I was up most of the night, then up for good at 5:00am with the worst raging headache since I've been home from the hospital. I felt draggy, sore, reluctant to get out of bed, nauseous, and just generally crappy.
I finally forced myself out of bed to eat breakfast, which didn't really help much, but at least I had something in my stomach so I could take pain meds. Then I forced myself to get ready for the day, but even lipgloss didn't do much to improve my disposition this morning. I felt really disappointed in myself that I wasn't continuing to improve.
And then it occurred to me that this has happened before in my life…
When this little sweetie was born, I really had no idea what to expect. I didn't know how long I would hurt, how long it would be before she slept through the night, how long it would take to get into some kind of schedule, or how long until my life became normal. I was determined to be amazing, though, and get things on track as quickly as possible. How hard could it be, right?
In the same week that we had our first baby, Craig and I also bought our first home. While I was in the hospital, Craig arranged for all of our worldly possessions to be moved from our little apartment into our new little house, so that it would be ready for our new little baby to move into. Old carpet was ripped out, rooms were painted, and furniture was moved in just in time for Savannah and I to come home from the hospital. My parents had also driven in from Texas to be with me for as long as I needed them.
All of that sounds perfectly wonderful, right?
Well, it was perfectly wonderful until about the third day when we all started tripping over each other and my dear mother tried to help me unpack boxes and organize my kitchen. Have I ever mentioned that I am slightly OCD?…especially about my kitchen?? Well, it was all I could do to sit there and let her try to help me. I endured it for an entire week before I finally thought, "I'm feeling so much better than I think I should be at this point! I'm just going to let my mom hold the baby and I'll unpack by myself."
For four or five days, Savannah mostly slept. My mom mostly held her. And I mostly unpacked like a crazy woman so that my house would at least be in order. I went back to church that Sunday, too, with a brand new Baby Savannah. People marveled at how amazing I was. My YW fought over who would get to hold Perfect Little Savannah. And I lived up to that ridiculous ideal that I had in my head about what amazing should look like. I felt pretty great. I was a remarkable new mother. I could not only bring life into the world, but I could set up a brand new household, too. Success. Validation. Confidence.
That lasted until Day 13 when all the magic wore off. My parents had left to go back to their lives. Craig was back at work. The Relief Society had stopped bringing dinners. There were empty moving boxes stacked up to the roof in the garage. And Savannah had decided that eating every 3 hours was a better schedule for her than all that constant sleeping she had been doing the week before. I was draggy, sore, tired, and so frustrated that I couldn't keep up the pace I had set for myself.
After having that experience with three additional babies, I now know that the recovery process is pretty much the same with all of them. They fake you out in the first week and sleep for 24 hours a day because being born is HARD WORK. They have to sleep as much as you do just to recover from the trauma of leaving the womb. And when they wake up, they're HUNGRY! I didn't try to be as amazing with the babies that came after Savannah, and I was more prepared for the round-the-clock feedings. I stayed home from church longer than I wanted to. I didn't try to organize a household during the first week after coming home from the hospital (although we did manage to schedule MAJOR moves within a few months of each of our other three kids' births.) I still had a little bit of that OCD drive to be amazing, but I was more patient with myself and more willing to let the babies determine how quickly any of us got back into a normal routine.
Apparently in the 10 years that have passed since I've had to recover from anything strenuous, I've forgotten about pacing myself and being patient. I was so excited to be back among the living last week, that I jumped right into EVERYTHING way too soon.
So, on this last day of 2013, I'm trying really hard to remember to be still. There are people coming over tonight because I invited them before I remembered this little recovery lesson. But I think I can be still anyway. Be still and listen to my body. Be still and let my family do things that they're more than willing and capable of doing. Be still and just enjoy the people around me and the amazing year that has passed. Be still and not worry about being amazing and perfect. Be still and be grateful.
I'm looking forward to spending New Year's Eve with people I love, who won't mind if I'm in my jammies and not venturing too far away from the couch.
I hope that tonight, you're also surrounded by people you love and who love you, and that the upcoming New Year is as great as the one that has passed. I'm so grateful for all of my wonderful friends, bloggy and otherwise, who read this blog and write their own and inspire and encourage me to look for the blessings around me. Happy New Year's Eve!