Three years ago I was getting acquainted with a little girl whose name we still hadn't quite decided on. I remember the nurse who came on duty shortly after we were cleaned up cooing effusively over my daughter's pale, alien-like body, telling me she was so beautiful we should have a dozen. I remember her helping me into the bathroom and the wheelchair because, in spite of going without an epidural I still couldn't walk. I remember holding my bundled baby as the nurse wheeled me into the small recovery room.
I remember spending much of the day trying to sleep between feedings and all of the lovely testing--the blood pressure readings and blood draws and temperature checks--that are done the day after giving birth. I remember eating one complete meal--breakfast--and then failing to finish two others, largely because there was just so much food. I remember sending Derrick home to sleep because he was as tired as I was, and the squeaky green recliner in the corner very simply wasn't going to cut it. I remember sharing onion rings from the South Street BBQ place that evening, and then dutifully returning to the unremarkable, but certainly nutritious meal provided by the hospital.
I remember spending that night, after all the business of that day, foggily holding my newborn, nursing her until she fell asleep (and usually me as well), then carefully setting her in the clear tub hospitals use as bassinets, only to have her wake up every time. Finally, at probably 5 or 6 in the morning, I allowed myself to sleep with her on my chest. Those precious couple of hours were the only sleep I got that night. My doctor woke me as the sun rose. I remember how his hushed tones spoke of the sacredness with which he saw his work as he explained to me that, "everything is different now."
And so it is. Wonderfully, beautifully different.