Birth Day

My baby was born 2 years ago today.  There was snow on the ground along with a little falling from the sky.  I can still see S’s breath heavy in the cold as we slowly made our way up and down the block.  Her labor was long, with a few roadblocks, but after a little coaxing, M made his entrance into the world in our bed at our home around 6:30 a.m.

It was a long night and I don’t do well with sleep-deprivation.  I know it sounds terrible as the one who did not have to push that enormous thing out of my lady-parts, but I was exhausted that day.  I first met my son in the wee hours of the morning, so bleary eyed I could hardly make out his tiny features in the dim light.

As he emerged from the great beyond, I scooped him up and placed him on his Ima’s belly, momentarily not quite sure of what had just happened.  He was perfect with his odd shaped head and tiny newborn cries.  Perfect.

And I was desperate for sleep.  I was so tired that when the midwives and the doula abandoned us a mere three hours later, a kind of delirium set in making it impossible for me to even think about sleeping.  Three days later and still relatively sleepless, my body started breaking down.  I had severe chills and couldn’t stop shaking.  It took a friend coming over and forcing a sleep-aid down my throat for me to succumb to the underlying desperation for dreamland.

Looking back, I wonder about those first few days.  It was like something primal washed over me.  I felt like sleeping would mean not protecting my woman and my son.  Sleep would mean I, regardless of the presence of other people, would not be making food or changing diapers or swaddling or helping S to the bathroom.  In other words, the world might have just fallen apart if I slept for 4 hours.

I think some of that stems from the undeniable fact (ask S) that I am a control freak, not being able to delegate responsibilities or ask for help without feeling even a little bit like a failure.  I also think some of that was about the tumult that happens when one’s identity shifts suddenly after 33 years.  I think my body was feeling the disequilibrium, the newness of our new configuration and it was freaking out.

I was looking at my son playing his new guitar today, feeling a little sleepy from the night before.  The difference between now and then is that there is no more tumult.  We are like flat water with gentle ripples rather than the pre-hurricane ocean we were that night.  There is extreme beauty in both places, but tonight I am tired and need the calm.

The past two years have been amazing and so, so hard on many levels.  My boy is…beautiful.  Though time could slow down a bit, I am excited for all the next steps to come (like sleeping through the night…like all the way through the night…Mama’s still tired.)

-Betsy

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