If it wasn’t too long to fit on the main blog page, I would have titled this post, “The Dumb Things that New Mothers Do.” (Or, to be more accurate, I suppose it should read “The Dumb Things that THIS New Mother Has Done” but that would be even less likely to fit.)
I didn’t wait long to begin doing dumb things once Jacob was born. The first night I spent with Jacob in the hospital, I fell asleep with Jacob resting on my chest. I woke up in a panic, realizing that 1) he was on his stomach, a definite no-no and 2) he could have toppled over onto the hard hospital floor if I had moved in my sleep.
I groped in the dark for my phone to text my mother, an NICU nurse, partially to confess and partially to find out if what I had done would somehow compromise Jacob’s long-term health. (Mind you, he was completely safe and sound at that moment, but I was a little more than clueless when it came to the ins and outs of baby care).
She assured me he was okay and that I should go back to sleep. So I did. This time, placing Jacob onto the softest, smushiest pillow in the room. Strike two.
Despite having a dumbbell of a mother, Jacob made it out of the hospital alive. Two days later, I thought I made a monumental mothering mistake that caused me for a moment—the longest moment of my life—to think I had lost him.
After a particularly trying time getting Jacob to fall asleep, Tom had taken over baby duty and laid down on the bed with Jacob resting on his chest. He had planned on holding Jacob just long enough to quiet him down. To shield Tom from the light, I laid a black t-shirt over his eyes. (What was I thinking? Oh, right I wasn’t.)
Exhausted, we both accidentally fell asleep. When I woke up hours later, I looked over at Tom and saw Jacob’s hat resting on his chest. Jacob wasn’t there. I looked to Tom’s side and saw swaddled Jacob laying face down amid the covers. Fearing the worst, I screamed the longest, loudest, most blood-curdling scream you have ever heard.
Of course, my scream startled Tom and Jacob—who was okay. In a daze, Tom jumped up and still bleary-eyed from sleep saw the black t-shirt and thought it was a snake in our bed. He began yelling and hitting the bed violently, not realizing until a few seconds later that he was attacking a blend of cotton and polyester not a venomous serpent.
The episode had left our adrenaline pumping, and we sat on the bed shaking and heaving. As I held Jacob close to my chest, I thanked God he was okay and vowed never, ever to sleep with him again, unless he was in his co-sleeper. Tom thanked God, too, then vowed to buy a bright pink sleeping mask to prevent any future false-alarm snake-bashing.
I suppose that living and learning is par for the course when you are adapting to a baby.
But, for Jacob’s sake, I hope we smarten up soon.