The first weeks of parenthood COVID style
Updated: Dec 12, 2020
We went through labor by ourselves, we can do postpartum too right? Oh my goodness, guys, no one talks about postpartum, and that is probably why I was freaked out most about it. Not sure if I was more freaked out about giving birth to a live child, or the after-effects of that miracle in life. No one talks about it for a reason, luckily I had my sister who just had her baby back in September of last year and so as I was filling my amazon cart with items that I may or may not need to put myself back together again post delivery she gave me an optimistic outlook on it, mixed with the cold hard truth.
I am not a strong individual, I am emotional, and I just do not endure pain well. The adrenaline after birth wore off and as the medicine subdued as well and life really looked me right in the face, I was in pain and scared I wouldn't be able to care for my baby and face the fact that I was broken. (Literally and then put back together). I won't go into any more detail, because well I guess that's what we do when we talk about labor, delivery, and birth, we skip postpartum. You get it though right?
Thankfully I had Michael to be his optimistic self, and damper the worries by acknowledging my thoughts, feelings, and grunts of pain. He would also passively change the subject, or lifting up our daughter and swaying her back and forth while talking gently to her about how proud he is to be her daddy, glimpsing to make sure I was in earshot and me smirking back at him, he got me again. Reminding me, of the beauty beyond the pain, the life that we just created, and knowing everything would be okay, pain and all, we had our little family, and it would only get better from here.
This is the same story off and on for the past two weeks. There were grunts of pain, tears of pain, and moments i would just have ice, my feet up, a glass of water and our daughter on my chest, watching TV, and not caring about the messy house, dishes in the sink, or laundry that was already piling up. Other days, I went full force and got that laundry caught up, dishes done and floors mopped until my doctor told me to slow down. I am recovering and the more I exert myself the longer it will take. What a challenge that is for me to just rest.
The first week, my mom stayed with us, which was so nice, I was able to catch up on some grad school work, and Mike was able to finish up some things around the house we didn't get to before baby came. Plus it was an extra pair of hands, to cuddle baby Alita, which is always nice too. After my mom went home and Mike and I faced the second week as parents and first week running it solo, it was different.
Alita and I are learning together how to breastfeed, which took us two meetings with a lactation consultant and a whole 24 hours in the hospital with nurses coming in for each feeding and teaching us both what to do. We had some good days and nights and some challenging ones as well, but as I look back on it now, each day was a block building our own foundation as a new family.
There are poopy diapers, tons, and tons of poopy diapers. There are cries and screams of hunger, and being tired, and cries just to cry. As parents, you try and figure out what each cry means, and how we can support and meet the needs and wants of this little human. Sometimes we get it right quickly and sometimes it takes some time. There is spit-up and dirty clothes that pile up fast. There are smiles as she is waking and little giggles in her sleep. When she looks into our eyes, it is the best feeling in the whole wide world. After 9 months of talking and reading to her, she is finally looking right into my eyes. I love being her mom.
It is lonely, COVID has made this such a lonely and sad journey for me. Michael and I only plan on having one child naturally, so this really depresses me, to be honest. We have always talked about having one of our own and adopting one. I have always thought since I was little and knew I wanted to be a mother when I grew up, why bring more children into the world when there are so many children that do not have a home or family of their own. So this possibly being my only experience, is sad, but it's just a part of our story.
We lost out on a lot through this journey. My heart mostly hurts that our baby is growing each and every day, and she has yet to meet all her family, like aunts and uncles and cousins. I know that it is more for me and not her, but it truly does hurt my heart. She has met some friends and family via Facetime, and no one has hugged her, or kissed her. I also know, that in general germs are big to her right now, and she would not be doing very much traveling and hugs and kisses quite yet, but I also know this will not change for a while.
We are cautious about the virus, and that's our own choice to be so, and people just have to respect that (as much as it saddens me to do so). We were able to have a few family members over that self quarantined in preparation for her arrival. So, we are so happy she got to meet some of the family, and soon this will get better and we will be able to have others visit as well. Everyone thought this would be better by July, but it is worse than before. I just can't wait for us to get back to some sense of normal, so my baby can truly see the world.
I have tears, I have a lot of tears, sometimes I have those tears that just swell up in my eyes and then all of a sudden they just start rolling down my cheeks and I just can't stop them. I know what I am supposed to feel, and what I am supposed to do, but sometimes I feel like I messed up, or I did something wrong, or I am just too tired and I make a senseless mistake. The only person who is judging me is me, and it's in my head, but goodness it is hard to shale sometimes.
Most of the time, I have tears of joy. I love looking at this little creation Michael and I made. What is she going to be when she grows up? What is she going to like? What is she not going to like? I can not wait to watch her grow, but for now, I want her to always be my baby. So I will take these days slowly and I will count my lucky stars because we are blessed. Postpartum is hard, it's sad, it's painful, sometimes it's unbearable, but it is definitely all worth it. Giving birth is a miracle in life, and we truly have a miracle.