Our first night home with Viola and how I came face to face with the reality of parenthood.
As I hobbled my way out of the maternity ward, barely able to stand upright after my caesarean, I could hardly believe they were letting us leave with this little living person. Didn’t they like, send you home with a nurse or a manual? Something? Anything?
Regardless of my relentless begging to stay where it was safe, and there were lots of hands on deck, we were sent home from the hospital. My Mom and husband wanted desperately to get back to the comforts of home, but I was anxious and considering moving into the hospital, if they would have me.
Here’s the thing, I’m a realist.
I knew what we were going home to, to some degree. Two dogs (one that had a history of not liking children), my brother, sister-in-law, my Mom, and my Dad. I anticipated it would be anything less than relaxing. But, I was looking forward to my bed, and not being interrupted by someone every half-hour. (Insert laughing and pointing at you emoji here.)
We got home around 9:00pm on a Friday night. A strange time to come home. I had always imagined coming home on a sunny Saturday afternoon, the birds chirping, your house clean and bright. Instead, it was a cold, rainy October evening, and I remember feeling a little depressed about the reality compared to the fairytale I had painted in my mind.
I slowly stumbled into the house, not quite upright, barely lifting my feet off the ground. This prompted Jack (dog #1) to yelp and bark with concern, which caused Charlie (dog #2) to join in, which woke up the baby, which made me mad, which made my brother laugh (jerk)… Welcome home!
The house was dimly lit, and the rain gently splashed on the windows. Viola was passed around for everyone to meet, and I got situated in the arm chair. I nursed her a bit, and then everyone decided they were ready for bed, as it was after all, close to 10:00pm now and we better all get a good sleep, as tomorrow would be the first day of parenting in the real world!
I went to get up from the chair, and realized that I couldn’t. WTF. I literally could not pull myself to an upright position. The searing pain hit me like a freight train. I began to panic, wondering how I was going to manage without a nurse and a hospital bed that had a button to go up and down as I needed. Finally, with Ivan’s help, we got upstairs and fumbled around with our toothbrushes and pajamas. We transferred Vi into her bassinet beside the bed, and gazed at her for a moment as she slept peacefully. SLEEP. Why are we not asleep too?! MY BED, MY SWEET, GLORIOUS BED. YES.
I stood beside the plush mountain of memory foam pillow-top, ready to jump in, but then stopped. How would I get into this beast? I was beginning to think I was going to need a bell. “Ding Ding, Oh Ivan!” He assisted me as I slowly managed to get horizontal, my eyes wet with tears from the struggle. Finally, we were under the duvet, eyes already heavy with sleep, I sighed. “Goodnight,” I said to Ivan. “Goodnight my love,” he replied. I closed my eyes ready to sleep the night away.
And that, my friends, was how parenthood smacked me in the face.