My Story: I thought it was strange, that after eight hours of labour with a buffet of induction methods, that I laughed and gave out a big sigh when my daughter was born. Instead of crying when she was born, I felt like I had run a marathon and could now sit down and eat a doughnut. It went downhill after I was told I would have to stay in the hospital an extra night. I wanted to go home. I didn't like the hard, granite floors that posed a safety threat to my newborn daughter's head. I didn't like the nurses making me feel bad because I wasn't able to breastfeed her. I didn't like my husband leaving me alone, even though he really needed sleep. I felt dirty and messy, with the amount of blood that was coming out of me. I couldn't wait to leave, it wasn't like being pampered in a hotel as friends had said. "You'll want to stay for longer and not want to come home. " they said. It just made me more sad. Not even the chocolate Tim Hortons doughnut that my husband bought especially, cheered me up.
When finally we were allowed to go home, I remember a new feeling as the sky got darker very quickly during that December. I had decided to catch up on the news around the world and with friends lives on social media. Unfortunately, the stories that jumped out at me involved people doing horrible things to babies and children. I tried hard to stop these warm tears from falling down my face, as I looked at my daughter, swaddled comfortably and sound asleep. I started imagining myself, going full Xena on anyone who would harm my daughter and how it upset me that people out there could do that. Just a multitude of news stories - babies dying of whooping cough, measles, cancer etc. I decided to stay away from the news outlets for a while, until I was ready to digest the stories. I found later that my friends felt the same. "When you have a baby, you gain this mother lion instinct" one said.
Fortunately, my sister in-law who had a baby two months previous, happened to be visiting and whenever I wanted to complain about something, wanted to cry about something or worried about something, she absorbed it like a sponge and said: "I know what you mean. You're not crazy. It's normal."
To have my boobs suddenly propel themselves into Baywatch territory, feeling like canon balls, with a nice road map design all over my chest area. I would feel bad for crying because it hurt so much but also because I was so frustrated at still being unable to breastfeed. Instead I pumped so my daughter could at least eat, with the guilt hanging over my head if I didn't get her back to her birth weight soon. When she would latch, a sense of relief would wash over me and then I'd pray that she'd stay like that for at least 30 minutes or else we were back to square one. I dreaded feeding time. I dreaded my husband saying; "I think it's been three hours, she needs to eat."
Thankfully this frustration ended when my OB showed me the "sandwich" method - I am truly grateful for this and how I was able to high-five the sky from every feed afterwards.
Today she turned 9 months. Whenever I settle into bed, I like to open up a file that contains all the pictures we've taken of her and re-visit the very beginning. The pictures days before we knew I would have to be induced, her birth, her mostly swaddled wearing her hospital hat, through to her ever increasing head of hair and her delightful smile. I managed to do all that with help and also on my own. I managed to get through the bursts of tears because I was worried for my daughters well being and safety. I managed to not be so paranoid on carrying her tiny frame up and down the stairs and across hardwood floors. I managed to give her first bath without her crying. I managed to keep it together because she fixed her eyes on me, from the baby bouncer while I was eating dinner. I just managed to accept that feeling like a wreck, was absolutely normal.
Maria Kanno | Calgary | Mama to Daisy, 9 months | Connect with Maria on Instagram.