As you might have gathered if you read Baby in Dublin, our son arrived just over one week ago because he just could not help himself. He needed to see what all the fuss was about. To be perfectly honest, I don't think he's impressed.
Since Mister Man was six week early, he was in the NICU and is now in the Special Care Baby Unit (also known as the the ultra-fun name "scabu") where they monitor him while he sleeps in a plastic bassinet. It's a big step up from an incubator but without all the bells and whistles attached I'm feeling more insecure with my parenting skills than when he had to be lifted out of me by emergency c-section and not pushed out while I grunted and cursed. There is something very unnatural about seeing your baby being cared for my a slew of women that ARE NOT YOU. And this will make any new mother extremely frustrated and upset.
Let me be honest in a cringe-worthy way; I cry every single day, multiple times, sometimes until my face is so red that if you were my father you'd call me a commie. This has been happening for a few reasons:
I had a baby eight days ago and I imagine my hormones are still all over the place. Just like my engorged breasts, batshit-crazy pregnancy lady just doesn't go away over night. (And NO, I'M NOT BREAST FEEDING. GET OVER IT, INTERNETS!1!)
Mister Man refuses to take a bottle. He has as much interest in drinking a bottle as I have in force-feeding him the bottle. Today, out of his eight feeds, he only had one from a bottle and even then he only drank a little over an ounce when he was supposed to drink two. This challenge on his part feels like a failure on my part. Like I am somehow preventing him from eating properly so he can come home to us. Like my bottle holding/feeding skills are just not up to par and I really should have gone to those ante-natal classes instead of just sitting idly in the hospital. This feeding problem is the ONLY thing that is keeping him at the hospital at this point. 24 straight hours with only bottle feeding and he'll be keeping us awake at night. Oh, how we can dream.
Finally, because, well, my baby isn't home with us. He isn't home with his mama and daddy and there is nothing breaking my heart worse than this. This is creating more neurosis than I ever dreamed of having. Will he be okay without me there? Will be burp properly without his mother patting his back? Will he wake up distressed in the middle of the night if he doesn't hear my familiar voice? My own mother assures me that the last one is not true; that you can leave your three year old in a mall and she definitely will not be affected by it as an adult. However, at the age of eight, they start to remember things and resent you for them. And believe me, my mother would know. In short, screw up before long-term memory kicks in.
Really, even the cliffs-notes version of mothering (when you leave your baby in someone else's care overnight and you get a good eight hours sleep) is hard, emotionally charged, and completely head wrecking. That said, these past eight days have been by far the best of my entire life.