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From Watermelon Smuggler To Watermelon Juggler

Week 1.

The last thing I was truly sure about involved my baby having to arrive, be it one way or another. Which come to think of it, was probably the last time I brushed my hair.

In the past, I would have expected myself to care about that last detail more. However honestly, I could not give a shit.

Thinking about myself is oh so uninteresting in comparison to thinking about Little.

Our needs are to meet her needs.

Everything since hearing her first perfect cry as they lifted her from my body, has been a whirlwind of wonder, and bewilderment.

It sounded just like her. I knew it the way I know the sound of my own voice. It was as if I had always known it throughout eternity, yet nothing I could have imagined until that split second.

I can barely begin to explain how different our existence has become ever since that snapshot in time.

Our week has been fraught with a myriad of moments. Sometimes there has been the occasional twang of worry, as we entered through the labyrinth of those first rites of passage. A heel prick, a hearing exam, a tiny hand wrapped around our fingers, a gap in her breath, the first nappy, a paediatric visit…

For all these things, we have held our breath.

For all these things we have prayed to God, we would pass the test.

For all these things, we have had no idea.

Parenting is overwhelming.

There are so many decisions.

So many many decisions.

So many things. So many photos to be taken. So many words to say, yet nothing at all to do the situation justice.

It has been a week filled with sleep deprivation, euphoria, physical pain, self-judgement, admiration of my husband, dissolving expectations, but most most most of all, Love Love Love for our daughter.

She is so beautiful!

In short it has been a rollercoaster of which, although our pre-baby project management helped, I was not prepared. But how could I have been? How could anybody? There is nothing, which can prepare a girl for this.

Talk about exhilarating, amazing, inspiring, and utterly mind splitting!

This time last week, I could not get my head around her actually being here. Now I cannot imagine life without her.

We were up early on Monday morning, our hearts and minds filled with anticipation about the day’s events.

Michael fluttered and fidgeted about down stairs as I stood nervously in the pre-dawn light looking into a mirror I cannot see.

My breasts full, and my beautiful baby belly bigger and more round than I ever thought possible, just as it should be.

I would miss this shape when it was gone, I thought quietly as I imagined my silhouette, round like the moon, big like the sun, and as beautiful as a thousand twinkling stars.

Click click went the camera, as I tried to capture the last of the pregnant selfies for posterity.

How could I comprehend what was about to happen?

By the time most people would be enjoying their mid-morning coffee, our lives would be inexorably changed forever.

Little would finally be in the world as in finally finally be here. Not as an abstract concept happily kicking away in my belly as she has been, but as in something we could cuddle.

Neither Michael nor I could wrap our heads around what this would mean.

Even on that last morning, the actual concept of us being real parents was unfathomable.

Mid-March had felt so far away for so long and suddenly now it was upon us.

The day of our beautiful daughter’s birth.

What is more, I could not quite believe my body had successfully carried her to our due date without a hitch.

Ok, so sure that Saturday afternoon phone call from our doctor in week eleven telling me my first lot of genetic testing had not come back with a conclusive result, and she strongly urged me to examine my options was not all smooth sailing. Especially considering Michael was away at the time, and I had to deal with this potentially devastating news by myself. And then later on in my pregnancy there was that disgustingly sweet sugary drink I had to skull at least a million times while they figured out whether or not my boarder line gestational diabetes was in fact something which ought to be treated, or could simply run its course.

Admittedly, that last one I brought upon myself; I probably should not have made chocolate cinnamon scrolls the afternoon of my first blood sugar test. But I had to do something with my nervous energy, and they seemed like a good idea at the time. Which by the way they were – utterly delicious and oh so addictive.

However, over all, these things are nothing in comparison to what could have gone wrong.

I was born at twenty-eight weeks and six days, due to the placenta coming away from the uterine wall. Followed by too much oxygen in the humidy crib burning the retinas in the backs of my eyes, which is what ultimately caused me to go blind.

Too bad, there has never been a satisfactory answer regarding why I have one eye physically smaller than the other.

Genetic my ass! Nobody else has this in my family.

Therefore, I wonder, would it have ever mattered if I had even made it full term?

If not this particular eye condition, perhaps it would have been another. Was I always fated to live this life of obscure shapes, and strange shadows?

Throughout my entire pregnancy, I was terrified my body would betray me, and I would not, or could not carry Little to term.

After all, it had a history of perfidy.

Legend has it, in the first hour of life, I could see. Therefore in my completely irrational to others, yet oh my God of course I am being rational reasoning suggests, if my body could perform such a treacherous act in those first moments on this earth,  what would stop it from indulging in another long lingering Judas kiss.

So there I was throughout my pregnancy, and almost on a daily basis, flooded with gratitude we had made it through another night, but simultaneously terrified we would not make it through the next.

I was desperately afraid Little would end up the same as me, and that was my last last last wish for her.

In fact, if my affliction were genetic, we would not have even contemplated children. And by we, I mean me of course.

I have no judgement about others choices, but for myself, passing my particular brand of challenges and adversity would have trump all else.

For months, I was afraid to go to the toilet, because what if she fell out.

Moreover, every time I threw up in those first twenty-five weeks, I never quite knew if it were the beginning of an unspeakable end, or just the morning sickness talking.

On the one hand, I took it as a good sign I was vomiting because it meant my hormones were so pregnant surely, she must be nestled in for the long hall. But what if I had completely missed read the signs? What if it were pre-term labour, and I did not know.

Stay there Little, just stay there sweetie. Mama has you safe and sound, had been my mantra.

I had unknowingly been waiting for this baby for so long, that I could not fathom how we would cope if everything did not go as we hoped.

In theory, Michael and I had our contingency plans, and our options carefully weighed and measured, but who really knew in reality what we would do.

I have made decisions I swore I would never take, done things I had not planned, and been “that” person, whatever “that” might mean in too many situations to count.

There really was nothing else for it; I had to admit the state of affairs was largely out of my control, so all we could do was take it moment-by-moment, minute-by-minute, hour by hour, and day by day.

Some weeks were better than others, and with every pregnancy milestone passed my confidence grew.

I began to wonder if we could indeed pull this off.

Could I create a healthy baby girl?

Oh Shit, but then what?

Had we really thought this through?

The blind mama questions would flood my brain, and occasionally Michael and I would sit down and theorise how we were going to manage. We would discuss in earnest who would be doing what, and how would we do it. Only rarely did we bother to touch on what other people might think. Because honestly, who cared!

This baby was not about anyone else. She was about us and our life together.

Wow! Look how well we are doing, I would often say to him as I rubbed my swollen belly with almond oil of an evening, partly in a bid to scare away any stretch marks which might dare appear, but mostly to give Little a bigger house.

