Sunday, March 16, 2008

"But it's SO rewarding".....

People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one. ~Leo J. Burke
"Being a mother is so hard, but its soooo rewarding." Sound familiar? I think I heard this a total of one million, two hundred thousand, and three times while I was pregnant. One woman even told me that the days following the birth of our son would the best..AND WORST..of my life. I'm not sure I completely understood..until now.

The past nine weeks have gone by so quickly and so slowly all at the same time. I think I may have run the gamut on the emotional spectrum and surprisingly, I'm still standing. Don't get me wrong, but about 2 weeks into motherhood, it hit me...I'm a mother. You may think that might have been obvious as I lie on a hospital bed, legs in stirups, giving birth to him, but you just's not that obvious! It's like going through the motions. You won't ever understand until you get there..until you get here. Maybe it was because Richard went back to work after two weeks or maybe it was because the first days that followed January 11 were a blissful honeymoon where Corbin slept 72 hours a day, but the real "oh sh*t" moment came the day I had to take him to his one month appointment ALL by myself. Well, I say all by myself, but Richard was meeting me at the doctor's office. But getting him out of the house and there on time was the real work.

I woke up at 7:30am, thinking that would be plenty of time to get to his 11:30am appointment. I changed his diaper, gave him a bottle, and pumped (my least favorite!). After his bottle, he fell asleep. I went and got some breakfast and checked my email while I ate. Now up until this point, the world seems normal..right?...WRONG. I took a shower and had an unbelievable urge to look normal since I hadn't dried my hair or put on makeup in 4 weeks. BIG MISTAKE. By the time I got ready, it was feeding, diapering, pumping time again. It was also..10:30am. As I scrambled to get milk in his bottle (not prepared ahead of time), change his diaper, prepare a bag for him, feed him, and take the dog out, the phone kept ringing. First, it was my mother to see how I was doing...obviously, not very well. Then, it was Richard to see how I was doing....NOT VERY WELL. While trying to hang up the phone, I was multi-tasking by trying to burp the baby, figure out why the dog was barking at me, and put diapers, milk, and a bib in a freakin' bag. I threw the dog a treat, gave him his bowl, and thanked god as Corbin finally burped. But for some reason, Corbin was still crying! So I continued to scramble trying to make him another bottle with one hand while he's screaming in the other hand. By this point, I'm sweating...goodbye makeup and volumized hair. Long story short...I fed the kid an extra ounce, got the dog to stop barking with some extra food, got the bag in the car, and arrived at my final chore of getting the munchkin in the car. It's 11:15am. (I was supposed to arrive 15 minutes early..crap) I went to pick up Corbin and splat..the little guy spewed all over me! URGH!! By this point, I'm done..I wipe off the puke, battle a bucking baby into a carseat, and get him to the car. THEN, the passenger seat was back too far so I couldn't get the carseat to click into the base. For the love of god...after a few minutes of screaming, me, not Corbs ...and finally manuerving the carseat into place...we're on the road. Yup, we were late...after FOUR hours of preparation, but Richard took over when I got there and everything turned out nicely as I rewarded myself with a shopping spree afterwards.
The weeks that followed that lovely glimpse of our history proved to be just as big a challenge. They were filled with growth spurts, acid reflux, and a final transition into motherhood that took a total of six weeks of Corbin's life. I can only describe it as mourning a life before kids to fully accept and embrace a new life...a new person you become. I may still be sarcastic, I may still be outspoken, but I'm not who I was. I'm bigger than I was, I'm happier than I was, and I'm definitely more efficient than I was. Before Corbin, I always thought that the huge reward was seeing Corbin develop and grow when people said how rewarding parenthood is. But the truth is that reward comes from all facets of your life. It's so rewarding to see him smiling at me at 5am and to hear him laugh at a mobile hanging in his crib, but it's also rewarding to see how much Richard and I have grown in the past 9 weeks. He's become this man that sings at a poopey diaper and worries if Corbin's bottles aren't cleaned enough. He hurts when Corbin cries. I've become a woman who finds happiness in the small things in life, who doesn't need this big career and life to be happy. You wouldn't believe how big your life gets because of something so small. I sing to my baby every chance I get. And Richard and I may not be the same couple we were 9 weeks ago, but we've become better. The strength you find and the support you offer to someone else can only be found in the toughest of times and the when you finally reach the other side, you have become this sweet little family.