We've all heard parents say the day their child was born was the best day of their lives, right? That may very well be true for them, but I can without a doubt say that it is not true for me.
That may sound a little harsh, and I want to clarify--my girls are my world, and I certainly cherish their birthday as they day they became the best things in my life. As we approach the one-year mark, I find myself thinking back on that day, trying to remember what it felt like.
The days leading up to the girls' birth were stressful, probably more for those around me than they actually were for me. Jeremy was anxious and worried about both me and the babies, as was my mom and most of our other family members. As for me, well, I was surprisingly calm during the last few weeks. Once I entered the hospital, I knew I was in good hands, so I spent time reading, napping, and catching up on blogs (which is really the best way to spend the last days of pregnancy, in my opinion!). The night before they were born was not so restful and relaxing, due to the blood pressure cuff squeezing my arm every ten minutes and the nurses checking vitals and monitoring the babies...never mind having to unhook all the machines and wheel my IV into the bathroom with me to pee at least once an hour. Still, I wasn't terribly worried. Same goes for the next morning; even when I found out it would be the day of my babies' birth, it all felt a little too unreal for me to be worried.
I've written in their birth story about how smoothly everything went during the birth, but it was sometime after that the stress began to set in. We had a room full of visitors, which was fine at first, as I was still pretty out of it and just sat back and listened to everyone else talking and gushing over the babies. As the evening went on, I began to get more and more overwhelmed. I remember a nurse helping me nurse the girls for the first time, and I remember enjoying the peace of the moments when it was just Jeremy and me and our babies. At the same time, though, I didn't know quite what to do with these two little beings, so I was also a little anxious for someone to come back and tell me what to do. When everyone left for the evening, we had a few quiet moments, but then the night set in. I remember sitting up in the hospital bed, both girls nestled in the Boppy balanced on my belly where they had fallen asleep after nursing. I couldn't get out of bed yet because of the catheter, and I didn't yet know how to maneuver two babies in my lap, so I was afraid to move. (I will never forget the nurse who came in and found me at 4:00 a.m. and wheeled the babies back to the nursery, saying, "Honey, you have GOT to get some sleep. You canNOT go home exhausted with two babies." Oh, how right she was!)
That feeling, the one of not being able to move, pretty much sums up what I remember of the next several days. Jeremy and I refer to the first night we were home from the hospital as "the hardest night of our lives," and we absolutely mean it! We were tired, overwhelmed, nervous, and unsure of ourselves. We were literally afraid to be alone with our babies without someone there to help us. It was an awful, paralyzing feeling, and when you throw in the guilt I felt over how much we were depending on my mom, it was...rough, to say the least. Chaotic is another word I would use to describe the first week or so--just trying to remember who ate when was enough to make any of us crazy. It was a blur of bottles, diapers, doctor appointments, visitors, phone calls, with a nap and a shower thrown in when we were lucky. I'm surprised I didn't cave in from all the pressure, particularly all the pressure I put on myself.
I don't mean to imply that there were not good moments in those first days...of course there were. I remember how refreshed I felt after crying my eyes out in the shower one morning, and I remember napping on the couch with my girls, just breathing them in. But, no, I would not call them the best days of my life.
What has been the best day of my life so far? That is a little hard to narrow down. I choose to focus on moments, rather than a single day. The best moments of my life began a few weeks later, when my babies began to recognize me, respond to me, and when I began to trust myself with them. As Jeremy and I gained confidence in our parenting abilities, the girls seemed to become more and more comfortable with us. Some of my favorite moments so far? Napping with both girls on my chest, learning to soothe their cries, their first smiles and giggles, and realizing that my babies are quickly turning into two amazing little people. Those first days may have been rough, but we've had enough good days to make up for them a hundred times over. Addison and Mackenzie keep getting sweeter, and the good moments just keep getting better.