Our son is just over three weeks old now, which I find a little shocking in light of the fact that we haven't yet reached his due date. The learning curve has been steep and the emotions are intense. A flood of love and affection, both for him and my husband, who is turning out to be quite the baby-whisperer, but also emotions that are not always positive...fear and worry...discomfort at the loss of my old familiar self and worry for the future of our son in such a messy world. We are managing pretty well, I think, one day at a time. Our son has been reasonably accommodating, in my opinion. Considering that he is technically a preemie, he is eating well and sleeping pretty well and we feel lucky that he hasn't had any other health challenges.
I have had a handful of health challenges which have made newborn care slightly more trying, but the assistance of my husband and several friends has made a huge difference. The conditions of our son's early delivery necessitated a Caesarean section for me, which kept us in the hospital for a full week when combined with the blood pressure complications that I experienced. As a result, the last three weeks have involved juggling extra medicine, simultaneous mandates to rest more and pump more and feed more but sleep more, and a also ban on driving. I feel foolish because I never knew that newborns eat every two or three hours (sometimes even more) and trying to learn how to function as a normal human at the same time as these other tricky things finally built up in a big pile and left me ornery yesterday. It all would have been impossible without the full-time help of my husband, but still there was no denying that even with his excellent help, I woke up cantankerous.
On paper, things were looking up; I just needed to pause and take a breath. I had been cleared to drive finally and the muscles in my tummy and mid-section no longer felt sore; I was ready to leave the house on a little mission. This will probably sound nuts, but the first time I left the house alone (for a short walk last week, on foot), I cried a little. I felt guilty for leaving, and to be honest it also felt strange being out in the world alone after spending every minute of multiple weeks in private rooms with my husband and the baby. That's how bizarre all of this is.
So yesterday morning when the urge to drive overcame me, and I had to get out. It was almost like a jailbreak. I made a run for the local drugstore after a feeding and a green light from my husband. When I hopped in the car and cranked up my favorite nineties music station, I felt pretty excited and almost like my old self for a few minutes. Then by the time I reached the drugstore, a mile down the road, I had tears in my eyes again. I felt like a terrible wimp and cursed the sappy song playing on the overhead speakers. I persevered and tried to enjoy my brief and wonderous jaunt through the store. After weeks of letting my husband be my eyes, ears, wallet, and personal assistant, it felt so nice to just look around and make some decisions on the fly. After a few minutes, emboldened by my dry eyes and the report from home of continuing infant slumber, I made my way across the street to the grocery store.
You know your life has changed a lot when you are excited to go to the grocery store. So I ran around in there, grabbing a few items that I knew we needed. When I was checking out, I noticed some miniature bottles of wine at the checkout, right there next to the bug spray and the chocolate bars. At first I had the familiar eye-rolling response that life in Texas often provokes. And since there is a bar in the grocery store, too, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that there was wine at the checkout area. I was trying to imagine a scenario when while standing in line at the checkout, a person would be overtaken by an impulse to purchase these little travel-sized doses of wine.
And then my attitude changed and I thought of what a lunatic I was feeling like that day, and I began to view that wine differently. Maybe just a little dose of wine is exactly what a person needs once and a while, while they are on the go. Maybe that wine was there for me? I didn't buy it, but I did come to the conclusion that perhaps living in a state where shots of wine are positioned like candy bars is a privilege for which I should be grateful, rather than another sign that I live somewhere ridiculous. I definitely live somewhere ridiculous right now, but maybe the convenience wine is a redeeming quality, rather than a disappointing one.