Welcome to the Jungle (of Pain)

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This is a photo of my daughter's hand in mine. Such a precious shot, isn't it? The kind that makes most people say, "Aaawww...," the kind of moment you treasure, an image that portrays motherhood as that magical place you've/I've been dreaming of...

Well, I shot this of us when my little rock 'n' roller hit the 4-week mark, just days ago, which does sum up how I feel about this experience (um, some of the time)... magical. Now, if I were to create an image to express how I felt the first weeks of her life most of the time, it would probably include painkillers, a not-so-pretty incision, cracked nipples (can I write that on a baby blog?) and endless tears -- not hers, mine. Little D, as we had called our baby leading up to her birth, turned out to be not so little. She came into this world at exactly 10 pounds. ("A perfect 10," exclaimed my younger sister.) Coincidentally, our big girl shares her birthdate with rapper Heavy D. (RIP) Her weight and size, almost 22 inches in length, were among the reasons I ended up having her by C-section, which undoubtedly affected my first weeks with her. I have no idea why women would opt for C-sections if they had a choice. They're overrated. I asked my friends who had been through one why they didn't give me a heads up about all the pain and discomfort that followed. Many said they didn't have a 10-pound baby, and all assured me, "It gets much better after 2 weeks." They were right. Once I got over that initial, dreadful period, I could start to hold D without totally flinching in pain, feed her without crying and gaze at her in a non-drugged state. And, as I type this now, just over 4 weeks since her birth, her sleepy head is resting on my shoulder and her warm body is curled up on my lap as she breathes softly against my chest. And, yeah, that jungle of pain I wrote about just suddenly turned into heaven. Sincere as ever, Teena, First-Time Mommy

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