I had just peed on the stick and found out I was pregnant with my first bio child as I jetted off to Vegas with the fam. My parents, husband, two step kids, and I toured the entire strip. I’d never seen this feather-clad whore of a city, and I loved every tacky moment of our stay. From the hooker baseball cards taped to the street signs, to the lights of Fremont Street–this city has since come to represent my whole parenting experience.
The first two weeks with a new baby smack of a Vegas vacation in that sleep doesn’t visit in regular cycles. I don’t mean to imply that a new parent doesn’t sleep, because you do, but rarely in your bed and never at a normal time. Like parenthood itself, napping locations prove to be a real gamble. You could end up face first in a bowl of Cheerios with a baby attached to your boob during those first two weeks just as easily as you might find yourself prostrate on a casino rooftop in Vegas as did our dear friend in The Hangover. Sleep, however elusive it seems, will attack at some shitty inconvenient time.
Speaking of shitty inconvenience—ever try nursing in the bathroom at Bass Pro? Better yet, have you ever had a baby wailing in his/her carseat and tried to maneuver your boob around so you could nurse without taking the little screamer out of the seat? And what the hell is the football hold? Who knew nursing and yoga were so much alike? I could have advertised my own personal Cirque Du Soleil show and sold tickets each day for about sixteen months collectively.
Like some other Vegas shows, nudity is par for the course during those first weeks, especially if you’re nursing. There really wasn’t enough time between feedings in my house to warrant putting clothes on. I pranced around this joint like a Vegas show girl, only without the feathers and the flat tummy. Okay, so I didn’t exactly prance—it was more like a skulk. I did wear paper pasties, though, stuffed in my bra, and I was constantly rubbing some goo on my nipples to keep them from cracking and disintegrating into the carpet from all the wear and tear.
My fridge took a beating during that first two weeks, as well. I’ve never been so hungry in my life, and I dreamed of a Vegas buffet many times when I was too exhausted to get off the couch to cook. Mr. Jenn cooked for me each night, but during the day, I sunk to cheese crackers and peanut butter off a spoon. Unfortunately, my binge choices gave my kids gas. I had to resort to Oreos and loaf bread once I figured out the problem.
What I didn’t figure out was that my week old baby could have given three farts about all the blinking, singing, tacky toys I kept shaking in her face. I may as well have taken her to the movie on Fremont Street. Even so, Santa loaded our house with every light-up, blinking, singing toy Wal-Mart ever sold. Our living room did begin to resemble the Vegas strip after awhile.
Even though the memories of those first two weeks of my babies’ lives wear the haze of drunk sleeplessness and strobing toys, I will never forget the feel of their little bodies pressing into my soul as I held them. Those moments rearranged my psyche as did the first time I stepped into the desert at night and saw infinity in the stars or when I peeked over the side of the Grand Canyon and cried in the presence of Supreme Artistry. Here’s your postcard from the most magnificent experience of my life. The weather is beautiful, and I’m glad I’m here.