My 1st Year of Motherhood
So this blog post has been on my mind for awhile because this past year has truly been one for the books. I think I can say without a shadow of doubt that this was one of the most life-changing and life-shaping years of my 33 years in this realm. Aside from having a child, in the middle of a global pandemic, literal days before this entire country shut down, my husband and I moved out of our apartment of 3 years and purchased and moved into our first home, I created and launched a new wellness brand, Cosmic Scents, I expanded my social media platform pretty substantially, my mother-in-law lived with us for almost 6 months, and I got pregnant…again. Mind you, this all happened in 9 short months.
What I think makes this whole story so fascinating is that it all ironically began on Friday, the 13th; March the 13th to be exact. I started my maternity leave earlier that week because I was experiencing light contractions after my mucus plus shed that Tuesday. By that Friday, at 38 weeks pregnant with no signs of labor whatsoever, I remember sobbing to my mother that morning, as we ate breakfast at our favorite neighborhood deli, saying over and over again that I couldn’t take another day of this pregnancy. At this point, I’d gained 60 pounds, I was extremely swollen but luckily had no severe health problems, I could hardly sleep at night because on my left side (recommended), Josiah’s feet would lodge themselves into my ribcage and if I slept on my right side (after taking what felt like several minutes to turn over), he would kick like crazy. Sleeping on my back was impossible because my belly was so heavy it made it difficult to breathe and obviously, I couldn’t sleep on my stomach, so nights were...a challenge. I remember around that time absolutely dreading going to bed because virtually every night was a struggle. To top off the inability to sleep, I had the most intense heartburn and had been eating Tums chewables as if they were breath mints AND Josiah’s shoulder was resting on my left pelvic bone which caused extreme pain if I sat down for too long. So here I was, big as a house, deliriously tired, with constant heartburn and a really painful pelvic area and despite having lost the mucus plug and having light contractions earlier in the week, on Friday the 13th, with no sign of baby coming at all, needless to say, I WAS OVER IT.
That morning, I kept crying to my Mama (because who else can you be completely and utterly vulnerable with) demanding that this baby come out NEOW! Disappointed, defeated and exhausted, I left breakfast and went home. Luckily, CB had taken off that week due to my early signs of labor, so he was able to console me and attempt to give me any ounce of encouragement he could muster up about getting through the final days of this pregnancy. I rested that day, spent some time in the nursery, and laid in bed to watch TV while CB napped and then around 7pm, it happened.
My water broke!!!! Clearly the ancestors and Spirit were listening to my (literal) cries, along with Josiah who proved early on that he was an obedient baby boy as he obliged his mother's demands and started making his way out. When it happened, it wasn’t super dramatic like in the movies; rather, I felt a gentle “popping” sensation that I recognized immediately. Off to the hospital we went, sadly Mama had to stay in the parking lot because...COVID.. and the following morning, baby Josiah was born at 9:39am after only 3 big pushes that lasted 20 minutes. Thank you, Josiah. Thank you.
My birthing experience was extremely smooth. Pleasant, memorable and quick, we went home by Josiah by Sunday afternoon only to find out that in 24 hours, the entry country would shut down due to COVID. We couldn’t leave the house but for “essential reasons only” and we were on lockdown for the following 3 months (essentially my entire maternity leave).
The first 2 months, I would say that I was in survival, learn, bond, & heal mode. Survival mode because I was so nervous, as most new moms are, about Josiah preferring to sleep on his stomach and the subsequent risk of SIDS. Honestly, I feel like I spent just as much time baby-gazing as I was merely ensuring that he was still breathing. I was in "learn mode" because this being my first child, I quite literally had no idea what I was doing and even though I'd read all the books and attempted to prepare myself beforehand, by the time baby was in my arms, it had all gone out the window. I was in "bond mode" because my goodness, each time I got to breastfeed my baby (albeit excruciatingly painful at first), the bonding experience between Josiah and I as I fed him was truly incomparable. I sometimes chuckled because the pain of his latch was ironically satisfying because it reassured me that he was in fact eating. I was in heal mode because postpartum is NO JOKE and I literally came home from the hospital with a few of the items they'd given me but that was all I had. I’d spent months preparing for baby that I'd completely forgotten about ME. I suffered a 1st degree tear during delivery, developed a fistula and subsequently several perineal abscesses. After a few weeks of in & out surgeries to drain the abscesses from one of the most sensitive areas on the body, I had to navigate the emotional toll of needing to take care of myself while also taking care of a newborn who was solely dependent on me for nutrition & emotional/physical nurture. In time, with the incredible help of my family, we got through it as a family and by the third month of my maternity leave (May), we’d really gotten into the rhythm of parenthood when the completely unexpected happened…
To be continued...