Baby's first year is a magical blur
The other day I woke my daughter, looked into her big brown eyes and spoke words even I couldn’t believe I was uttering: Happy Birthday! We made it to the Big One.
My daughter’s first year is a magical blur. It began turtle-like with my four-day labor that kicked off on Super Bowl Sunday and then fast-forwarded to the moment my husband and I realized the doctors had actually sent our six-pound baby home with us, without instructions.
With help from a supportive family, I stayed home with the baby for nearly five months. For the first 30 days, my mother and mother-in-law helped ease the transition. Then, they went back to Georgia and turned us loose. I cried. What in the world was I supposed to do? What if I broke the baby? What if I couldn’t make enough milk? What if I passed out from exhaustion? What if the baby stopped breathing during the night?What if I punched the well-meaning lady in Dillards who sauntered over, took my baby’s fingers out of her mouth and suggested we try a pacifier to break finger-sucking? The nerve! The germs! Thank goodness Momma stayed calm. After all, if I went to jail, who would raise my girl?
My neighbors could have fired the night-watchman in our deed-restricted community. I barely slept. I kept one eye trained on my girl at all times. I was always up along with Suze Orman and a dizzying array of tv pitchmen.
I also ate like a linebacker to keep my milk production high. Somebody should have told me that Oreos at 3 a.m. will stick to Mummy’s tummy even if one is nursing.
By the time I went back to work, our little family had hit a stride. We had a schedule that seemed to soothe our colicky little one. We’d experienced some major milestones including our first plane ride, several car trips to Georgia and nights, full nights, filled with sleep. And, yes, despite having baby monitors, I got up several times at night to make sure the baby was still breathing.
Slowly but surely, we began to gain confidence as parents. Said confidence was quickly dashed, however, whenever the baby fell ill. Why did she have a fever of 104? What was the source of her infection? How do we help her clear her stuffy nose when she won’t abide the nasal aspirator and the humidifier doesn’t seem to be working? Wasn’t breastfeeding supposed to prevent this stuff? And why did we get every sickness that she got times three?
We monitored every pound our daughter gained and lost, read every first-year parenting book we could stand and listened to advice both solicited and unsolicited. In the end, we learned to trust ourselves. We also realized that the dishes could wait and a little dust never hurt anybody. Spending time with our daughter was most important.
Our girl is an adorable, fiercely determined, vocal and now, extremely mobile toddler. We know we’re blessed. We’re thankful that she survived – no, thrived – in her first year. So did we.
-- Sherri Day