Thursday, July 28, 2011

Coming Home Again, for the First Time.

So there are many things that happened at the hospital that I just haven't had time to cover yet, and I'm sure I eventually will have time, but that will be later. Perhaps much later. In the interests of moving along, we'll move along home. Or at least we'll try, because it took FOREVER to leave the hospital.

A good deal of that is because of just how cute L. Itsababy is. I know that sounds kind of pretentious, and a lot of you are thinking to yourselves "well every mother thinks their baby is the cutest thing ever" but seriously people, it wasn't me showing him to everyone squealing "look how cute!" or anything. In fact, for a good deal of his cute getting in the way it was people either approaching me to mention how adorable he is, or else people who were supposed to mention his adorability in passing spending forever cooing over him. Case in point: the portrait lady. I know, I know, they pay her to talk about how cute my baby is so that I'll buy the prints. But I have a modicum of circumstantial evidence! The people ahead of us, they got 15-20 minutes with her. She took the portraits, cooed the appropriate amount, and then moved on. She then spent 45 minutes with us, trying to find the exact right poses, taking a ton of pictures, and then fretting over which shots to use, since she could only give us 8 poses in our package. And just to show you I'm not being silly, here's one of them:

So don't go telling me it's in my head. This is what he looked like 48 hours old. No squishy red face, no wrinkled crybaby, no real George Burns look to him at all. Just perfect little baby boy. And his daddy's hand, because daddy is the strong. And that's a hospital sheet in the background, not some special backdrop or anything. He's just perfect like that.

We had planned to be out by 11 am, and left ourselves about 45 minutes to get our stuff together, get dressed, get L. Itsababy dressed, and sign out. However since all that time was taken by ordering baby pictures, we ran into a bit of a time crunch. Not that the hospital was being put out. Apparently the week's baby rush was now over and they even mentioned to me that I could stay til dinner if I needed to. I almost took them up on that, too, because something scary had just occurred to me. I was going home. Home to where there were no nurses to help me with remembering to take my pills on time, no one coming in with food reminding me to eat well, no lactation consultants making sure I was feeding L. Itsababy correctly... we were going to be on our own! My anxiety was starting to make a comeback.

I know I've mentioned in passing that I have an anxiety disorder, but I don't think I've really elaborated on how much this used to rule my life. Over the past 6 years or so I've managed to keep it under control with the help of my fabulous husband and a LOT of introspection. Before that it was medication. Lots of medication. Medication to help me sleep, medication to help me think, medication to relax the muscles in my body (which I still occasionally took up to finding out I was pregnant) when I couldn't do it on my own... I did that for years. I had a traumatic experience in college, which triggered a break. When I sought help I hadn't slept in about a week, and was starting to have aural hallucinations as a result. Yeah, I was messed up. As a sad result of the anxiety, I am at a much higher risk of postpartum depression. I've had a few moments since coming home when the stress was just too much and I needed a few minutes to regroup, but sitting in the hospital all I could think was "I'm going to go home, and something's going to go wrong, and it's going to be horrible."

So maybe I dragged my feet a little. Maybe when they gave me the paperwork to sign so we could leave I asked questions. Maybe when Amy came in to say goodbye I spent some extra time talking to her. Maybe when we got L. Itsababy dressed in his cute little dicky outfit I took him on a walk to find Cassandra so we could say a proper goodbye. Maybe I spent a little extra time getting my things from the pharmacy...but they had just handed me a baby. MY baby. This tiny, beautiful little life that was mine to take care of, but not really mine. Just entrusted to me for a while, to form and shape and screw up as I may. They gave me a PERSON and said "OK, here comes the hard part, and it just keeps getting harder. Good luck!"

Of course they didn't really just give him to me and tell me to suck it up. They even assigned me a social worker because of the history of anxiety, a nice man named Raj. They gave me a giant list of phone numbers in case of emergency, and reminded me that they're there to help. Or course the amount of help I'm getting from non-hospital sources is amazing as well. With Angela, my family, TJ's family, my friends, and my church, I have only had 2 real breakdowns, one a week. And considering I haven't had a period in 9 months, this could all just be hormones. I intend to treat it that way to a certain extent. Not that ignoring feelings is a good way of dealing with them, but I have so much to do right now, and so little time to do it in, that I can't afford to be freaking out every time I have a sleepless night. If I don't take a nap that's my problem to deal with, and if I overwork myself and go for too long of a walk it's not like L. Itsababy's going to stop needing me for a night. I can't just take a night off from being a mom. I'm a FOOD SOURCE for land's sake. So to a certain extent, yes, I have to suck it up. I'm trying to do that right now even, writing and not editing because I'd rather get another hour of sleep than find my run-on sentences and comma splices.

But hey, they say you can't go home again, right? Right. I left home a wife and a woman but I came back a mother, and the home I had isn't the home I have now. It's all different, and while some of it may be frustrating, and approaching too much, it's all worth it when I look at him.

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