Rubbing one’s belly with oil in a gentle motion is a great way to loosen the skin, fascia, and muscles surrounding the area and alleviating that tight tight tight feeling.

I was always amazed at how much bigger I got after doing it. Nevertheless, oh God it felt good, and isn’t that all that matters?

My theory was, a comfortable mummy made for a comfortable baby.

I can see her little foot kicking, he would say in response as he watched Little wiggle her little bottom as she twisted and turned, using mummy’s ribs as monkey bars.

Those two have been thick as thieves for almost as long as she was conceived. Which has always been a source of relief, because I have spent a lifetime fretting over my own father daughter relationship.

We filled out the relevant paper work, turned our phones off, and waited for my name to be called.

The waiting room was loud, the blaring of morning television in one corner, random people all around us, and a set of sliding doors which seemed to never cease.

However when we were led into the next stage of our birthing journey, it was like being taken to another world.

Everything was so clean, quiet, and sterile.

I almost tripped over the foot of another pregnant mama sprawled in a lounge chair to my right as Michael guided me through the unfamiliar surroundings.

I cheerfully said hello to her, and apologised for my not seeing her, but I think she was too busy judging my cane, and all that it supposedly meant, to answer me.

I could almost feel the distain dripping off her as I hesitated in a bid to readjust my balance.

Didn’t she know we were in the same boat, I wondered as I skulked away, somewhat a shamed of my happiness and attempt at being friendly.

The nurse asked me a series of questions, ticked off some more boxes, fastened a red hospital identification band around my wrist, and handed us our party clothes before drawing the thin curtain around us.

Michael helped me into my classically television glorified hospital gown, slippers and hairnet, before getting into his own set of light blue scrubs as we had been instructed.

I should have married a doctor, I thought, as I looked at him in his new shapeless uniform.

You’re a little bit sexy honey, I exclaimed a little too loudly as he reappeared.

We both giggled.

The waiting ward was quiet. Other expectant mamas sat uncomfortably in low chairs, with their nervous husbands beside them.

They all spoke in quiet reserve whispers, while we made loud jokes and witty observations to keep ourselves amused.

Yeah we are that couple.

The lights were those bright white florescent ones, and everything smelled clean like that special only hospitals have it high strength disinfectant. Smatterings of conversations between colleagues came and went, as did the collective soft scuff scuff of their shoes pittered and pattered too and fro from one room to the next.

Trolleys trundled noisily passed with their rattle rattle tattle rattle.

Announcements were made over the loud speaker summoning one very important medico after another, and generally, the humdrum of hospital life carried on around us oblivious to our presence.

Did not they know Little was coming today, I wondered.

Our world had stopped.

The door from one dimension to another was about to swing open on its hinges, but the only one’s waiting with bated breath were we.

How could that be.

Little was so important. How did the whole world not still, and stand on tip toe in exquisite expectation.

I was the only one already on a gurney. Whether it be because the hospital thought it easier to simply have me locked and loaded ready to go because I could not see, and this was a part of their we don’t want anything to go wrong with this one protocol, or whether it was because there were no more seats, we will never be sure.

I suspect it might have been the former, because as we waited, and those fifteen minutes stretched into first one, then two, then over three hours, occasionally a surgical staff member we had not met would come passed and ask if I were in labour, or other such intrusive questions. And we would have to explain my situation as they ogled my chart.

Occasionally Michael would help me off the bed and we would negotiate the cluttered ward beyond in order to get me to the bathroom.

We did this trek So many times, by the end, as long as a drip stand was not moved, or a chair inadvertently put in a different place, I could find it with confidence if not grace and ease by myself. But what does a girl expect at twenty-three and a half months pregnant.

I kept looking at my belly, and thinking to myself this would be as big as it would get. Because soon, soon she would be here.

It blew my mind to go beyond the moment we were in to somewhere else where she was not a part of my body.

We were singular, yet separate at the same time.

Again, how was that even possible?

I was glad we were delayed, because it gave me those few extra moments alone with her I had not bargained on.

I soaked the droplets of our oneness up with as much appreciation, gusto, and consciousness I could muster. Her movements slow and smooth inside me.

When she would shift, so would I.

Our dance was synchronous in its nuances

I did not want to miss a second of our relationship as the minutes ticked down.

I did not know how long we had, but I knew the moment she arrived, everything would be different.

There would be no more flutter flutter flutter thud, as she practiced being a tiny baby not yet ready for the world.

There would be no more wiggle wiggle wriggle toward daddy’s voice as he caressed the expanse of my middle.

No more pokey outy belly button.

no more mud shake cravings.

And definitely No more sleep ins, showers, or slothin’ it on the lounge with a good book for an entire afternoon – or at least that is what I am told.

However if Thursday is anything to go by, I will be getting plenty of reading done while the centre of our universe sleeps.

Michael and I were both nervous about what lay ahead.

He kept holding my hand as we sat together. Be it for my own comfort or his, it did not matter.

four hours from when we arrived, I was wheeled into theatre.

We made it, we actually made it, I thought with exhilaration as I felt the sticky vibration of the rubber tires turn beneath me, and watched the stripes of the white lights pass overhead.

Soon Little would be here.

Oh my God! I could not wait.

But where was Michael?

He had run back to the car in order to retrieve his camera a few minutes earlier.

I was concerned he would not make it back in time.

Thankfully, he was right behind us, as I made small talk and joked jovially with the orderly who pushed my trolley.

I am right here honey, he kept repeating as though he could read my thoughts.

I do not know how far we travelled, but Finally we were situated in a tiny windowless room in the deepest part of the hospital immediately beside the operating theatre.

For a small room, it had a lot of machinery, which made a mama very nervous.

I wondered what all those things were for, and prayed to God they would not need them for us.

I tried not to think about the potential of what could go wrong, not so much for me, but for the other mamas who had come before, or who were to come after me on this path.

I mean obviously they needed this stuff for a reason, right.

Manoeuvring from one bed to another was not easy. But what is, at nine months pregnant?

People flittered in and out, always being careful to introduce themselves to us.

It was as if Michael had briefed them on how to behave, and make a blind mama feel at ease.

Thank you theatre staff, you were amazing.

Michael stood stoically beside me, as first one, and then another surgical assistant tried to stick a drippy thing in my arm.

Prick pin push pull poke and repeat.

Finally, after six attempts, the head anaesthesiologist entered the room, and took charge.

Clearly if a man wanted something done right, he had to do it himself.

I had always had a feeling the anaesthetic was not going to work, and we should opt for putting me under straight away, but this was not how things rolled in this hospital.

