Postpartum Day Two
I didn’t want to leave the hospital. My short stay was wonderful. Although I didn’t sleep much during my two nights there, the nurses were so helpful. They brought me my breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They diapered and swaddled Baby John. They taught us how to swaddle him, how to give him a sponge bath, and how to care for him after his circumcision. They brought me warm towels for my back in the middle of the night. They brought me pillows, blankets, food, and pain medication. They helped me find the best position for breastfeeding and encouraged me as I figured out how to nurse. When a nurse greeted me Saturday morning and said, “Let’s get started on your discharge,” I wanted to protest. Why did I have to leave?
I figured my reluctance to leave the hospital was normal. After all, who wouldn’t enjoy around-the-clock care? But I did detect a sadness rousing, an emptiness developing in the pit of my stomach. I hoped a little more sleep and the comfort of my home would help.
When Chris, John, and I arrived home, we couldn’t have received a better welcome. Family members had sent flowers. Friends and coworkers had dropped off quiche, homemade bread, and hand-stitched quilts. My father and his wife, Lynda, who had stayed at our house and watched the dogs while we were at the hospital, arranged all the presents on our dining room table so that when I entered the house, the first thing I saw was a display of loving gifts. Lynda had chili simmering on the stove and immediately offered me a cup of tea. My mother had flown up from Florida, and her good friend Ronnie had picked her up at the airport. They, too, were awaiting our arrival. Ronnie gave us a huggable stuffed elephant, and my mother practically melted as she met her new grandson. John had fallen asleep during the car ride home, and Chris placed his car seat on the kitchen counter so we could all adore the precious sleeping angel. Everything was wonderful. Or so it seemed.
The teakettle was whistling, and I couldn’t tolerate hearing it a second longer, so I rushed to turn it off as someone tried to talk to me. When I tried to use the faucet in the kitchen, water obnoxiously squirted me in the face. My father and Lynda had cleaned up the house and left it in spotless condition, but they had moved a few things, and it didn’t seem right. I was annoyed that they had moved things, but then I was immediately ashamed of my frustration because I knew they were simply trying to help. My mother attempted to hug me, but my shoulder was tender from a shot a nurse had given me that morning; as she began to embrace me, I winced and pushed her away. Worst of all, Riley, my constant companion, my shadow, my canine best friend, wouldn’t look at me. Clearly, she felt betrayed by the seven-pound bundle we’d brought home.
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