When I became pregnant with my first child at 22, I didn’t give up much during the pregnancy. I did think quite a bit about how it would be. She would breastfeed of course, we would NEVER co-sleep. She would not eat sugary things. We would figure out a way for her to spend time with her daddy, even though he and I weren’t on speaking terms at the time.
As time neared for her birth, and I grew more nervous, I still didn’t give up anything. I had stopped smoking before I got pregnant, because of a previous miscarriage. I had stopped drinking coffee because the smell of it made me feel like I would puke. I was trying to be on talking terms with her daddy, but he was so busy and talking to me was scary for him, because he was so fearful that I would use anything he said against him in a custody battle.
The whole “responsibility” thing didn’t hit me at all.
Her birth was uneventful, as far as routine hospital births go. Epidural, AROM, episiotomy. As I pushed her into the world, I was struck by the phenomenal power of that moment. I was transformed as she was placed in my arms.
When she was taken away to be “checked out” in the nursery, I rested. I pulled myself together. I waited.
I sent my mom to find out where Rhayn was. And I sat in the bed, and waited more.
When she walked in the room, I could tell by the look on her face, it was bad. (More worst case scenarios ran through my mind at light speed.) Then she told me what was wrong and it was like a slap in the face.
She told me that Rhayn has turned blue and stopped breathing. SLAP!
They had discovered a cleft in her soft palate. SLAP!
The doctor was running more tests on her to make sure that was all there was. SLAP!
My perfect little baby had something that would require surgery. My perfect little baby would probably not be able to breastfeed. My perfect little baby would need more care, and it all hit me so hard that I felt overwhelmed and like I would be unable to handle it.
Then the nurse brought Rhayn into the room. Once again I had my little babe in my arms. Once again I could see that face that so closely resembled her father. Once again, I felt that surge of “I am Mother, I can do anything.”
And I knew at the moment that all the responsibility that was being thrust at me, would be hard, but I would handle it, and this little darling would be safe, because I would keep her safe.
As that first year went on, I was constantly reminded of the things that I swore I would never do. I was put in the care of this tiny being, and she needed more care than I had expected. I also realized her first night home that she would have to co-sleep with me, because how else could I really monitor her breathing in case she became unable to breath and turned blue? Besides, how could I put my fresh new life in a cold bed across the room from me?