Tuesday, February 4, 2014

New Mom Syndrome

I feel so  unprepared for this baby.
I mean. We have clothes. We have a moby wrap. There's a cradle on the way.
I'm pretty much an expert at changing diapers, and I nursed twins- so I think I can cover some things.
And then some things are so freaky scary.

First of all, I know nothing about labor and delivery.
A friend who had twins via c-section said to me recently, "I know I should try for a VBAC, but I just want to schedule another c-section, since that's what I know and have experienced."
Yeah. I kind of feel that way, except I also didn't experience a c-section. You can read the boys' birth story {here} or here's a quick recap.
I went into the hospital because I was bleeding. After a great, big, unexpected gush of blood - they realized that I was experiencing placental abruption. They stuck me on to a stretcher, gave me knock-out gas, pulled my babies out of a hole in my abdomen while I was asleep, and then when I woke up - I had two babies waiting to be held.
I never felt any big, painful contractions. I never had to push. I never heard the doctors say, "It's a boy!" There were no mirrors. There were no scrubs for my husband. There was nothing but new babies.

I had to heal from a c-section, yes. But I didn't have to experience the actual surgery.
So when I think about this baby, I feel like a brand new mom who doesn't already have two children.
Will I be able to deliver them vaginally? Naturally? C-Section?
Will I go into labor early or late? Will the baby be big or small? Will I push for hours and hours and tear myself apart? Will they decide I need a c-section after two days of pushing? Or will the baby come right out after two pushes like they always seem to in movies? ("Just one big push, and his head is out! Hurray! One more push and there are his shoulders! What an excellent baby-deliverer you are! It's a 10 pound boy!")

I mean. Okay. I know that no one really ever knows what the birth of their baby will be like and what blessings and challenges it will bring. The future is a mystery. Yeah, yeah. Yada yada.
But most women who have born two children have some idea of what to expect. They know what contractions feel like. They know what their pain tolerance is. They probably know if they'll have a c-section, or if they'll experience complications they've had before. They probably can even guess how big or early their baby will be.
But I have nothing.
I am a blank slate.
It freaks me out.

And speaking of blank-slate... I think I've erased from my memory everything from the boys' first year of life. And no. I don't think it's because I was sleep-deprived, thankyouverymuch. I think I just don't remember what babies are actually like, just like I don't really remember what college or high school were like.

I used to get so mad (we're talking beyond angry) when people would offer to help take care of the boys, and then not manage to burp them after they ate. I would flip out.
(That probably was due to sleep-deprivation.)
And now I'm that person. Over the last couple weeks, I've had a couple chances to try to burp a friends' four month old twins: and I am incompetent.
I sit there, helplessly patting the baby's back - willing a belch to work it's way out- until Mom has to take over. I don't know how to do it anymore.
I see these tiny little diapers and socks and leggings and think, "My babies were never this small."
I hear stories of midnight feedings, and think "How often do babies eat? How often do they sleep? Do I let them sleep all day?"
I don't know when babies can hold up their heads, sit up, click their tongues, wave bye-bye, say Daddy.
I see friends giving their babies food, and start to panic: I remember nothing. What the heck is rice cereal and do I expect my baby to eat it? And when? At what age?
Sleep training? Gas pains? Ear drops? Infant Tylenol? Taking a baby's temperature?
Nothing. I have no memory of anything.

The only reason that I remember gas pains and ear aches are real things is because I found medicine for it in the cupboard recently.

Also, how the heck do you give newborns baths?!
And someone remind me how you're supposed to wash cloth diapers.

Seriously. My first pregnancy I read every parenting book I could get my hands on and I was 100% confident about everything, despite my lack of practical experience.

And now I've forgotten what all the books say (and I don't care about them. They're mostly stupid.) and I have successfully kept alive two children and yet I am not feeling confident at all! I feel scared.
Excited, yes. Relatively certain the baby won't be traumatized or killed by my mistakes, yes.
Actually capable?
Hmm. Not really.

Anyway. My first babies survived.
So. We can only hope this one fares as well.
Here's a video of my children's birth story. It will make you cry.
(Or maybe that's just me.)

Birth Story from travispitcher on Vimeo.

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Yolo Momma said...

You'll get it. It will all come back to you when it's YOUR baby. God designed us with great instincts for WHEN we really do need them. And for you, this will be a different experience with spending this time with one baby instead of babies at the same time. At times I still mourn my 2nd birth experience (also had to be knocked out), but the birth is only a single fleeting time (much like your wedding day) in the 18 years you raise them.

-Danica- said...

We just had our 2nd baby last week and I was feeling alllllll of that. But it's crazy how once they are here, it just sort of comes back to you. Not all of it - I still have no clue how to take care of a baby who is ready for solids, or what to do with a baby who is mobile, but I'm totally good with nursing and changing a 6 day old's diapers. Because that's all he needs. I love how they come out not needing a whole lot so that you both get to learn right along side each other. Good luck though, you've got this!

Emily said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one that felt this way. My second came in December and I had no memory of the first newborn experience. Luckily kind of just came to us as time went by. Gas pains I totally forgot about until we had a vvvveeeerrry unhappy baby, but we got there! And you can pretty much bank on it being a leeeeetttle easier since you only have one new baby! You can do it!

Carol said...

Each of my deliveries were entirely different so I don't think you can always expect a similar experience with each one. It's kind of new every time. And my tolerance to pain was different with each one too. But you are showing signs of maturity when you say you feel like you don't know anything because the older we get we realize that we aren't as smart as we use to think we were, just wiser. You are a great mom and you will be wonderful and you have lots of helpers to burp the baby!! Me included! :)

Nana B said...

Oh yes, you will remember when it is necessary, it will all come back, and the pain from a natural birth, you forget it the minute you touch that new baby. That is one of the very best things God did for new mothers. Each of mine was different, the first 3 were normal and the last 2 c-section and even those were a little different. It will be just fine, you will become very good at juggling your time. And you will be very happy that new babies don't need too much attention since the big brothers will. See you in April.