19 April 2010

Happy “Half Birthday”

It’s hard to believe that six months ago I was being admitted into my hospital room after a long night spent walking and moaning around the labour and delivery triage unit of the Montfort Hospital. I was somewhere between six and seven centimeters dilated and getting antsy for the anesthesiologist to give me my epidural. I was so tired but so excited to get on with it and meet my baby boy. I was elated when I could start pushing and all I could think keep asking was, “Can you see his head? What colour is his hair?” Even though three hours of pushing finally revealed a fuzzy little red head, he was too big to deliver past the pubic bone. I was crushed when they told me it would end in c-section. To this day I still feel saddened and cheated out of being able to hold him straight away.

I’m not sure I’ll ever get over Andrew’s birth entirely. I didn’t have that instant maternal love that you hear about; in fact I was terrified of leaving the hospital and actually having to hold and take care of him. I think I was so self-absorbed and focused on regaining my own strength that it prevented me from bonding with him as I wish I could have. Nobody can tell you how you will feel post-partum. I remember crying to a public health nurse on the phone when she suggested that I might have post-partum depression. Nothing could have prepared me for the rollercoaster of emotions that would course through me over the first three months of Andrew’s life. We were a sad sight to behold – crying baby and crying mother. I’m not sure how we got through those difficult days but somehow we did and the bad parts are starting to fade from my mind.

I was worried that my rough start would somehow affect my relationship with Andrew; I was terrified that we wouldn’t connect. Now, at six months, I can’t imagine a stronger bond than the one we share. I don’t have to do anything other than lock eyes with him to receive a big smile in return. When he’s scared, hurt or just plain tired, Mom is his world. There are days that he tries my patience and tires me to no end, but my heart is also full to bursting. While that primal love and instinctive need to nurture did not exist in the beginning, it certainly does now. The tears have been replaced (mainly) by smiles and giggles and I’m much more confident in my own abilities as a Mother. Perhaps my rocky start has come to make me appreciate what I have now even more.

These past six months have been the most challenging times of my life, the most humbling and exhausting. They have also been the most rewarding. Today I feel like we’ve reached some invisible milestone – half a year of life. Andrew has grown and changed in so many ways; so have I.

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