My head was cloudy from the epidural for the first two days – I can’t remember who came to see me in the hospital or what I must have looked like. It’s nice when everyone around you says how great you look, but then you see the pictures that prove their lies. I looked like death on a stick and felt like it too.
“Who let the water buffalo in here?”
“Oh, that’s Giselle, actually. She’s just a little swollen from the epidural.”
I can’t believe I let people see me like that.
Minus the “no-sleep” in 84 hours, I felt not too bad. I was pretty proud of myself for pushing a 7 pounder out a hole the size of a pea. While I pushed, I thought, “That’s gonna hurt tomorrow and the next day and the day after that.” And it did. I felt like I had been split in two. I wanted to punch the nurse who tried to get me up walking about 20 minutes after I delivered. She’s obviously never had a baby before.
The first few hours flowed into days. I had no perception of time-of-day other than the “feeding” times. And I’m not just talking about feeding my son, Quinn. If I was up at 4 a.m. breast feeding, I was also caught in the kitchen red-handed with my mouth wrapped around a chicken leg. Breast feeding turned me into a raging binger. Breast feeding did not come naturally like it does for many other lucky moms. It took us five weeks of cracked, bleeding, blood-blistered nipples. My body looked like it had been through a war zone. And I came armed and dangerous with nipple shields, breast pads, and about two hours of sleep in six weeks. Yes, I DO think I deserve a medal!
The first week we were learning how to change a diaper, it was like capturing an out-of-control garden hose. He peed all over himself, including in his own face. He got me several times….also in the face. To be honest, I don’t change my clothes throughout the day anymore. I know I’m just going to get peed or puked on again anyway.
It’s funny how people go around with these big, goofy smiles on their faces when they tell you how wonderful life is and how their baby slept through the night the day they brought him home, and then sang sweet lullabies by the fireplace. They are all liars. We had a completely opposite experience. I must have sleep walked through that whole first week. I was watching myself from outside my own body. I was so tired one night, Quinn rolled off my lap onto the floor. I screamed and cried and my husband and my mom came runnning. Quinn was fine – I think I just scared him. I felt like the worst mom in the world.
Exhaustion began to take its toll. I fell asleep eating once. I may have also fallen asleep in the shower. For sure in the tub. I would wake up and not know if it was five o’clock in the morning or in the evening. I would find a carton of milk in the cupboard. I would call someone and when they would answer, I forgot who I called.
I didn’t go anywhere during those first six days, because any position that put any pressure on my bottom put me in excruciating pain. I wore a pillow on my butt for a week. The only place I frequented was the doctor’s office in hopes of being given something to help with the pain I had while going to the bathroom. No one tells you all of these fine details when you are pregnant. I can see the look in those mothers’ eyes when I tell them this is my ‘first’. You can just tell what they are thinking.
Now I’m not at all a nymphomaniac, but when I was pregnant, I couldn’t get it enough. If I even made eye contact with my husband, he was like “Are you serious? Again?” But after I had the baby, when my husband even came near me, there was NO WAY on God’s green earth, Baby. This Candy Shop is CLOSED.
I really don’t know what I did before I had a baby. I guess I actually had time to myself. I went shopping. I painted. I showered. I dressed myself, and put make-up on. On most days, I could remember my husband’s first name. We went on dates. We went for coffee. We went to book stores. We went on vacation. We went to the movies. We visited friends and stayed out really late.
Now shopping means going to the grocery store. Painting means, 20 minutes here, 15 minutes there. Showering means…well now…let’s be honest…not that often. Dressing myself means cozy pants and a t-shirt. Make-up means I washed my face. Dates mean a slap on the butt as we walk by each other. Going to the movies, means going to Blockbuster. Staying out late means 9 o’clock. Going on vacation means Gong-Show.
After having said all of that, Quinn is the best thing that ever happened to us. He’s ALWAYS happy. His laugh and smiles make my day. When we are out-on-the-town without him, all we do all night is talk about him. When he’s FINALLY in bed, we sneak in and watch him sleep.
I’ve never been more exhausted in my entire life, but I’ve never been happier. Here’s to you Mr. Quinn, and all you moms out there who think you can’t take it anymore.
Just sneak in and watch them sleeping. Little heart warmers they are.
Giselle Denis is a professional artist, as well as the mother to her son Quinn who is 2 years old. A collection of her work can be seen at the Wildflower Grill Restaurant. She paints whimsical scenes of flowers, forests and landscapes in bright, bold colors. Samples of her work can be found on her website www.giselledenis.com. She also has a Motherhood Musings blog @http://giselledenis.wordpress.com/