So far, today has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. My biopsy site hurt, my boobs were both clogged, Emmie kept kicking them, she fussed because she was tired, pulled out all her clothes as soon as I had folded and put them away (twice), spilled a glass of milk I accidentally left on the table, Jasper was a pest, then Emmie would NOT go down for her nap, and I thought of my enormous nap-time to-do list, even though all I really wanted to do was sleep and troll Pinterest for ideas for the new house. So basically, a totally normal day for a household with a 9 month old.
I was feeling very grumpy and snappish (the only bright spot was Caryn and her girls dropping by for a quick hello), when Emmie FINALLY went down for a nap and I was able to shower. As I got in the shower, I remembered something Maria, my doula, said after I had a newborn and was preparing to do the interferon treatment. I was telling her about how when Emmie was crying or upset, I could think to myself, “I’m HERE for this. I never thought I would be able to hear my daughter cry, or to be able to comfort her. I’m HERE.” And that thought would instantly dissipate any (normal) frustration I might have felt. And Maria, in her infinite wisdom, told that was wonderful, but that I might not always feel that way, and that’s OK.
At that time, I remember thinking, “Yeah right. How could I ever forget what I’ve been through? How lucky I am?” But here I am. I’m just grateful I have Maria’s words to recall and guide me, even more than a year after we first began together.
I’ve mentioned our doulas here from time to time, mostly during the birth process, but they were amazing from day one. Maria went with me to my ENT pre-op appointment, supported me through those crazy emotions when I didn’t know if I would be able to lift my arm to dance again. They talked me through the emotionally charged time leading up to the birth. They counseled me on ways to try to get baby to come before induction. Maria and Ally were AMAZING during the birth itself. As Peter will emphatically tell anyone we talk to, the doulas were worth every penny. I never would have had the birth I did without Maria. She was there the entire time, all 17 hours or whatever it ended up being. She took care of so many little details, from taking the clocks off the wall, to feeding my family, because I was in no position to do any of that (or even think of it). And her hypnosis-guided-imagery-magic through transition literally made the birth I had possible. It was amazing.
After the birth, my talk with Maria on the phone in the bathtub, trying to recover from mastitis (or was the talk before I ended up in the ER? I can’t remember now and don’t want to look it up)… Anyway, that conversation is the reason why I had the strength to continue pumping through interferon and why I am still breastfeeding Emmie today. I still think back on things she said about motherhood and this new life to try and help me make sense of it all.
Doulas are awesome.
I would like the record to reflect that after Emmie finally took a nap (during which the bulk of this was written), my day and outlook improved considerably. I showered, wrote, ate and was able to have a second to myself. It was magic. The rest of the day was much better. So: Emmie, PLEASE NAP. Thank you.
Shannon, YOU are awesome. Your family is awesome. We love you!