I had spent hours researching the pros and cons of each option, and weighing them up against what I had always been told by my super-duper expert eye specialists.

No pushing…

However even though I knew this, and knew the risks, I still had to argue with myself about opting for a caesarean.

No of course, I did not want to risk total blindness resulting from natural childbirth, but… But couldn’t I have it all?

Couldn’t I have my baby and eyesight too?

It is funny how evolution drives us to do things in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.

Of course, I would take the safest option. After all, when it comes to preserving what little vision I have, I will go to the ends of the earth.

Therefore, it was with trepidation, I went with the procedure and protocol of things.

I mean after all, this was for the best, because Michael could be with us the entire time.

The only thing which had been keeping me stable throughout this entire lead up, was the idea my fabulous husband would be a part of the process.

Even though Little and he had long ago connected, I was still terrified at the prospect of them not being able to bond.

I mean I do not know why I worried, because I need not have.

the moment we discovered she was even a possibility he boarded that baby train with everything he had to offer, and then some.

It was week eight when he waltzed into the shower, and totally bagsed staying home to look after our Little.

While week thirteen was the first time, he called out daddy’s home, as he walked in the gate.

He made sure to be present at every appointment, every blood test, and every scan.

He cooked me soup when I was sick, held my hair when I threw up, rubbed my back, kissed my belly, made fun of my size and slowness, talked directly to the baby, bought her gifts, told everyone he knew, drove practice trips to the hospital, satisfied  my cravings, hugged me when I cried, calmed my crazy pregnancy anxiety, reassured me when I got scared, said things to  make me laugh, levered me in and out of chairs, adjusted my car seat, gave me tea on demand, ensured I had enough baking supplies to feed an army, kept his phone in his pocket at all times just in case, moved the piano stool into the kitchen so I could sit, and even asked me to marry him before she arrived.

Come on fatty, he would say as we were walking down the front path.

Well, he walked, I waddled like a duck.

In short, he did everything to put me at ease regarding his love for this baby even though he had not met her yet.

However, I had heard too many whispered stories from other women regarding the struggles they had gone through regarding their newborns bonding with daddy.

Frankly, it scared me to think we too would have to go through the subtle awkwardness of this process, along with everything else.

After all, I had enjoyed the nine months previous with this little being inside my belly, while he had looked on in ever-supportive amazement at our progress.

Truth be told, I was also worried Little and I would not connect. As in seriously, I was worried.

I thought having her would be like my relationship with every other child in my life.

Sure, they are lovely, but… However, I can live without them.

I mean yes of course they are fun, and interesting, and I love them, but they are just people.

In fact, people are just people.

Most of the time if I am honest, I can take them or leave them.

I do not particularly mind if someone is here one day, and not the next.

I know it sounds harsh, and yes, sure, there are times when I miss them, but it is not a need need need need.

Even when Michael goes away, I am quite happy without him.

Yes, of course, I am always pleased to see him home again, but the sky does not fall in if he is not around.

I rather like that we choose one another as opposed to trap ourselves into a relationship.

There is something quite powerful about our knowing we can be without the other person, but continuously staying because it is what we want.

I have always found it hard to make friends, and always felt on the outer of things, so perhaps this is why my attachment to others is not as strong and thick as a liquorish stick.

My mother says it is because she did not set a good example for us growing up.

Personally, I think it has less to do with that, and more to do with the inward looking nature of my disability and people’s prejudices toward me than anything she may or may not have done.

Learning to keep a distance is so second nature now, that I would not know how to undo it if I tried.

I know this from experience. Which is why I am always surprised when Michael does or says something that shows just how well he knows me, and how close we are.

Thanks honey.

On the upside, I like my own company most of the time, and I have long since given up feeling as I am missing out.

I am just not a popular girl.

People do not come to my parties, or cue up to spend time with me, but nor do I reciprocate.

Therefore, I was worried; this engrained dynamic ruling my world would hamper me from bonding with my baby.

Sure, I had become besotted with her as we kept company on the inner realm, but would we like one another on the outside?

Oh God, what if she did not like me.

Now there was something I had only considered a million times.

And what about the energy I would need to care for her?

No longer would it be me taking a long hot bath with a glass of wine after we had visited Michael’s parents, but we would have a baby to bathe, bottle, and bed before anything else.

Good God, how did people do it?

So yes. Yes, I was worried.

There are definite advantages to being blind, and one of them would have to be the not being able to see the size of the epidural needle.

I was so nervous as I leant forward over my belly so they could administer the numbing agent into my system.

However, it did not hurt nearly as much as I had been expecting.

Sure, there was a pressure, but that local anaesthetic must have really done the trick.

The whole audial was surreal. And even at this late stage, I still could not get my mind around that Little, our beautiful bundle of joy, would be hear within the hour. Faster if the anaesthetic took hold, the way it was supposed to.

Roll over please, the anaesthesiologist instructed. Yeah, because that was an easy request.

I clumsily manoeuvred my beyond pregnant body this way and that as the preparations continued.

The anaesthesiologist carefully placed a pointy something or other in my hands, and explained he would be pricking various parts of my body from the chest down to see if the anaesthetic had taken properly.

Ouch! I squealed as he dug it into my palm.

Very good, he laughed.

First one foot, then the other.

Can you feel that Megan? He asked in his best professional voice.

Feel what, I replied as he stabbed at my left leg. However, the right was a different story.

Yes, I got that one, I said as he moved ever closer to my waste.

The left side had taken quite well, but the right was being stubborn.

Again, we had to wait.

Prick prick snip, ouch ouch ouch.

Again, this delayed the arrival of Little.

The Theatre staff became increasingly anxious, as my unforeseen complications were yet again pushing back their schedule.

Apparently, it had been a rough morning, and this is why we were running so behind.

We were second on the list, but they had squeezed in another emergency between me and the person in front.

Oh, I hope everyone is ok, I thought as I heard the news.

Being pregnant had made me such an emotional softy.

I felt everything. Magnified!

I tried not to cry with sympathy for the other women and their anxiety.

Minutes passed, and still the anaesthetic was not doing its job properly.

If this does not take we are going to have to put her under, I heard the anaesthesiologist tell my husband.

In the interim, my blood pressure had already bottomed out, which was not a good omen for things to come.

I felt like I was falling falling falling backward backward backward. Tumbling over and over myself into the abyss.

I tried not to panic as my head went funny and the room dimmed.

God if I were going to die, please let them get Little first. Michael needs her, I thought as the anaesthesiologist fought to stabilise me.

The last thing we needed was wonky blood.

If it got too high it could cause eye damage, and if it got too low, then who knows.

All I knew was that when it did drop, it felt as though I was dropping off the side of the earth.

