Everyone says having a baby is the most rewarding experience you will ever have. This is true, but not in the first few weeks! Those first weeks at home are incredibly difficult and the only type of reward you will see are in the form of diaper deposits and the homemade meals other people bring you. If I am being completely honest, the first two weeks are easier than the next four. Those first two weeks you have visitors coming to help, outpouring of love from your Facebook friends, and a very sleepy newborn. You are also running on adrenaline because you just pushed out this amazing creature that snoozes so lovingly in your arms! Fast forward to week three when every two hour feedings turn into one hour feedings when baby starts cluster feeding, their vocal cords are all warmed up to pitch a fit at the slightest dampness in their diaper, and the ready-made meals/any contact with the outside world slows to a halt Worst of all are the sleepless nights and days that get to you and a lifetime (I'm told) of exhaustion rules your world.
Don't worry mommy's-to-be: there is a light at the end of this diaper filled tunnel! Sometime around two months your baby will smile at you as a social response. This happened for me a couple days ago as baby approached her 8-week mark. I've seen her smile, mostly when her eyes are closed during sleep or eating, but not for an extended period of time (I.E. more than 5 seconds). This week she looked me straight in the eye and held eye contact for several minutes cooing and ah-hing while showing off her pearly gums:) She let me take off her pants and onesie without kvetching because we were talking and singing and bopping- you know, the stuff you see in TV commercials.
The light at the end of my tunnel lit up on full blast last night: after her 4:30 am feeding, I got her in the bassinet for all of three seconds before her eyes popped open and her cry started. Then, in the midst of an open mouth shrill, her eyes locked with mine and the noise immediately stopped to be replaced with a bright smile that reaches all the way up to her eyes. Even though I was exhausted and wanted more than anything for her to take the paci and close her eyes to sleep, I found myself renewed with a wave of love and amazement: this child not only responds to my smell (remember, I am the milk factory) and my voice (cute when dad is holding her and I say something from across the room causing her to turn in my direction), but now she is just as excited to see my face as I am to see hers! I scooped her right up and we spent the next few minutes staring and smiling at each other. Just in time for Mother's Day. That's why she arrived so early, right?