The first 6 months after your birth was hard. Exceptionally hard. Not only new baby hard, but preemie high-risk colicky non-stop crying hard. Add in little to none family/friends helping, a pinch of ptsd for mommy after traumatic birth and nicu stay, and well, you end up with a HARD 6 months. I don’t know if it was harder for me or you, but damn it was hard.
People are surprised (shocked?) when I say your birth was not the happiest day of my life. I mean, what kind of mother says that? Me. I do. I say it like it is, and my boy, your birthday was traumatic, hard, scary. Not halloween horror night scary, I mean real scary. The bone-chilling can’t-breath begging-God-for-mercy kind of scary. And the weeks after that was no better. Recovering from major abdominal surgery and a *surprise!!* preemie who gets his heel pricked and squeezed for blood every 3 hours on the dot does not make for a blissful maternity leave. There were many many MANY moments where I thought that I made a mistake, I am not cut out to be your mommy. It was too hard. Or maybe I was too weak. Maybe both.
But we survived, we made it through, and we got to know each other. I remember your first GOOD day like it was yesterday. Christmas day. Your crying had slowed down, you seemed more at peace, more comfortable with mommy, more happy? And when I looked at you under the christmas lights, I knew, without a doubt that I loved you. Don’t get me wrong, I cared for you deeply before, I would do anything for you. Not many people know this, but “regular” babies would be sleeping 5-6 hours consecutively each night around 8 weeks.. however, because of your eating issues and low weight, we were still waking you up every 3 hours at night to eat until 6 months. Add in pumping until then, and a growing anxiety/ptsd, and it’s hard to get to a love feeling. I had care feelings, and protective feelings, and I think you are beautiful feelings, but it took me a while to get to love. Maybe that’s just me, maybe other mom’s would get to love faster. I don’t know. You got me baby, and it took me longer 🙂
Anyway, christmas day. It was a glorious day. After 6 months we let you sleep because you were FINALLY on the stupid fucking weight charts and that meant more sleep for everyone. Until the 9 month sleep regression. And I smile when I type that, because that sleep regression meant I got to cuddle with you a lot at night, the nights were sooooo long but your baby breath gave me life. Those cuddles made me feel like a superhero. An exhausted superhero, but nevertheless. I knew how to rock you to sleep – your body turned toward me, holding you tight (because you love to be squished), patting your butt and ssssshhhhhhh-ssshh-ssshh…….. until I see your eyelids getting heavy, your head relaxing on my chest.
And tonight, I am doing the all too familiar butt patting and sssssssshhhhhh-ing. You need some extra mommy time tonight and I am happy to obey since this is not an every night thing. This has become my time to pray, talk to God. Mostly asking, no, BEGGING God to protect you. In addition to protection, I have become so incredibly thankful for you. Just all of you. Your flaming red hair, your bright blue eyes, HUGE smile, contagious giggle when daddy tickles your, constant jumping on the couch, love for puppies, infatuation with spiderman and other good guys, your sweet sweet voice asking for a nammie, excitement about pizza, and the way you kiss mommy. I love you more and more and even MORE everyday and I suspect this ever-increasing love won’t stop anytime soon.
My prayer tonight, in-between the butt-patting, is that God would change His mind to allow for another sweet little butt to pat. 3 times already we thought the little butt is on it’s way. I am praying for a little butt that you can help pat my boy. With the cards I am holding in my hands already, I never thought infertility struggles would be one I’d have to add. And so it’s hard tonight. Really hard. Exceptionally hard.