So here we are at the final day of maternity leave*, and I wouldn’t say the time has “flown by”, but it has certainly passed.
It’s been an adventure. Not just the maternity leave, but also the stuff leading up to it. I had planned to do certain things with my daughter, and they’ve all pretty much been blown out of the water. I nurse and pump, but I also supplement because of an insufficient supply**. We co-sleep, but the baby’s been moved to Mike’s side of the bed because of my night terrors. I bought a ringsling, but she was too small to ride around in it initially, and lately I’ve had no use for one. We cloth diaper, but…well, actually, that’s worked out just fine.
Zoë is the light of her mother and father’s life. Our daughter has grown from a jaundiced little 5 lb 15 oz squirt to a nearly-11-lb nubbin who is currently ahhh-WHOOing at the mobile in her Pack n’ Play. The ahhh-WHOOs are cute, but they also signal an imminent meltdown. I need to pick her up soon.
On my end, I am mysteriously more weepy whenever I see a pregnant woman on TV. I’ve been re-watching my way through Scrubs while nursing, and Carla’s storyline (c-section, postpartum depression, trouble nursing) hit a nerve. I know it’s just a show, but there are echoes of my own experience in there. And if at any time I see an image of a preemie covered in wires and tubes, I start to sob. I remember trying to hold my daughter in those first days, my daughter covered in wires and tubes, so helpless and tiny, her heartbeat beeping on a monitor, and — yep, there are the tears.
I’m not the Mom I thought I’d be. I didn’t think I’d be setting up a subscribe and save for formula on Amazon. I didn’t think I’d be looking at a scar every time I take my pants off. I didn’t think I’d still be trying to figure out the %@&#ing ringsling. But then, the Mom I thought I’d be had it pretty easy. She was kind of boring.
The Mom I am is the woman who can pick up a fussy, ahhh-WHOOing girl and have her quiet immediately, just because I’m holding her.
I love my daughter. The Mom I thought I’d be could never know how powerful that statement would become to her.
* I still have 3 weeks of CA Paid Family Leave, but I’ll be using those throughout the year to do family stuff. The 12-week block I took starting April 2nd ends today.
** “Why?” she asked, because she can’t stop doing that. Is it because I didn’t nurse my daughter in the first 24 hours? Is it because leftie didn’t get stimulated enough on account of big boob/tiny baby syndrome? Is it because I’m olllld? We can only guess. We’ll never really know. All that matters is we’re healthy and life goes on.