Some days, I can’t believe this little guy is actually here and is actually mine.
Although he was due mid-May, he let me know he was on his way on April 26, almost 3 weeks early, when I woke up to contractions at 4 a.m. and snow out the window (of course, because we had to drive an hour and a half to the hospital, so why wouldn’t it snow?) I wasn’t ready for this, naturally. I had things to do. I didn’t have my sub plans done for the rest of the school year. I didn’t have my hospital bag packed. We didn’t have the carseat out of the box, much less installed, and we hadn’t even taken our childbirth class yet, for goodness sake! I even tried to go to work that morning because surely, this baby wouldn’t be coming when Mom isn’t ready. Luckily, husband didn’t let me.
Baby didn’t care about any of that. No, he basically said, to heck with all of your plans Mom, and entered the world as cute as a button at 4:13 p.m., almost exactly 12 hours after my contractions started and 24 hours after I left school the day before, completely clueless as to what was about to happen to my life.
In 24 hours, I went from trying to encourage 140 students, 139 of whom are taller than me, to care about things like where to put a semicolon and why they should appreciate Lord of the Flies (which can be a pretty tough sell, I’ll be honest) to trying to keep one tiny 6-pound human alive. I’m really not sure which of the two is more difficult.
“Baby Kasen,” as his small cousins refer to him, has been here for two and a half months now. For two and a half months, reality as I knew it before has flipped upside down. Last summer, I was doing things like tooling around Ireland and Scotland with a couple girlfriends, picking out cute swimsuits at Target, and trying to decide which lake activity to do next during family week at the lake. This summer, I’m watching a LOT of Netflix while I’m stuck nursing him on the couch, obsessively Googling various types of baby gear, and although we did make it to the lake, between feedings and trying to safeguard my baby from his very well-meaning but overzealous cousins, I didn’t make it out on the water more than a few times.
What I am sure of, though, is that life has never been so great. For months, as my bump grew bigger and bigger, I listened to well-wishers warn me about this new reality I was about to experience. They said things like “Enjoy sleep now – you will never sleep again!” (Who actually sleeps all that great while super pregnant?!) and “Enjoy your free time now – you will never have free time again!” and “Enjoy [fill in the blank] now – you will never [fill in the blank] again!” I know these well-wishers meant, well, well, but by the time little man showed up, I was terrified. I really like sleep, for example. Like REALLY. Just ask my family. I started putting myself to bed in kindergarten because my parents sometimes wouldn’t get around to it soon enough. I also really like free time. And lots of other fill-in-the-blanks. Part of the reason I was in denial on April 26 is because I really didn’t want my current reality to end.
But looking back, I wish more people would have said things like, “Life is about to get awesome. You might be tired, but believe me Mama, it will be worth it. It will be so worth it.”
THAT would be nice to hear when you’re waddling around with a sore back and a strange melon-sized blob inside you that digs into your hip so hard sometimes during class that you have to grip the podium and gasp as a roomful of teenagers stares at you.
Because here is the thing about my new reality: I do sometimes miss the ability to jump in my car and go where I please, and I’ve been peed and pooped on quite a bit, and not every moment is a cake walk. Case in point: He literally had his diaper off for SIX SECONDS before this happened:
Being a new mom is a learning curve, all right. Never trust a naked baby.
But honestly, when I do get in my car to go somewhere, I love bringing little man along. Hanging out with a tiny human that I actually carried and delivered into this world, who is a spitting image of his handsome dad, is pretty darn neat. And when he smiles at me, none of those fill-in-the-blanks that I’m now “missing out” on now matter at all.
This new reality is worth it.
“Did my heart love ’til now?” – William Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet