Diary #2: “My Life Is Over”
So now I have a baby. It didn’t take long, actually. Here’s how it played out:
Shortly after the ‘Two Lines’ incident, once we had told people what was coming, a new topic of conversation started to crop up with considerable frequency: The ‘boy or girl’ topic. There were, of course, the theories: “I can tell it’s a boy. See how the stomach is growing forward, rather than sideways? Definitely a boy…”, and “She’s craving sour? Yeah, that’s a girl. Sweet for boys, sour for girls, everybody knows that.” There were the generic inquiries: “So, what are you hoping for?” and there were the downright weird: “Look, I’m not trying to be creepy or anything…but do you remember which way you guys were facing when…you know? Because the southwest energy is very powerful, man. Like magic.”
Anyhow. As I say, it didn’t take long. There were some pre-natal yoga classes, some unnerving conversations with the doctor (“See, you must not think of it as trying to squeeze a watermelon through a bangle. It’s not at all like that.”), and the next thing I knew, I found myself wearing green pyjamas and being doused in disinfectant. “It’s a sterile environment, you’ll have to remove your shoes. No, no, your sweaty socks are fine, you can leave those on.” Before I had a chance to debate this rationale, it had happened. One moment I was lowering myself onto a stool, the next, there was a whole bunch of wailing. “Congratulations, it’s a girl!” said someone.
I’ll confess that things got a bit hazy at this point. My heart was racing. I bumped my head into an overhanging piece of equipment (after specifically being told not to), I asked the anaesthesiologist if I could get a cappuccino (I’m not sure why… I don’t even drink coffee) and eventually bumbled my way over to the source of all the screaming.
You hear a lot about what it’s like the moment your baby is born. You’ve heard it from a dozen people and seen it in a hundred films, but you still don’t really get it until it happens to you. There was a lot going on in that room. Lots of talking, people bustling about doing big important things, and above it all, a screaming newborn baby. It was pretty intense. But in the middle of all that, there was a moment. One of ‘those’ moments. She’d been cleaned and wrapped up, and she suddenly stopped crying and looked right at me. And I felt something click inside me. It wasn’t love… I don’t think you can love someone that immediately. I’m honestly not even sure I can put it into words, but I’ll try my best.
You feel light-headed. Cold and warm at the same time. You look at this tiny (really, unbelievably tiny) person and you’re amazed at how something can be so fragile. You want to comfort her and protect her, but you’re terrified that you won’t be able to; you want to be strong, but you’re afraid you’re weak. You’re filled with a murderous rage at the thought that someday someone might say or do something to hurt her feelings (weird, but I’m being completely honest here). It’s a roller coaster.
It’s been four weeks since my daughter was born, and there’s no indication that the roller coaster is going to ease up. Last week, she started to cry while the nurse was bathing her…I couldn’t take it, and had to leave the room. She’s due to get an injection from the doctor tomorrow, and I’ve spent the past two days telling myself that I must not punch him when she cries. But I’m sure it’ll get better soon. I mean, it’s not like I’m going to be this worried about her for the rest of my life, right? Right?
Missed the first diary? You can read Imran’s thoughts before his daughter’s birth right here.
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