That's why I was so shocked when, a few days ago, I was talking to my husband an the "gift that keeps on giving" hit me again. I don't even remember what we were talking about at the time, but in the course of the conversation I found myself saying, "She (Maddie, my c-section baby) was always your baby; She was never mine." Then before I even knew it was there, out came, "They took her from me." Blinking back the tears that were trying forcefully to spill out, I realized that I had just tapped into a well of hurt that I didn't even know was there, all these years later. I was able to put a cap on the well, for now, promising myself that, while now is not a good time to deal with it, I will soon. I have to. That stuff is poison, and it has to come out. I'm not sure how or where to begin though; it's been so long. It's still a bad time to deal with the hurt, being on vacation with the family right now, but maybe if I can get out some of the story of why I felt like she was never mine, I'll be taking steps in the right direction.
Right after Maddie was taken from my body, she and Chris left. I was alone and he was with the baby. As I wanted, of course. I'm not meaning for any of this to seem like my husband had bad motives. Like me, he was doing his best to get through a terrible and unexpected ordeal. Regardless of motives, though, he spent the first two hours with our baby, holding her and bonding with her, while I cried alone. By the time I was able to see her, she was sleepy and didn't even look at me. I did as much baby care in the hospital as I could, but that was limited. Even once we got home though, Chris would bring Maddie to me to nurse, then, it felt to me, immediately take her again. I'm sure he was trying to help me rest and recover, but the memory that stands out to me is putting dishes away and reloading the dishwasher while he cuddled the baby on the couch. The day we got home from the hospital. I was only a room away, but it could have been miles. I felt like an outsider, and I didn't want to intrude.
Chris was gone a lot in the subsequent days. The Navy kept him busy. I spent tons and tons of time alone with Maddie, but I always got the feeling she was tolerating me till Daddy got home. When he was home, she was willing to be with me while she nursed, but then she'd fuss till Daddy got her again. When I'd wake up at night, she'd have wriggled away from me and be curled up next to him, even when she seemed too small to manage it. As she's grown, she's stayed a Daddy's girl, only coming down to sleep in our bed when he's home. Never when it's only me.
There's no way to know for sure of course. She might have been a Daddy's girl regardless. But I can't help but feel like those first two hours set the tone for the rest of the postpartum time, which set the tone for her babyhood, and so on. I have to close for now. The tears are getting closer to winning every second, and I have to push them back for now. I hope soon I can find a time and place to let them loose, and follow them wherever they lead. It'll be yet another step on this seemingly endless journey.