I remember going through pages and pages of What to Expect When You’re Expecting and related bestsellers like my life depended on them in my first pregnancy. Let me just say that I like to go into battle, prepared. Since there was no real course I could do on pregnancy, no university was offering a quick diploma in edema management, I went for the next best thing and bought myself the whole prenatal section of the bookstore.
I had my babies in the 90s, we still read books then. I got so good at being pregnant that I could self-diagnose any pregnancy malaise I had or was going to get and dealt with it like a ninja! My OBGYN was indulgent at first, then in awe, and towards the end, she gently suggested that I could leave my ‘know-it-all’ snobbery at the door. Smugly I would do that, and why shouldn’t I be smug, I did know it all.
There was not a single scenario I had not prepped for already. This baby was going to be easy breezy lemon squeezy!
On the D-day, I went into labor with all the might of Lamaze and prenatal yoga, all the herbal tea and ice chips I could get my hands on, confident that I had this in the bag. And I did. For some time at least.
The labor lasted forever (14 hours). Damn head wouldn’t engage only! I was ready for the epidural the first time my vagina blew up into flames of contractions, but the doctor wouldn’t give it to me because I was not dilated enough. I was taking a deep breath in, breathing out curses at all and sundry.
This baby had to take its own sweet time ripping my uterus apart one nerve at a time. When I was ready to cut it out myself, the doctor suggested letting her do the C-section. So, after 12+ hours of excruciating pain, I was wheeled in for the surgery and spent the next 20 minutes floating on cotton candy-colored clouds with unicorns for company. Oh, how I loved the anesthesia, what a joy it is. Blissful, soothing, trippy… until I wore off.
Then I was sore, bloated, and with a baby. Ahem–the baby. In my obsession to be the best-informed pregnant lady ever, I forgot one tiny thing–the baby. What am I to do with this beady-eyed thing that they handed over and said feed! Feed? But how?
Contrary to popular opinion breastfeeding is not child’s play.
Mine just wouldn’t! I did everything possible, tease it with my nipples, squeeze a bit for it to latch on, squeeze a lot and wait for the sucker to get the drift. But no sir, the baby just did not do the single most natural thing it was born to do.
With a bruised ego, chapped nipples, and baby in arms, I walked out of the hospital knowing that this tiny warrior had solid genes of stubbornness, the battle of wits was about to begin and possibly last my entire life.
I’m curious to know if there are other not-so-perfect mothers out there, like me?