On February 20, 2019 our Antonia Charlotte Sophie was born. It was a full moon night, and she came with so much pace and energy, that I had moments when I thought I would not survive labour. I have already shared my thoughts about labour here and was very overwhelmed by all the comments and experiences by other mums.
Fact is: I did not have much time for hypnobirthing tricks which I had learnt beforehand, for lighting candles and eating snacks in the delivery room. We arrived at the hospital at 2am, after contractions had started at 10pm, and at 4.24am little Antonia was born. I found giving birth very traumatising and am not so sure I will forget the pain and the details, such as that the doctor had to “press” her out of me from the top of my belly, ever. I have never felt more hopeless and indeed thought that neither I nor the baby will survive labour.
Obviously, we both did survive. The most overwhelming moment for me then was to be given my baby, put her close to my body and see her tiny little fingers with even tinier finger nails. Oh how perfect she was! It’s crazy how you spend nine months wondering whether your baby is healthy and happy, and whether she has “all the parts” she needs to survive – to then see this tiny little human being with – in our case – the longest eyelashes a person can have, brown hair, a cute little nose and these perfect little finger nails. Such a miracle!
I recovered very quickly from labour: Even two hours later, at 6.30am, I got up from the chair, took a few careful steps, realised I am totally fit and then thought: Wow!! It’s a new day! The sun is shining! I want coffee! And breakfast! And show the whole world my perfect little baby girl!
Obviously, we did not take her out immediately, so my boyfriend left to buy a delicious breakfast for the hospital. Meanwhile, I walked around the hospital with my baby in her little bed by my side, feeling as if nothing has ever happened.
We stayed at the hospital for two nights, more or less without any sleep, I was way to excited and the little one cried many tears after the traumatizing event of her own birth.
Once we arrived at home, we had two and a half weeks for the three of us to get used to our new life as a family. I think I will forever remember this time as absolutely necessary and so, so beautiful. For us, as a family, but also for myself: I felt fit enough to leave the house for an hour every now and then, to go for a coffee, walk or run some errands – and to clear my head from all the impressions. Being in childbed is exactly how I imagined it to be: absolutely mesmerising on the one hand, with feelings for your little one which words can not explain, and on the other hand: so overwhelming from all the hopelessness and insecurities. The first nights were hard, I was so tired I fell asleep while breast feeding at night, had headaches during the day and cried a few tears just from generally being over-challenged.
Today is the third day I am spending alone with little Toni Lotta, my boyfriend is back at work. I can’t quite say yet that I enjoy the time alone with her: At home, where I feel comfortable and safe, I am all good – nobody minds if I run around here in my pajamas at noon; however, once I have to leave the house, possibly even with a fixed appointment, I get all nervous and realise, I am not quite ready for that yet. Or, let’s say: I believe the baby is not quite ready for it yet. Public transport and loud noises break my heart as I am constantly worried about how much she hears, smells, feels and sees. I realised after two days of being out of the house for a few hours with her that it simply is too much and that I have to limit my to dos to one a day, e.g.: visit the pediatrician.
I feel like the worst mum on earth when I carry little Antonia home crying and when it takes over an hour to calm her once we arrived back home. The level of guilt feelings I currently have every day is insane, I can’t stop thinking about whether she’s too hot or too cold, whether I dressed her correctly, whether she’s hungry or how much time I have left until she wakes up again and starts crying, just generally: whether I do everything right or wrong.
There are many headaches involved at the moment, from the lack of sleep but also from the worries I have about my little baby girl. I hope to soon find a rhythm with her, and I hope the wind to stop and the temperatures to become warmer. I hope she will soon smile at us, and I hope I will be able to lower the aspirations I have about my own life, work, social contacts, etc. Less me, more Toni Lotta, because she deserves all my attention at the moment!
Photos: Lea Lüdemann and JFQ Photos