Like a light drizzle escalating into a full blown torrential downpour, baby Santana’s cries began in a very mild and faint manner. He softly whimpered out in a pitch so low it was almost unnoticeable. I just knew that my touch alone would be enough to soothe him right back to sleep.
Still in immense pain from my C-section, I could not pick baby Santana up to coddle him like I wanted to. I cursed the fact that I couldn’t even do something as simple as sitting up in my hospital bed without bawling helplessly. That didn’t stop me from trying though - - and failing. In defeat, all I could do was lay there, extend my left arm out to his open crib, and place my hand on his tiny swaddled body.
But that wasn’t enough.
As his wailing escalated from low pitch to high, I could sense that my son was becoming fussier and increasingly agitated by the second. His cry became more forced and pierced through the silence of my quiet hospital room. He was relentless and there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t check his diaper. I couldn’t feed him. I couldn’t even lay him on my chest.
I was stuck.
Where in the hell is my child’s father? He said he would be right back. See Meisha. You have got to start thinking: less fairy tale. more realistically, okay? Call your mom. Call somebody. Anybody. Let them know what’s up. When will you stop giving your child’s father chances to be a good dad? Okay… You’re very private, but honey you’re going to have to swallow that pride and ask for someone else to stay with you overnight tomorrow. You will be able take care of your son all on your own one day but boo-boo kitty today ain’t the day. Let me put this in terms you can understand because you know that head of yours is hard. YOU WERE LITERALLY JUST CUT OPEN FOR CHILDBIRTH AND PUT BACK TOGETHER AGAIN LIKE HUMPTY-DUMPTY. You’re out of commission. For Christ Sake, get some help until your body heals - - at least.
Psssst. I was down but I wasn’t down enough to let anybody know what I was going through. I just didn’t want to be a pity case or hear any “I told you so’s” about my son’s father.
So, I did the next best thing…
I pressed a button to page a nurse for help. She wasted no time arriving quickly.
“Hi Ms. Frontis. Everything okay in here?”
“Yes ma’am. I just need a little help,” I replied, doing a poor job of hiding how emotionally overwhelmed I was.
I fought back burning tears and continued. “My child’s father who was staying with me to help out tonight had to run out for a um… family emergency. Yeah, I’m sure he will be back any moment now, but I can’t…”
“Don’t you worry a bit momma. You just get your rest. That’s what we are here for. I’m going to make sure this little fella is good,” she assured me.
Maybe she could detect that I was telling a lie from the shakiness of my voice and the stutter in my speech…
Maybe she knew my age from my file and felt sorry for the struggling teen mom…
Or maybe she just truly loved her job and treated every new mom with such high level of care and urgency…
Whatever it was, I didn’t challenge it.
She allowed me to kiss baby Santana and even adjusted my blanket before tending to his needs. I realized that I hadn’t had much chance to relax since my son’s delivery. Maybe that’s why only a few moments later sleep swiftly took me under its wing and I was down for the count.
Somewhere in time where late night met the early morning, Santana’s father strolled in like a walking marijuana plant. With bloodshot red eyes and an aroma that reeked, there was no doubt in my mind that had been out having a “good ol’ time.”
Why is he tapping me? Why is he trying to wake me up? I haven’t even had four good hours of uninterrupted sleep. I couldn’t even have help with OUR son. Just... just not right now.
“Hey beautiful. Can I lay beside you? … Yeah, I know you have every reason to be mad…I’m sorry. Shit got hectic but you know I love you and my son… C’mon don’t be like that. Give me a kiss. I swear I’m here forever… I’m sorry and I love y’all. I’ll do better.”
At 18, I didn’t know any better. I was still in the process of figuring out life. Real love? I didn’t have the slightest clue what that was all about. All I knew was that I yearned for a single piece of stability during this crazy transition to motherhood. Just like that, I was back to having some kind of hope that there was some validity and truth in my child’s father words.
We closed our eyes for what felt like five minutes before I heard…
“Hey baby. Did you get you some rest? How was y’all first night alone?”
Of course my mom was here - - bright and early.
Baby Santana was sleeping peacefully and my child’s father was snoring violently.
Meisha tell her the truth! You haven’t even slept. You will need her tonight. Don’t even try to lie to her. You know she can see right through that so just spit it out. Your child’s father is knocked out. It’s the perfect time to confide in her without any eavesdropping.