I have never handled anaesthetic well. Therefore, I was not surprised.

However now that putting me under was a real real possibility I began to rally.

No no I told myself. Michael has to be here.

I had spent so long preparing for this; he is not going to miss the birth of our daughter.

We had already had the discussion regarding what he was to do, and whom he was to choose if the unspeakable happened. He had to be there.

He had to be there to make the decisions.

No no, he had to be there regardless.

A good outcome was still possible, I just had to pull it together, I told my body.

I always wondered what I would choose, and oh, wow I was going to choose life with my family.

My family. The words were like honey on my tongue.

We had only been married for two months, and I was still getting used to the insular and intimate nature of the phrase.

My family my family my family.

No question. No ifs, no buts, no regrets, no I wonders, no question about it.

Oh how exciting.

How liberating actually, not to have that question mark hanging over my head.

Why had I wasted all that time with one foot in and one foot out, I wondered as my perspective clarified in an instant.

Breathe; I simply had to remember to breathe.

Again, more minutes passed as we waited.

Prick prick snip.

Eventually the anaesthetic took – well almost.

Therefore, it was with a cautious optimism, I was wheeled into the operating theatre.

I remember thinking it was bigger than I had thought.

Although what that actually means, I have no idea.

My favourite doctor was there, along with a couple of colleagues I had never met, and the wanker anaesthesiologist I had met weeks earlier but instantly disliked.

He had been rude and dismissive, and I prayed to God he would not be the one looking after me.

In short, I did not trust him to have my best interests at heart.

He was too busy defending his point of view for anything beyond the textbook. Much less a patient’s concern, questions, or challenge.

Instinctively I knew if I had him, something terrible would happen.

Something we would not be able to undo.

Moreover, it would not be he who had to live with the consequences, but us.

Therefore, I had fought hard not to have him apart of my procedure.

However, he did get to observe.

They were bringing out the big guns today.

Nobody was taking a chance on anything going wrong throughout this birth.

Come hell or high water, eyesight, my one baby girl, and me would come out of this completely intact.

The concern had always been, given the unique nature of my eye, condition that pushing a baby would create too much strain on my eyes, and either the retinas would detach, or some other horrible thing would happen, rendering me sightless.

Not even my cataracts are able to be removed, due to the delicacy of how my eyes are situated and functioning.

I know each person is different, but this is how it is for me.

Michael had been adamant he would watch the birth. However, I was adamant he would not.

There was no way I was going to let him watch them cut me open in order to bring Little into the world.

That is the kind of image, you cannot undo.

He is a gentle man, and I knew it would haunt him forever if he saw.

Television is one thing, but watching your new wife in graphic detail have surgery is another. At least that is what I told myself.

However, the deepest darkest most inner secretive part of me has to wonder if I was trying to protect myself from the extreme vulnerability of my husband literally seeing through me.

Maybe I should have let him watch the procedure.

However, it is too late now for such reflections.

Sorry sweetheart, perhaps we should have discussed this in more detail.

I tend to get very defensive and kick out if I feel backed into a corner, and thinking about it now, that is exactly how this procedure made me feel.

I did not see it as an opportunity for increasing our intimacy; I saw it as a violation of my privacy.

However, none of this I could articulate in the moment, let alone beforehand.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, yes?

Thank God, I had thirty seconds with the doctors before they brought him in.

Please leave the curtain up I asked. I do not want my husband to see this.

Certainly, my doctor replied. We will lift the baby up Lion King style the moment she arrives.

The moment he said that, my excitement began to build.

What a strange sensation it was to be lifted from one gurney to another.

My legs were no longer under my command.

I was hooked up to various machines and monitors, as numerous people introduced themselves around me.

Beep beep buzz buzz tick tick beep.

Rattle rattle scuttle scuttle, tattle rattle rattle.

Most of it was a blur.

Little would be here soon, she would finally be here!

We had made it to term. We had actually made it.

I was so pleased with myself.

This was such a heeling between my body and me and I knew I had turned a corner in how I would see myself in the future.

I have always played the victim in one guise or another, and always been frailer than I would have liked. Now, now things were different.

I was a strong woman, who does anything. This baby was proof of that.

I was unstoppable.

Michael was situated at the top of my left shoulder, while the main anaesthesiologist was directly at my head.

he seemed to be taking the opportunity to teach the younger doctors, because he kept explaining things in detail to them. All the whys and wherefores of what he was doing, and what if type scenarios.

I think Michael was able to touch my shoulder, but as I said, everything is a little hazy.

Once everything was in place, and the anaesthesiologist was happy with my blood pressure, the head doctor gave the signal for his colleague to cut me open.

They had drawn on me with some sort of marker at some stage throughout the preparation, but not being able to feel it, had made it an abstract concept.

Hearing the squeak scrape of the marker was bazaar to say the least.

Thank God, I had gone the Brazilian courtesy of my friend Angela the week before.

I mean it is better to be clean down there for such procedures, right.

How we had managed that I will never know.

Jesus Christ going through that arduous process hurt way more than the epidural ever could.

Poring hot wax on to one’s skin is simply not natural. Let alone the ritual ripping of hair.

Seriously, aliens must look at us and think we are in sane.

But where was I?

Oh, yes, back to giving birth.

Time seemed to become irrelevant as the doctors worked.

Cutting through the layers of tissue in order to get to my uterus, before carefully coaxing Little into the land of the living.

I could not really feel it, but I sort of could.

No, I could not. Yes, I could. No, I could not. Yes, I really could.

It was all very strange and twilight zonish.

The sound was more disconcerting than anything.

Blade through skin is not something, which can be mistaken for something else.

Gentle pulling and tugging my ass.

This was hard-core.

I could hear them talking about Little, but could not imagine what they were seeing.

The cute little clean white baby body of my mind’s eye was one thing, but I am sure reality was another.

Everything was muffled, and I was so dazed by the drugs.

So far, everything was going well.

My blood pressure was holding, Little was a champion, and everything was going to plan.

I had been experiencing the beginnings of labour over the four days previous, and to be honest, the feelings, which would come and go, were almost orgasmic invoking at times.

Yes they were intense, however they were different to the fake ass practice run contractions my body had been playing with over the last two or so months, but even as the baby and I prepared for her inevitable exit, I still couldn’t shake the feeling that she wasn’t quite ready to come out.

Between you and me, I was enjoying the sexy feelings, and would have happily sat with those for longer if given the opportunity.

Thanks Little that was a nice gift to give mummy.

Talk about having the best of all worlds.

It was as I had sensed; Sure enough, she was not as ready as one would have ideally wanted.

By one, of course I mean the doctors who were on a schedule.

