The baby dictates labor and delivery. I had lots of fantasies about a natural birth; how I'd wake up with contractions in the middle of the night; how I'd do much of my early labor at home; how I'd labor in the jacuzzi at the hospital and walk the hospital floors. None of that happened because of the medical attention I needed during my labor because of the baby, and I'm grateful I was able to have a vaginal delivery, as I was almost brought to the OR for an emergency C-section. I always thought I could have a natural delivery because I was strong enough to handle it -- it never once occurred to me that labor wouldn't go according to my plans because of my child.
Recovery from labor is hard. Everyone focused on the difficulties of labor; no one talks about the recovery process. You're sore. You're tired. You have crazy hormones. Thankfully it doesn't last forever, but in my mind, I thought I'd have a lot more energy after labor. It doesn't work that way. Thankfully, I got a cute baby out of the process.
If you plan on breastfeeding, get a lactation consultant. I'm lucky; Eleanor has a great latch and a great suck, but that didn't mean I was breastfeeding correctly in a painless position. She also gets sleepy, and keeping her invested in the breastfeeding process is difficult, at best. She'd also happily suck without eating if I let her. I found the hospital lactation consultants to be lackluster, and found one to be slightly judgmental. So, I contacted a private lactation consultant who has come to my house twice and who encourages me to call her every day with questions and to update her on what is going on. I've learned that it's a process to figure out how to breastfeed. I thought after one consult, I'd know it all and be done. That certainly hasn't been the case. Breastfeeding is wonderful and lovely, but it takes a lot of time, energy, and effort. Having the extra support is essential, and if I didn't have it, I'm sure I'd be exclusively formula feeding by now.
I shouldn't have mommyhood figured out yet. I really thought that after three weeks home, I'd have a lot more of this parenting "thing" under my belt, especially the breastfeeding piece. But I'm still learning about my daughter and what she needs, and every day, something changes and is different. And I'm slowly learning that that's okay. I'm also learning to ask people for help when I need it.
I don't always want visitors. Please don't be offended if I ask you to wait before coming over to visit. I'm tired, and I'm figuring out how to feed and take care of my child while trying to remember to brush my teeth and eat, and visitors can feel like a lot of work. Even if a visitor doesn't feel this way, I will feel like I have to entertain said visitor. Having someone to come over and hold Eleanor for four hours isn't helpful to me (although I understand why someone would want to hold her!) Know that I want you to meet and love my child, but I also need some space. Although if a visitor wants to watch her so I can take a shower and a nap before her next feeding guilt-free, I won't deny that!
It's amazing how much you can love such a little person. Eleanor is perfect. I guess I'm biased, but it's absolutely overwhelming how much I love her to pieces. She's a beautiful child who makes me laugh with her sighs and silly faces. There's nothing more wonderful in this world than snuggling with her, holding her, kissing her, and dancing around the house with her. I have to admit, I was nervous about how I'd feel making the transition to a mother. It's been surprisingly natural, lovely, and joyous. She's an amazing little person, and I'm totally smitten and in awe of her.