Knowing that less than five percent of women actually go into labor on their due date, I knew I was definitely not in labor on June 12th when that really bad indigestion hit in the evening. Definitely not.
Except, of course, I totally was. (It wasn't indigestion.)
Fifty-one hours of laboring without an epidural later (and I seriously am not saying that to sound like a bad ass... if I didn't have an allergy to lidocaine which basically made every single anesthesiologist at Wuesthoff vehemently refuse to give me one -- not that I/we asked, but the nurses check anyway "just in case" -- I probably would have ended up begging for one... actually, I can't say I didn't beg for one, because I was delirious with pain the majority of the time), I ended up with this:
My little Rafael. Oh, the posts that I have typed out in my mind about him! His "firsts", every smile, the way he smells... that slightly traumatic birth story, how hilarious it is when he pees on you when you change his diaper, how I didn't expect to love this much: love him, love George even more, love life, love love. But those? Those are posts for another time.
This is yet another post, along with all those status updates on Facebook, about how I can't believe seasoned moms never tell you _______.
I have never in my life, not in my late teens/early 20s, not when partying it up in school, not when travelling to foreign countries with limited time to see everything I wanted to see, not when my body was capable of recovering much more quickly and didn't understand the concept of exhaustion or hangovers or any such nonsense that youthful bodies are apparently impervious to which made me push myself much further than my limit on a regular basis, been this exhausted. Ever. Ever. Holy balls.
Why? Why are even the parents who laughingly say, "Sleep now while you can!" LAUGHINGLY SAYING IT? Why aren't people more serious about how completely destroyed you will be only 11 weeks in, and how you will sit on the corner of your bed at six in the morning and cry because your baby is crying because he is gassy and nothing you've done all night has helped, you've had little or no sleep in days, you're cranky and you're taking out the frustration and overwhelm-ation on the one person in the world who is actually helping you by swooping in and soothing that little man after they've gotten not-a-whole-lot-more sleep than you have.
And that? That is just one of the unexpecteds. Because no matter how much you prepare for all things baby-related intellectually and think you know what you're getting into... man. That first baby, these first experiences, there's no way to really be ready. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself (and what George keeps telling me), because I'm secretly convinced that everyone else has a magic formula that I missed out on and that it's easier for all other parents who never confess that despite their child being the absolute best thing that ever happened to them, they, too, curled up into the fetal position and cried watching someone else pacify their baby.
I love my kid. When he smooshes his little face into my neck when he's sleepy? When he smiles when I make silly faces at him and speak in a high pitched voice? When I see how healthy and happy he is? That's when I know there's nothing in the world I'd rather be doing than raising him, than being there. That's when I know that the tough times are worth it.
But this whole baby thing? It's not easy. And I am here to tell you, friends, family, and Internet world, that I mess up, I get overwhelmed, sometimes I think I can't do this or don't want to because all I want to do is TAKE A FAH-REAKING NAP.
And I don't see what's so wrong about that.
So all you magical, mystical stay-at-home moms who use natural soaps to hand wash and line dry your cloth diapers, who make cute little frittatas for breakfast with eggs from the chickens you raise and veggies from your organic garden, who have photo-contest worthy dinners on the table promptly at six every evening, who manage to have time for pedicures and haircuts and brunches with your friends? I alternate between envying you, hating you, calling shenanigans, wanting you to come over and do my laundry while I nap, and accepting I will never be you.
But that won't keep me from trying.