I knew it must have been a shock for her being intruded upon with all that light and all that air, and those strange strange steel implements, but gone were the days where she was safely protected and cocooned inside my belly.

It is ok bubba; I kept reassuring her in my imagination.

For weeks, I had been explaining to her what was likely to happen, because I did not want her to be traumatised.

Nonetheless, she was not keen to come out and meet us.

The doctor pulled and yanked and yanked and pulled, but still Little stayed stuck.

First one shoulder, then the other, but her left foot was caught up under mummy’s rib cage the way it often had been when I was pregnant and she would swing from it.

They had to twist and turn and pull some more.

Thank God, we had organised for John, the best baby mechanic ever, to come visit us in the hospital afterward, because Little was going to need some rescuing after the roughness of this birth.

I could hear the doctor was using all her mite as she deftly followed her boss’s instructions.

I think they were expecting Little to be more compliant, but not my daughter.

They kept worrying about the time it was taking to bring her through.

Finally finally they pulled her out and lifted her lion king style just as promised so Michael could see our beautiful brand spankin’ new baby girl.

And her cry. Her beautiful beautiful first first first sound.

oh, so This was the sound of a thousand angels singing, I thought as I tried not to weep with happiness.

She was just so perfect.

The tears stayed welled in my eyes, and the emotion shook my voice as I asked if everything was ok.

Even though I had heard her take her first breath, I still needed reassurance.

Michael squeezed my shoulder with delight, pride, delirium, overwhelm, love, and awe at what we had created.

Well done honey, he said, she is perfect.

All the doctors and nurses cheered with happiness at our miracle, and began wishing Little a happy birthday.

I would imagine birthing babies is something one could never get sick of seeing.

As requested the cord to her placenta was not cut immediately as is tradition, but it was left attached for a minute or so, in order that Little may receive all the goodness and iron from the core blood.

I knew my doctor was anxious about this practice, but he had the good grace to respect my wishes, and knew of the research I sighted when we were going through my plan several weeks earlier.

From his standpoint, closing me up sooner rather than later would decrease the chances of infection. However, he left me open for as long as possible, and although the placenta had not stopped pulsing, which is apparently the ideal of all ideals, at least something was better than nothing.

I had read and read and read every article I could find regarding Caesarean birth practices, and how to give my baby the best start, but my extensive research was not enough. Because as luck would have it, a day after giving birth, I found a journal which explained the benefits of vaginal bacteria, and how to ensure your baby gets some of that good stuff even if she comes out the window not the door.

Little’s iron levels would now be higher than they would have been if we had not followed the procedure.

The midwife took Little over to the scales to be measured and weighed.

It felt as though they were a million miles away.

Michael followed, and was taking pictures when I began to feel funny.

Again I felt like I was falling falling falling backward backward backward. Tumbling over and over myself into the abyss. Only this time I could feel the most extraordinary pain.

We are going to close you up, the doctor said.

Ummm, I can feel what you are doing, I said in a quiet voice.

It was difficult to speak.

It was difficult to think.

Down down down down down I went.

Oh my God, but what about Little?

She cannot grow up without me as her mummy, I thought as the world began to swallow me whole.

Somehow, I managed to tell the anaesthesiologist I did not feel well, and he watched the monitors plummet with alarming speed.

Several times, he tried to bring me back, but to no avail.

I was beginning to be afraid.

The pain grew worse, and it was almost as if the doctors could not believe what they were witnessing.

According to the statistics, this kind of occurrence was rare.

However, they continued to work.

My body did not have the capacity to flinch, even though I desperately tried to instinctively move away from the pain source.

It was almost unbearable.

I could tell Michael was concerned, but we had discussed our contingency plans, and he knew my wishes.

Be with Little, I managed to telepathically communicate to him before becoming too confused to make sense of anything.

He reassured me everything would be ok, and that he would go with Little to wherever babies go, and not let her out of his sight.

I was so afraid that she might get mixed up with another baby.

As in, I had nightmares about it.

I heard them wheel Little out, but I do not remember much afterward.

We are going to put you under now Megan, is that ok? The anaesthesiologist asked.

He seemed to be more compassionate and quick off the mark than the doctor stitching me up.

It was almost as though she did not want to stop.

I heard her boss instruct her to cease what she was doing for a second so they could anaesthetise me fully before continuing

Although I am fairly certain she tried to get an extra stitch or two in there for whatever power wielding good measure thing she had going on.

I was so relieved Little was out before this happened.

Not so much for myself, but because it meant Michael had gotten to witness our beautiful baby being born.

God bless him, if he was not a believer in miracles and a higher power beforehand, he certainly was now.

I swear to God I have never loved that man so much as I did in the moment I heard him say, come on Little, mummy needs to stay here and get stitched up. Let us go and have a cuddle.

I had always fretted about the effects of Anaesthetic on my unborn child, but given she was out; as far as I was concerned they could pump my system full of potential poison. I would deal with the side effects later.

Anything to stop the pain.

Three two one, and I was out.

I woke to the sound of unfamiliar vocals, an unfamiliar room, and oh, my God the most searing pain.

The kind of pain that has a girl floating in and out of consciousness because it is too much.

The kind of pain which over takes a being, seeps into a soul, and sucks the air from the room.

The kind of pain as though I had literally been cut in half, and sewn back up again.

A disembodied voice asked a series of questions of which I could not answer.

I tried to speak but no words came out.

I am not even sure I could moan.

Something must have registered on whatever machine that was monitoring me, because I was injected with more painkillers and left to my own semi-awareness.

Everything was dream like. All fuzzy around the edges.

Nothing made sense.

Not even the pain.

However, that pain kept penetrating and perforating my universe.

I was given more and more drugs, but nothing helped.

More and more people would ask me questions, but I could not communicate.

I wanted to know where Little was, but could not line the words up in my mind.

Pain pain and more pain.

Somebody explained they were going to give me something to help, but I could only have it three times.

They asked if I could open my eyes. However, I cannot say whether I could or I could not. For if I could, again nothing made sense.

The magic drug helped, but for what seemed like seconds rather than minutes.

One injection, two injections, three injections, and that were it.

More more, I wanted more.

Whatever they were doing was not working, and oh, God they had to do something else.

I remember hearing someone say they would have to call the head anaesthesiologist looking after my case in order to get permission to try another procedure, as I was not stabilising. However, the staff then argued among themselves as to who would draw the short straw and make the call.

Fuck, I did not care, I just wanted it done.

Hang on a sec, what did I want done?

I could not keep track of my thoughts.

Daddy and Little are here, I could have sworn I heard my husband call as they wheeled a trolley closer. But was that real?

My heart skipped with excitement at the sound of his familiar voice.

He sounded so happy and full of pride.

