You know how they say to be careful what you wish for? All my teenage years, I wished for big boobs. After leaving the hospital, I got my wish in the form of engorged, swollen, rock hard boobs. My milk had come in all the way, but the baby was still in the hospital. My husband and I headed to Target after leaving the baby in an older nurse’s capable hands for the night. I walked hunched over, looking for a breast pump. With 5 minutes to the store’s closing, we paid for the pump and some breast pads and went home to get some rest.
After moving to an open crib, he could finally come home. My husband, mother in law, and I went to the NICU, car seat in hand. The baby had to pass a “car seat test,” and we had to watch a video on infant CPR before we could sign his discharge papers. My husband went back to the NICU, while I went to the family restroom. After washing my hands, I realized there was no paper towel. However, there was a roll of toilet paper on the mirror ledge. I patted my hands dry with the toilet paper…and immediately broke out in red welts all over my hands. I walked back into the lobby and told my mother in law what had happened. At that point, I really just wanted my baby, so I headed back into the NICU with my hands in the air the way doctors hold them. I ignored my husband’s suggestion of going to the ER, because I wanted to go home with my baby. I got a few pairs of gloves from the NICU nurses, and we headed home.
He was quiet during the car ride, and went to sleep as soon as we got in the house. I, on the other hand, stayed awake. I don’t know if it was adrenaline or something else, but I didn’t sleep for more than a half hour. The next day came, and I got another hour of sleep. We had originally decided that although our baby shower was still on (we didn’t tell anyone outside of family and close friends that he was born), the baby and I would stay home and Skype in. My cousin called to ask why I wasn’t coming, and suggested we bring him in the car and switch off. We headed to the shower that evening.We got to eat and open gifts while he stayed in the car and my dad, brother, and aunt sat with him.
That night, my best friend arrived. She sat up with me that night because again, I wasn’t sleepy. I was still adjusting to motherhood, so she held him when I felt overwhelmed. My husband headed off to work, telling me that I needed to get some sleep. I don’t think I ever really did sleep. I was still running on adrenaline.
Tensions were running high in the house. Dealing with a new baby, our second house guest in a week, and a lack of sleep meant that arguments were frequent and respect was dwindling. Another friend came by to see the baby without calling. She texted my best friend to let her know she was coming, but I had no idea. We all headed to Babies R Us to get some preemie clothes for the baby. My mother was angry that we had taken him out so soon, even though he sat in the car with his dad. We headed home, where tension was still brewing. A joking argument followed, where my husband felt I was showing off in front of my friends. He took the baby and went to the bedroom after I let him know that his “man cave” was now the “mom cave,” and if he didn’t have a uterus, he had to leave. In hindsight, I was being a total bitch…
Anger and tension continued to build. Two sleep deprived parents, two over involved grandmothers, one best friend and one huge argument later, my husband and I were squaring off in the bedroom. I had finally fallen asleep for the first time in days, and didn’t hear the baby crying–even though his bassinet was right next to me. I woke up to my husband shaking me and asking “didn’t you hear him?” He handed me the baby to breastfeed and I started to cry. I was feeling inadequate as a mother, extremely tired, and just plain overwhelmed. My best friend came in to see how I was doing and I handed her the baby, telling her to please take him. I pulled the covers over my head and continued to cry, feeling guilty that I hadn’t heard my own baby crying. Just as I started to drift back to sleep, my husband came in, angry. We argued again, this time getting into each other’s faces. The night ended with the baby and I in the living room with my best friend.
Anger, tension, disrespect, lack of sleep, and emotions all contributed to what happened the next morning.
To be continued…