The birth wasn't as I'd hoped. A hemorrhage left me with severe anaemia, and pretty much out of it. I struggled to drink, to eat, to function. I even fell asleep with food in my mouth, sat upright in a chair. I was re-hospitalised two days after going home, a frightening experience. None of this helped me bond with my new daughter.
Two minutes after E was born, she was taken from me as I started to haemorrhage. She cwtched skin to skin with the other-half-of-us instead, something that gave him a massive leap ahead with his bonding with her. He fell in love instantly. I simply struggled to stay conscious. When calm ensued once more, my tiredness combined with blood loss meant that although I managed to feed E, all I could think about was the need to sleep. I didn't really see E until the next morning, this tiny girl with masses of dark hair and rosebud lips.
Looking back, the next few days are blurred in my mind, hazed over by my illness. I fed E, changed her when the other-half-of-us wasn't there, and cuddled her when she cried. Instinct took over, and I gave her as much care as I could, while not really being with it. Day three was my personal hell, the night even worse. Extreme tiredness and painful feeding led to a huge internal battle with myself- wanting to leave but needing to stay. I am sad now that I missed this precious time being properly with her, yet so glad I battled on through.
Don't get me wrong. I felt an attachment to her. I wanted to feed her, to care for her. I just didn't feel the overwhelming love I expected.
As my iron levels increased, and I slowly returned to myself, I began to get to know this little person for the first time, to soak her in. I saw her personality, her tucked up legs, her tiny nails. I saw her eyes, her hands, heard her strong newborn cry. As the days passed, and we got to know each other more and more, I started to like her, to love her.
I had to fall in love with my baby girl, a process over days and weeks, not minutes or hours. I had to learn about her, get to know her, and feel better in myself before I truly started to fiercely love her.