I find myself asking that question a lot these days.
I have quite a bit of experience with infants, even worked at a daycare taking care of them, but all that experience flew out the window once I was out of the recovery room and settled into the hospital room in the early hours after Jessie was born.
Sleep deprived delirium only enhanced my irrational fears of the baby choking or smothering and every hiccup, body jerk, change in breathing, cry, poop and pee has been fearfully observed by me as I expect the worst of nearly everything. Logically I know it's an unhealthy and irrational way to be but I can't help myself.
I'm unable to meditate but in the last day I've done breathing exercises and was able to observe how often my thoughts are drawn to Jessie and how worried I am. Sigh...
I thought I was an independent thinker in many ways. That also flew out the window as now I worry constantly about being seen as a bad mother and rely less and less on my instincts.
Today my husband called from his teaching job and put a student on the phone to ask me a question relating to Monet. Easy work for someone with a degree in Art History, but at first my mind was a blank. Then somehow, out of the murk, rose the answer, "Rouen." Maybe there's hope for me after all.
I spend all day alone with Jessie, and often the evenings, too. There are times when I am so weak from hunger and exhaustion that I think I'll pass out or throw up.
Breastfeeding has not gone well. For a time I was pumping, feeding by bottle and breastfeeding, but that was too much. The other morning, after another prolonged and difficult breastfeeding episode, I decided no more. I will pump and feed Jessie breast milk in bottles. We also occasionally supplement with formula and at night, Jessie lies next to me and takes the breast, primarily for comfort.
The past week has been one full of crying and gas pains but we may be past that as Q and I bought new bottles and nipples which seem to help a lot in keeping excess gas out of her tummy.
I like our pediatrician very much. We've had to return twice since our initial visit for weigh-ins as the doctor was concerned about weight gain (in part due to Jessie's jaundice). Weight gain has been a bit slow but she is gaining and we return tomorrow for what I hope is the last weigh in.
I'm not much of a television watcher and don't even have cable, but the TV is on all the time now broadcasting all manners of stupidity in order to calm my nerves and have some other sound in the house besides a crying baby.
The house is a wreck. I still have to deal with the insurance company about the car accident, and fill out paperwork to get Jessie on our health insurance but finding the time is nearly impossible. I can't get too worried about those things, I'll get to them when I can.
For the most part the weather has been miserable but we did get out the other day for a walk. I need to get out more and am eager for decent weather so I can walk and work on getting my strength back.
This is hard. Bed rest was hard. The delivery was hard. And now this test of emotional and physical endurance. The hormonal shifts come like a wave and it's so strong I feel it physically before the emotional response kicks in--crying, depression, frustration, loneliness.
But no matter how hard it is, I would go through it all again just to have Jessie with us.
Tomorrow I will be speaking with a postpartum doula that I hope to hire. Not sure what we can afford but even if it's just a couple of visits I think it will be a great deal of help to me.