I tried to match the pieces together in my brain, but there were too many things happening.

Too many sounds, shapes, strange figures, beings from other worlds, colours, collections, crazy chaotic convoluted happenings.

There was everything and nothing.

But most of all there was the pain.

The pain that would not go away.

The pain that was getting worse.

We have been waiting for you the midwife said.

We have Little here, and she needs some food.

I did not understand.

What did they mean Little was there?

My little?

I do not remember feeling the weight of her on my chest.

However, my cells remember having my arms and hands positioned in such a way that I could help hold her.

Her skin was soft and warm.

I remember thinking that feeding her did not hurt, and then questioning myself because according to everything I had read, wasn’t it supposed to?

Where had they been?

Where was I?

Apparently, Michael, the midwife, and Little had gone to the baby nursery, and had been expecting me ages ago.

Hours had passed, and obviously Little needed her milk.

They had left it as long as possible before coming to find me.

Michael had been holding Little on his bare chest for that valuable skin-to-skin contact people are always talking about.

And when he was not holding her, he was watching her intently.

Just as I had made him promise, he had never let her out of his line of vision. Not even when they were doing her welcome to the world, let us make sure everything is ok tests.

I was grateful they got to bond in that way first.

After all, he is the one who will be staying home and taking care of her the most.

They need to forge a good foundation to begin.

I do not remember them leaving, but somehow as time ticked, I came more into myself.

I slept a lot, but each time my consciousness rose, I felt a little differently.

Sometimes I even felt lucid.

However, it never lasted long.

I stayed in recovery until after 5:00PM, when eventually they decided I was well enough to go to the ward.

I remember the movement of being wheeled through the hospital, but it was all very surreal.

What startled me more was finding myself stationary in a proper hospital bed, giant pad between my legs, sleeping baby to my left, Michael coming in with bags of stuff from the car, and a nurse explaining to me how to use the self-administering pain relief.

It was still sunny outside, but I was desperate to sleep.

Michael offered to stay the night, but the nurses sent him home to get some well-earned rest.

We all know you cannot put zees in the bank for later, but we all try anyway.

After all, these were his last few nights of peace and quiet. He should make the most of them.

They promised to take good care of the baby and me while he was gone, and ring him if necessary.

It was as if Little had always existed, and the most natural place for us to be was in one another’s company.

She was parked so close that I could reach out and touch her any time I wanted.

However lifting her was another story.

I still could not move, and the pain was enormous.

At some point, I was going to need to go to the toilet, but it was not going to be tonight.

I was oh so tired, and really just wanted to sleep.

While simultaneously, I would have done anything for the baby beside me.

Her breathing was so much louder and laboured than I had expected.

I lay listening to it for as long as I could.

When the change of shift happened, one nurse came in to say goodnight, and explain she would be back tomorrow, while another arrived, and explained she would be on for the next two nights.

My room was closest to the nurse’s station, so they could keep an extra special eye on me.

They kindly took Little and put her in the nursery so I could get some sleep.

I was still frightened she might be switched, but the staff assured me this would not happen.

By now, I knew her smell, and would have known if they handed me another baby by mistake, but it still made me uneasy to let her go.

However, her beautiful addictive nurturing love inducing baby smell permeated the room even when she was not there.

I swear to God that stuff should be bottled.

They brought her in once for a feed, which oh my God it hurt like hell, but so did my breasts.

As the sun rose the next morning, I waited eagerly for Michael to arrive.

We had a baby, and I wanted him with us.

To think I had suggested he go to work while I was in hospital, because I thought there would be nothing for him to do.

What the hell?

He walked in, kissed me hello, picked up the baby, and sat down in the chair beside the window. His newborn daughter in his arms.

I do not think I have ever seen a more beautiful sight.

I was afraid to pick her up because she was just so little. However, he made it look so natural and easy.

I knew he would be a good dad, which is one of the reasons I pursued him in the first place, and persevered through the shit.

I had always known there could be happiness for us, and now, now we were experiencing it.

Thank you our pink bundle of joy.

We had briefly discussed calling her Emily the evening before, however we had not settled on a second name. Therefore, we both agreed to sleep on it, and see what the sunshine brought.

There were several names on the list, and after careful consideration, and trying some of them out in our mouths, we decided on Emily Kate.

Emily after her paternal great grandmother, and Kate after my mother and me.

This way she had a little bit of each of us.

Louise has been used as a second name on my side of the family for generations.

Named after one of the twins who lost her life between the ship and the doc when our clan first travelled to Australia sometime in the distant past.

I had always intended on using it if I ever had a daughter, but for some reason when it came to naming her on Tuesday morning, I did not.

Part of me wanted to keep the tradition, but another part of me wanted to break with it.

I wanted Little to have more than her ancestors.

And although I wanted her to be a part of the lineage, I wanted her to be free from the shackles of our particular brand of womanhood and femininity.

The question was would a rose smell as sweet if it were called by any other name?

I am not sure if I have made the right decision, let alone the reasoning behind it.

We are not going to have another child, so there is no second chance to go back and make a mends.

This is it, and for better or for worse, I did not use Louise.

Sorry Grandma.

Michael stayed with us throughout the day.

I mean where else would he rather be?

A new wife and a new baby. What else could a man ask for.

He is amazing!

He changed her first nappy, which un be knowns to me, was his first nappy also.

Well done Little, it was a nice sticky black pooh.

He made the most of the free toast and coffee facilities, ate the majority of my hospital food, and read his book while we slept.

We had spent weeks cooking a gazillion different frozen single serve meals for us before Little arrived.

Our plan had been for him to not have to leave the hospital if he did not want to, which is why our little fridge was stacked to the hilt with food.

We had even made birthday biscuits for the staff as a thank you.

However, in my zealousness, I had gone a tad overboard, and made enough for the entire hospital, not just the maternity ward.

It was lovely to doze off with him there, only to find him exactly where I had left him after an unquantifiable amount of time had travelled unbidden in our new world.

The low-level oxygen, which was still being pumped into my nose as a hangover from the caesarean, was doing wonders for my vision, and I did not want to give it up

At some point, someone came to take my catheter out, and it was not nearly as uncomfortable as I had imagined.

Again, I had done far too much reading on said procedure, and heard far too many stories about the pain.

Somewhere around lunchtime, Michael’s parents and eldest sister came to visit.

However, they only seemed to be there for ten seconds before Emily Kate needed a feed.

I was too embarrassed to whip my puppies out in front of my father in law – more for his sake than anything, therefore they left.

However not before grandma and Auntie Jenny had a quick nurse of the newest member of our family.

I had been adamant that the day of her birth would be just for the three of us.

