They say the pain of childbirth is one that you forget moments after you see that beautiful small face. And for me, that's mostly true. I don't remember much of the pain of giving birth to my daughter... what I do remember are the after effects. The inability to sit up on my own for a while without holding onto something to steady myself, the challenges of something as simple as using the restroom, and particularly the sleepless nights.
I should clarify that last one - it's not so much entirely "sleepless" but rather sleep-interrupted. I remember waking up to the sound of even her smallest whimper, no matter what time of night. And I'd glance at the digital clock on my husband's bedside table, taking a mental note of how many hours she (and therefore I) had slept since the last small whimper, usually only a few hours before.
This week, as my baby girl's been under the weather, we've had a little trip down memory lane and she and I have spent a few sleep-interrupted nights together - mostly around the 3 or 4 AM hour. Sometimes, it's enough to rub her back. Sometimes, it's enough to hold and rock her to sleep. Sometimes, it's not enough until we go into the living room, curl up on the couch together, and doze to Finding Nemo. But it's always enough to make me remember those first few weeks of middle-of-the-night hours together. And no matter how many fewer sleeping hours I get, she's always worth it.