I had my oldest child literally two days after I graduated from college. There was even a pool going among our friends as to whether or not I would go into labor at graduation. My pregnancy had been less than fun, because finishing my thesis and pregnancy-brain proved to be nearly incompatible. The last two weeks of my pregnancy, I began to swell up like the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man, and scared friends and strangers alike.
After being induced, laboring and pushing for just five minutes short of eternity, I was wheeled into an emergency c-section, where my husband got up close and personal with parts of me that God never intended man to see.
My first impression of G-Man was the pediatrician exclaiming “dear God that is a big baby!,” and the fact that my beautiful baby had a huge section of road rash on his head where his ten pounds met my wide-but-not-wide-enough pelvic bone. Poor thing looked like you had dragged him across the concrete or something. At 10 pounds and 22 inches, he looked 3 months old, and was already too big for all newborn clothes and diapers. It was an omen, I just didn’t know it at the time.
When we brought G-Man home from the hospital, he revealed his true nature, and Demon-Baby emerged. I kid you not that that child cried for the first six months of his life. He screamed for two hours, and slept for five minutes, only to scream again. It was like the Exorcist, pea soup and all. I would not be surprised if his head spun around while my back was turned. We were tempted to sprinkle the Holy Water on him just to see if he would sizzle. We visited the pediatrician 6 times in the first two weeks, begging to know what we were doing wrong. All he could offer was the dreaded “C” word….Colic.
Being a new mom was hard enough, but being a new mom with a child that was unsoothe-able, unsatisfiable and contained a set of lungs that could be heard from space almost broke me. We tried everything. Sometimes the vacuum would soothe Demon-Baby, so my husband burned up a Hoover giving us the cleanest floors in the state of Louisiana. Sometimes you could pat Demon-Baby’s butt while he was on his tummy, so my husband gave himself carpel tunnel from hours of butt-patting. I wondered if my breast milk was toxic, so I changed my diet sixteen ways from Sunday, and went on rapid diet coke detox (which was oh-so-smart in the post-partum hormonal frenzy) while Best Friend M. guarded me from causing too much destruction in my withdrawal.
Today, my husband and I still tell the tales of those days like soldiers with a serious case of PTSD. I get a cold sweat just writing about it. It was almost enough to ensure that my oldest was an only child.
Here is a rare shot of Demon-Baby in his natural habitat:
Demon-Baby eventually relaxed and let the real G-Man emerge, but he kept making frequent appearances just to keep us living in a constant state of fear. I spent 5 years feeling pretty much like the worst mother on the planet.
But then something remarkable happened. G-Man started school, and sure enough, Demon-Baby reemerged every morning for the first three months, begging not to go, and screaming down the classroom. However, once he adjusted, G-Man emerged from his Demon-Baby cocoon, and was suddenly the best child you could ask for. He was sweet, kind, well-behaved, an excellent student, and in two years, has never gotten a single bad grade or conduct report. He was even Student of the Month this year. I still have whiplash at this incredible transformation.
Our Demon-Baby days taught me a lot about being a mom. I had to toss out all of the books and my preconcieved expectations of motherhood, and pretty much make it up as I went along. I got to see just how awesome my husband is, because I tell ya, he was right there with me in the trenches during Demon-Baby’s reign of terror. I was reminded why Best Friend M. is my best friend, because she stuck with me and my insanity over Demon-Baby even before she was his Godmother and had to.
But mostly, I learned that motherhood is a journey, and you just have to keep being the best mom you can be, even if you can’t see what is around the corner. Sometimes you get Demon-Baby, but sometimes you also get this: