Two things I thought about at 3 am last night as I listened to the baby put herself back to sleep: 1. my total responsibility for this person's life and 2. my post-gravid body.
In an act of chivalry and team spirit, I sent my husband home to watch movies, eat Indian food, and have one last, quiet full night of sleep. This was the first night with the baby. I gave birth at 6:30 pm and was settled into my hospital room by 10 pm.
At 2 am, alone with a baby, the gravity of this post-gravid state hit me. I was in charge. I was in control of someone else's life. Who gave me this responsibility? Wanting a baby now seemed a mad and unthoughtful drive. When I wanted a baby, I could ponder a while, then forget and think of other things. Now that I had a baby, the attention was constant. The only time I get a break is when she's sleeping. But then that's when I think of SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Safety is a constant motivator. This world has lots of danger for babies. One way out is ignoring the dangers and loosening one's vigilance. That's not how I'm wired. It's my compulsion to look after that baby. So that I'm even driven to check her breathing when she sleeps.
I was helpless in the hospital those first 2 nights. I couldn't go to the bathroom by myself. I couldn't walk more than a few steps. It was my first time using a wheel chair. It was weeks before I could walk a block. 10 months later I can walk over a mile and I've gone back to ballet class. I realized in last night's wee hours that I feel okay in my post-gravid body.
My pelvis shifted, so laying on my stomach on a hard surface doesn't feel the same.