Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Meeting my baby for the first time

As I trudge through my days, wondering if my body will make it another hour without falling apart- as I try to pick up my house with as little bending over as possible- as I lay awake at night unable to fall back asleep- as I rest on the couch feeling the aggressive kicks and punches of an active little boy- as I chase/waddle after my tots wondering when they started to run so fast- my mind always jumps ahead to one moment.

The moment when I get to meet my new baby. The moment when the person that I have worked so hard to grow is no longer just a blurry image on an ultrasound mugshot. The moment when beautiful newborn lips are smacking to eat, plump cheeks are begging for kisses, little feet and legs are bent just so to snuggle up against me, the tiniest of fingers reach to grab onto mine. The moment when the heart beat that we've been tracking for the past 9/10 months is now on the outside, pressed against me, beating in unison with my own. The moment when the unfairness of pregnancy's sacrifices all becomes very, very worth it.

Delight in the newborn smells, surprise by how tiny this body seems in comparison to the toddlers I have back home, relief that the labor/pregnancy part is behind me, satisfaction that the empty crib warmer that has been taunting me for the past hours is now filled with a new occupant, joy in the new life ready to call me Mama, happiness that this beautiful bundle is mine, suspended between the moments of difficult labor and newborn sleeplessness, love so intense my heart threatens to explode- this moment of gold is one that I will relive over and over again for each of my children.

This moment signifies an end. A beginning. An event all of its own.

This moment is full of exhaustion, pain, disbelief, shock, wonder, happiness, joy, excitement. These conflicting emotions swirl together into one tiny bundle that rests so gently in my arms for the first time.

The responsibility of new motherhood blended with relief of the moment finally arriving- this moment holds no guarantees. It might bring with it a surprise. It might be stolen from me as an unhealthy baby is whisked away to the NICU. That's what happened with Addison's birth. Our moment was cut short. Way too short.

The moment might be proceeded by a scary, questionable moment. Like with Carter Henry who was born all wrapped up in his cord- a 7lb 11oz blueberry.

In this moment the waiting is over. The wondering is oftentimes ended. There isn't an autobiography that is pushed out with the placenta- telling you exactly what this new life will hold, but now you can look into the eyes of this tiny person. You can connect in a new way. Nurturing, teaching, loving- these things take on new shape. The shape of a newborn.

I have been thinking a lot about this moment. I can barely believe that in 6ish weeks I am blessed to experience this moment again. My heart is overflowing at the thought of it. The preparation, the worry how the tots will do, the uncomfortableness, the fear of the unknown, the inability to truly be or feel like myself- this all pales in comparison to the moment that is coming. And I am excited.

Motherhood includes a lot of moments. Awesome moments. But after a long, difficult pregnancy- this moment of meeting my newborn for the first time is my favorite. A moment so full of love- it kickstarts the difficult days ahead with joyful anticipation.

New life is a beautiful thing. The challenges that might be present for that new life, the lack of guarantee that that life will even sustain another day, the fear that I am doing everything all wrong- these things will come sliding in all too quickly after our moment is over. And as mother- I have no choice but to accept the things outside of my control.

But in that moment, none of that even matters. Because it is our moment. Mine and my new baby's. Even if the moment happens the next day in the NICU around many wires and machines. Even if the moment includes too much physical exhaustion to truly soak it all up. Even if the moment goes by too quickly. Even if the moment isn't exactly how I dreamed it should be- it is ours. Unique, beautiful, and quickly fleeting- it signifies the beginning of a bigger scale version of this same concept: motherhood.

So as I wait, as I dream, as I hope, as I work to make it just one day at a time- this is what pushes me onward. This is what propels me to the finish line. This is what encourages my heart (that is currently being smushed along with all my other organs- remember those good old days when I could breathe?)

Meeting my baby for the first time. This moment beckons me forward. 6 weeks.

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