Our first eight weeks together were not ideal. Even our first day together was less than okay. And I’m so sorry.
My epidural didn’t work and by the time I was done pushing and you were placed on my chest, I could barely keep my eyes open. I was so exhausted. I don’t remember that crucial first hour of skin-to-skin contact with you. I missed out on that bonding experience as I tried to process everything that was going on, so quickly, while trying to stay conscious. And I think we got off on the wrong foot.
After that hour, it was a whirlwind of doctors, nurses, visits from family and friends, bloody trips to the bathroom, feeble attempts at breastfeeding, and excruciatingly painful uterine massages. When the hype finally died down, I was left alone with you – a brand new, crying baby – and the inexperience of motherhood weighing down on me at 2 a.m. I had been awake for almost 48 hours straight. I was scared, exhausted, and vulnerable. What had we gotten ourselves into?
I thought the comfort of home would help, but our struggles to nurse were overwhelming and it didn’t matter where I was, I still felt inadequate and intimidated.
For seven weeks I felt tortured, my body still healing from giving birth and my breasts bleeding and burning from nursing. I wanted to give up. I’d burst into tears as soon as you cried out in hunger, which was often. I didn’t look forward to feeding you. I couldn’t relate to all the mothers who told me how special their relationship was with their nursing baby. What was wrong with me?
We saw five lactation consultants before you were finally diagnosed with a lip and tongue tie and we got it corrected at eight weeks. It took some time, but your latch improved and my body healed.
You’re my daughter, my baby, so of course I loved you immediately. But you were more than two months old before I truly felt connected to you.
I wish we could get that time back, but life doesn’t work that way. Now, I’m grateful each and every day for you. I love that you look to me, my body, for nourishment. I don’t mind that the only way you can nap is in my arms. And no matter how tired I am, I will always, always rock you to sleep at night.
I’m sorry we got off to a rocky start, but I will spend the rest of my life as your mother making it up to you, my baby.