Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Reflections at 4 a.m.

A week ago, at this same time, I was laying in a hospital bed miserable. It had been a very long night so far. I had awoken at midnight to my body shaking so bad it terrified me, not ending until 2 a.m. Before I knew it, the nurses had wheeled Camille to me to be nursed, which also did not go so good. And, if I recall correctly, around this exact time a week ago, I broke down and gave my daughter a bottle after she laid in my arms hysterical from hunger.

How things can change just over one week. Now, my daughter lays here, sleeping peacefully next to me on the couch. I dare not move her right now, I'll wait another 10 minutes. I've learned in our short time together that she does not burp well and if I call it success to early and lay her in her crib, it is guaranteed she'll wake up squirming to be burped. She can't fool me!

My attachment to my daughter has changed drastically too in just a week. Last week I was so confused and helpless. I felt like I was already, in the 24 hours since her birth, failing somehow as a mother. I couldn't hold my child and rely solely on my in-laws, Sister and husband to care for her while I slept all day sick from the blood loss and pneumonia. Not being one who cries easily, I would tear up every moment a doctor would ask how I was. How expectations can bring such pain when not met appropriately. And who's to say that the expectations I had were even realistic for me at the time? I feared that my daughter would not bond with me in these earliest days of her little life and scarier that I would not bond well with her. Bond....a word I threw around with much uncertainty for those days. But now, as I sit here at 4 a.m. watching her sleep, I feel differently about her than I did a week ago. I feel an attachment with her that I know will only grow even stronger as the days go by.

In my short time as a mother, I have already broken two of my rules that I had made for myself while pregnant with Camille. The feeding and sleeping issue. I still struggle with this means of feeding my daughter and feel so torn. In a perfect world, I would wake up in a few hours (I can't say in the morning) bring Camille to my breast and she'd nurse perfectly and I'd love it perfectly. That is my wish. But the love has to go both ways I know and that is the thing that is holding us back right now. The pumping is going good but I am well aware that soon the river will dry up and I'll reach a plateau where it won't work anymore. I fed Camille expressed milk today for the first time and that felt good. Every suck she took made me feel like a "good mom". I am hit with guilt over this and that is something I'm going to have to work through. I only want what is right for Camille regardless of what others may think. As I work through this issue, sleep deprived, last night I gave in to the call of sleep and let Camille sleep on me. I know from others that this little habit can stay for months and months but last night, I didn't care. She slept and I slept and that is something that hadn't happened here at 4 am for some days now. But that is okay.

So here we are. A week later and how life has changed itself into a world that I don't even recognize anymore but am thankful for more than ever. I don't know where my old life went, but am learning how to live this new life each day.

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