Ah! The rush of feelings, the love that overcrowds your heart to overflowing, it almost feels as though your heart is bursting out of your chest. If you are like me, you most certainly sneaked looks at the babies in their cots, thinking, “Do these tiny people belong to me? So, I can take them home for keeps?” It’s such a surreal feeling that nothing in the world can be compared to… at least for me, being a first time mom.
The first time I saw my babies after they came, was the next day at the Teaching Hospital, where they had been taken to, due to their prematurity. I was looking at the babies, one obviously a very fair person, and the other, not too fair, with so much hair on her body. I was touching them, and marvelling at the gems that had come out of me, while my mom, who had spent the night with them, filled me in on their progress.
Just then, a doctor, (a student doctor) walked by and asked if I was their mom and told me to keep an eye on my son’s colour, that I should ensure his colour stays pink, and if it he starts to look pale, I should call on him.
My people! My eyes were glued to that boy like my life depended on it. It was as though if I removed my eyes, he would turn pale. He turned pale several times, before the doctor decided that he couldn’t breathe on his own after all, and set him up with the whole breathing paraphernalia.
For months after he had passed that stage, I still watched him, to make sure he was a nice shade of pink.
If watching was the only thing I did, it would have been fine. I checked if he was alive. I was so afraid for his life for a while, that I actually put my ear to his heart, and sometimes, his mouth too, to be sure he was breathing fine. His sister got the same treatment, and I thought I was just being paranoid.
Until my niece came along, and my sister was the same way with her, a perfectly healthy baby. That was when I knew it was not just me acting crazy. This concern afflicts more than just me.
Because my kids were preemies, I was very picky about who carried them, in fact, we were homebound for several months, and except for hospital runs, we were not going anywhere. Visitors came but my babies were always ‘safely’ tucked away in their cots, or in my arms or their grandma’s.
The second time around, I couldn’t have enough people to help me carry them. And I was not the only one like that. One of my pregnancy buddies had even stricter rules, when her first child was born. The first time I went to see her, it was after the Christening, and I met the baby in its cot, with a lace cloth covering the whole cot. I asked why, and she told me she did not want people touching him, as he had not been immunized.
When I saw them three weeks later, nothing had changed, and her response this time was, “Abeg, let them not carry him! I don’t know where they have put their hands.” We laughed, and I did not hold that baby, but no offence, as I had been that anxious first time mom.
Rushing to the hospital at every opportunity. My paediatrician back them can testify that I was literally a pain in his neck. Because I was in the hospital, over every and any complaint, like the time my son was so full from feeding and, having not burped, the milk had started to drip from his nose. I was so scared! I thought about the feeding drip that had passed through there in his early days on earth, and how that might be linked to this current situation. I did not think, I just took both kids to the hospital.
The dripping had stopped by then, but I still saw the doctor, who after asking questions, came to the realisation that the young man was just overfed. That was music to my ears! Just an overfed baby.
The second time around, almost every trip to the hospital was planned. No more rushing off, without finding someone to help me look after the older twins, unless I wanted all of us to go to the hospital, which was not an appealing idea at all.
Over-packing the diaper bag. Honestly, with the amount of load I have carried, I should either have developed muscles, or be bent over. I sabi pack load. Being twins, I had to pack in twos, but I would pack as though we were travelling for two days, when we were only going for morning Church service. Every available space would be filled with one thing or the other that I thought I would need before we were home. The second time around, I didn’t even buy a diaper bag.
Too many clothes. I had not finished my baby shopping, when my first twins decided to come, but when I started buying clothes for them, I sort of went overboard, considering these were clothes that they soon over grew in three months, if not less, and people were still gifting them with clothes.
Washing every day. When you buy too many clothes, you tend to have more clothes to wash. And that was exactly what happened. Every morning, when I came back from the hospital, there were neighbours who collected the baby’s clothes and washed them, sometimes, including my own clothes.
When we got home from the hospital, it continued. My mom washed, and when she left, I continued the tradition, even when I had not slept during the night, I would still wash clothes in the morning. By the time the second twins showed up, my tolerance level for daily washing had gone very low.
Dreaming about sleeping on the baby by mistake. As a former expert in co-sleeping, I cannot tell you the number of times I had had this dream, and every single time, I had woken up in a “charmed” state, only to realise that I had put them back in their cots, before falling into my tired sleep.
Guess what would follow. I would then check if they were still breathing. In fact, I cannot count the number of times I did that during the day, and at night, it was compulsory, as, in my mind, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) was real.
Being a first time mom is a lot of experimenting. Not having been a mother before, you are relying on your maternal instincts, your mom’s experience, everyone else’s experience, to pull through, and that means you are learning about motherhood at just about the same time as your baby is learning to be a baby. Two learners, but one is dependent on the other.
By the time you do all these things, nothings fazes you again.
It’s almost like, “Is that all you got?”
Join the conversation with any of our TTC and Pregnancy Groups here