  Don’t confuse this need for schedule with organization.  I actually get very little done in a single day BUT, I know the order in which I do very little from the time I get out of bed.

Unfortunately, I apply this principle to all aspects of life. I want to know what things are going to be like and I spend a fair amount of time thinking about them.  Before pregnancy, I imagined what it would be like to be pregnant (I was very, very wrong).  During my pregnancy, I was already thinking about what labor would be like (wrong), what having a child in the house would be like (very wrong indeed), and what the second pregnancy would be like (likely completely wrong).  This, as you might imagine, means I’m a bit of a worrier.  Before you tell me about all the things I could do to improve this state of being for myself, I’ve tried them.  I’ve read dozens of books on Buddhism, tried meditation, yoga, and read “The Worry Cure” (great book by the way).  I totally agree with the concept of being in the moment and try very hard to do so, but I’m not very good at it.  As such, to avoid adding constant self-correction to my litany of neuroses, I’ve decided to embrace this aspect of myself.  I will continue to study ways to be more in the moment, and work on it.  I will also enjoy the humor in trying to anticipate the un-anticipatable.  I will appreciate the humility that being constantly wrong brings me.  I will write about it so that others can giggle with me (notice I do NOT say, “at me”).

Getting back to the blog, I am entitling this section “What I expected/what I did not expect”.

 

 

What I Expected:

…to fall in love with my child

 

What I Did Not Expect:

…it would take a few days

 

It may surprise the reader to know that pregnancy was not what I expected, for some reason, I thought it was going to be a wonderful experience and that I would love it.  I wondered why everyone laughed at that.  While puking my way through weeks 13-39 of pregnancy, my friends and colleagues all assured me that it would all be worth it the moment she was born because I would be instantly in love.  So, being the anticipator that I am, I eagerly awaited her birth.  After many hours of labor, which I will not discuss, she emerged and I looked with great excitement at the blue creature that was placed on my belly, awaiting the euphoric feeling of unbelievable love to wash over me.  I thought to myself, “she’s cute…and blue.  Somebody get this child to the warmer and make her cry”.  I can’t help it.  I trained in pediatrics and at all the deliveries I went to, the focus was on getting the baby to me quickly.  We didn’t let the anoxic infant roll around on mom’s newly deflated abdomen while everyone is offered a pair of scissors to cut the cord.

I am not totally unfeeling but I the feelings I had were more those of amazement that I built this creature.  That first night, they wheeled me into my little room with Rosalie and I sent everyone home.  Okay, that’s not true.  My mother sent everyone home to get a good night’s sleep.  Smart woman.  Somebody needed to stay sane because it wasn’t going to be me.  My nurse came in and explained that she would be stopping by every two hours to remind me to feed her (the baby not the nurse) and that she would be taken to the nursery briefly for her hearing test and then she would be back (again, the baby, not the nurse).  Hold on a second.  I thought that the purpose of staying in the hospital was to get some rest.  Why was she going to be spending the night in my room??  Wasn’t she going to line up in the parking lot of the nursery next to all of the other babes on wheels?  Who were passersby’s supposed to ogle if all of the babies were in the rooms with their mothers?  And how, pray tell, was I supposed to maneuver her in and out of the bassinet when my legs weren’t working?  We survived the first night.  My nurse was wonderful and she awakened me every few hours to feed the little milk dud.  She spent the night going from bassinet to boob to bassinet.  This is not bad, I thought.  I can do this!

The next night was a slightly different story.  Apparently, the baby is a little worn out the first day after the whole labor thing and has a quiet night.  After a good night’s and day’s sleep, she was ready to go.  What I had not expected was that she, with her slightly improved exhaustion and increased awareness, would find the great big world a little intimidating and would want to be near her mother.  This was cute for the first 4 hours of the night but by two o’clock in the morning, I couldn’t put her in the bassinet without an impressive display of crying (hers, not mine…then, hers and mine).  Feeling like total failure, I plopped her little swaddled self on my chest, kept the head of my bed up and cuddled her.  I had been awake for the past three nights now thanks to labor which, as promised, will not be discussed and I was having a bit of trouble staying conscious.   In my mind, all of medical training was yelling at me, “Don’t sleep with your baby in the bed! Don’t sleep with your baby in the bed!”

These were the last thoughts I had as I drifted asleep.

About an hour later, I half awakened to this strange sensation in my arms.  Always rational, I was worried that I had a complication from the epidural that was going to slowly cause arm paralysis. Then I realized that the sensation was the feeling of a swaddled infant slipping slowly from my arms.  The little dumpling had wriggled her head from a 12 o’clock position to a 7 o’clock position and she was heading, like a white fuzzy torpedo out of my hands, down my side, towards a brief leveling off on the bed before she would plunge down to the hard tile.  Great.  I wonder how many MOTY (Mother of the Year) points I would get for dropping my newborn child on the floor…while still in the hospital.  With one swift movement, I grabbed the bundle, turned her upright and plopped her back onto my chest where she spent the night without any further misadventures thanks to the adrenaline pumping through my body.  It’s amazing how bleak life is at 3 o’clock in the morning when you almost injure someone.  I thought to myself, this was a mistake.  I shouldn’t be a mother.  I like my life too much.  I sleep too soundly.  I clearly don’t care enough.  This creature is going to change me and I don’t want to change.

It’s also amazing how beautiful 9 am is when the sun is shining and the whole day is ahead of you.  It also helps to have a large coffee brought to you by a good friend.  Sipping my Starbucks, I gazed down at the little peanut who made me question my judgment, my sanity, my capacity for love and my generosity.  Her little mouth rooting around the world for the boob.  Her eyes bright and unseeing.  Her body wriggling.  Her brain searching for me as the only familiar object.  And then it hit.  Suddenly I knew what everyone was talking about.  This was the feeling of love I could never have anticipated.  It was overwhelming.  Then, I peed myself…damn epidural.

Written by composthaste

May 13, 2012 at 12:18 am

Posted in Uncategorized