Although staying at the hospital was kinda boring, and I was ready to go home, I also felt a little nervous about leaving. I kept thinking “you guys are really going to let me leave with this thing? I can just take the baby with me, even though I have never been around a newborn, and hadn’t changed a diaper since I was a middle school babysitter.” My gut told me everything would be okay, and that my instincts would know what to do, but my rational mind was like “You guys are nuts! How do you know you can trust me with this?”
Getting a fragile 2-day old baby in a car seat seemed as mentally complex as particle physics. A nurse was trying to observe the whole affair to make sure we did it correctly, but it was 100 degrees in the parking lot, and just having her watch was making it increasingly difficult to figure the damn thing out. Ahhhhhh the pressure! My mom had bought the seat for me with the best intentions, but is was so freakn’ complicated, it looked like an S&M torture machine. I can’t say I am positive she was in there right, and part of me feels like I Brittany Spears-ed my baby on her first day in a car, but off we went. On the ride back the song “Wonderwall” came on covered by Ryan Adams. The words “I don’t believe that anybody feels the way I do about you now,” echoed deeply in my ears. I started to cry, feeling how much I loved this little creature, and how I couldn’t believe she was actually here.
Once back at the house, I got settled into my bed that was going to be my homebase for the next week. A midwife had suggested to stay in bed with the baby for 1 whole week, and I was taking her advice quite literally. Only get up to go to the bathroom, have all meals brought to you, and don’t even think about going downstairs. Just stay in bed, bond with the baby, and recover. For a type A, overactive person like me, this was not an easy thing to do psychologically. But I intuitively did believe she had a good point, and when I am going to follow directions, you better believe I follow those directions.
I was kind of anal in not wanting excessive chaos around the baby while on my breastfeeding island. I only talked minimally on the phone to the people I super loved and needed to share my birth story with because I was afraid of the frequency of the phone waves fucking with my baby’s brain. Everyone that came and visited had to just sit on the bed with me and hold the baby there. I kept my voice low, and made sure every conversation was a soft murrmer. My mom said I was going to give the baby a complex and make her super neurotic if I kept whispering around her.
“Mom! I am not going to whisper around her forever! Obvi! She just doesn’t need to be thrown into the manic energy of the world so quickly. I just want to give her some time to adjust.”
So what did I do for a week in bed you ask? I read, read, and read some more. I didn’t know this about newborns, but they sleep a lot. She was sleeping about 20-22 hours a day, mostly on my chest. I read all three books of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” All 1,500 pages of it. I would get so into the book at times, that I would forget myself, until I would look down and be like “holy shit there is a baby on me.” It still seemed so surreal. My whole 30 years on the planet I had never had a baby, and now I couldn’t imagine what life was like without her. It was like her essence had always been close, I was just too distracted to notice.
I also spent every moment that she was awake interacting with her. Her eyes weren’t open that much, so I just wanted to be present for every second I had the opportunity to stare into them. Not to be corny, but I felt like we were just taking the time to really get to know each other. The one thought that I could not shake in that week in bed was “this moment is never going to happen again… I am never going to have this magical time, with this baby again, and I am going to try and appreciate every nuance. Every expression. Every time she looks at me with recognition.”
So all in all, Toni Bologna suggestion is to stay in bed for at least a week with your baby!