It was just as well really. Considering how many delays and complications we had experienced.

To be honest I was not up for guests, especially my in laws.

However, I had to remind myself that they loved me, they loved Michael, and they definitely loved loved loved Little.

Sure, we were still getting to know each other, but after all, they were Michael’s family, and he was Little’s daddy.

Thus by extension, they were kin.

And I have to admit, it was rather lovely they were so eager to meet our daughter.

My mother is interstate, and will fly down at a moment’s notice if we need her. However, in the meantime, she gets a photo a day, along with a quick update on the progress of one cutest baby ever.

Each time a nurse entered the room, she would announce herself by name, even if she had been in not five minutes before.

This was most helpful, and not once did I feel as though I were being judged for being a blind mama.

There were only one nurse I found a bit hard to deal with, but that was more her manner than anything else.

When I told another nurse, whom I liked better about my impressions of afore mentioned colleague, she completely laughed her ass off.

Only because my physical description of her based on her attitude and abruptness had been spot on.

Even the doctors were pretty good at letting me know who they were as they did their rounds.

Later that afternoon, just over twenty-four hours after Emily Kate had entered the world; it became apparent that I needed to get moving.

This was more difficult and taxing than I had ever imagined.

Everything hurt.

Nothing did what I wanted it to do.

And Oh holy Mary mother of God, nobody told me about the excruciation, which was the post-partum pooh.

I saw stars.

As in literally saw stars.

As if it wasn’t bad enough, Michael and a nurse had to help me off the bed, and shuffle like an old lady to the toilet before helping me to pull my pants down and sit on it; when I tried to push, I thought I was going to faint.

My pelvic floor simply did not work.

My entire body shook with the shock and the pain of it all.

Why oh why had nobody told me.

I inched my way back to the bed, where again Michael had to help me in. Ever so slowly, ever so carefully.

Did other women find it as difficult, I wondered as the pain ripped through my being.

Tuesday night was a little better.

Again, Michael went home for a good night slumber, and Little was taken to the nursery so I could rest.

Although I honestly would not have minded if she had stayed with me.

I liked having her close.

I had fallen intensely head over heels for her the moment she arrived.

She was the best most amazing thing.

Holding her was delightful. Especially after a feed. And not just because in that moment it would be the longest time before I had to do it again. But because she was perfect.

I was amazed at how often I would wake, ready to provide her with whatever she needed.

This was not what I had expected.

I thought it would be harder.

I thought I would not like it as much.

I thought it would be a chore.

However, it was none of these things.

It was my pleasure to go through the pain.

It was my pleasure to pull myself up, peel off my shirt, and pinch my nipples in readiness.

Still it was taking three of us to latch her on, and I wondered if I would ever get the hang of it.

Again Little slept pretty much through the night, and did not wake for a feed.

The night nurse, who is parenting philosophy, was similar to my own in that if the baby is hungry she will let us know, did not try to wake either of us at any theoretically proscribed interval, but let us sleep.

Lord knows we each needed it.

I trusted Little’s body to signal when she was ready, and I trusted mine to know if she was not.

Therefore, it was at 11:00AM on Wednesday morning, just as John, the best baby mechanic ever was walking in the door, that madam decided it was breakfast time.

I was still in no state where I could move well.

The oxygen had been taken away, my dressings changed; I had a clean shirt, clean sheets, and almost looked human.

John gave Little a treatment, and a bonus one for mummy for good measure. Although I was still so wacked out on painkillers, that I would not have noticed either way.

My primary concern had been our baby girl and the state of her body after being forced to take her first breath.

It was as I suspected, her left shoulder was a mess, as it was the one, which had gotten stuck, along with her left ankle.

Good Lord, what did people do who did not have a baby mechanic to restore the balance, I mused.

I knew the sooner we got Little sorted out, the better. Not just in the short term, but for her long-term quality of life and well-being.

However, I had to completely crack up later that afternoon when the wanker anaesthesiologist waltzed into the room while I were laying on my bed completely naked.

For some reason Michael had left for five minutes, and the timing could not have been more spot on if we had planned it.

He was startled, and this gave me no end of pleasure.

For God sake, he was a doctor, wasn’t he used to this, I wondered as I watched him squirm under my sky clad scrutiny.

He asked why I was not covered up, so I explained that for a start, I did not think anyone was going to walk in, secondly my sheet was all the way down at my feet and I could not reach it, and thirdly who really cared, I had just had a baby and clothes were just too much for me to handle.

The hospital had sent him to cover their ass, and make sure I had been happy with how I had been treated in the delivery room.

Poetic justice, I thought as he shifted awkwardly from one foot to another and tried to find somewhere to look.

I could not figure out his problem, given he had actually watched me be sliced open, and then sewn back up again.

Maybe it was my boobs – they were just too dazzling.

Either way, I literally laughed aloud when he left.

I was nervous about being sent home, because what right did we have to call ourselves parents.

How would we know what to do.

Little was so tiny, and we were so inexperienced.

I wanted to have the nurses there for bac up.

Why couldn’t we stay in the hospital forever.

I felt safe there. Knowing that if anything were to go wrong someone with more experience was in ear shot if we needed.

By Wednesday evening, it was time to take Little for a spin around the block.

Mama needed to get out of that tiny tiny room.

So as a family, we set off for our first walk.

Daddy pushed Little’s bed while mummy clung to the edges of the walls and slowly scuttled like a crab as we made our way around.

I figured that we ought to do something given I was due to go home in less than twenty-four hours.

It was the longest walk of my life, and I was knackered by the time we had circled the area.

Emily and I finally sent daddy home for his last night of freedom.

However, our night was a little more wakeful.

Miss had discovered her appetite, and needed more yummy milk than ever before.

How strange it was to have my breasts become heavy and full.

They seemed to ache with the anticipation of her tiny mouth.

However, oh God to feed her was simultaneously relieving and excruciating.

Apart from that one moment in every feed where the most amazing love hormones would kick in, and I would zone out into a world of bliss bliss bliss.

Now they made anything I had to go through worth it.

If one nipple was not cracked, it was another.

If one boob did not burn, it was the other.

If it wasn’t my back that ached it was my belly.

Sitting up had become easier, but nothing was comfortable.

I was still doubled over like an eighty year old, and anything beyond the bare necessities of moving was beyond my capacity.

Whom am I kidding; anything beyond the bare necessities of thinking was beyond my capacity.

By Thursday morning, I was eager to leave.

Now I just wanted to take my baby home. Be back in our own environment, and get on with the business of living.

We had brought so many things to the hospital just in case, and barely needed any of them.

Most of it was food actually.

However, anyone who knows me knows I love options, and I hate being hungry.

As it was, I had barely eaten anything.

