No tearing, no stitches… not even the slightest concern of how many hands were currently between my legs. There was a mirror just ahead of where my bed sat and my initial thought was to look away. But the desire to glance at the beauty of where my baby came from was more than captivating. My body was in control, regardless of the medication that reduced the tension… it was my body that told me it was time to push. Breathing through the contractions was more calming than difficult. I allowed the silence to build up, and that’s when I knew that my body had stretched just enough to allow my daughter to free herself from. A moment I’ll never forget – the strength I’ll never let go of.
I felt the warmth of my body cradle my daughter when she was placed on my chest. I looked into her eyes and could barely fight back the tears. “Do you plan to breastfeed?” I wasn’t even certain what that meant, or how it worked. But it only felt right to give it a try and see where the road led us. As my daughter latched on for the very first time, I felt a bomb of pure love detonate over and over again. The pain was mute – something I fought to completely ignore. Nurses were showing me how her lips were supposed to enclose what was meant to provide her food, her comfort. When her latch no longer needed assistance, I felt like I had been doing this for years. That natural instinct shot up my spine and gave me a dose of true motherhood. I was pleased with this new person, a girl turned woman. Each time I’ve ever entailed to prove my bravery but found to be unsuccessful… it was all worth it. This moment was all I needed to convince myself of how much power I really held within my own two hands. I was desperate to hit pause and soak up each breath, and every yawn of my newborn. I couldn’t let time pass too quickly.
Nurses by the ton were introducing themselves in the middle of the night. I could hear their voices but my eyes were almost sewn shut. When my daughter was wheeled out of our room, a piece of me stayed right by her side. I didn’t understand why I felt this weight on my chest, a force that only vanished when I heard the screetching approach my door once again. Every tear she shed was another one added to my flushed cheeks and swollen eyes. Even though I had only been a mother for a few hours, I was certain that I was headed straight for failure. Her vigorous cry filled the air and I could clearly imagine the big question mark above my head. When I thought it was obvious what I was meant to do, my confidence came crashing down and I was back to square one.
The fight I had in me was mainly supported by the staff that walked the halls during my stay. Each time I felt a doubt, a nurse was there to redirect my decision to give up. Being a mom had suddenly become easy… the help was accessible 24 hours a day and I hardly had to leave my bed. The button to my right was closely kept by my side, so that when the storm clouds swayed over me… an answer was immediately sent my way. The reality of being discharged hadn’t come to light (just yet), so the impulse to disconnect all wires and machines was still very much alive.
What could possibly go wrong? I can handle it, I’m a mom. We’ll be fine. I’m ready to go home.
I was itching to shower and wear my clothes that would hang over my new postpartum bump. The scent of the hospital gown carried a apprehension that I was trying to flee from. I was working to strengthen a courage that seemed out of reach… always at a time that I needed it the most. I was soon aware that as I stepped further away from the hospital, the nurses would not follow. Being a mom on my own… is this something I could actually handle? I wouldn’t know until the lock was turned and the door closed behind us.
As new parents, our exhaustion was high in demand and our patience for eachother was hanging by a thread. Just when I thought my hormones were raging less, they spiraled out of control and swiped me off of my feet. I felt nervous, scared and alone… even though I had an army marching behind my every move. My role as a mother felt like it was coming to an end, faster than I could keep up with. My daughter deserved the absolute best care and I hesitated to know whether I could give that to her.
Her cries sprang through my body and hers. She arched her back and clenched her fists. In a moment of utter weakness, I bawled my eyes out right there with her. I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t know what to do…
There were no nurses, no call button. My heart pounded with uncertainty, but I was certain that what I felt was defeat.