Bonding

BondingIdeally there is this magical thing that happens when you hold your baby for the first time. You look into your baby’s eyes and ZAP! You are a mother in love.

It was not like that for me–not the first time, or the second.

The first time I was tired and a little irritated that the nurse couldn’t seem to give me a moment to breathe before placing my daughter on my stomach. Apparently she wasn’t happy with my droopy eyelids either because she demanded that I open my eyes to look at my baby. Then she was encouraging me to breastfeed. Again she seemed in a rush and didn’t seem to think I was making any progress. (My husband assures me my interpretation of events was all in my head and that the nurse was very nice.)

The nurse whisked my daughter off to the nursery for cleaning, picturing, and to give her a bottle of sugar water (I’m sure there is a fancier name for it). An hour went by, and I got very anxious. I was in the process of telling my husband to go investigate when the nurse returned to tell me that they had taken my daughter to x-ray and that she was now hooked up to monitors in the nursery. Apparently she wasn’t breathing right. She was transferred to the children’s hospital in a neighboring town and I got an early discharge so we could accompany her.

Three days she stayed in the PICU hooked up to monitoring equipment that had me on pins and needles. At home I got up every three hours to pump breast milk, but without my baby the milk wasn’t coming in. I’d take my pathetic half ounce with me to the hospital where the nurse would graciously give it to my daughter before supplementing it with formula. That was a low point for me in my first days as a mother.

I did not feel the bonding process or the magic begin until my daughter came home with us. My milk came in and I was able to feed her the way I had hoped to.

The second time I thought we were better prepared. I was more alert. I gave my husband strict orders to stay with our son once he had been born as they took him to the nursery for that bath-picture-bottle routine. This time it was me that caused the emergency. Everyone had gone out with the baby. As I sat there I suddenly felt a flush of heat, my ears filled with cotton, and my stomach threatened to heave. I had enough strength to call the nurse. After that it I was in and out of it due to a hemorrhage that resulted in my needing two pints of blood put back into me.

Just when they got me sorted, my son developed jaundice serious enough to require light therapy. I didn’t get to hold him much. He looked like he was tanning in a display case.  Though I tried breastfeeding, I just didn’t have it in me yet. We were both fortunately hospitalized together since there was no demand for the maternity room, but again that bonding-magic didn’t begin until we were finally able to go home together.

Again, my milk came in and I was able to feed him.

Bonding with your baby is different for everyone. Some women get that perfect magic. Some women have hormones run a muck and struggle to make a connection. Some, like me, have situations that complicate everything. Once the connection is made, however it comes about, bonding is a wonderful part of motherhood. That moment you realize how much you care for the child in your life is one that helps define you as a mother.

Was your bonding experience instantaneous or a process? 

*Photo: Mother and children by blmurch, obtained through Flickr.

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6 Responses to Bonding

  1. Mary May 3, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    Thank you for sharing. I remember the moment I first bonded with my son. It is still one of the most joyous moments of my life.

    • Mary May 3, 2012 at 10:42 am #

      I should add that that was after seven months of colic, so, I can relate. Bonding is not immediate for many, but when it happens, it’s still joyous.

      • Veronica Monique May 4, 2012 at 7:40 am #

        Yes, it is joyous. The difficulties didn’t rob me of that, for which I am glad.

  2. Dianna M May 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    I was one of those mothers that bonded immediately once I had my baby in my arms. The only problem was both of my deliveries delayed me from holding my babies right after they said hello to the world.
    Amaya, my oldest was born by emergency C-section at 4am, after almost 19 hours of labor. I had an anxiety attack of sorts right after they numbed me for the c-section and was SUPER exhausted. Therefore, after she was delivered and held up for me to see, she was then taken to be cleaned and I basically passed out. Luckily I woke 2 hours later and was able to have my baby in my arms and have that POW bonding moment. For some reason my milk never came in therefore I was unable to breast feed, but that did not stop us from our bonding.
    With Gwyneth, my youngest, she was a scheduled C-section and I had prepared myself for the numbness as to be more calm and so I could be more alert when she was born. And I was, it was good… I saw her as she hello to the world and then waited patiently to be reunited with her in my room only I had a medical issue that delayed that by 10 hours. 10 HOURS! I had my daughter at 10am and did not see her until 8pm. But once they put her in my arms, I was hit with the POW bonding moment again. And again, breastfeeding was out of the question but again that did not stop us from our bonding.

    • Veronica Monique May 10, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

      I love how you show that breastfeeding is not the only way to feel bonded to your baby. I don’t believe a mother has to breastfeed to bond. For me it helped, but mostly I think it was the reality of having my baby and feeling that we were together. I look in their eyes and just love.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Courage and Faith | Veronica Monique | Word Warrior - May 8, 2012

    […] me doing what needs to be done.I’ve shared what those first days of motherhood where like, when I struggled to bond with each of my children. In those early days it was hard for me to feel anything other than fear. […]

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