Bitch, what did you expect?
I knew how awful I was going to feel after the spinal block wore off because I’ve had surgery before. It was not major surgery (gall bladder, laparoscopic, minimally invasive) and that hurt, so I knew a major surgery like a c-section was going to take a while. I toughed it out in the hospital and only took Advil. I didn’t want to take anything narcotic because of the effects on the GI tract. I got out of bed as soon as they took the catheter out of me, so I was walking 8 hours after surgery. It was not fun getting out of bed, but I have this ingrained, competitive, recovering catholic schoolgirl need to win.
But mostly, I was determined never to give anyone reason to say to me, “Bitch, what did you expect?” When you have a baby at 51, you better be prepared to suck it up and keep it to yourself as much as possible, because if some old lady started complaining to me about how hard it all was, I know I’d be thinking, “Bitch, ….” well, you get it.
I think I did OK about the physical discomfort, mostly. After all, I did walk up 4 flights of stairs 4 days later carrying the baby in his infant carrier while D parked the car. It was the raging hormones and the abject terror that I was not as prepared for.
The first weeks at home with F, in the middle of the night as I rocked him and tried to breastfeed him, I cried my eyes out all over him and apologized again and again for being his mother. And seriously, I know how that sounds, but it was not in a postpartum depression kind of way, because I know women who have struggled with that and I would not have hesitated to get help if I thought for one second that it was depression. I knew it was hormonal-driven terror that we had thought only of ourselves and that this darling little angel was going to grow up completely messed-up and hating us for subjecting him to a life of being raised by people old enough to be his grandparents. Or worse, not being around for him long enough to grow to hate us.
We got home on Friday, and on Saturday both sides of the family and a few friends came to see us. That’s about 15 people in our 500 square-foot apartment on a hot day in June. I was a lunatic. I couldn’t stop worrying about F’s weight loss, his “failure to thrive.” My friends Colleen and Suzy and my sister-in-law Lisa really helped talk me in off the ledge.
But it was D who, whether he realizes it or not, helped the most. For example, he watched me folding down the front of the diaper so that I wouldn’t irritate the little stump, and he said, “How did you know to do that?” Little things like that gave me so much confidence. I knew how to do this! It might have been years since I was around a baby, but I did have baby experience.
Then my mother gave me the best piece of advice ever. She said, “Whenever you are worried, think about the stupidest people you know. Do they have children, and are their children OK?” And I thought to myself, “So true, I mean, Sarah Palin‘s children seem fine….”
Of course, I can’t help thinking with the whole expecting abstinence from teenagers, “Bitch, what did you…..” Oh, forget it.
Next time: On the road again
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