After the surgery, my appetite had not really kicked in the way I had read about.

Michael walked in at his usual time, picked up our daughter, kissed me on the lips, and sat in his usual chair.

I could see that he needed nothing more in the world.

This was a man content and complete with his lot.

We were enough!

He wanted for nothing.

No more, or no less.

A perfect balance had been struck.

Emily was the daughter he thought he would never have.

I was the wife he did not know he wanted.

We were the family he had always needed.

I watched him cradle our little girl, and knew there would be many more times like this, where he could do nothing more than hold her close. For no other reason than because he wanted to.

Everything else would be put aside as they bonded over the air they breathed.

And who could ask for more than that.

We had agreed to play the game and talk to the social worker before being released, even though all parties concerned knew there was nothing to be gained by the conversation.

The doctors did their final rounds, the nurses wished us well, and just like that, we were free to leave.

Michael dressed Emily in a little spotty number which was far too big for her, and that was when it happened.

That was the moment we became parents who took a gazillion photos.

We laughed as each of us whipped our phones out, pointed, and click click clicked away at Little in her trolley.

It was the first moment I felt like we were real parents – whatever that meant.

Michael took all our junk down to the car before returning to fetch his most precious cargo.

Still I could not handle clothes. So I hobbled out of the hospital in the baggiest pyjamas I owned.

No shoes, no bra, and no brush through my hair or teeth.

How foreign it was to put Little in her capsule.

Her seat looked far too big for her as Michael gently buckled her in.

As we drove away, neither of us felt comfortable having her in the back while we sat in the front.

We wanted her with us.

Not way back there where she could be hurt if someone ran into us.

We had to giggle at our new appreciation for those people who have baby on-board bumper stickers. Because for the first, and only time, we too wished we had one.

Not for any other reason, than to make us feel better about our fifty kilometre an hour speed limit.

It was surreal to carry her into the house and put her in the cradle.

Now what, we asked one another as we watched her sleep and got me situated on the lounge.

It was a warm day, so we opened up the back doors to let the air through.

Michael pottered around the house, while I sat on tenterhooks waiting for her to wake up.

On the one hand, I needed to sleep, but on the other hand, I was so wired that rest was impossible.

I thought about applying for a job I had recently seen, but could not get my head around the fact I may only have five minutes until she woke.

Five minutes turned into fifteen, which turned into fifty, which turned into one hundred and fifty, but still I sat statuesque, not knowing how or what to start.

I felt on top of the world, and as though I could accomplish anything.

Anything as long as I knew how long I had before she needed me.

And there in lay the problem. I did not know. I could not know. I would not know.

It was not that I wanted to be in control of the minutes, but rather I did not know how not to be So I guarded them and horded them the way a dog would berry its bones…

Thank God, I had lined up some classical Russian literature on my phone for us to listen to, because there was nothing else for it but to put an ear bud in, lean back, ask Michael to get me a cup of tea, and wait.

I would gladly walk through fire for this little being, but wrapping my brain around the never knowing what is coming next, or how long it is going to take is proving so much harder than I dreamed.

Whatever she wants she can have. I just do not know how to give it to her.

Just as evening set in, Michael helped me up to our bed, and then carried Emily’s cradle from the lounge room to our room so we could settle in for the night.

Our original plan was to put Little in her own room, but now that she was here; no way were we going to have her so far far away as down the hall.

Already we were being different parents to what we thought, and this brought us no end of amusement.

I felt better when she was closer to me.

And besides, it made more sense in practical terms as Michael would not have to go as far to lift her for me in the middle of the night.

We tried having her next to him, but I found I would wake up just before she needed a feed, whereas she would wake Michael.

However being the best daddy ever, if we were up, he was up.

Not only to help latch her on, re-latch her on, take her off, change her nappy, but to give us each a cuddle as required.

Help me to the toilet, and then help me back again. Talk to me when I had questions; fill my water glass, rock the cradle, and a million other small things.

I am not confident with Little, and need him to be present.

I am so afraid I am going to hurt her.

She is so tiny.

What if I do not do something right?

Michael seems to be a natural. From the way, he picks her up; to the way, he talks with her, puts her teeny tiny arms through her clothes, wipes her bottom, and puts her to my breast.

I knew he would be a good dad.

In baby, land there is no such thing as day or night. However, at some point it became Friday.

The midwife came to visit, checked my dressing, checked the baby, and check the fear in my eyes as we tried to get Little to feed.

We had been shown one way in the hospital, but were now being told to try another.

Surprisingly this second method was much easier, and less painful. But what would it be like when the nurse was not around.

It was not that I was dreading feeding her, but I was fearing the pain involved.

I had run out of painkillers, so Michael raced to the chemist to restock. However when we rang my doctor for a new script, she refused to give it to us under the proviso that she disagreed with my baby ingesting such a strong medication through my milk.

I was miffed, as the hospital had said it was ok.

By God, it was standard procedure.

Surely, the hospital would not give me anything, which was not safe, right.

I had not done a pooh since that first one on Tuesday, and was becoming uncomfortable.

However, every time I tried, nothing would come out.

As it was, every time I urinated, it stung as if I had a urinary tract infection, though I did not.

According to our baby mechanic, It had something to do with the physics of how the incision was made, and how my body responded to being stitched up after Little was removed.

Still I shuffled like an old woman.

Once I was downstairs for the day, I was down.

Once I was up for the night, I was up.

Lifting Little was still not possible, so I needed Michael there all the time at my disposal.

Michael’s other sisters arrived at some point in the afternoon, and although it was lovely to see them, I was still in a lot of pain. Not to mention those infamous baby blues had hit me hard like a rock.

It was all I could do not to burst into tears while they were over.

In fact, they were barely out the door when I collapsed in a heap and cried cried cried.

By the time my best best bestest friend Kristine arrived later that evening, I was a broken woman with a breast pump sitting on the dining room chair as Michael literally fed Little droplets of my milk like a baby goat from his pinkie finger.

I am not sure who was more shocked, Kris or me.

Neither of us had seen me like this before.

She stayed for a while and scraped be back together before Michael took Little and I upstairs, and put us to bed.

After all, we never knew when the next meal would be required.

Saturday and Sunday melted into each other.

A blur of feedings, nappies, and overwhelm.

We have spent a lot of time just sitting and watching her sleep.

She is so beautiful.

I have also since found out that the particular brand of painkiller administered by the hospital is known to make a girl constipated. So much so, that some hospitals give out laxatives at the same time.

Too bad I did not have this information a week ago.

However my only question now is, how did we live without her?

We love you Little.

One week down, and a lifetime to go.

I cannot wait.

Published inThe Blunder Weeks

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