What was your first day as a mother like?
After the hell of labor. Labor is such a strange blur to me now- some things are really clear still, and some things I question if they happened at all. I mainly remember being really bored waiting for labor to start. Since I was induced I was hooked up to monitors and IVs from the start, which is something I wasn’t prepared for (okay well really, I wasn’t prepared for anything related to a hospital birth- home birth had been my plan until about a week before.) I had to ask for a nurse every time I wanted to go to the bathroom which really sucked. The IV kept hurting my hand, and the fetal monitor was hurting my stomach really bad; I just wanted to be free. I remember things like watching The Office, there is a blur of family visiting in there, moaning through contractions and hurting my throat. My clearest memory is looking out the window (for the little time I opened the blinds) and thinking about people in the real world doing real things like going to work, eating lunch, and driving. I so badly wanted to be a normal person going to work, not trapped laboring in this hospital bed. But after that.
After the most intense experience of witnessing first hand a true miracle. I weep just thinking about everything that needs to happen to produce a healthy baby, and how easily it can go wrong. Jack lived inside of me for 36 weeks. My body knew exactly what it needed to do to support this baby boy. Every cell multiplied the way it was supposed to so he could keep growing just the way he needed to. So many things needed to happen for my body to deliver this baby, and that too can so easily go wrong. And it didn’t. Jack and I made it, and that is so truly amazing I can’t think about it without shedding tears of joy and wonder. But after that.
After seeing your child for the first time. I was a mother the second I found out he was growing inside me. I knew him when he was just six weeks in utero. Our souls were already bound together, and I was already mothering him. In a way, I feel like I was always Jack’s mother. My whole life was just leading up to this moment- finally meeting him, and the whole rest of my life will be forever devoted to him. Finally seeing him for the first time was beyond words. At seventeen weeks we found out we were having a boy, but we did not know he would have my eyes, MY eyes. We didn’t know he would have his dad’s nose, or a head full of dark hair. I felt him kick (finally) for the first time when I was 22 weeks, but I didn’t know how perfect his tiny little feet were. He was mine, and I felt like I had known his face and his soul all along.
Most mornings I drive by our local hospital and I think about all the moms experiencing their first day on this lifelong amazing job. After the labor, and after meeting their baby. What are they doing in those rooms? How are they feeling? It was the greatest day of my life, and I often find myself revisiting it, trying to hold onto every little detail.
After he was born my doctor fought for me to have some skin to skin with Jack (I can’t stress how much I loved my doctor for that.) I got to hold him on my chest for a few minutes before he was taken away briefly to be monitored in NICU since he had a pretty rough start to life. While he was gone, my husband and I started making phone calls to announce our baby boy had arrived and his name is Jack Corbett- we hadn’t told a single soul his name until he was born. No one was at the hospital waiting for us because things had moved so insanely fast towards the end. After my first round of twenty four hours on cervidil, I had made very little progress at only one centimeter dialted. My doctor wanted me to do another twenty four hours before using any pitocin on me, but after about six hours into my next round things started going fast. I went from three centimeters to ten in two and a half hours, without pictocin- which caught everyone off guard (and then I only pushed for ten minutes.) So needless to say, our entire family was really surprised our Jack was here already, at 10:52 AM.
Once Jack came back to our room, I had him on my chest and just studied every little part of his tiny five pound body. I just couldn’t believe he was here, you know? All these weeks, no.. years of dreaming of this day, here I was- living it. I wanted him there forever, but at that point my husband Jimmy hadn’t had a chance to hold him yet. Seeing Jimmy for the first time with our baby boy is something I will never forget. One of the nurses commented on how beautiful it was that Jimmy had taken off his shirt so he could be skin to skin with Jack. She said she didn’t see that a lot, and it reminded her of when her babies were born, as her husband had done that also.
Shortly after I was wheeled to our temporary recovery room. I remember finally leaving that room and going out into the hallway feeling SO alert. My mind hadn’t been clear for a day and a half and it felt so good to feel with it. I felt so, so proud in the wheelchair with Jack in my lap. I couldn’t stop smiling, I would seriously look at every person in the hall and just smile at them, waiting for them to smile back and congratulate me. I felt so happy to be part of the real world again, where people were walking and chatting, and living- the real world I had longed for a day before in my bed. We passed a nurses’ station and one of them yelled, “It’s the comeback baby!” People around her cheered. Moments like this really exist? Me in a wheelchair, proudly holding my new son, and nurses cheering for the “comeback baby.” It was so surreal.
We got to our temporary recovery room, and I tried to feed Jack for the first time. It was truly amazing bonding with him in that way, but it ended up taking about two weeks for Jack to nurse properly- so it was a lot of pumping, bottle feeding, and attempted nursing at first. Then my family came and it was so amazing to share this boy with people I loved. I remember as they walked in thinking, “They are seeing me as a mother now.” I was so proud as everyone held him, amazed at how perfect he was.
Once everyone left, Jack had to go to the NICU one more time for some tests since I had a really high fever after delivering him, they wanted to make sure he didn’t have any infections. When he was gone, I quickly showered and it was absolutely the best shower in my life. It felt so good to feel clean after being confined to a bed for almost two days. When he returned we got to move to our permanent recovery room, another thing my doctor fought for me to have. It was about twice the size and brand new, with way more amenities than the previous one. My doctor insisted I stay there instead of the older ones, so much love for that man.
Once we got to the newer room, my husband’s family came to meet Jack. They were so excited- Jack is the first grandchild for them, and I was proud all over again at how perfect he was. They brought us food to eat, and we all sat staring at this perfect thing named Jack Corbett.
The rest of the day was quiet for our new family of three. Every three hours a nurse came in and had to prick his foot to test his blood sugar since he was born so early (that was awful.) Other than that though, we were mainly left alone to bond with our little boy. The main thing I remember is the fact that I could not put him down. He was ALWAYS in my arms. Nurses would repeatedly tell us we should get some rest, but how was I supposed to rest now? It didn’t matter I had only a few hours of sleep from the last two days- this was the greatest high I ever felt, and the adrenaline was too great to close my eyes. Plus, he had been in my womb for 36 weeks, and I forced him out early- it was too heartbreaking to see him lying in his hospital bassinet with no warmth beside him.
I had so much guilt about bringing him into this world. I think a lot of that stemmed from the fact that I asked to be induced at 36 weeks- he was so happy in there (I assume) and I just kicked him out into this world where he got cold easily, pricked every three hours, and getting nourishment here was a much more difficult task than when he was inside of me. (I had to keep reminding myself there was a very good reason I kicked him out, cholestasis is no joke.) I still feel that guilt sometimes, but I don’t think that will ever go away. It’s a beautiful world, but also a really tough and scary one at times- but my anxieties about that are an entirely different post.
And that was day one. That day feels so different than today, and yet so much the same. Nursing is much easier, and I now -sometimes- put him down. But I am still so amazed at the miracle of him being here. I still can’t believe he has my eyes, and I still can’t believe how perfect he is.
Everyone talks about the labor and delivery, because it is so important, but what happened after that? What was your first day of motherhood like? Whatever it was- it was amazing, wasn’t it?