Looking at Charlie's birth in retrospect, I think it was wonderful and vastly different from Mumble's birth. I do sometimes wish that I had not gotten the epidural, other times I'm glad I did. It was on my terms, rather than because the hospital staff was trying to 'move things along' and gave me Pitocin. Being able to own that decision makes a big difference in how I feel about it. A few days after we brought Charlie home, I broke down about it to Micha. He feels some guilt because he felt like he let me down as the 'coach'. He said 'Well, can you hold Charlie and eat a bunch of chocolate?' He was partially joking but it's his way of saying 'I don't understand, but I don't want you to be upset.' Oddly enough he said, "Well next time maybe we can do it at home." This from the guy who, when I mentioned home birth, said "Why would anyone do that? That is crazy!" He was actually a really good partner, considering the fact that he was really not prepared. That might be the one part of this hospital birth experience that I was the most disappointed with. We took a child birth prep class and the majority of the time, the instructor talked about surgical births, worst case scenarios and her own child birth experiences. She spent an inordinate amount of time showing the various positions that the bed can be converted to (I've had labors shorter than the time it took her to demonstrate!) Very little time was spent on a normal, vaginal delivery or on how to cope with labor and how to support labor. In fact, Micha was very surprised when he was told to hold my leg and there wasn't a sheet covering my lower extremities like in the movies.
Charlie is two weeks old and we are still trying to figure each other out. Breastfeeding is presenting some challenges, as I suppose it does for everyone. Charlie 'cluster feeds' between the hours of 1am and 3 or sometimes 5am. Basically, he nurses non-stop, only pausing to be burped or changed or to switch sides. Compounding the lack of sleep and the sand paper nipples is the fact that Charlie is a 0 to 60 in 3 seconds baby. What I mean is, if Charlie's need isn't met in 3 seconds or less, he has a full-blown nuclear melt down. Also he is not crazy about the pacifier. The hospital sent one home with us which Lily the Destroyer promptly ate. My Mom had given me a variety of different ones knowing that babies can sometimes be particular about which pacifier they will take. Charlie didn't like any of them. The only one he liked was the one the hospital sent home, the one we couldn't find in any store and the one we didn't know the manufacturer of. Through Facebook, I did find out who the vendor was and ordered 7 more but my nipples, which had nearly healed, were starting to feel like sandpaper again. The lanolin and the soothies weren't helping any more and I was crying through night time feedings. This prompted Micha to make a 3:30 am trip to the ER to beg the hospital staff for another one while we waited for the one's I ordered to arrive.
I was having a conversation with a friend who took Charlie's newborn photos and she made the comment she felt like she was better at motherhood when she was 'too young'. She also had her first child at 19 and said she never thought about it, she just did it. I feel the exact same way. When Mumbles was born, I just did what needed to be done, I never considered the lack of sleep or the time it took heal up. With the exception of some anxiety post-partum was not even part of my vocabulary. Now I cry...a lot. I cry because I feel like I don't know what I'm doing, or because I'm tired or because my boobs hurt. I cry because I'm happy or I'm looking at Charlie while he sleeps and he is just so perfect. I cry because Micha is traveling or because I resent him for being able to sleep when I can't. And then Charlie makes a funny face or noise and I'm smiling and laughing.
I'm starting a new blog for the next chapter of my life: Charles in Charge